solitary grounded dwelling, vacant but kept livable, showing a variant of the traditional welcome symbol on a flag; usually owned by a family but not as primary home. Thousands are scattered on mountain slopes, shores, islands, deserts all over Earth; many are old pre-Arf buildings, notable in their own right or hosting museums.  ■    One of the oldest stream traditions, guesthouses are an exemplary button on the back for the humanity sparsened on the “vast again” planet. Whole lives are being led in the wilderness; homeless wanderers rarely seek shelter as such — but a warmly lit guesthouse is a joy after days or years in the great outdoors: owners might descend to greet a guest (“dont let your steps resonate in emptiness, youve been alone for so long”) and maybe spend time together by the fireplace. Guesthouse encounters (“never saw him before or after”) are more than a narrative trope: often, family visitors are some of the lasting memories from childhood.

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