The Immortality Option
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Turle was an aqueous world with an oxygen-laced atmosphere, a bit smaller than Earth but also a bit denser. It orbited farther away from its parent star, Kov, than Earth did from the sun, but Kov was a bit bigger and a bit hotter. The net result was that Turle ended up somewhat warmer: rain at the poles turned to snow during winter, but the polar regions never froze solid. A hefty proportion of Turle's surface was ocean—in fact, about eighty-five percent of it.

The land was distributed among three major continents—Elutia in the northern hemisphere, Magelia in the southern, and Xerse, straddling the equator to the east of them—and lots of islands of all sizes and shapes. A cluster of about a dozen islands off Elutia, plus a banana-shaped slice of the neighboring mainland, currently formed the political collaboration known as Hoditia. The relative permanence normally thought of in connection with "nation" was not a characteristic of Borijan institutions. On the southern coast of one of Hoditia's inner islands was a city called Pygal, which had been "Pygal" since long before "Hoditia" came into being, and would in all probability still be so, long after Hoditia fell apart again. Fabrications of metals, silicates, and carbonates tended to last longer than constructions based on Borijan promises and good intentions.

On the outskirts of Pygal, overlooking a bay fringed by low hills encrusted with architecture and spanned by slender-legged bridges, stood, the Replimaticon Building. It was an immense, glittering silver and glass candelabra sprouting from a massive central trunk that radiated into five rainbow-hued towers. The towers in turn flared outward and upward to support varying numbers of ornate smaller pinnacles. As the sapient species descended from mammals on Earth housed itself in artificial caves, so the avian-descended sapients of Turle built themselves artificial trees.

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