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Summary

One Small Step out of the Garden of Eden began as part of a simple space exploration story that the author had written in the late 1970s. Growing up, he came to understand that humanity would always be plagued by the same problems and struggles, no matter how far it moved from its humble beginnings. 



A Conservative Culture

 “…when space travel by individuals and private organizations became possible, the achievers eventually left Earth, hoping to make a life not constrained by these economic policies. Yet they also found life off world very difficult. The need to survive forced them to become even more resilient, even causing them to return to conservative social values. As a result, those developing nations thrived and prospered—thus, Terrae Solaris.”
     The professor replied, “And all these factors dynamically changed the solar system forever.” He paused, extending his hands out reflectively. “So here we are, the descendents of those slackers who never left or feared venturing beyond the Moon. We’ve readopted those conservative morals, making them part of our culture for over two centuries. So how did that happen?”
     “It was forced upon us,” a female cadet near the front replied.
     “How so?”
     “While conducting business with the developing Inner Rim—Mars and Mercury—we found ourselves unable to compete economically, despite having fewer basic survival problems than non-Terran settlements. The gap between our standard of living and the non-Terrans’ increased. We saw ourselves beginning to die out. So by complete necessity, we readopted those values.”
     “Right!” Rhydderch exclaimed, looking around the class. “And that is significant. Purely voluntarily, we turned back the clock. Not just in our governments, but in our families as well: divorce rates plummeted; sexual promiscuity became frowned upon rather than celebrated; out-of-wedlock childbirth became almost unheard of; social decorum became the norm. Once we saw the benefits and realized that personal conduct was the key to success, we continued to reinforce those values in the public forum.”



History of Terrae Solaris

     “It’s like we’re living in the old world again,” another female cadet said. “Maybe worse….”—the professor prompted her to continue—“With millions of kilometers between the planets and moons, the amount of effort and time required to traverse the distance has caused a schism. All of these places have their own cultures. We find ourselves very different from those other cultures, and we don’t trust them. They don’t trust us either. The Ceres Skirmishes was the best example of that.”
     Rhydderch’s face lit up. “Correct. Even after thirty years, the Pallas Treaty has yet to resolve the many problems on those small Jupiter moons.”



The Weightless

“…But at that time, deciding how to proceed with developing the solar system was an emotionally-charged issue. Putting gravitational fields into settlements like Mid-Earth Station immediately displaced Weightless neighborhoods. Tensions between the Weightless and normal humans skyrocketed. Despite the warnings about how divisive his invention would be, Jonathan Gillen went ahead with his experiments anyway. In the end, those warnings were right.”
—anonymous source

“There were a lot of families impacted. Let’s face it: Preferences over genetic make-up were a heated debate at many family dinner tables at that time. Some Weightless wanted to return to an unaltered state while others wanted to remain as they were. Even many unaltered families living in space argued over becoming Weightless—before everything worked out as it did. So we’ve all been affected by this (issue).
—Professor James Rhydderch, anonymous source

“…Jonathan Gillen couldn’t leave well enough alone. As he constructed his first gravitational field generator, my grandfather warned him of the dangers that his experiments would pose. But Jonathan Gillen wouldn’t listen…. He thought weightlessness was a curse! Before he submitted to genetic reengineering, Jonathan Gillen was a Weightless. He betrayed his own people for his own selfish vision,”
—Mos Thieren, leader and advocate of the Weightless people.



Earth States

     “I doubt the (Terrans) will get involved,” Carus replied, looking at the massive, red planet hanging low in the sky and filling most of it. “Earth is so far away. They think these tiny Jupiter moons are too far removed to be a threat.” He paused for effect. “By the time those isolationists finally decide to get involved, we’ll have control of the rest of Solaris. Their own apathy will be their downfall.”
     “I’m not so certain,” Galerius shook his head. “Their fleet bases along the asteroid belt give them a reason to be concerned. Ceres, in particular, is a most formidable stronghold, loaded with Terran warships. As long as they have ships so close to the Outer Rim, they will care—and they’ll be a threat. No, we need to drive them back to their territory, decimating their forces in the process. Once we gain control of the Outer Rim, we can work our way toward Earth. We’ll be unstoppable.”

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