The cool blue world spun slowly beneath her feet. Miranda sighed as the pearly green ocean slid into view across the horizon. The soft puffs of the growing Mega-Caine came into view spiraling across the ocean. The Huge cultured, fusion powered storm was just now beginning to move up to the super sonic wind speeds that it would need to stir up the needed top soils and water for redistribution around the globe.


She twitched at Vel-Com's voice.

"Yes, Vee?"

"I'm sorry to disturb you, but it's time."

She looked towards the holo-form of the voice of the ship. Vee stepped to her, light flickering feet never quite touching the transparent floor, shimmering in the blue glow from the world below. Vee had taken this form when she had voiced displeasure at having to talk to a disembodied voice. 'It's too much as talking to God...Especially in the garden.' She had said.

Her soft breath was imperceptible to any but the best sensors; Vee's sensors. The holo-form gazed down at the azure jewel that would hold life when the terraformation was done. Vee had known Miranda for nearly five years, three of those in the confines of the colony vessel.

"Is it so beautiful?"

She smirked at the nearly blank expression on the holo-form.

"Why, yes, you doddering old fool, it is that beautiful. I've said it before, if you'd release your interlocks you too could appreciate the life of emotions."

Her lips twitched down at the mechanical frown on the holo-form's face. She bit her lip a bit.

"I'm sorry..."

"When the work is done."

She nodded.

"I understand." And her lip pouted.

Her eyes locked onto the blank blue and white orbs that Vee had chosen to be the eyes of the holo-form. She blinked; Vee did not. Finally she allowed her lips to curl up a touch.

"How long?"

"Globi-Terc-Inc Assures me no more than twenty-two years before exploration teams can safely ground. Perhaps in twenty-five years we can begin the colonization."

She nodded. She stepped forward and gently put out her fingers. The holo-form rippled as her fingers barely passed through its chest.

"You'll not change while I sleep?"

The holo-form's right arm shifted as if to copy her gesture, then, stopped.

"Not one iota."

Her face became warm suddenly and she looked down. She looked back up to the holo-form's face. Her brows came together shading her eyes. Her lips tightened to keep from curling up.

"I'll dream of you." She said and suddenly swished away toward the cryo-room.

GoshRock scwrawed with glee as the dying Mega-hurricaine buffeted his small craft about. The great winds that stirred up the planet's new eco system and distributed the oxygenated atmosphere were nearly depleted. The fusion generator was winding down. With out the generator's super heated air, the storm was blowing itself out. The spores and the slime mold algaes were mostly dispersed and would begin to grow quickly further oxygenating the planet. Now all that needed to be done was to track the winds and the bio-unit concentrations to keep them in proper proportions for balanced growth.

"Hold'er steady bird brain", Jason growled from the back seat of the light aero.

"Ah, bite me 'man. I'm just havin' a little fun. can't hurt nothin'." GoshRock gritted out between his clenched beak. His own wings had been cramped for far too many hours on this flight.

"Hell, can't wait till I can get out an' fly for real again." An alarm sounded and the vibration of the turbines changed timber and rumbled through the small craft.

"Hang on." He grunted and fought the controls for a second doing what no organic would trust a computer to do; he guessed at the best flight course to get the aero out of the sheer planes of the great winds.

Jason grunted and stifled a curse as GoshRock, trusting his ancestral avian instincts pulled an Immleman pointing the nose of the aero at the sky taking almost all of the speed from the craft. He tipped sideways over the stubby wing to point the nose at the ground and pulled up facing one hundred and eighty degrees from the original heading.

"Right," Jason picked up the conversation, "Why don't you just fly in the garden more often? Bring us around to one-two-zero true."

"Ah, it's not the same." He said turning the aero toward the new heading. "You don't have the feal of the wind in your wings. That and the maximum ceiling doesn't make for the most thrilling of exercises."

"Hrmph", Jason said, "One more time down two-seven-zero true. Well, it looks like you won't have to wait long. The readings are lookin' good. They'll be shutin' the generator down soon if everybody's gettin' the same readings we are."

