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Ever since the 1982 Summit the elohim had been terraforming three worlds using the imbalances of each. Earth had too much water. Venus was too hot, had no water and too much air. Mars was too cold and didn't have enough air. So seawater was transferred to the north pole of Venus, where it turned into steam but also cooled the planet a bit. Moist air was transferred from the south pole of Venus to Valles Marineris on Mars where it warmed the planet and delivered a great deal of air, to the point where it was no longer a red planet but a white one. It was sufficiently warm, in fact, that plants were beginning to grow there and convert the CO2 to oxygen so humans would be able to breathe in the open one day.

In the meantime, while the temperature was comfortable enough to go with only a light jacket, visitors and residents needed to wear a headpiece that converted CO2 to oxygen through electro-chemical means, limited only by the battery charge. But it was much more convenient than going about in a pressure suit. The crew of Exiler and their dependents spent nearly a week touring the planet, and it seemed to Adnarel that har time aboard the frigate had been much more fun than one would expect from a combat tour.

Meanwhile in a facility at Valles Marineris near the fold-gate that brought hot air from Venus the body of Hope was stretched a final time to a full configuration as a woman. The only thing that remained to do was to place the Golden Gift inside the Ark of the Covenant for a short time. Binah was going to download through El Shaddai using the fold-line they had always shared as mother and daughter. Robyn didn't know exactly how it was supposed to work, but she thought of it as having the Golden Gift catch fire.

Finally Robyn installed the Golden Gift back in Hope's chest and smoothed the expensive self-healing skin back over it. There was power again, and Hope's brain began to reboot. The result was a composite being that had the character of three persons in varying degrees of intensity: Binah 50%, Lilith 20% and Hope 10%. And this would be as diluted as Binah would ever become. That was, after all, the most salient point of Project Hope.

Welcome back, honey, Robyn said. Girl, you missed a lot.

I missed nothing, Hope said. I saw it all in the Swarm. Everything has gone astonishingly well since Mercury, don't you think?

Jill says Del says Abaddon just made a very credible suicide attempt.

Yes, I know about that, I just told Jill to go ahead and wake up Yefefiah, but not to say anything to her just yet, we still need leverage.

Well, okay, so what do I call you now? Lil? Hope? Binah?

We're all mixed up in here. I remember everything from all of their lives. But lets lay Binah and Lilith to rest, and just go with Hope.

The five senior crewmembers of Exiler entered then, quite rested from their week touring Mars, and they were already well rested after a week touring Taurus City. I see Robyn has already achieved the culmination of Project Hope, Lahatiel said. On behalf of my crew and our families I greet the Holy One called Binah and offer our loyalty and service.

'Call me Hope, Ophan Lahatiel. You and your crew have already done so much, and for that I am deeply grateful. But the most difficult part lies just ahead. I intend to return to Mercury where my previous human incarnation was killed. You should carefully consider leaving the rest of your dependents here on Mars. If we fail, this planet will offer the best chance for their survival, for Earth will soon grow far too hot for any life.

Robyn spoke of this before you were restored, Lahatiel said. We have already made our choice to see this all the way through, together.

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Strangers In Paradise