The Curmudgeon


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Footprints on the Moon

A Moral Tale

Several millennia after the extinction of life on Earth, a ship gubbled down on the surface of the Moon. A landing had been attempted on the once-blue planet, but was aborted because of the danger from atmospheric pollution to the ship's delicate hull. The Moon, having no atmosphere to speak of, presented no such problem, and Captain Dzinn and his officers were able to make extensive explorations of the dusty surface. They quifed around for a long time, discovering much that pleased them, and considerably more that puzzled them.

Notable among the latter was a mark, apparently pressed into the dusty surface by artificial means. The mark was roughly oblong, but curved at the ends, with a pattern of striations criss-crossing it in a mysterious and sinister fashion. Second officer Gnukk was all for summoning the ship's janitor to sweep the blemish away, but the captain wished to hear from the science officer first.

The science officer quifed over and revolved, studying the mark, first through one optogoggle, then in stereo, and finally through all three at once. He noted the presence of other, similar marks, and of various apparently artificial bits of scrap metal scattered about the district. He took samples and ate them ruminatively, and then announced his conclusion.

"Someone, or something, has been here before us," he told the captain. "We have discovered impressions left by alien creatures as they travelled over the surface long ago."
"You mean," said the captain, slightly nauseated, "they travelled over the surface by touching it?"
"It seems so, Captain. These marks are the marks of pressure, repeated over and over again at irregular intervals. My theory is that this pressure is how the creatures propelled themselves along, utilising a crude system of small steps and giant leaps in order to seek out their sustenance."
"They didn't quife?"
"Not quife as we know it, Dzinn."

By now several others in the crew had noticed the peculiar marks, and some had even taken samples for themselves, although they knew little of the necessary technique and therefore suffered terribly from indigestion. Overruling the science officer's protests, the captain summoned the ship's janitor and ordered all the marks and alien artifacts cleared away, while second officer Gnukk looked on smugly. There are, the captain thought as he observed his belching crew, some things it is better not to know.

In Memoriam: Neil Armstrong


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