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Earth, paradoxically the galaxy’s ultimate conqueror and democratic savior, is besieged with applications for naturalization from extraterrestrial refugees. An enormous asteroid is set up as a stepping stone: a faux Earth endlessly provisioned with terrestrial delicacies and perpetually powered by a subterranean atomic plant. Too expensive to maintain, the project is abandoned, and the human administrators and extraterrestrials left to rot on a world suddenly overrun by imported pestilences and cross-evolving monstrosities. So buckle up dat ol’ intellectual seatbelt: it’s all downhill from here.