We’re no hedonists, sitting slack-jawed in front of artificial machines that cater to our every whim and show us whatever we want and … um … OK, in THIS STORY we’re not hedonists! At least, according to the votes in our last installment of “Return to the Cavern of Time”. So we respond to the far-future relative of Ralph Dibny that we ain’t gonna take all that pleasure and joy laying down, by gum!
You tell Celeste 433 that you are not willing to give up your freedom for a life of pleasure. She nods and, to your surprise, smiles. “I understand,” she says. “You are from a primitive culture, so you don’t understand that constant pleasure is superior to freedom of choice. Very well. Since freedom is more important to you than pleasure, I shall tell you something that I would not have mentioned otherwise. Suprema Eighty-seven to the Fifth Power may soon be involved in a war between the grand overseers.”
Wait, that’s something she wasn’t going to mention? That seems like a fairly important bit of trivia that might have helped us decide whether or not we wanted to stay in our Nintendo Coffin while the homeworld’s getting blasted from outer space.
“Who are they?”
Celeste 433 dismisses your question with a wave of her long, bony hand. “Listen. I admire your courage and therefore will give you a chance to survive this war, which I fear will destroy our colony. I shall provide you with a spacecraft, but your troubles will not be over. Space is a vast and hostile wilderness. There are only two destinations you can reach where you’ll have any hope of survival. One of them is Alpha Alpha, a colony beyond Pluto that is far more advanced than this one. In fact, it may be the most advanced in the galaxy. The other place where you might possibly survive is the planet Earth.”
So let me get this straight. These people have occupied a whole galaxy, and both of the potential safe havens in that entire, almost unimaginably vast reach of space are in the Solar System? Why the hell did we ever leave in the first place?!
“Earth? That’s my home planet — I’d really like to get back there.”
Celeste 433 shakes her head. “You don’t understand. You have been time-displaced. Earth is no longer what it was. It is a scarred and ruined planet, a backward child of the galaxy, an archaeological scrap heap. I told you the truth. The decision is yours.”
You long to see Earth again, even though it’s changed for the worse.
You’re curious about Alpha Alpha too, though what you’ve seen so far of advanced civilizations doesn’t encourage you.
So that’s our choice — the barren wastelands of Earth, where we might get to see a sweaty-chested young Mel Gibson duking it out in the Thunderdome under a bad wig, or an ultra advanced space colony beyond Pluto. Hopefully they have good heating there, because while I’m not astronomer, I’m pretty sure it’s freaking COLD out there.
Uncle Ralph says “Don’t Worry, Drink Up!”