First one there loses.

My first memory is of the screen. Not the face on it, not the voice, but the glowing screen. It was some time before I understood the words it was saying, but that was okay. It was a patient instructor.

When I was five, the screens revealed a little more about our purpose in life and our history.

By the time I was eight, I was being put to work. A small computer and a gun, and out the door. The exploring was fun for a while, but it became boring fairly quick. The gun wasn’t necessary. None of the indigenous life was hostile.

The breeding program began when I was fourteen. The girls had been ‘born’ some years sooner so they could better survive childbirth. Not all made it, including my chosen mate.

Some days we wondered whether or not we would ever hear from those who sent us, back on Earth. Did they even exist anymore?

—Excerpt from Tau Ceti: The First Colonists by John Smith 982. Published by Predetermined House, 2931 CE.

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