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Added on: 2024-06-03 17:59:17

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Categories: genre:sci-fi

A warm, stony planet, orbiting a sun much like our own, with oceans of coppery water and a heart of burning iron. Complex life evolved there, once, and the shells and skeletons of billions of nameless dead things rest among the strata. But long ago, a brief interaction with a comet extinguished all lifeforms more complicated than a lichen and left an astrobleme a thousand kilometres wide.

A little under a century ago, a colony fleet arrived from a faraway star, choosing that same crater to make its landfall. The colonisers scattered the sky with satellites and the land with seeds, and set about building a city and remaking the world.

Seventy-one years ago, an incident of uncertain origin wiped all digital records and all links with the cultures that had borne it. The effect on the colony’s short-term prosperity was catastrophic, the effect on its long-term development even worse. Adrift, out of contact and unable to be sure of any fact that could not be independently verified, the colony-dwellers developed parallel realities around bodged-together archives. Every element of history and science, every known fact, has become in its way a matter of faith. Over time, the old dreams died: terraforming, orbital launch, resumption of contact with the lost worlds above. Nothing has emerged to replace them but squabbling and solipsism.

Today, the last satellite is about to fall from the sky, and a visitor is approaching.

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