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Trevor Hopkins

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Windmills of New Amsterdam      Download this Full Story
By Trevor Hopkins
Sunday, January 04, 2009

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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Story 14 from Four Square Less One.

An encounter with the Mayor of New Amsterdam, and her surprising acquaintances, leads a young woman to the truth about the hidden settlement on New Earth.

I knew that the not-very-well hidden secret purpose of this world is simply to survive, forever. The residents are expected to live long and happy - but not artificially extended - lives, to raise children to replace their parents, to live with minimal impact on the environment, and to propagate the basic human form into the far future unchanged. The people in this settlement represent the widest possible cross-section of the human phenotype and genotype, with every possible skin colour and body plan that our ancestors would have recognised.

So this world is a carefully-constructed utopia, an insurance policy against unforeseen and indeed unimaginable disasters - part-zoo, part low-tech living DNA repository. This purpose is known and understood, respected by adults, and this history and policy are carefully communicated to the children. Our mantra is "stability and survival". Perhaps our forebears would have found this world a little humdrum, even boring, but we understand our purpose and, generally speaking, accept our position in the universe.

Elsewhere in the galaxy, we know human beings have been much more adventurous. Our books are full of daring tales of humans elsewhere in the Stars. There are stories of spaceships making explorations in space, visiting strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilisations, and going boldly where no human has gone before. There are other legends of wars and empires amongst the stars, with exciting accounts of battles in planetary orbits and an order of protectors with an almost mystical ability to manipulate the universe. These tales, and others, I first heard as bedtime stories at my Father's knee, and learned the details in the more interesting parts of school history lessons.

Our planet is one of those that are rarely visited and with extremely infrequent communications with the rest of humankind. Our predecessors had liked it that way, presumably as a security precaution to discourage the accidental arrival of unwanted alien visitors, whether viral or bipedal.  

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