Dweedles To Mission Control : No. 3

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Another instalment of the exchange of messages between a disaffected galactic explorer and an increasingly exasperated staff at home-planet mission control.

Submitted: June 10, 2017

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Submitted: June 10, 2017

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SECOND MESSAGE TO PLANET X

Being back to full transmitting strength, I must start by taking issue with your snide comments concerning my performance. You were aware of my verbosity before sending me into the void, so don’t carp now. I have found one more or less suitable planet and that’s better than none, right? Nobody knew the odds when I set out, so what frame of reference do you have for making judgements?

Regarding my value to the cause, I am forced to laugh when thinking of the two trainees you believe might fill my shoes. I am acquainted with both of them and well aware that neither could negotiate the diagonal of an average living room without following a paper trail. Get with it, folks. You need a galactonaut like me and we don’t grow on trees.

Notwithstanding your harsh words, I will continue to report, though with reduced enthusiasm. Even a superficial examination of the Earth clarified that what is significant to us is the land. Initially I gave brief consideration to the seas, as one naturally does when facing a body comprising over 70% water. There are aquatic creatures here with mental faculties somewhat akin to those of their closest counterparts on terra firma, but advanced as they may be in social interactions, few water-based organisms reach beyond their normal element. Some have large brains, but here it is noteworthy that the relationship between cerebral capacity and body size is important, This explains why human beings (for details see the appendices I sent earlier) have come to the fore.

The local star, the Sun, is an average one, about halfway through its likely lifetime, so it has roughly 5,000 million years still to go. However, the Earth will become uninhabitable for its current life forms, and for us, long before the star expires. I would say there are about 800 million tolerable years left.

Astronomers here have identified eight major planets and one dwarf one in their solar system. There is also a wide scattering of debris – probably a failed planet -between Mars and Jupiter, plus a few similar odds and ends elsewhere, and a number of satellites. The outer bodies would not be of any use to us, but in addition to the Earth, two other inner rocky ones, Venus and Mars, could be adapted to our needs, though I think that in both cases the effort would be too great. The Earth is the only reasonable candidate.

This planet is believed to be about 4,600 million years of age, and research suggests that complex life really got going only about 600 million years ago. The dominant species is, as indicated above, humankind. I shall have more to say about these creatures later. Among them are those who believe that the Earth – and they -appeared, ready made so to speak, on a particular day about 6,000 years ago, and that a creator was responsible for this. Make what you will of that. I do not intend to debate the question of a supreme being.

Unlike our androgynous species, humans have two genders – a common feature here – so procreation is normally a cooperative male/female effort. There is an overlap of sorts, with some people attracted to others of their own sex. I hear this applies to about 3% of the population, but I have not made any effort to confirm that.

Before I forget, let me address your implication that I may have been away from you too long. This led me to think that my absence might not yet have been long enough. A further ‘stretch of solitary’ – do you like the prison jargon? – sometimes seems more attractive to me than does the idea of rejoining you. I am tempted to disable my reverse gear, thus scuppering the prospect of a return trip. That’s a joke, folks. Or is it?

I have other goodies to offer, but owing to your failure to supply me with means befitting my task, I must close for a while. That will give you a chance to do a little more sniping before I can recharge my equipment. By the way, I note that our home star is warming faster than expected. Well, that’s another one for the eggheads, isn’t it? Why do we give them rewards beyond the dreams of avarice when they can’t predict stellar evolution? I repeat that I intend to keep up the work you so nastily describe as mediocre. Would anyone else care to be in my position? No, I thought not.

Yours as cordially as possible in the circumstances

Dweedles

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