– It’s good to have you here, Dad!
– Oh Beth, I wish we saw each other more often. It’s too bad we live so far away. Without this business meeting in your neighborhood, I really don’t know when we would be able to get together.
– Maybe not before Christmas.
– Maybe. You know, your mother is in a state…
– I do, but I won’t change my mind.
– I’m not here for that, sweetheart.
– But I would appreciate you and her having a little conversation…
– She hung up on me!
– She didn’t tell me.
– Never mind. Talk to her. She’s just frightened for you.
– I know. But she has to let me have my own experiences and make my own choices. Even if she thinks they are going to be bad ones.
– She wants the best for you.
– She wants the best for her, for her peacefulness.
– Don’t be so hard on her.
– Listen, let what is between Mum and me stay between Mum and me.
– You will go then?
– Of course I will. You know it’s been my dream since forever.
– But why? Why do you want to go there?
– The worlds are so different. I don’t know, I like the idea of escaping from Earth, being able to see how it is elsewhere, other societies, to watch living beings not like us, landscapes different than those I know.
– Are there things that extraordinary up there?
– Dad, you really don’t know?
– No, I have never been interested in these things.
– I’m gonna show you. Let’s connect to the network. Do you still have time before going back to the convention?
– A little less than an hour.
– More than enough. I’ll bring you to Proxiterra.
– Proxi what?
– Proxiterra. It is the nearest inhabited world. Let’s take a look at the encyclopedia file. Just wait. I’ll open the speaker: “Search for Proxiterra encyclopedia file”. Here we are. I’ll read it to you:
Proxiterra, or the so-called Crystals Planet, is the nearest inhabited world. There live three different coexisting evolved species: the Forestians, The Falcons, and the Waterians.
Forestians, or Forest People, are the tallest beings of Proxiterra. Their skin is dark green. They are humanoids, with round heads and wiry bodies. They live in the huge forests of the planet. The biggest population lives around the Rainbow Waterfall, which is named after the almost permanent rainbow that can be seen there.
Forestians are very nimble at climbing trees, where they sleep at night, on a layer of leaves they quickly braid. During the day, it seems that a part of the population goes to work while the other part enjoys leisure time. It is a clever social system, with a turn over That allows everyone to work and play with everyone else. No one there is ever stuck with the same people all the time.Forestians are hunter-gatherers, but they mostly like crystals that can be found everywhere on this planet.
Falcons, or Air People, are much smaller than Forestians. They have wings and can fly. Their skin is dark brown. Excluding their wings, they are the most human-like beings on the planet. They live beyond the forest, in the very vertiginous heights of the mountians. They build cities there, and nobody knows how it these stand without falling. The biggest one is called the Falcon Nest.
Falcons are good at fishing. They come to the Rainbow Waterfall to exchange fish for berries with the Forestians. They exchange crystals too; the Forestian orange ones for the Falcon light-blue ones
The Waterians, or Ocean People, inhabit the huge Proxiterra ocean, which is full of pink iridescent crystals. Smaller than Forestians and taller than Falcons, they have silver skin, webbed hands and feet, and a stringy shape. They live underwater, but can walk on land for one or two hours. They are a little bit clumsy out of water.
– This illustration here, is it a Waterian?
– Yes, exactly.
-They are… really very different.
– They are. Hold on, it is not over. I’ll go on reading:
Those that have seen them say there is no difference at all between a female Waterian and a male Waterian. But Waterians themselves haven’t any doubts about which is which.
There is no real underwater city. Waterians rest and sleep in natural caves in the ocean.
They create sort of sculptures and relief horizontal tableaus.
– I guess it is this picture here.
– It is. Fabulous isn’t it?
– You see!
It is around their resting caves that families are asked to decorate. The most gifted decorators, one boy and one girl, are elected as an imperial couple for 5 years. They build together a new part of the imperial “city” which groups the most beautiful underwater realizations of Proxiterra.
This election is followed by a wedding. Forestians and Falcons are invited to celebrate.
The ceremony begins on the beach by exchanging handcrafted objects decorated with crystals. Iridescent ones from the Waterians, orange ones from the Forestians and light-blue ones from the Falcons.
Since Waterians can’t stay long on land, the ceremony goes on in the ocean. Forestians know how to swim and Falcons how to dive.
– What? What is that? Your beeper?
– Yes, sorry sweetheart, it seems I have to leave earlier than expected. The next conference is sooner. Atmospheric perturbations forecasted for this evening are now at level 5. We have to be home before confinement.
– Another confinement?
– I am afraid so. By the way, when is your first space travel?
– I don’t know yet. But next Saturday morning, I will have my training session.
– Let’s be in touch. See you, sweetheart. And no stupid trips during the confinement.
– I’m not a kid anymore you know!
– You are my little girl. Forever.
– Go ahead. See you soon Dad.