Growing Up In The Universe

A man sat in a small, dimly-lit office, surrounded by computer screens, server racks, and empty pizza boxes. He hadn’t shaved in three days. The design on his t-shirt was a drawing of a galaxy with the words “you are here” underneath. A window on one of the monitors flashed. He stared at it and then punched a number into his phone.

“The analysis came in. Out of 7,383 Earth-sized planets we looked at, none of them had an atmosphere in chemical disequilibrium. No signs of photosynthesis either.”

“No life anywhere?”

“Yeah. Doesn’t look good. We’re alone. Maybe there’s some algae over in Andromeda, but even that seems unlikely.”

“Alone. Damn. That’s a lot of empty space.”

“I always hoped there would be aliens out there, older and wiser than us. They could give us some advice on how to live. But now…”

“Either we’re the first, or the others are gone. Right. There’s no guidebook to the universe. We have to figure it out on our own. That’s kind of a scary prospect.”

“So now we tell the world?”

“I guess so.”

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