Unplug, Jack Out, and Jet Off

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!”

11 Responses to Unplug, Jack Out, and Jet Off

  1. I’m going with Earth. Not just because I love me some post-apocalypse scenarios, but also because I don’t think we can trust this woman’s judgement. I mean, she believes her entire colony might be destroyed, but still thinks we’re being silly and unevolved because we don’t want to stay there?

  2. 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 (…emphasis mine), so you don’t understand that constant pleasure is superior to freedom of choice.

    Help me out here, gang: if showing prejudice against a member of another race is racism, and doing so against someone who is GLBT is homophobia, then just what would you call someone who exhibits such behavior against someone from the past? Ageism? Antiquiphobia? :)

    Y’know, I too want to see the old stomping grounds; really to see just how bad of a mess we “primitives” allowed it to become.

  3. Couple of things:

    1) Jeff, what is Elastic Man doing there? (and why is he drinking gin?)

    2) Alpha Alpha? Really? That’s the best name or future brethren could come up with? With the whole of history to choose a name from? OUCH! I guess creativity isn’t a skill that’s valued in the future…..

    3) Is it just me or did we suddenly go from “unknown human-like ET” to “time-displaced earthling” in just a heartbeat?

  4. @Worf– Regarding number 2, you’ve got that right; but then again, what do you expect from a society who spends their time like the fat-asses from “Wall-E”? If “Alpha Alpha” is the best we can expect from these so-called intellectuals, then they can bite me. :)

  5. Worf, it has to do with the line “So we respond to the far-future relative of Ralph Dibny …”, referring to the woman with the elongated face and hands.

    X-stacy, excellent point!

  6. I’m going home. If Alpha Alpha (winner of the “stupidest space colony name ever” competition) is even more advanced than this one, they’ll probably brainwash us and not give us the choice between pleasure and freedom. We’ll be trapped forever in a state of perpetual bliss, unable to escape the hedonistic prison of backrubs and sunsets and classical music and… um… where was I going with this? Oh yeah, brainwashing. Brainwashing is bad. Friends don’t let friends get brainwashed. Let’s go home.

    Also, I agree with X-stacy – I doubt this woman’s judgment is even remotely objective. If her colony is this advanced, then her poverty-stricken hellhole could be our middle-class suburbia.

    Anyway, the whole thing smacks of an alliance-vs-rebel scenario, and the alliance always gets its cummuppance in the end.

  7. Shorter dm3588: “IT’S A TRAP!”

  8. @Joshua/2:
    In the sample the storyline gave, you’d call it pure, self-centered arrogance, regardless of who or what it was being said by/to. Of course, it’s not really Celeste’s fault…she’s been trained to surrender her own thinking processes to others, after all. Frankly, her own ‘preferred’ option is purely dehumanizing. ANYTHING palls after a time – even with a direct pipe into your brain’s pleasure centers, eventually it’ll have less effect.

    @Worf:
    Dibny’s drinking ‘Gingold’ (read the whole label), a mythical DC comics softdrink that’s supposedly capable of allowing feats of stretchy dexterity. (His own powers came when he concentrated the key ingredient in the stuff and took a hard dose. Lucky for him he’s a meta; the dose he took should have been fatal.)

    Re: Alpha Alpha
    Option 1 – they’ve simply started alpha-numbering things and this one was colony 27 (A, B, C…X, Y, Z, AA, AB, AC…etc)
    Option 2 – It really is more highly advanced – because it’s run by Alcoholics Anonymous, and therefore populated by people who actually GET THINGS DONE, and act inventively, and such, rather than the group of hyper-epicureans running this asylum.

    Re: Destination.
    Don’t care. Either one sounds better than here – and that’s without the war going on!

  9. Unplug, Jet Out, and Jack… whaaaaa?

    X-Stacy made the best point. Earth… ho!

  10. William A. Peterson

    Well, on Alpha Alpha, we might have useful tech available, even if we have to commandeer it from the fat-ass locals…
    On Earth, we’ve got ruins and dilapidated tech which won’t have any chance of fighting off anything!
    Make mine Alpha!

  11. Atomic Punk (9): I keep reading the same thing, and then have to remind myself the life of hedonism didn’t work out.