Extrasolar Symbiotic Co-Sentience,
Trouble(d) Settlement(s)


My mother and I arrived on this exoplanet via accidental time travel, from 1960 Buenos Aires under the control of an alien species (a story for another time). TOI 700 d, 101.4 lightyears away from Earth, in the year 2060. That is where we are currently located in space and time. Coincidentally, a group of 60 humans landed on this exoplanet shortly after my mother and I. This is the context in which this story takes place.

As people became aware of the impacts of neoliberal modes of operating within the post-capitalist society of 2021, scientists and other experts planned a new (learning from the old) kind of society for settlement away from Earth, incorporating the use of Earth plants. This was in response to the immense loneliness and search for meaning of life that humankind had been experiencing. The importance of plants as spatial markers, vessels for nostalgia, and elements that, when tended to, help provide purpose for humans, were all contributing factors to their inclusion within the settlement.

The planners wanted to ensure balance between individual and collective identity, room for both collectivity and solitude. The settlement was to be made up of the disassembled components of the spaceship in which they traveled, equipped with all necessary equipment for space travel and living. Programmatic elements were planned to cater to both the plants and people equally. There was symbiosis between the plants and the people: people needed the oxygen production and food from the plants, and the plants needed people to tend to them in this exoplanetary environment.

However, human nature eventually overcame, and the plants revolted to ensure their own survival. With their new-found abilities from exposure to the exoplanetary atmosphere, they broke through the built elements, creating new architectures and a new kind of co-habitation…