The Science Fair

I peered down at the experiment.  The globe was hanging in the air, and covered in activity.  I pulled my pencil out of my clipboard.

“God,” I noted in the name.  “And your project’s name?” I asked.

“Earth,” the young man replied.

I filled in the name on the form.  “Okay then,” I told the young man.  “Tell me about your project.”

The man (really, the adolescent was little more than a boy) glanced down at his shoes, and then turned to his project.  “Well, it’s a biosystem,” he began.  “Been running for about six billion years, now.”

I raised my eyebrows at him.  “Accelerated, of course,” he added hurriedly.

I bent down to peer at the biosphere.  “It looks quite inhabited,” I observed.

The young man nodded.  “Yep – dominant species appeared about ten thousand years ago,” he said.  “They’ve already spread across the entire sphere.”

I picked up the magnifying glass and peered through it.  “They look like they’re being pretty hard on the environment.”

God shrugged at this.  “They’ll adapt,” he said.

I waited as the globe turned to examine the far side.  “Looks like a fight’s broken out here,” I said, peering at one region.  “Not sure why.  Mostly desert.”

“They’ve been fighting over that part for a long time,” God volunteered.  “They originated there, so I guess it’s special.”

“Doesn’t look very evolved to me.”

“They’re evolved in other ways!” the boy protested, trying to win back points.  “They’ve tamed their environment, and are even building devices to ease their labor!”

Sure enough, that was worth bonus points on the grading form.  “Any issues in producing them?” I asked.

He shrugged.  “At one point, the evolution seemed stuck on lizards.  I had to do a soft reset.”

The man was volunteering this information, but my keen eye had already spotted the evidence of the reset on the cross-section.  “Supervolcano?” I asked.

“Combined with a meteor strike.”

It was at least not directly violating the rules.  I referred back to my form once again.  “Any other direct influence?”

No answer was immediately forthcoming.  I looked up at the young man and saw an uncomfortable expression on his face.  “Any influence?” I repeated, glaring at him.

He wilted beneath my glare.  “Well, I tried to put them on the right track about two thousand years ago.  Sent down an aspect, told them to be friendly, all of that.”

“Didn’t quite take,” I noted.

He shook his head.  “Yeah, I learned my error there.  Not going to try that again next year.”

I checked the appropriate box.  “So, not planning on continuing this?”

“Nah.  Now that I’ve learned some of my mistakes, it might be easier to just cleanse the whole thing and try again. I should have fewer screw-ups next time.”

The form was just about complete.  “Well, just be sure to make sure to sterilize,” I commented as I signed the bottom.  “Don’t want anything getting out and spreading.”

The boy looked hopeful as I moved on to the next experiment, but he probably wouldn’t take home a medal this year.  The next experiment looked more promising, however.  There was a large thing with tentacles, visible even without magnification, rampaging across this biosphere.   That looked novel.

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