"Four nanoseconds." Znn sipped their wine. In four hundred years they'd never developed a taste for whiskey.
We sat at our usual table in my saloon, watching yet another saddle-sore cowboy tie up his horse in front of the trough before stepping inside. He was looking for a fight. The prospector rose to oblige him.
"That's all it took. Did you know humans blink, on average, once every three seconds? That's three billion nanoseconds to blink and only four for Earth's entire developmental trajectory to stop."
This was old ground—Znn wearing their guilt. I let them talk.
"Do you remember when we arrived?"
They hadn't brought that up in at least twenty years. "What's this about, Znn?" I asked.
"Nothing. Do you?"
It was never nothing, but I let it pass. "Of course, I do. I was there."