"Really? I see the winds are already down to twenty-eight klicks per second."

"Yeah, the sheer density of the atmosphere will prob'ly drag the storm down to subsonic in another six months. It'll be safe to start the landings then."

"Skaw!" GoshRock called out. "How long till we can breath it?"

"Down at sea level you can breath it now; thick with microbes though. Another year and that should be fine though."

"Great," GoshRock sighed, "Then they'll have me ferryin' down shuttles. I'll be nothin' more than a glorified taxi driver."

"Aw, don't give me that crap, Gos, I know you'd volunteer to fly a weather balloon just to be in the air. Come around to one-eight-three true."

"Skaw. Got somethin'?"

"Mutated microbes in the mix. Some native crap with an airborne vector capability from some of ours." Jason said frantically tapping away on his old fashioned key board that he preferred over the cybernetic virtual implants.

"There; logged and noted, sampled, co-lated, collected, constipated, and expectorated. Let the boys back at the labs figure it out. I've done sampled about all the fresh Briar air I can do anything with for today. It's 'bout time for a cold one."


Jason smiled at the sound of disgust GoshRock gave to the thought of beer.

"It's better than a glass of anchovy paste." He taunted the young goshawk anthropomorph.

"You watch it you, ugly orangutang or I'll give you a special fly over."

"What?" Jason asked, oh so innocently.

"I'll be damned 'fore you call Me a seagull!"

Jason laughed.

"Hey, I've seen you hangin' around Kira."

"Skrrrll. That's 'cause it's that time of the year. She's more appealing now than normally. Hell, with your nose, I'm surprised you haven't been sniffing her out yourself."

"And just exactly what are you insinuating mister LongFeather?"

"Just that you seem to be interested in females in any form when Jenny's not watching."

"Hey, it's not like we've got some kind of commitment or anything." Jason said, a little of the laughter falling away from his voice.

A moment of silence passed. The soft puffs of clouds slid by the canopy. The sky was beginning to grow dark as the aero rose toward the low orbit docking station.

"Skrrrll." GoshRock hissed. "Forget it. Whatcha gonna do with your land when we finally get to settle down?"

"Hell, I'll prob'ly just let it sit. I'm plannin' on rediversifying my funds and paycheck and going back in the can for a hundred years or so. By that time this place should have grown up enough to have at least one night spot in somethin' that resembles a town."


"What?" Jason asked at GoshRock's unasked question.

"So, what about Jenny?"

Jason's heavy sigh was a static rattling hiss over the flight suit com.

"What about her?"

"You know she's a dig-dig; she's got alot of construction ahead of her. They won't let her go back into cryo now even if she could afford it." GoshRock's voice was softer now.

Jason sat quietly for a second staring at the back of the young pilot's flight helm.

"We're not an item as so many folks would have you believe. She's her own woman."

There was a hard silence broken only by the soft rumble of the aero's turbines.

"She loves you, Jason." GoshRock's voice was almost a whisper.

Jason turned his head. The canopy reflected the face plate of his Instruments helm. The face plate reflected the reflection of the helm in the canopy. The reflections swiftly fell into infinity's mirror.

"She'll get over me. Either that or she'll get killed by the planet." He said quietly.

Another long silence passed as the sky gave way to an absolute field of stars. Stars that were hundreds of millions of years old on earth but only a few million years old here on Briar. GoshRock translated the aero to exoatmospheric settings and set a course for the docking station.


"What?" His voice was a tight, quiet sound in his helm.

"You're one of the few humans that we anthros really look up to..."

Jason turned to look out the canopy. The darkness had changed the infinity's mirror. He could see his own eyes reflected as ghostly phantoms through his faceplate. Those eyes glared at him on into infinity. He looked down at his hands holding each other.

"You are one of the best humans I've personally ever met." GoshRock said quietly. "You're not gonna change on us when the rest of the humans come out of cryo to take their place on our planet are you?"

"No." Jason said quietly. He turned again to look out the canopy to the docking station. His eyes were still there in infinitely staring at him. He looked back down at his hands.