Monday, October 02, 2006
One Day, In Deep Space...
"This new planet we've found is surprisingly Earth-like," said Zipp Stirgutt over his biosuit comlink. "Similar flora, fauna...the only major difference being the planet's upper crust and surface formations appear to be fashioned entirely out of a substance resembling the latertime Earth foodstuff known as "Fruit Loops".
"Copy that." Lieutenant Skip Lambsocks, second in command to the deep space re-con vessel Earhorn IV (and childhood friend of Captain Stirgutt) ran some preliminary tests on his port-a-pack and smiled with satisfaction. "Looks like we've hit pay-dirt, Captain. The carbohydrates and nutrients present in this low hillock alone could supply part of a balanced breakfast for starving millions back on Earth."
"You've got that right, partner." Captain Stirgutt thrust the flagpole he was carrying deep into the topsoil, where it made a loud crunching noise and set a-twirl a small cloud of multicolored dust.
"I hear-by claim this planet in the name of the United Fakiegrind Federations of Earth, long may we Blog!"
Both men took a moment to ratify the declaration by placing their right hand over their left shoulder and reciting the Oath of Oldness. It had been a long, difficult journey through the maddeningly vast reaches of deep outer space, but after inspecting countless lifeless husk planetoids and hostile gassy giants, their quest for a viable food supply for their overpopulated homeworld had finally bore fruit.
Neither Captain Stirgutt nor his lieutenant had tasted non-synthetic food since before the Great Hydrogenation, and their mouths were watering at the prospect of a bowl of colourful, fruit-flavoured Os bobbing like tiny rafts of flavour in a lake of de-condensed Zilfffomain monkey milk. It was all the men could do to keep themselves from ripping off the helmets of their protective biogear and attacking the nearest boulder with or without the state-of-the-art laser sampling spoons they kept in their away kits. But the two interstellar explorers were highly trained for just these situations, and kept their animal instincts in check, despite the hunger gnawing at their stomachs.
"Let's get some samples and head back to the ship."
The two worked swiftly, cutting portions from the coral-like rock and sealing them in airtight containers for the long trip back to Earth.
"One thing still bothers me," remarked Lambsocks to Stirgutt while the two of them worked.
"Those formations we saw on our descent, they sure looked like high-rise podform condominiums interspersed with recreational entertainment mega-plexes and tubular transportation conduits to me."
"Nonsense," stated Stirgutt, "our sensors picked up no sentient lifeforms...only chickens, ducks and vast continents of this Fruit Loop-like coral."
"All the same, those completely random and natural formations resembling entire alien cities with no signs of sentient life gave me the creeps a little bit."
"Me too, Skip. All the more reason to collect these samples and high-tail it back to Earth. If we can catch the Zebulon Solar Windflange we might make it back before the turn of the next millennium."
"I sure hope they kept my seat warm at opening of the Pan-continental Skateboard Harvest."
Both men had a good laugh at the conundrums of Quantum String Replacement Theory, which allows one to travel sideways through time while simultaneous folding space into a ten-dimensional approximation of a head of lettuce. They had joined the Deep Space Re-con Brigade in an attempt to flee the ruins of their respective failed marriages to off-Earth life-forms of dubious gender (through an outlandish coincidence, the "wives" of both men actually turned out to be spatially dislocated appendages of a single pan-dimensional spongiform gel that managed to imitate sentient-seeming behaviour through a complex series of ontological undulations. During the cold, interstellar nights, both Zipp and Skip had shared many a laugh over that little misadventure).
The two explorers had been dismayed to discover, half way through their thousand-year mission (while flipping through the voluminous Deep Space Explorer's Manual) that they were required to file income tax forms for each Earth-year of their absence. Two centuries back, Zipp had got a head start on his, while Skip continued to procrastinate, and now faced a hefty fine for late filing--unless they could make a Sheltonian Phase Shift in the Urb Nebula and reset the clocks of their vessel to a date before their departure.
At any rate, the two adventurers had become so engrossed in their work and their musings (after a thousand years they could practically read one another's thoughts), that they failed to notice a shimmering in the air as a vaguely humanoid figure started to materialize out of one of the near-by garishly coloured rock formations.
The explorers, it would seem, were not alone on this strange planet made of breakfast cereal......
TO BE CONTINUED (maybe)