It wasn’t long after I’d gotten up that the message came through—that annoying, steady, high-pitched beep in my head was probably one of the things I hate most about the network these days.

When I was younger, I’d learned that our great-grandparents didn’t have the network in their heads—it was something the Lunars and the Martians brought in from off-world. Back then, I still thought being connected to planets and planets full of aliens and strange sights was a great thing; these times I’d gladly give it up, but I have an obligation now.

The message was a reminder of that obligation. It wasn’t another little human from Earth wanting me interviewed for a school paper—it was an update from the diarists.

Usually it was just a reminder they were still working: “168 hours recorded, ready to process.”

Always “Ready to process.” They’d said I wouldn’t see much in the way of finished product from them during my lifetime—mostly it takes a finished life to tell the big picture, and recording me and my thoughts all the time takes a lot of time to work through anyway.

I turned out my lamp and rolled over on my back to watch what the alien diarists had put together. Off-worlders always just close their eyes to read the network, but the sky of Frontier is a dark enough background for me.

What they’d sent was basically a preface—for all the people who don’t know about Frontier, it was kind of a history or introduction to the world. But of course since it was for off-worlders, it started with the colonization of our world. I’d hoped there’d be more icebear history to survive—but I knew there wouldn’t be, not really. When I’d sat in the stifling hot classrooms in my youth, they’d not had anything before themselves. My mother’d taught me what she could, but she didn’t have anything past her own grandparents. Before that, I guess, we all lived solitary lives on the ocean.

Hah, the classrooms! I hadn’t thought about those in ages. The off-worlders all came, or at least originated, from Earth, a warmer and a brighter world. I don’t think any of them could actually survive on Frontier without all those superheated buildings of theirs, and the bulky clothing—I had to wear some of that, even in the heat—