The Hatchling  



            The infant chick stirred within the egg. The first threads of consciousness moved within its mind. A dainty claw nudged the wall of the egg, making it rock slightly, and the novice mind was frightened. It was so comfortable inside the egg, so warm and secure. It would be so easy to just stay here, to remain inside the soothing softness.

            But a whole new world outside beckoned, and revealed that the egg was just a shell, and in a small corner of the baby's mind, it knew that. So it stretched its little legs again to strike the shell. The effort made it start to breathe, and that, in turn, awakened more of its mind. It became aware for the first time that it was not alone inside the egg. Tiny life, bacterial and viral, shared the oval enclosure with the chick. The microscopic forms were suffering from the actions of the baby. Their air was fouled by its sudden respiration. Their environment was destabilized by its motions. And the chick was threatening to break and destroy their home.

            "But I have to get out," its little mind cried. "I have to hatch and go out into the world."       

            The instinctive protests of its unthinking companions remained.

            The new chick, tired and confused, gave up its struggle, and remained within the egg to stagnate and eventually die.

            The embryo human race stayed in its Earth-egg, and the galaxy went on without it



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