It was what she always said, late at night, when the environment-makers moaned and the distant cliffs ran with magma. We were the first generation, doomed to live before the history of this planet began.
I am sorry you have to live in the time of terraforming, and not in the spring that follows.
She would say it, and then check the monitors, each framing a dim signal from an air drone that monitored the machines' progress. They looked like crustaceans from our farms, only vaster and more intelligent. Near the poles, they roamed the barren hillsides, mining the frozen water deposits; at the equator, they planted swamps and forests and estuaries.
Eventually, she said, the cities we'd carved into cliffs and caves would become inexplicable ruins to the generations who followed us. Their air would be warm, and the wind would hit their skin unfiltered. She showed us pictures of the world as it would look in a millenium, golden with sun, ships roaming the harbors we'd build. Filter blimps drifted lazily in the thickened atmosphere.
What she didn't understand was that we found the darkness beautiful. The machines who towered over our atmosphere-filled caves were the most magnificent wildlife we had ever known. We did not want to live in a world where the magma had been stoppered, and the hills glimmered only with water. When the environment-makers were dead, this would not be our planet anymore.
The gallery that inspired my flash fiction today is full of artwork by Kentaro Kamamato. If you want to see more incredible, inspiring art, check out Kamamato's website.