Space Travel for Desserts
By Fredrick kang'ethe Iraki (Kenya)
Click here to send comments
Click here if you'd like to exchange critiques
I was one day staring at a few marks on the surface and some tattered flags. I love archaeology, so I looked intently at the two marks on the surface of planet Mars. There was no doubt that they were foot marks! Whatever creature had made those marks must have planted the tattered flags. I quickly made a replica of the footsteps and the flags. My eyes made copies and stored images for me and other researchers.
Fut1, as we called her, was ecstatic when I presented my findings to her laboratory. She had been struggling for a few light years to convince us that our ancestors came from a distant and now barren planet far way in the galaxy. I listened to her in total amazement.
The story has it that we came from a distant civilisation where climatic changes drastically affected our food chain. Our sources of food went extinct due to inhospitable climes. That is why our ancestors devised ways of departing from that planet. But millions of years later, our scientists had lost track of the planet. Did it still exist? If so, could it still support us? What kind of atmosphere did it have? And has the food returned? The staple diet of our ancestors was called something like watu.
Fut1 and her team had been seeing flashes of radio waves coming from what was now believed to be the planet of our ancestors. Some unconfirmed rumours also had it that some primitive flying space shuttles had been sighted heading for Mars. But rumours are just rumours, confirmed or unconfirmed.
What I brought to Fut1 was a key to a puzzle. Those two footprints had been made by the watu in our ancestral planet. It was believed that this watu diet could make us healthier and more cunning. They walk on two feet and have soft bones, actually cartilage to our teeth. A mission to this distant planet was necessary.
But we had to have our own supply of breathing substance and special suits to avoid cosmic radiation and loss of energy. For economy purposes, we decided the mission should also have a cabin to contain enough samples for FUT1 and her team. The problem was that the planet might have seismic upheavals that could complicate our return. How do we avoid being trapped by the gravity of that planet? We had to avoid ending up in a black hole where matter is trapped in. I figured we could beat the gravity issue by converting any light on that planet into energy to eject us into our galaxy. Fut1 agreed to the idea.
Simulations were of necessity. Various scenarios were tested and retested. Now, we were ready to leave. But as luck may have it, some sightings were reported round Mars again and we decided to have a better look at them.
Sure enough, there was a small empty shuttle moving on the surface of the planet Mars. We could not believe our luck. Quickly Fut1 scaled down three of our best scientists including myself and placed us in the small shuttle. It had a small screen sending and receiving messages from our destination, our ancestral home. After it finished what appeared to be its assignment it lifted and headed away. I copied its trajectory to Fut1, remaining as non-invasive as I could. This was the key to our ancestry, rather to our original food.
I was tempted to accelerate the speed of the shuttle but I realized it was just a robot. I managed to trace the signal it was receiving and to my surprise it dawned on me that the planet was headed for planet Mjinga! I could be damned! All the time, our research team had been reluctant to check on this blue planet. And now it had turned out that what we had ignored for so long was actually our original home. I had a feeling of homecoming and noticed the other scientists were also eager to see our old home.
Finally, we were orbiting Planet Mjinga and before long we plunged into water, light water not heavy. I signalled to my colleagues to adjust their weights and the shuttle floated on the surface. What we heard was deafening. Shouts and thunderous applauses as the shuttle buoyed up and down on the placid waters. Suddenly, I had a beep in my left eye. The flag on one of the buildings had been identified by my eyefiles as the same as the one on Mars. Now, I had no doubts. We were home.
We moved out invisibly and watched. We had never seen such pleasant and deliciously looking food. It was in different colours, colours of diffracted sunlight. Most of them were quite fat, a really good size, while others were smaller. Fut2 remarked that some had dark skins and walked with a swagger. One of the foods, a smaller man, was surrounded by many other small bipeds. I thought this might be their leader. I moved next to him and felt like swallowing him whole. He smelt so nice.
Fut2 swallowed one food whole but my hard look made him spit him out.
"What's wrong Marshall Rumf.."
"I feel like something had swallowed me!"
"Don't be ridiculous. This is the US navy. Take a hold of yourself!"
That's right. So these are the guys who had been sending signals to us? They have been sending shuttles to Mars to look for something. I sent a signal to Fut1 and she too was surprised at how near we were. We had made it! These creatures were happy to have been to Mars and we were happy we could now eat them now.
Scientific patience had paid off handsomely for both sides. We decided to eat three creatures each since they seemed to be in large numbers. The uniform made it easier to identify them. Fut1 signalled that we should take up the samples quickly. I swallowed another officer, this time a black one, and the taste was equally good. Later, I heard that these Blacks were looked down upon in the US. Anyway, we were here to guarantee equality for all. Everyone was going to be eaten.
In the meantime, Fut2 was fixing the shuttle in readiness for a departure, all the time chewing on a fat army general. It was rumoured that he had just returned from Iraq. Good stuff! I reported the excellent taste of humans to Fut1 and she recommended that we estimate the size of the population and whether it was food that could sustain our civilization.
Fut2 signalled and we each took another creature and jumped into the shuttle. We lifted off and headed East at our normal speed. We normally travel faster than light to avoid being visible. We toured planet Mjinga and realize how widespread they are. Some were dark, yellow, short, tall, rounded faces, small eyes, etc. Quite a variety. And the numbers, especially as we reached the extreme East, were impressive. There was no way we could have headed upwards without a final diner d'au revoir. We cooled ourselves in the South China Sea and tickled our palates with the cool waters. We regaled ourselves in a few yellow creatures.
Fut1 could not believe that food had been beckoning to us for close to 50 years now! And good food for that! It was unbelievable how the food had repopulated planet Mjinga since we disappeared from there. Was it lack of a predator for so many years?
Now, there was no denying it. We had now a place to swoop down occasionally for a well-deserved dessert.