Thursday, April 17, 2014

4/17/14

From Frustration to Concern
By John Laneri


Today's local meeting represented another exercise in frustration. The government had gone beyond the point of ridiculous. In my opinion, we needed a viable space craft before debating who would leave the planet first and attempt to seek rescue.

When we initially left Earth, our objective had been to explore planetary systems that displayed unusual gravitational behavior. Our problem arose while we were studying the gravitational interactions within a group of planets that orbited each other as well as the star QHT6441.

What we failed to understand at the time was that multiple interacting gravitational forces could, for brief periods, become unstable. As a consequence, we were suddenly locked into an orbit around one of the smaller planets. Within minutes, our momentum decayed beyond the capacity of our thrusters, and we were suddenly pulled into a crash landing onto an unknown planetary surface.

With little hope of rescue, the six hundred remaining survivors, myself included, set about making the place home. Now, some twenty years later, most of us doubt that we will ever see Earth again, so we've named our new home, Planet Myrika.

It's a moon sized body with a temperate climate. While most natural resources are modest, we accept the place for what it is, even though we continually envision building a spacecraft that will take us home.

The problems we face, however, are enormous.

Our original spacecraft was destroyed beyond repair. Much of it still litters the landscape hundreds of kilometers away. We have no functional computers or sources of power. And worst of all, we have a governing body that completely lacks common sense. As a result, most of us have been socially reduced to peasant status. The unfortunates such as myself either tend ramshackle shops or maintain small farms and hunt chickens in an attempt to earn a living for our families.

Other than an overpopulation of large, aggressive, free ranging chickens, which incidentally represent our major source of food, our greatest threat comes from an all knowing, utterly ignorant group of functionaries known as government officials. Even though we have a democratic system, we've learned that sensible governments can quickly degrade into brainless political bodies unless held in check by the people.

And, that is exactly the reason why I left the local meeting in a state of frustration.

To clear my head, I took the long way home by walking toward a place called the crater region. I needed time to step back and relax and even reminisce about life on Earth.

Near the South rim of crater RW39, a remote area seldom visited, I noticed something odd. On looking closer, I suddenly realized that I had just spotted my first ever flying saucer.

It was partially hidden behind a rocky outcrop, so I edged cautiously toward it and paused behind a boulder to look it over.

In appearance, it was only about three meters in diameter, which seemed too small for humans unless it was alien or the government had devised that rumored technology capable of shrinking people to fit inside of small spacecraft.

On looking closer though, the thing looked elliptical rather than circular – a configuration that suggested the government had either miscalculated the dimensions or the saucer experts were wrong. Either way, the project would likely be considered politically incorrect.

I also failed to see a propulsion system, so I reached for my binoculars. After several minutes of searching, I was still unable to visualize any means of power – again, something probably not thought through by the government.

By then, I was stymied until I noticed something else – and I am not joking. The saucer was resting on two landing struts that were splayed at the bottom to look exactly like chicken feet.

Once I spotted the feet, I knew the saucer had to be a secret government project not only because chickens were so abundant but because the government was often prone to act without reason.

At that point though, nothing made sense, until I reconsidered the chicken feet and began to redirect my thoughts along the lines of government thinking.

Going back to my days in school, I remembered that chicken feet twitch back and forth when an electrical current is applied to the skin, so rapid movement of the feet could theoretically provide propulsion. I also knew that chickens continue to run in circles after the head is excised – a capability that allows them to function without power during adverse conditions.

A viable computer, however, would still be needed to control the chicken as well as its direction of movement.

Chuckling to myself, I remembered an earlier government attempt to use chicken heads to replace the processors of our lifeless computers. The project failed, but technologies do evolve.

On the other hand, if the government was actually able to use a chicken head for a computer, then it might be capable of designing a rescue vehicle around a chicken – a highly unlikely possibility, none-the-less, a possibility.

A short while later, as I was reviewing my thoughts and having a good laugh, concern began to replace my earlier frustration.

By then, I was beginning to wonder if the government actually did think it could use a chicken to power a flying saucer through the reaches of outer space. If that was true, then we only had a few short years before the chickens were intellectually capable of running the government.


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