Copyright 2011 Michael McCloskey
Cover art by Brom
Talent does what it can; Genius does what it must.
A beautiful blue planet hurtled through endless darkness. The light of a yellow star warmed the outer layers of its vast cloudy atmosphere, filtering ever deeper, growing ever feebler as the density steadily increased. The air surrounding the planet grew thicker layer after layer, finally blurring the lines between gas and liquid. At the center lay an iron-deficient core: this planet was notably less dense than most.
Countless simple creatures of the planet enjoyed the wide open sky and the star’s warmth. Tiny floaters with semi-transparent bodies rotated about, collecting food from the kilometer-long vines that grew in long ropy clusters floating in the sky. Slightly larger round creatures with long, thin legs and small wing membranes jumped about after the floaters. The jumpers had gaping mouths and single wide eyes to lead them to their food. Vast tentacled plants caught and ate what they could, propelled up and down through the layers on massive gasbags.
Millions of meter-wide spheres of metal and processed carbon floated gently among the long green vines and tiny creatures of the planet. Like their ancestors, they had eight thin flagella spaced around their equator, although they no longer needed such primitive means to propel them about in a rapid spinning motion.