The first continent humanity colonized on San Lucas was not much larger than Earth’s Australia. New Brazil had the largest population of sabertooth-descended alpha predator cats of any of the major continents, but it also had the largest deposits of heavy metals and coal in the tall mountain range that dominated most of the continent’s central region. There was a thick forest belt around those mountains where the stupid cats lived, and massive fuel reserves resided under the shallow underwater shelves that spread out in every direction for dozens of kilometers off the coasts. It was as if someone designed a continent with all of the raw materials a civilization would need to thrive, and then added an aggressive, unreasoning, natural predator the size of a draft horse who would fight you fang and claw for every square meter of ground you wanted. Humanity wanted all of it.