The reality of what we had done washed over me. I felt the harsh tearing of genetic roots from my origin. Earth would be forever gone from our lives except as an occasional tiny blue twinkle behind Varok's wild skies. Shawne would never know the colorful drama of Earth’s quiet sunsets, nor experience first-hand the strangeness and beauty of her improbable inhabitants.
"Why did we think we could do any good from out here?" I asked. "Were we deluded by a fool's passion, trying to fix something that didn't want to be fixed?"
I forgot how that passion had kept the ellls and varoks on Earth's moon for twenty-eight millenia, watching as evolving hominids learned to make fire then build aqueducts then design silicon chips. Our alien neighbors—the sentient species of Ellason and Varok—had been fascinated, wondering how to break the news that we humans were not alone in the solar system. They had grown to love the inventive complexity of Earth's life forms but to fear human indulgence, so they decided to share what they had learned, hoping to spare Earth more tragedy. No one on Earth had realized that the Varokian civilization existed until 2040 CE, when the ellls and varoks working at their observation base on Earth's moon made the terrifying decision to reveal themselves in order to rescue some human astro-engineers stranded near the Straight Wall on Mare Nubium.
"You're grieving," Tandra," Orram said. "You should."
"It's Shawne's future, Orram. How will she live without other humans?"
"Ri-i-i-ght," Conn said, "and how will you?"
He meant the question. As an aquatic biped sporting eight senses, Conn had studied everything about Earth's oceans, its life, its jokes and its English, but not the inner life of its humans.
Long before this I should have explored my grief with Orram, my soulmate. Why didn't I? I'm not sure. I guess I was feeling unsure about everything—except Shawne. I was sure we all would know which way to jump to provide for her future. That's what mattered.