Author : Clint Wilson, Staff Writer

“And what is the world?” The teacher asked the pupil.

The student’s joints straightened as it stood tall, nearly a millimetre, big for a ninety minute old, and it answered. “A jagged chunk of rock, roughly seventy-six kilometres long and forty-two kilometres wide, orbiting the sun.”

“And how many other worlds are there?”

“Some three hundred and twenty-six thousand, four-hundred and sixty and still counting. We encounter new worlds nearly every day now.”

“How many do we know to house life?”

“At least fifteen have at one time for certain. Only ongoing attempted communication continues with three, and this is difficult due to all the radioactive interference.”

“What is Bibum’s Theory?”

“That all of the worlds were once one world, and that all life derived from that one world.”

“And what do you believe?”

“I have had many of the dreams already. I believe it is true.”

“What did the dreams show you?”

“A sphere, many thousands of times the size of the world, covered in bizarre substances and beings. The visions make my mind press down in agony.”

“My dear pupil you have come far. And I believe you have perceived much more of our history than many your age would. Tell me, have you chosen a side yet?”

The student retreated back and its steely mandibles relaxed into a suddenly confident grin. “You mean the great debate of origin? Can you be serious? There can be only one answer.”

The teacher focused its intense gaze on its student, knotting its wrinkled silver brow in concern. “Well before you spew your opinion please tell me what you actually know.”

The pupil hinged sheepishly forward, quickly losing some of its cocky confidence. “I know that the primary intelligent species of the Bibum world destroyed its cities and technology along with the entire sphere that once housed it.”

“And then?”

“Not much is certain. After the great explosion countless pieces of the old world tumbled through space, many with assumed hangers-on clinging to precious life on their surfaces and in their crevasses.”

“But of all the fossils, all the recovered data from here, on our world, where do you think we actually came from?”

The student suddenly seemed nervous. “I just think that it’s unlikely…”

The teacher interrupted. “Unlikely how? Like a naturally occurring living being could have invented other living beings simply by combining metals and elements in certain ways?”

The pupil felt a burst of outrage. “Well no more likely than a bunch of extremely environmentally dependant creatures were able able to survive as their gravity and atmosphere were stripped violently and horrifically away from them!”

The teacher leaned forward. “Do you know nothing? The giants are long gone of course. We are but the children of the viruses that once crept and hid in the shadows of oblivion. We survived it all and this is now our prize. We are the new rulers of the world!”

The pupil turned away, knowing that it could not win this argument. It looked down at one of its foreleg wrist joints and spun the circular maintenance cap out of the way. There was the secret tattoo. It was an etched representation of gears and cogs. When you were a part of the society of the created ones you learned to pick your battles.

The teacher suddenly hitched up and smiled, “Don’t worry. Young minds often rebel. You’ll come to your senses. Give it a few minutes!”

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