“Nope, this isn’t either.” Jaime heedlessly threw the small sprout over his shoulder on the ever-growing heap of uprooted plants.
Ritxi sighed a short breath that slowly evaporated in the cold morning air.
“All work and no play makes Jaime a dull boy, eh?”
“Well, we ought to find one sooner or later – it can’t be that this whole planet is devoid of…” his voice trailed off.
“You should just say it: life.” Ritxi shook his head. “It wouldn’t be the first one to have none, you know that.”
Jaime continued to dig up the next specimen. “It’s just that I feel that we’re picking up the pieces after oh so many years, when the Kalevae still roamed these territories, but that the pieces only tell us why they became shattered in the first place.”
Ritxi practiced a more elaborate sigh this time.
Jaime looked her in the eye. “We’re scouting all these planets and the only things we find are either plants that bleed silver –” he made a fist of the hand he was grabbing another root with and reflective grey matter dripped from between his fingers “– or faunadrones that keep on replicating like a bunch of crazed robo-bunnies.” He flung the crushed root towards the pile. “This isn’t life, it’s just another replica, another simulacrum. Why is all the natural life gone?”
“Let’s put it this way: greed, ignorance, exponential growth… Simple enough for you?”
Now it was Jaime’s turn to sigh. “But why try re-create everything like this?”
“Most probably a retro-feeling, a romantic need to go back to times long past? It’s the natural thing to do if you’re lost: you try to reestablish past configurations, either to retrace your steps or to feel at ease again with something you know.”
Jaime grimaced. “You’re thinking too much like a scientist again…”
Ritxi grinned in return. “Come on, we’ll try the next sector, this one looks as dead to as the Kalevae probably are.”