S,E,T,I can’t get no satisfaction

With ‘Just Do It‘ as my current motto, I woke up at just gone 3am with a story punchline in my head. So I got up and Just Wrote It. Glad I did — if I’d gone back to sleep another story idea would have been lost to me.

Here ’tis, hope you like!

FADE IN ON

Dark. Silent. It feels cold, though of course, being space, it's
actually neither hot nor cold; it just is.

There are many lights, shining, a long way off in the distance. At
least, it feels like they're far away - it's hard to tell. Shh - here
comes the OMNISCIENT OBSERVER (O.o). He mustn't realise we're here, or
it will spoil the plot. Don't look at him directly: with luck, he won't
see us. His first words don't bode well.

		O.o
	I have a bad feeling about this.

The view pans slowly, and the far-off multicoloured lights, untwinkling,
drift serenely past. This will continue for a while, until we've come full
circle -- or nearly so; it's hard to tell exactly with no reference
points. We won't have time to get dizzy, anyway. Not that we could, as
there's no gravity out here to upset the semicircular canals that we
don't have. Well, I don't have them. I can't speak for you.

		O.o
	Is there anybody out there?
	It looks like there's nobody home.
	Maybe we should have a look around.

As OMNISCIENT OBSERVER stops speaking, the pan ends.

BRIEF PAUSE

ZOOM TO

A universe, expanding fast in the view. It looks like a marble. We
realise that this is just one of the many far off lights we've been
looking at. The marble gets bigger, and bigger, and bigger still, until
finally we can't get any closer or we'll hit it and then we do and--

CUT TO

Dark again. More lights in the distance. We've entered one of the many
universes, at random, and the lights we now see, though they look much
the same as the ones we saw earlier, are actually galaxies. It's all
very perplexing, even for the OMNISCIENT OBSERVER who doesn't really
know what just happened, but is forced to act as though he does. It's
his way.

		O.o
	Ah, we're past the event horizon
	and exploring this universe.
	Maybe there will be someone to
	talk to, here?

ZOOM TO

One of the far-off lights grows to reveal a double spiral of bright
dots, seen from the top, looking down. Or perhaps from the bottom,
looking up - it's impossible to tell. The object rotates in front of us
-- or perhaps we're orbiting around it -- and we can see that what at
first appeared to be a flat structure is in fact lens-shaped. In the
middle, there's a healthy bulge that it feels good to me to describe as
'pregnant', though I accept that this has connotations that may not sit
right with you. The edges taper gently off, in a pleasing way. It feels
peaceful, restful, somehow.

As the rotation ends, we're again looking at the galaxy from the top (or
bottom) and we begin to move towards the centre of one of the spiral
arms, at a point about two-thirds of the way out from the middle of the
bulge. The dots forming the structure don't get bigger -- they're still
too far away -- but there are clearly a great many of them. They sit
majestically, surrounded by a seething quilt of fine multicoloured silt.
And now, two odd things begin to happen at the same time:

-- one of the things is that more dots become visible, seeming to appear
from nothing (but what's really happening is that the light emanating
from them is too faint to be seen from farther away) --

-- the other thing is that the dots seem to be accelerating as we approach
them (or as they approach us) while in truth we're actually slowing
down. It's a question of scale that's far beyond anything we're used to.
A different level of reality, if you will.

It's all very odd. But only from a certain point of view.

The OMNISCIENT OBSERVER is about to speak. What he'll say isn't really
that important, but we humour him: he feels that he's been quiet long
enough and he needs to qualify his existence. Or something.

		O.o
	It's very quiet. Wait, what's
	that? No, it's just imagination.
	We can think of it as the sound
	of one hand, clapping.

And now one of the dots has clearly decided that it wants to be centre
stage. All the others slowly begin to drift away, disappearing one by
one out of our view, almost politely, perhaps a little sadly, as though
there's an admission of lost potential.

As the winner of this somewhat strange silent struggle draws nearer,
it's clear that it's a star.

		O.o
	What's this? A sun. But where
	are its children? Oh, we're still
	too far away. Perhaps when we
	get closer, we'll see...

