Alice and her mother now live in a cyber community in Metropolis. Metropolis fills almost all of Reality.
Alice is thirteen, She has completed her tests. She reads philosophy. She has a girl friend.
Alice's mother is different these days. She's svelte. Her lusts are not obvious. She has no lasting resentments. And the Daily Discipline she scorned is now a cornerstone.
On earth as in heaven.
She knows about gently moving forward. She knows how to make instant decisions. She gives time to herself.
Alice is still a handful. She's choosy. She's fresh. She's unpredictable. And very, very smart.
The ball Alice called "icky" has a prime place at the Reality Research Center. Among more than a hundred such balls. each once an inhabited planet - Alice's is now the most revered.
The Research Center is a community like every other in Reality. Alice ascends its gentle ways. She passes entrances of homes and kiosks, schools and squares. After years of refusal, she has come here to see her ball.
A woman sits at a desk. Twenty feet beyond, Alice sees the ball resting on velvet, behind glass.
Her eyes identify her. "Hello Alice, welcome," says the woman.
Alice looks past her. "Why was this such a big deal?" she says.
"It's one of the oldest. It almost succeeded. They were starting to end wars."
Alice walked toward the glass. She wanted to touch the ball.
"What else?" she asked.
The woman stood and walked toward Alice.
"They were starting to accept death," she said. "Fighting less. They looked inside themselves. Cut themselves more slack. They were on their way to being where we're going."
Alice nodded. The ball seemed to emit a translucent ray that enveloped her hand and moved through her body. Something inside Alice spoke her name. She heard with crystal clarity.