The Birth of Kareena

J.L. Weinmeister

After you’ve eaten a hardy supper of game meat, vegetables, and freshly baked bread provided by the doctor and botanist, you sit in the darkness, watching the stars come out. You marvel at how many of them there are, for the skies are not this clear on Earth, and the trees obscured the heavens on previous nights here. Nearby is the crackling fire where I sit and finish my own meal. When I have swallowed my last bite, I call to you.

Gather around, everyone. Tonight I have the story you’ve been waiting for. The story about Kareena’s past. Tonight I will explain why durmiads and humans are so similar. Their stories crossed one another a long time ago. Ready? Then be quiet and listen.

* * * * *

Six billion years ago, after the explosion created the universe, a star formed. Over the course of millions of years, space debris collected into planets that orbited this star. The twelfth and last planet was relatively small and solid, and its surface was covered in ice.

The planet stayed where it was, orbiting its star for millions of years. Then a star came too close to its solar system, slowly passing through and interfering with the original star’s gravitational pull. The ice planet was tugged farther and farther away from its star by the newcomer until one day it left the influence of the star’s gravitational force and was shot out into space.

For millions of years it travelled the universe in isolation, sometimes encountering other astronomical bodies. Some of them it collided with and destroyed. Others it came near, but never touched. It saw the birth of a new star in the outer reaches of the galaxy. The star’s gravity pulled it in, and the ice planet had a new orbit. It was no longer in isolation.

There were other planets that orbited this star, but the ice planet was in the best location. It wasn’t too close, and it wasn’t too far away. The warmth of the star melted the ice, and the planet’s surface became covered in water.

The ice wasn’t the only thing that melted. The planet’s core was once frozen rock, but now the rock thawed into magma that flowed beneath the thin surface of the planet. The magma frequently broke through the crust, spilling out and cooling once again into solid rock. Over time, the islands of rock grew and overlapped, forming continents.

Within the warm ocean water, something amazing took place: Life. It started out small—tiny, unicellular bacteria. It stayed the same for many years, but eventually, it began to grow. Unicellular organisms became multicellular, becoming more and more complex as time went on.

Plants and fish took up residence in the water environment until one day, a creature moved to land. Terrestrial creatures quickly diversified, adapting to the planet’s various climates and environments.

Then a strange thing happened. On a different planet, on a continent now called Africa, a primate species accidentally found its way into a now-extinct portal connecting the two planets. Part of the species remained in Africa where it eventually evolved in Homo sapiens. The individuals who were sucked into the portal were spit out in the ocean near the continent of Shika. Some drowned before reaching land, but the survivors found an even greater challenge ahead of them. They had to adapt to the temperate forest environment of their new home.

They were successful, and they evolved into new species. Some members of one of these species spread east toward the ocean. It became a hybrid species, living on land, but spending much of its time in the water where it subsisted on fish and other marine creatures. Eventually, it became a marine species called bima, making a transition that many other mammals had already made.

The other members of the species stayed on land, continuing to thrive in the temperate forests of its ancestors. Then, two-and-a-half million years ago, it became the species it still is today: durmiads.

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