The canary in the coal mine Edit

Cooperative hab: Metasyntact; Baz Lambda dyson swarm; Forget-me-not-cluster; 2902.

Cherlyn Mikaya had never stood on a planet, as she skipped through the meadows. Cherlyn Mikaya had never seen a blue sky or a single source of light, as she gazed up into the inverted countryside. She was not like the other children, who had talking pets and ran around making noise. She liked the grass, the flowers and the creepy crawlies. She wondered about them, and about planets, and where humans came from. She of course knew, but not why or what planets were like. For this she needed her wise great-great-great grandfather Max Guletsko (not anyone younger in her family had lived on planets). The flowers bloomed as she ran home, turning their heads towards her to maximise their beauty. She heard a buzz, and stopped by a bumble bee taking advantage of the blossom.

After dinner, Max was already prepared to be bombarded with questions. But to his surprise, Cherlyn only had one: why were there bees and flowers on an artificial habitat? He considered for a second, Cherlyn's age. But she was not like other children, saying "because flowers and bees are pretty" would not suffice.

Okay Cherlyn. This is a grown-up's story, for it is about how we Terrans almost never came to be now. And do I have to explain quantum mechanics?

No Great*3-Grandad! I was born with that old knowledge, you just need to help me find it.

Very well...

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