They could have sat.
But they stood.
They stood and looked down at the miracle before them.
A set of states of energy they never expected to see.
They anticipated this event.
Cognitively, it was a work of scientific achievement.
A series of steps, each one logically leading to the other.
Small experiments, every one possibly branching off, creating new experiments, new instruments, new test procedures, discoveries no one anticipated.
Yet here it was, in Martian soil — their first creation together.
Bypassing the acorn stage, the long, arduous work of mericloning had led to the hybrid below them.
A tiny oak seedling, engineering for local Martian soil and atmospheric conditions, tuned to the particular fuel mixture the Sun provided.
Had they known all their other adventures would lead to this, would they have taken a quicker path to this moment?
Lee and Guin never questioned the past.
They moved forward, always seeing progress, knowing that an experiment which didn’t work out was one step closer to figuring out the steps to take to get what they sought, often discovering something more wonderful than they ever imagined.