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"And all of this shall not be in vain! Yes, it is the great Unspoken that our little biosphere here we call Earth is dying, that the human race shall soon come to an end, at least that vast portion that can't escape. It is no coincidence that the American president's own daughter is on the first mission. That is quite a gesture from a man who lost both his wife and his only son to a terrorist plane crash: he can only be risking his daughter if he feels that she is doomed if she remains with him. It is a tacit acknowledgment there is no future for this planet."

Dedender's arms had returned to his sides, and one finger now pointed straight upward, through the skylight. "No, the future is there, among the stars. I remember the day the Kepler Mission was launched, the day that I told my scientists to stop the fertilizations so that we could focus our resources on raising and training the children we had already created. For I knew that the Kepler telescope would find the Earth-sized planets it was looking for.

"And indeed, Columbus Day, two thousand eight, was a joyous day." Dedender's finger had been lowered, and now he slowly orbited the so-faint-as-to-be-unseen starlight falling on the floor beneath him. "But not so joyous as the same day six years later, when a third planet was found circling Forty-seven Ursae Majoris, a planet, that, unlike Alpha and Beta, was Earth-like in size and orbit. Even more joyous still was the announcement a year later that a spectral analysis of Forty-seven UMa Gamma's atmosphere had revealed it to be Earth-like as well.

"And so the timing of both Goodall and myself proved to be perfect. The Senator who had long insisted that the next giant leap for mankind would be to another Earth was turned into a modern-day prophet, and you, my children, you and I shall ride his coattails!

"When I first started to create you, I envisioned waiting out the death of the rest of humankind, allowing my fellow humans to wipe each other out through war, pestilence, and famine. I have to admit that my fellow humans proved to be more resilient than I had anticipated, but still this planet is doomed. Sooner or later, someone, one way or the other, will take out this world we stand upon, and it is in our own interest to be off it and far, far away." Dedender drew out his last three words as one arm and both eyes swept upward.

First Star by W.R. Hammons:

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