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It doesn’t matter, the limb will grow back and obviously he doesn’t feel the pain. He has people to do that.

He kills them all. Something in me thinks it wrong but I do not know which. The dog or me? It does not matter. It is far, far too late now to do anything about it.

When I wake up, I am back on Mars. I am lying on my back on the hard ground that I cannot feel. There is a dog nearby. My dog, now. I am alive and it is my turn to be happy.

6

That was Richard E. Sains. A long time before he came to N’rett. A long time before he was born, in fact.

7

What you first need to understand is: you are not on Mars.

I know. You see the palm trees and you think: Mars. You look at the famed yellow grass and the response conditioned by decades of media training kicks in. You say to yourself: we are on Mars. And the same with the cold, rarefied air and the terrifying sand storms.

But you are not on Mars. Mars doesn’t exist anymore.

8

Time for an explanation, I think, so let’s talk about Natural Selection. Let’s talk about Evolution!

This is what you need to know: Natural Selection doesn’t care about you or you children. It doesn’t want to make you into a better fighting/mating/eating machine. If that was the case, by now – after hundreds of thousands of years and countless generations – we would all be perfect beings, immortal and able to move and prosper freely in all kind of conditions. Instead of that, what we are left with is the absolute certitude that in any given generation, one hundred percent of those born will eventually die. Often sooner rather than later. Often in great pain. Most of the time reluctantly.

No, the important thing is that you have children. Or, failing that, that you help bring about the children of others who share the same genes as you. But even then, it cannot be said to care: as a blind process, it simply isn’t able to. It can no more care than gravity can love.

And, if it cared, it wouldn’t make that many blunders.

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