by Jake Christie

TRANSPLANTS.
a story.

“This isn't working,” said Katie.

They were standing in the rainforest section of the biosphere, surrounded by verdant green flora and neon-colored birds. Above them, through the clear material that kept every habitat in the biosphere full of oxygen and climate-controlled, black space was specked with white stars. Far off to one side, blocked slightly by a macaw, was Earth. Compared to the bright birds and lush plants in the dome its blues and greens looked quite pale.

“What do you mean?” said Don, then cursed himself. The words “this isn't working” were never good, and they were also pretty self-explanatory. He stopped himself from saying more and let the calls of the fauna fill the air instead.

“It isn't you,” said Katie. She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and placed one hand, carefully, on Don's shoulder.

“Yeah,” said Don. “Sure.” He couldn't look at Katie, not without losing his composure, so he gripped the sides of an informational display and focused his eyes downward. According to the display, these were the first and only Ara macao, or scarlet macaws, on the Moon. While it had taken the birds some time to adapt to their new habitat's perpetual starlight and weaker magnetic poles, they now seemed to find their home quite suitable. With any luck, the display continued, the next generations of baby macaws, baby spider monkeys, and baby three-toed sloths in the rainforest habitat would be entirely comfortable as Moon “natives.” Unlike these transplants from Earth, they would not spend days in a spaceship, or throw themselves against the invisible walls, or wonder when the sun would rise and set. Simply put, stated the display, the next generation would only be extremely uncomfortable if they ever had to go back to the real rainforest.

“Are you going to stay here?” said Katie. She removed her hand from his shoulder and stuck it in her pocket, fixed her hair again, then studied a sloth hanging a few feet away. “I'm sorry, I know you moved up for us, not for you. Of course you can stay with me as long as you need--”

“I don't know,” said Don. He looked at the Earth, far off in the distance. He realized that for all the space between himself and the planet, the only thing between him and the Earth was the clear barrier on the outside of the dome and some assorted Amazonian animals. A few birds and a few plants and a thin layer of whatever-it-was, and then nothing until the Atlantic Ocean. All of a sudden he was aware of just how little there was keeping him on the Moon.



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