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PROJECT EARTH by Patricia Todd
SUMMARY: Academia was held to be the key to a fruitful solution to an ever present and catastrophic problem that an alien world and its civilisation would inexorably face its end unless a select few could be honed to find the answer of their very existence.
Project Earth: Intelligent Design
Time was tick-tocking away in the sterile atmosphere of the students' room. This was altogether an oppression of the student body who had no quiet corners to hide away from the world and each other, instead they had to endure each others very biorhythms cramped in this quirkily shaped room that had only South facing portholes and was then necessarily heated to the nth degree swelling the thermometers on the walls, and working vitriolic explosions on the student tempers.
It was the end of their penultimate tutelage in the academy and next year they would be in a position to submit their individual projects which would be audited and assessed not only by their lecturers but by potential venture capitalists. This would be a nerve racking and testing time for every member of the student body. Each vying for the top slot, each person watching intensely for the nod of approval or some facial sign of interest in their project.
This acknowledgement would promise a lifetime's work on a subject that was bound to their being in a reciprocal way. The student had a fledgling idea and had worked on it, honing their skills along the way and had made their vision a reality if only as a blueprint, a template if you will, holding the future of their own planet's populations in their minds and imagination.
Each student had been selected from an early age when, as part of the battery of tests that each student sat when each yearly academic signpost had been reached, they all took tests and were radically streamed into sub groups; thus was the global need to sift the 'powerminds' from the rest of the population. These were the Alphas and they held the destiny of their species in their minds - locked away, until some stimulating environment, some software that had been designed , or was evolving under the tutelage of their elder generation had composed like a glorious alchemic symphony, such that the new band of pupils would merge with the matrix of equations thought up by their forebears and would spark another wave of genius that would ultimately have the pleasure, for political correctness' sake, or the heavy burden, as the students were well aware, of deciding the fate of their very own kind.
There were no limitations to the thought processes that were allowed to mesh with the software, melding and moulding, building conduits to positronic pathways that would be hardwired into the core computer safeguarding their world.
It was a known fact that their world had a finite time to exist before it cast off its outer mantle into the stratosphere and would swell to become a red dwarf, a galactic supernova would ensue and this much loved world that had hosted countless millennia of beings in its long lifetime, that had seen wars and held its own and that had nurtured the lives of so many impossible diversities of life, would cease to exist.
Yet all dependent on the sun that fed its rays across the light years in packets of quanta that took a precise number of time units to reach and warm the face of the planet.