Chapter 8

I woke up from my jumping dream to hear Papa yelling, "You're so selfish!" and then Dad telling him to keep his voice down. Even whispering, I could still hear Dad say he wasn't selfish. The project was just too dangerous. "Not to mention useless! If Clovis wants stable and functioning soldiers, he shouldn't put them through trauma in the first place!"

Papa said that the point wasn't to avoid trauma, but to prepare for it. That we should be able to protect ourselves without relying on you, Traveler. That something more powerful could come along, or you could turn on us.

Which made me feel sick again. Papa's always told me about how much you've given us, how we should return the favor by learning and exploring and stretching the Golden Age for thousands of more years. But now he was saying…

"Skip the ethics lecture and tell me: if you knew humanity could be wiped out in the next 50 years, wouldn't you try anything and everything to save us? To save our child?"

It got quiet then. For so long that I almost went back to bed when I heard Papa again: "This DER stuff is hard, but I think the humanisms you suggested are the solution. In fact, I'll bet my life on it."

Dad said that's what he was worried about. "I love you, but forget about being safe in 50 years. Micah needs to be safe here and now." He said some of the colonists were going home with the next supply ship. He hoped Papa would join us.

Papa started crying then. I got back into bed and piled all my penguins on my head to block it out. It didn't really work because then I started crying, too.

What's going to happen?