This is the thirteenth section of the first chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.
“You know what the first thing I saw when I first came onto the Habitat. Well when we got down past the lift and at the garden section?”
“Well you have to remember this was the first time anyone had seen it. I was the first human to step into an alien ecology and see the native life there. What did I see? What hippity hopped up to us? Rabbits! Bloody Rabbits! Oh for a second I was astonished, oh so hopeful, parallel evolution I thought, maybe alien life won’t be so weird after all. Then what did I see? A pigeon! Worse than that, a pigeon that was struggling to fly.”
“What drunk or something?”
“Looked like it, and that was the end of any hope of investigating a new alien world, these were clearly animals that had recently been brought to this environment from Earth.”
“The birds couldn’t fly because of the centrifugal gravity, it confused their senses?”
“Exactly, the radius of the spin was just too small. Humans can’t notice it but we don’t have to fly. So a bigger radius is needed. Well that’s half the point of this whole escapade. Goodness knows how the bees are coping, I hear there was something about introducing an artificial magnetic field or something to do with the shield that protects us from the solar flux, but you know how secretive the Habitat is about those sort of things.”
“It doesn’t talk to you about these things, you’re supposed to be designing a new environment with it.”
“The technical details of that are not something it seems to want to concern me with. I think it sees me as some sort of glorified gardener, or maybe it just likes to keep its bag of tricks hidden.”
“Or maybe it has no bag of tricks and it doesn’t know how to work around the problem”