It started with a star.
The star burst into existence and burned brightly for a good many years before it grew bored.
The star said, “I should not be alone in this corner of the universe.” So the star spewed molten gas in great big streams.
The gases spun, looking much like a nebula to faraway observers, and eventually settled into spheres that became planets.
Five or six of these gas giants retained so much heat, they collapsed in on themselves and became solid.
One, too close to the star, melted and returned to the source.
The furthest of these, unable to withstand the distance, shattered into a thousand thousand pieces.
The star, however, was pleased, and breathed life into the fourth planet, which was bluest and bravest. Eventually, a great civilization rose from those seeds, and they flourished for ten thousand revolutions of the star. They even escaped the confines of their own atmosphere.
Expeditions to the third and fifth planets — they didn’t regard the string of asteroids as a place capable of supporting life — ended in failure. Neither team returned.
On the sixth planet, the exploration ended in absolute disaster: the explosion continues even today.
On the third planet, where they crashed, they attempted to survive in the young wilds. The star had breathed a bit of life into this place, too, and the explorers tried their best to interact peaceably.
But the third planet was still young and wild, and no form of intelligent life had yet evolved. The beasts of this world consumed the explorers.
Their smallest molecules have been recycled so frequently and spread so thinly, there’s no part of the planet in which they cannot be found; but they exist in so minute a quantity, they cannot be found.
The star could not stop the comet. When it came, the comet crashed through the fourth planet, ripped away most of its atmosphere, and left almost no one alive and the surface dry and red.
The few that survived went underground and adapted.
On the third planet, civilizations eventually rose and fell and rose, only to destroy themselves time and again.
They still do this.
The star, saddened by the fates of its children, remained quiet for a long time. When the comet came back again, the star lashed out and swallowed it.
The star thinks of trying again. It can spew a fresh stream of fiery iron gas and diamond dust, evaporate the planets it has already created, and breathe life into a new species.
But the star is patient. The star has time. The star can start a new life experiment after this one finishes. The occupants of that third planet seem to constantly find more and more effective means of mass suicide.
But who knows? The star retains a small bit of hope, there merest trace of it, that the little reckless life forms will yet find a way to flourish.
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