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I I know. I guess. You’re right. Back on Earth, when something breaks, you don’t fix it, you replace it. The colonies, they have problems to solve. They’re my kind of problems. And a mechanic is somebody. This is a new world still being built. I could build a house and live in it. Open country. Room to grow. Now you’re back to slogans. Can’t slogans be true? Do you know how much Homestead Company made off its first planet? Eight quadrillion dollars. That’s eight million billions. Colony planets are the biggest business going. Did you pay full price for your ticket? No. I’m in a desirable trade. So they fill your head with dreams, discount your ticket, and you fly off to populate their planet and give Homestead % of everything that you make for the rest of your life. Not to mention the debt you run up on this fancy starship. So all you see here is , suckers? I see zeros on the Homestead Company’s bottom line. I see , men and women changing their lives. For , different reasons. You don’t know these people. I’m a journalist. I know people. Really? This one. Is he a banker, a teacher or a gardener? Banker. He’s a gardener. And her. ls she a Madison, Donna or a Lola? Donna’s too serious for that hair. Lola. Madison. ! All right, chef, accountant or midwife? She has to be a midwife. There’s no way you just made that one up. Yeah. She’s a midwife. I didn’t know they still had midwives. I like her. We’d be friends. You think you can see that? Don’t you? I do. A round-trip ticket? That’s right. I was gonna fly to Homestead ll, live for a year, and then right back to Earth. I don’t get it. I left Earth for a new life, but you end up back where you started? I end up in the future. Two hundred and fifty years in the future, on Earth, which is still the center of civilization, like it or not. And I’ll be the only writer to ever travel to a colony world and come back. I’ll have a story no one else can tell. What story? Humanity’s flight to the stars. The greatest migration in human history. It’s the biggest story there is. But you won’t know any of the people who are reading it. But they’d be reading it. Or they would have been. I’ll never write it now. I don’t know if I’ll ever write again. Jim, I can’t think of anything else to try to save us. And I don’t even want to think about it anymore. What is there to do around here? Are you serious? Dead serious. Partner mode. Let’s get it on! Come on, get in power mode. You just stand here. And then we repeat what they do. Uh, is there anything else we can do? Just do the Okay. You don’t have to. Okay. I can Beat down! Hey! Here we go. Let’s see it. Oh! Whoa! Whoa! Oh. Oh! Why you smiling? Aurora! Aurora! ‘Cause I’m up two points. Who’s the lovely lady? This is Aurora. Aurora. A pleasure. I can’t! You did great! Okay, one more time. One more time, let’s see it. Oh! Yes! Whoo! I swear, I didn’t wear pants for a month. Seven weeks and two days, to be exact. The man has no shame. Well, you’re a little lacking in that area yourself, Arthur. I laughed at the man with no pants until I realized I have no legs.



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