And now it's apparent that the other dots are also stars, much the same
as this one, except for the fact that they're being relegated to
secondary status for the purpose of this visit. Not all of them have
moved out of view; there are still a great many forlornly hanging
around, unaware that they're providing a magnificent spangled backdrop
as we continue our approach.

The pinpoint star grows larger, and larger still, until it's close
enough to see it as a disc. It's bright, and white, and yet, not quite;
it has perhaps a hint of rose. The sentient beings -- we'll call them
'homo fatuus brutus' -- who live on one of the planets in orbit around
this glorious sensation think of 'their' sun as a 'yellow' star, for
reasons of their own that probably won't become clear.

The brightness swells and swells, and now it's becoming harder to see
the other stars; but they've served their purpose as part of the
attendant multitude. This time is not their time; perhaps next time it
will be different.

The OMNISCIENT OBSERVER is getting a little puzzled. He's expecting to
see a whole bunch of planets in orbit around this star, but what he
fails to appreciate is that planets, even the big gas giants, are but
tiny specks of dust in comparison to their vast parent. And as they have
no light of their own, they are much too faint to be visible at this
range. The OMNISCIENT OBSERVER almost speaks, but changes his mind. He
doesn't want to risk saying something that would show himself up. Not as
stupid as he looks, this one.

		O.o
	(rushed, a little breathless)
	-- And here we see a pale
	blue dot.

Ah, err, yes, he's right: we're fast approaching one of the planets in
this solar system. I was too busy talking, a bad habit I must correct
one day. It's not easy, you know, this job. I'd like to see you do
better.

		O.o
	 (confident)
	The dot becomes a point;
	the point becomes a disc;
	the disc grows, and grows,
	and grows and grows--

-- yes, we get the picture --

		O.o
	 (waxing lyrical)
	And now we can see that
	what did at first seem flat
	does turns, and it is clear
	that what we see's a sphere.

-- technically it's an oblate spheroid; though local topography deviates
from the ideal spheroid, on a global scale these deviations are so small
as to be inconsequential --

		O.o
	 (getting cocky now)
	The sphere is a planet.
	A world. And, perhaps,
	just perhaps, it's more:
	it's not bare rock,
	there's water here, and
	that could mean life.
	Our long search may be
	nearly over; we've found
	what could be, for some,
	a home.

CUT TO

A view of the planet showing mostly water, with some islands.

CUT TO

A view of the planet showing mostly land masses, with oceans between.

The planet be--

		O.o
	 (breathless)
	Yes! There's, pollution
	in, the, air, oh, joy!?:
	someone's here.

A muffled sound, like someone gagging -- or being gagged.

The planet below us fills our view now; a marble, similar to the one we
saw earlier but entirely different, too. This one presents layers of
bluey-grey and... grimy yellowish cloud above, partially obscuring a mix
of blue-green ocean, with... peculiar patches of red bloom? And land.
Land that's almost all being used in one way or another. The forests
that at one time, not so long ago, covered most of the land are almost
entirely gone -- Oh, I see. We've arrived at a very special point in
time, it's quite lucky for us, as it happens. Here, let me speed up time,
just a little--

There, that's done it. It's all over, now.

Just to fill you in: what happened there, specifically, was that one
group of the planet's inhabitants were playing with something they call
a 'HAARP'. The name sounds musical but, when it's played this HAARP sort
of, well, 'twangs' an important part of the atmosphere. They were doing
this just to see what happened. Bit silly, really. Especially since
another group of the inhabitants at a place called 'CERN' was doing more
experimental stuff with elementary particles. While the two groups,
separately, knew that they didn't know what they were doing, what they
failed to realise was that when you create a particularly rare thing (a
thing that these sheeple for their own reasons called a 'Higgs boson')
at the same time that you're playing a HAARP, the interaction of the
two creates a kind of a blip in space-time that is inimical to life.

They were, in short, doing what all sentient life eventually does:
playing god.

They're all dead now.

Naturally.

		O.o
	You heartless basta--

(muffled sounds, as of a struggle)

FADE OUT

If you’ve got this far — your critical feedback would be very welcome, good or bad. (I can take it. Honest.)

About pendantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
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