"I never watched Star Trek." -William Shatner
Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies,
No letter, part three of the short story I started a few weeks back, Gentlereaders, for your convenience, part one can be found here. Part two can be found here.
End of part two...
Grandma said, "Also, considering that you're hip deep in atomic weapons, and many of you are engaged in the same sort of high-functioning chimpanzee pathologies that led to your first world war -- that really wasn't all that long ago, dear, and kicked off a century of gleeful bloodletting -- things might get really interesting."
"Oh" replied the abductee.
"So, are you telling me that this is it? that we're about to destroy ourselves? that we're..."
"On the eve of destruction?" replies grandma, with a grin.
"Sorry, dear, obscure cultural reference, I believe I mentioned that I'm an Ameriphile."
"Right... anyway, is this..."
"I've no idea, dear. What information we've accumulated so far from other worlds, and Tralfamadore's own history, would seem to indicate that all sorts of outcomes are possible."
"Then you don't know what's likely to happen?"
"No, dear. Perhaps a bit of context will help. Remember when I said that my world is roughly a thousand years or so beyond yours? You've no way of knowing exactly what that means, what has or hasn't taken place in the course of a thousand years on a planet that's much different than yours, and I can't tell you.
Also, there's another important factor you're not considering. The..."
"So there's a Prime Directive?"
"Sorry, Prime Directive? what is..."
"It's from Star Trek, the Prime Directive says you can't interfere with the development of an alien civilization."
"Touche, dear, you got me, and with a much less obscure reference. Yes, in fact, I am constrained by a sort of... Prime Directive. However, it's just the professional ethics of my profession, nothing so grandiose as a Prime Directive."
"Well isn't there some sort Star Trekish 'Federation of Planets' that provides guidelines for member planets? I would think that..."
"No, dear. As I started to say a minute ago, there's another important fact that you're not considering. While my people are a bit ahead of yours, nothing like the warp drive of Star Trek that makes it possible to travel around an unimaginably large universe as if you were taking a European vacation exists."
"Well, that sucks... how do you get around then?"
"I'm not permitted to say, dear, but think about this. While warp drive, if it exists, would make it possible to travel at multiples of the speed of light. We can't travel anywhere near the speed of light. If we, or your people for that matter could, it would take about 2.5 million years to travel to the galaxy next door.
Although unimaginably large, space is mostly... empty space. The imaginative reach of Earthlings, particularly Americans, tends to greatly exceed their grasp."
"Now then, I wonder if I might begin asking my questions? I'm supposed to be interviewing you after all" says grandma, with a warm smile.
"Oh, OK, sure, I'm sorry. Go right ahead."
"Thank you, dear OK, first of all..."
"I'm sorry, you've been so nice, could I possibly ask just one more question? It's quite important to me and I promise It'll be the last one."
Grandma heaves a heavy sigh and looks her subject. A barely perceptible flash of impatience face manifests on her face but her seemingly imperturbable smile returns so quickly her subject fails to notice.
"Certainly, dear, but just one more, OK?"
"I'm sorry... but in retrospect, it's probably the first question I should have asked. Given that no shortage of my, um, fellow Earthlings, claim to have been abducted and subjected to rather unpleasant, um, interviews... In fact, I don't believe I've ever heard anyone claim to have had an experience anything like the one I seem to be having. I mean... what's up with that?"
"Well, dear, I..."
"And animal mutilations... oh, and those crop circle things? And just how far away from Earth is Tralfamadore? Sorry. I guess that's more than just one more question."
Grandma's smile vanishes. She stares at her subject in silence.
[To be continued, but next week is the final installment. Poppa loves you.]
Have an OK day.
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©2018 Mark Mehlmauer