Exiles of Eden
by Brad R. Torgersen
She was gorgeous, and didn't look a day over twenty-five. Her honey-blonde hair
fanned about her head as she lay beside me on the limestone sand of the beach.
Two suns -- one white and the other orange -- baked our bellies. Occasionally a
bubbling wave of warm seltzer water rushed in from the lifeless sea, coating us
pleasantly. Her deep blue eyes blinked as I adjusted my position and gazed at her.
The blonde's smile was fixed, like the Cheshire Cat's. She looked and felt almost
as good as I remembered a real woman should. Almost. I wondered if I'd ever get
the algorithms just right -- hers or mine.
A set of bare white feet suddenly appeared, just at the edge of my peripheral
I froze -- so far as I knew, I was the only person on the planet. What the . . .?
I rolled onto all fours and looked up.
It was another woman. I knew her. Wanda. She stood four meters further up the
beach. She smiled down at me, her brown hair cut short, just like I remembered it.
She had on a pair of black short-shorts and a white tank top which hugged her
athletic figure. Why hadn't I detected her coming into orbit? I smiled sheepishly
at my old friend.
"Nice toy you built for yourself," Wanda said.
"How did you find me, Wanda? I didn't sense your ship coming in."
"One can never be too careful, Rordy. You should know that. Lucky for me I
remembered you telling me once that you'd discovered a fantastic piece of beach
circling a binary. You even gave me the rough coordinates. I gotta say, you were
right -- this really is excellent real estate."
"Just wait until I've finished seeding the tidal regions with xenophytoplankton," I
said. "That rust color in the sky will be blue within a thousand years. Then all this
place will need are palm trees."
"Sounds perfect," Wanda said, surveying the carbon dioxide horizon.
"Interested in a swim?" I said. I looked down at the blonde I had built, then back
up at Wanda. "Sorry I can't offer you equivalent companionship."
"Not a problem. I'm not here to relax. Something has happened, something
important. I had to tell you."
"What?" I said.
"There are still people in this galaxy."
"Yeah," I said. "You, me, Ormond, Bana --"
"No, Rordy. I mean real people."