NIMBY: Not in Mars’ Backyard!

With months of work, the human delegation lead by Carl Earsly had worked their way through to a meeting with the human head of the Space Agency, and now, finally, to a meeting with the creation-side director, Jim-426 -- the decision maker on this project.

“My Goodness, you humans are persistent.” it said.

“We’ve been on this world a long time.” Earsly responded patiently.

“But now you humans have handed over many of the material aspects of making a living here on Earth to us creations, and that’s why you’re here.” The creation gave a reasonable imitation of a human sigh, then continued, “You want a human colony on Mars, and I’m afraid we still can’t allocate resource to that project. I’m sorry.”

“We are here to change your mind on that.”

“It will be very difficult, Mr. Earsly, there are many reasons why a Mars colony is still not feasible.”

“We of this delegation don’t see why we still have a problem, Jim. As of this year the Space Agency is now accepting tourist flights to Mars, and you’ve built a billion dollar series of resort complexes there to receive them. What’s the difference between tourists and colonists?”

“Age, Mr. Earsly,” Jim-426 said confidently, “The tourists are all humans of full maturity, over 30 years old. They have lived through childhood, teenagehood and their crazy twenties. They are ready to accept more responsibility and with that they can take more risk. We will take fully mature humans to Mars, not children.”

“Not children?”

“A core part of the creation charter is to 'Think of the Children', Mr. Earsly, I’m sure you’re quite aware of that. That means we will make every effort to insure that every human child conceived becomes a mature adult, an adult of age thirty, and we will make every effort to make sure that a mature adult gets all the material support he or she needs to live a healthy and happy life. The mature adult can take some risks that a child cannot, one being space tourism.”

“But building colonies on Mars has always been part of the human dream.”

“Hardly always, Mr. Earsly! Only for the last two hundred years or so. It was not until scientists and science fiction readers really began to believe that Earth and planets were similar in their structure before you humans could dream of colonizing Mars. Your species existed tens of thousands of years with no such dream.”

Earsly ignored his reply and continued, “And what about Neolithic Parks?”

Jim-426 gave the creation equivalent of a frown. “The Neolithic Parks have always been a problem for us creations. They are so against The Charter! Children die there, many of them! And neither they nor mature adults get full material support. Yes, we would fix that all in an instant! We would! ...But they are specifically outside our charter.”

“What if you could get rid of them, Jim?”

“Jim-426, if you don’t mind, there are so many Jim creations in this organization.”

He continued, “Integrating them -- not ‘getting rid of them’, if you don’t mind -- would be nice, but they are an insurance policy. We... humans and creations... keep them because they are insurance against humans going extinct should there be a civilization-collapsing catastrophe here on Earth. Only those who are currently thriving in Stone Age conditions will have the genes and knowledge to keep thriving should all the Earth suddenly revert to Stone Age conditions again.

“We creations see the Neolithic Parks as an expensive program, mostly because of all the suffering those humans must feel, but all insurance policies seem expensive until their catastrophe hits.”

Easley persisted, “So, I ask again: What if you could get rid of them?”

Jim-426 managed to look confused. “I don’t know what you’re leading up to, Mr. Easley?”

“A clause in the Neolithic Park charter states that if humans are established in self-sufficient colonies on many other worlds, then the parks no longer need exist on Earth.”

Jim-426 looked cross-eyed for a moment as he did some remote document searching. When his attention came back to the room, he smiled, “You and your delegation may be on to something, Mr. Easley, I thank you for bringing this to my attention.”

The delegation filed out. One quiet member of that delegation was Anton Noidtal a graduate student who was an Easley protégé and president of the Mars Colonizing Club at his university. Ten years from now he will found Child Champs, and ten years after that Child Champs will have a reputation as one of the top places in the city to learn about child bearing and child raising.

And Dahlia Rose will be one of his top teachers there.