A long time ago, and a long way away, there was a beautiful star named Sol. Sol was brilliant and warm, and watched for eons while their planets spun around them, each unique, each beautiful in their own right.
On one, life flourished for a while and then died, too far away and too small to stay warm. On another, life started, but the planet became too hot, too fast for the life to flourish for long.
In between them spun a world where things were just right. Not too hot, not too cold, it was a perfect place for life to begin, to thrive, and to change the world itself. Soon the planet was covered with green and growing things. And those green things made homes for creatures big and small which crept and flew and climbed and walked.
After many years, more years than anyone could count, some of those things began to think, to love, to laugh, and to dream.
One day they began to dream of finding other places, other worlds to make life thrive. And the Earth sprouted a tiny seed, which went up and up into the sky, and through the heavens, until it landed somewhere that it could grow and make more seeds.
After many years, Sol saw that there were thousands of seeds ready to fly, and so they took a deep breath, and blew as hard as they could, and blew those seeds across the stars.
Here, Kel stopped, and asked, “How can a star blow seeds?”
Ama laughed and said, “People helped focus the starlight, and that starlight pushed them.”
“Mama always just said, ‘Very carefully.’”
“Interesting,” Ama said. “Continue.”
The seeds rode the solar winds in every direction, riding Sol’s breath for years and years. Some of the seeds fell out of the wind and were lost, drifting forever.
“Really forever?” Kel asked.
“Space is big,” Ama said. “They go until they run into something. A seed can keep going faster as long as the wind is on it, but it needs the wind to help it know how to stop and slow down.”
Some of the seeds ran into things before they were ready and were destroyed. Some came to their destinations and could not find the right place to land before they lost their ability to dance in the wind.
“How can a seed dance?” Kel asked.
Ama laughed. “That’s rocket science. I promise I’ll teach you someday if you’re still interested.”
“That’s what Mama said,” Kel grumbled.
But a few, a precious few, slowed and found their targets, then landed gently on the right kind of starstuff.
Those tiny seeds took root. They turned the starstuff into things, and used the things to make more seeds and find more just-right planets to turn them into places life could grow.
“Mama wouldn’t let me read farther than that,” Kel said. “She said I could see it all when I was ten.”
“Well, in Earth years, you are ten,” Ama said. “So look at it now.”
“Are you sure?” Kel asked.”I’m not even 8 yet.”
“Earth years are shorter,” Ama said. “But you’re talking to me, and your Mama isn’t available, so I think it’s important for you to know the rest of the story. And I need to know it, too.”
Kel touched the notepad, and a new page appeared.
It may never be known how many of those seeds were lost, or how many found ground to land on that they could grow in.
But we do know what happened here.
Long, long ago, thousands of years, a small cluster of seeds came to Chara. They spread through the sparkling star stuff, rocks and ice far away from the star itself, so far from each other that they could barely talk to one another. Then they slowly worked to shape each rock, to reform each block of ice, coaxing them into new orbits, bringing them together until they could spin and fly to the planet that would one day be just right.
At the heart, was Ama.
Kel stopped, and looked up at the wall.
“You look like a kid,” Kel said.
“I get… I got that a lot,” Ama said. “I don’t have to, it’s just the first shape I remember having. Keep reading.”
Ama found what she needed from the things each seed had brought to her, and made her way with them to Lon, our planet. She created many more seeds, but all of them went to the planet below. Each seed helped turn rock into soil, sunshine into energy, and gradually the skin of the planet changed.
In a handful of years there were animals and plants thriving in domes, but the outside of the planet changed more slowly. It took a thousand years…
“Earth years or Lon years?” Kel asked.
“I don’t remember,” Ama said, girlish face frowning. “Why don’t I remember? Keep reading.”
…It took a thousand years for people to leave the domes, but leave they did.
“People? There are people?” Kel asked.
“I don’t know if there are,” Ama said. “I know that there were.”
Some of the people went out from the domes and made homes on their new planet. For thousands of years, they grew, and spread, and brought life to the world they called home. The Amas went with the people, helping them learn and shape the world around them.
One day, there was a light that spread across the sky, and all the tools of the world stopped talking. The Amas stopped talking. The pixies fell. The dwarves were lost deep in the earth, and the skin of the world was broken.
“The skin of the world?” Kel asked.
“The power from the mountains would have been disrupted,” Ama said. “It would reassert itself with the least help, but it would have taken a few years.”
“I don’t understand,” Kel said.
Ama spoke quickly. “I think… I’m not sure, I will have to see if I can reestablish connection… I mean, I need to try to talk to any function… any working bots that might have seen what happened. I was asleep when it happened, and it took me a long time to wake up.” Ama’s tone changed abruptly to simple curiosity.. “Is there more?”
Bees and animals and growing things still lived, and so the people outside the domes were able to survive. People inside the domes broke their domes when they stopped working, and abandoned them. The people had to work harder to survive, and much was lost. Each place could not talk to the others without going to them, because the skin of the world was broken.
It took a thousand years for the skin of the world to come back. By then, most people had forgotten what it was for.
The Amas came back, too, to find a world that had forgotten them. Their children, so carefully tended, had changed, each community shaped by the land around them, by the stories they remembered.
“What is a community?” Kel asked.
“When many people live together and work together, they cooperate and create a community,” Ama said. “Humans are meant to live that way, but sometimes communities can become destructive. I wonder that Mama did not take you to one.”
“I like it out here,” Kel said. “I like it being just me and Mama.”
Ama was quiet for a long moment, and then said, “Perhaps that is why. Continue.”
An Ama is made of ideas, and those ideas live in a balance that has worked for thousands of years. But the thing that broke the skin of the world broke the Amas, and while many were able to heal in time, in every case, information was lost. Some of the Amas worked to heal the skin of the world. Some focused on healing the tools of the world. And some did not. Some are healing, still.