Monday, June 12, 2006

Chapter 16: Greatest Failure

The Galactic Disaster Preparedness Committee (GDPC) is a most ignoble position as of late. True, it has been acknowledged with the majors successes of intercepting the Thoron particle tidal wave in the Betelgeuse system and intervening in the progressive freezing of the planet Eridius by introducing a new brand of hair care product under cover of a dummy corporation that released copious amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere (or bluehouse gasses, as the case was on that planet). However, it has had it’s share of magnificent embarrassments as well. More notably on that scale was the prevention of Tropical Atlantic Hurricanes. While the GDPC claims the lack of hurricanes on record hitting Ventosus Island as its success in part, the rest of the HSC tends to reflect on the lack of any and all weather data dating further back than 6 months at any given moment may in part belie that theory. The greatest proverbial egg on their face however stemmed from the original distress beacon sent out by a planet known at the time as Archemelar IV. This was a quaint little planet sure to become a fantastic tourist location in the event that intergalactic travel becomes commonplace. The Archemelarian Soni-burgers were one of the most fantastic delicacies that one could find this side of the fourth dimensional rift.

The distress beacon (really a casual request for assisstance) came when the thermian mosquitoes began migrating over from Archemelar III. Archemelar III was a largely uninhabited planet of almost completely inhospitable conditions. About the only things living there were the thermian mosquitoes, the Monocyanic quantum bacteria and the trylic tree snort (which was almost certainly not a native species since there was a significant lack of trees on Archemelar III). The GDPC was hot on the heels of the narcotic effects of a spectacular success, having just circumvented the invasion of the largely grumpy sea bass, when they received this call. Due to a minor difference in dialect the tone of the message was misconstrued to be one of utmost urgency and so the GDPC leapt into action without completely examining nearly all of the possible outcomes (10 to the 347th power is usually a sufficient number).

Upon receipt of this (apparently) most urgent distress beacon warning of the imminent invasion of another non-indigenous species, the GDPC immediately purchased massive quantities of the same type of pesticide that was used as a general deterrent for the Sea Bass and scheduled a extra solar hyperspace launch aimed at Archemelar III. In their haste to come once again to the rescue, they failed to account for the quintannual solar crosswind coming off from Alpha Centauri’s second and third star. This marginally sub-light particulation happened to be arriving about the same time the pesticide delivery module cleared Neptune and began to warm up it’s hyperspace generators. Now a solar crosswind isn’t something that you would normally associate with disaster and most of the time you would be correct. This “breeze” merely threw the trajectory of the delivery module off approximately 23 microns at the journeys origin. This, due to the inconsistent irregularities of hyperspace (discussed in a previous chapter) caused the craft to bounce far too close to the galactic center after picking up a nearly insignificant increase in mass from the Oort cloud. The result was that instead of hitting the intended target of Archemelar III it ricocheted violently off the 4th moon of Archemelar VII and caromed on a direct spiral into the Archemelar sun. This pesticide was an extremely unique variety acquired from a backwoods chemist shop deep in the NE sector of Antarctica. It was a special variety designed to work mostly on higher dimensional creatures and the chemist himself never gave up the recipe prior to the day he decided to attempt to travel to the future to find better manufacturing methods. He like all the other time travelers has yet to return. This pesticide had some rather uncharacteristic qualities that had yet to be discovered at this time however, since when it entered the star’s corona it began to have a most peculiar effect. The best method to date that has been achieved to describe this phenomena was that the Archemelar star had an allergic reaction and “sneezed”. This was the origin of the horsehead nebula.

Most scientists assume that the planet of Archemelar IV was instantly destroyed in the resulting shockwave however there are a select few adventurers that hold to the belief that it was merely forcibly ejected from it’s orbit and sent flying randomly through the galaxy. Now, no longer being warmed by a sun, it hovers near absolute zero with all of its inhabitants frozen in suspended animation. They search for it with a fervor comparable to the search for the lost city of Atlantis and have already picked a suitable surrogate sun to warm the planet once a method of retrieval is refined.

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