Millennia ago Starquin visited the Solar System. Because he is huge - some say bigger than the Solar System itself - he could not set foot on Earth personally. yet events here were beginning to interest him, and he wanted to observe more closely.
So he sent down extensions of himself, creatures fashioned after Earth's dominant life-form. In one of Earth's languages they became known as Dedos, or Fingers of Starquin. Disguised, they mingled with Mankind.
We know this now, here at the end of Earth's time. The information is all held in Earth's great computer, the Rainbow. The Rainbow will endure as long as Earth exists, watching, listening, recording and thinking. I am an extension of the Rainbow, just as the Dedos are extensions of Starquin. My name is Alan-Blue-Cloud.
It is possible you cannot see me but are aware of me only as a voice speaking to you from a desolate hillside, telling you tales from the Song of Earth. I can see you, the motley remains of the human race, however. You sit there with our clubs and you chew your roots, entranced and half-disbelieving as I sing the Song - and in our faces are signs of the work of your great geneticist, Mordecai N. Whirst. Catlike eyes here, broad muzzles there, all the genes of Earth's life, expertly blended, each having its purpose. Strong people, adapted people, people who survived.
The story I will tell is about people who were not so strong. It is perhaps the most famous in the whole Song of Earth, and it tells of three simple human beings involved in a quest who unwittingly became involved in much greater events concerning the almighty Starquin himself. It is a story of heroism and love, and it ends in triumph - and it will remind the humans among you of the greatness that was once yours.
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