great ball of fire (part 5 of 5)
(originally posted 12/9/2017)
I think the biggest misconception earthlings have about intelligent life out in the universe is that they automatically assume it to be much more intelligent than we are. A safe assumption if that life form pulls up to our planet in some device that they created to zip around the cosmos but for the rest of the almost infinite list of sentient beings inhabiting the almost infinite number of habitable planets it’s really just a crap shoot.
That includes sentient comets.
There’s really no way to measure gullibility between species but as the people of Earth breathed a collective sigh of relief as the comet made a small adjustment to its course and cometed right past them there was one sentient comet who was about to learn the meaning of caveat emptor.
There’s really no way to know what the comet felt as it hurled by, at any minute expecting the computations on the chalkboard in Nap’s image to bear fruit and corral said comet into an endless orbit around our blue ball, only to see our planet disappear in the rear view mirror as it continued its journey through our solar system. Did it even have the ability to see that there was no chalkboard? Or even a giant plain where every member of the human race stood waving and thanking it for not extinguishing their collective lives?
The names of agents Nap Lapkin and Madonna Axion were not included in the story of the heroic mission to save Earth, referred to only as Agent 1 and Agent 2, but a few years later Jeff Goldblum would break box office records with his pseudo-autobiographical movie Chance Goodrod To The Rescue. The source of the semen that floated intermittently through a lot of the scenes was left to the imagination.
It would be days after their safe return that Nap would be told that the comet had made one more small course correction that sent it flying right into the sun. His debriefing took a full week, both the military and the scientific community eager to hear all about our first contact with another form of intelligent life.
They didn’t get much.
“I did what I was sent to do.”
A more intimate account was requested by Madonna as they strolled along a quiet beach a few weeks later. The stars glistened in the sky and every creature within earshot seemed to be on their best behavior, singing, chirping and croaking a chorus of thanks. Finally she stopped him and put a hand on each side of his face.
“Are you ok Nap?”
“We did what needed doing.”
He stepped back and her hands fell to her side.
“Edward Halley couldn’t have done it. Neither could Bill. You were the right mix. Maybe the only man who could have done what needed doing” she whispered. “You saved everyone.”
“Almost everyone” was his only reply.
There was no semen to float by and distract you from him walking poignantly away into the night. Sorry, but you’re going to have to feel what you’re feeling. When he reached his blue ’78 Le Mans he pulled open the door and flopped into the seat. Down went the windows and he opened the sun roof. The V8 engine roared to life and he put it into drive.
Looking up through the sun roof he channeled his inner Dave Alvin;
This cop walked into a pancake house in Texas
And ordered up a couple of cups to go
And he tells the waitress, “Hey, I just found the body
Of some guy who was famous long ago”
It was Jeff Goldblum, a.k.a. Chance Goodrod, that identified the tardigrades in Nap’s vision when communicating with the comet. Nap had related all he had felt and seen to the best of his ability to Chance and Madonna on the long flight back to Earth.
It was a happy return, the crew had been told that the comet had altered its course and wouldn’t be ending life as they knew it. Always a bit of a pick me up. Of course, Nap also knew that what he’d shown the comet was a lie so he had begun to wrestle with that. This was before he knew where those lies would lead the comet.
How it occurred to Jeff Goldblum is actually quite funny. And gross. Mostly gross when you think about it, but it did end up validating Nap’s decision to bring him along. You see, in a scene so similar to the one in Independence Day that it was creepy he was able to connect the dots because of some crazy seemingly-unrelated yet completely related incident.
You remember in Independence Day where he was drunk and unable to figure out a way to stop the aliens? Crashing around his dad made an offhanded remark about him catching a cold. Then you see the wheels turning in his head. “That’s it. A virus!” His father, of course, has no idea what he’s talking about but David Levinson (his character in the movie) ends up figuring out a way to create a virus that ends up saving the day. Completely implausible and insulting to the viewer’s intelligence but I had Nap Lapkin able to fly a space shuttle at the drop of a hat so I can’t really throw stones.
The point being, Jeff Goodrod, (he was much more Goodrod than Goldblum at this juncture) accidentally took a load of Nap’s floating semen right in his eye soon after their chat.
“Aaaaaaigh! It burns!” he began.
“I got cum in my eye!” he continued. For at least a few minutes.
And then magically “His seed … in my eye. My orb…. a blue orb”
Nap saw and got all excited. “It’s happening. It’s happening!” he shrieked like a ten year old opening a gift at Xmas. He shook Madonna and made her watch, pointing wildly.
I’ll mention here that this scene was actually reproduced and used in the trailer of the film Chance Goodrod To The Rescue.
Goodrod’s voice trailed off a bit.
“Cum is semen … semen … sperm. Panspermia is the deliberate introduction of microorganisms onto lifeless but habitable planets.”
“I knew there was a reason I wanted him to come” crowed Lapkin.
“You need to get out more Nap” said Madonna.
“Don’t you see?” asked Goodrod. “Earth was seeded by another civilization!”
It’s at this point I will forgive you if you are asking how in the world is this an epilogue? I admit to having wandered a bit in the storyline and I’m sure there are some of you who doubt if I even know what an epilogue is.
I do. I Googled it.
And I swear that it’s just a happy coincidence that I mentioned earlier the possibility of Nap’s splooge getting in Jeff Goldblum’s eye and you were waiting the entire story for it and it never happened and it was going to leave you with the same feeling you’d get if you went to see a band and they didn’t play your favorite song. Now I can only hope that as the metaphorical encore that splooge is one of your favorite euphemisms for semen. Feel free to insert cock snot, trouser gravy or wiener sauce if you so desire.
The reason this is the epilogue is that a few weeks later, as Nap thought back on this conversation, he had his own David Levinson moment.
He knew that our civilization already has the technology to engage in panspermia. Young planetary systems like Alpha PsA and Beta Pictoris are both well within our reach if we had such aspirations.
So why don’t we?
Simply put, for the overwhelming number of species in existence, life involves more suffering than pleasure. Spreading life is simply spreading pain.
It is morally wrong.
Nap spent a few sleepless nights reading Yew-Kwang Ng’s Toward Welfare Biology: Evolutionary Economics of Animal Consciousness and Suffering and Brian Tomasik’s The Importance of Wild-Animal Suffering.
What took David Levinson/Jeff Goldblum/Chance Goodrod a few minutes took him days … but things finally started clicking.
He thought about animals on Earth. The brutal ways they live and die.
He thought about Comet the comet.
He thought about himself and the people he knew.
He realized he didn’t need to save Comet.
He didn’t even need to save everyone.