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January 28, 2011

If his grandmother hadn’t died, if she hadn’t left him everything, Dan would never have left Earth. He wouldn’t be on a train racing at five hundred kilometers per hour across the Tharsis Planitia from the spaceport toward New Berlin. He stared out the observation gallery at the rust-colored landscape and wondered why his grandmother ever moved here in the first place.

His memory of the woman was indistinct, like an out-of-focus picture. He was ten when she’d left Earth, and what he remembered the most were his parents’ protests at her departure.