Saturday, 21 June 2014
Long before a newly condensing star has ignited, one of its planets is already forming. Gravity, magnetism and spin pull together a belt of stones which neither shatter nor bounce but unite because the cold has caused ice and hydrocarbons to condense on solid particles. The planetary embryo is a cratered, icy, spinning asteroid bombarded by meteors from mountainous to minute.
Instruments detect dust on every wavelength. Surface gravity is almost nonexistent and the nebula hides the stars although light from the proto-sun faintly reddens the dust clouds and illuminates meteors. When the proto-sun, resembling not a fire but a firecoal, rises, it climbs visibly.
Whereas the Time Traveler visiting Earth near its death saw a swollen red sun, Flandry visiting a terrestroid planet before its birth sees a vague ember-like red proto-sun. The planet's future inhabitants will never suspect that someone called Dominic Flandry led men, four-armed Gorzuni, a quadrupedal Donarrian and a horned Scothanian (that last fighting with a wrecking bar) against green, tailed Merseians and avian-descended Aycharaych on their proto-planet. What might have happened on proto-Terra?