Post # 567 LONG DISTANCE MAIL (fiction)

Despite a steady background of crackling and pinging, the scientists on Earth were able to discern the message from the pioneer interspace team that landed on the Venusian moon, Titan, November 30, 2095, having blasted off from the launchpad at Kennedy Space Center the previous May. The team was comprised of three chemists, a physician, experienced in the medical phenomena of space travel, three geologists, a naturalist, a pilot with experience in space travel and a computer expert, experienced in long-range transmission.

But first, the relevant and necessary background. By the year, 2095 Earth’s developing danger of global climate change had ominously and alarmingly peaked. The year evinced a regular occurrence of cyclones and resultant mass flooding, frequent tsunamis overriding coastlines and submerging small islands and unstoppable forest and residential fires. By existential necessity, there had developed a highly motivated and overriding search for an alternate habitable Planet, for human colonization.

Mars, being the closest planet to Earth in the Solar System, was initially selected, also based on previous NASA programs featuring the landing of robotic equipment and retrieving mineral samples from the Red Planet. It appeared to offer the best possibility for colonization, with the assistance of mechanical aids for breathing and equipment for the nuanced gravity.  In 2096, a  party of four specialist-explorers returned to Earth (the survivors of a total crew of seven) with advice that the red color of the planet is caused by a lethal variant of hematite, which had resulted in the painful death of three members of their team, exposed to the lethal chemical while burrowing below surface. The three dead bodies appeared to rapidly oxidize into a horrible rust and thereafter, to morph, to a powder-like, amorphous residue, identical to the red soil on the planetary surface. The Classified Report was, unfortunately leaked to the public, causing universal despair and a widespread panic.  

Meanwhile, Earth’s global disturbances continued to increase in number and worsen, causing Washington to direct further search for a feasible alternative Planet for mankind’s emergency colonization. The next closest planet, ( 133.29 trillion miles) and possibly, the only other choice, albeit a long shot, is the distant and cold, Venus. The planet has seven moons, the largest of which is named Titan. Reportedly, Titan is the only known planetary body with a (nitrogen) atmosphere, a  solid metallic core and a  somewhat, Earth-like landscape, with dried out ancient waterways and possible potential for flowing waterways, as revealed from several recent unmanned, exploratory fly by expeditions.

A major program, was quickly undertaken to devise, construct and test the complex and essential equipment believed required for a human exploratory visit to Venus, including fuel for the travel and return trip, cryonic cabinets to freeze and keep the travelers in safe, suspended animation for the almost one year required to travel such long distances (whose ages would remain the same as at entering the cold cabinets, due to the temporary suspension of cell deterioration), specialized breathing, walking, ingestion (pre-packaged, concentrated and frozen foods), medical supplies,  sturdy cameras and digital equipment for communication.  Adjustable pressurized suits were devised, capable of function in the slightly less than one year of cryonic sleep and thereafter for ambulation and functioning on snowy Titan. Since the robotic rocket ship was to be guided electronically, from (NASA) Earth’s Space Center, and all passengers engaged in robotic timed cryonic sleep, there would exist no expectation of communication from the ship until the planned arrival date and hopefully, t successful landing on Titan.

Ten months later, the spaceship experienced a soft, successful landing on the crest of a deep, soft mocha-colored and gelato- smooth, snow dune, three months later than scheduled.  The cryonic enclosures, set to open upon landing, released the space travelers in good condition, each merely experiencing a brief period of dizziness. Upon recovery they donned the specialized suits,  exited the ship and stepped out onto the, illuminated snowy ambiance of Titan. It was but an exciting half-minute before they discovered and reported that the atmosphere was breathable and by reason of their specialized, all-weather suits to discover that the cold planetary conditions were acceptable.

 Shortly afterward, they reported feelings of utter surprise and excitement to discover living humanoid-types living on Venus’ Moon, Titan. They stated, in their first written transmission, that there is so much to report to  Earth, that, for purposes of practicality, they will summarize and number all observations, starting with their first contact.  They especially requested that we not, initially, scan the entire Report, and discover the content of the final paragraphs, prematurely, for reasons which will become evident on their reading. The following is the transmission of their written, summarized observations:

  1. We were peaceably met by three curious official representatives of the humanoids born and residing on the Planet. They had, somehow, previously acquired some sort of advance notice of our mission and were warmly welcoming and noticeably happy to meet us.
  2. They walk upright, like humans, but have several major physiological differences. Those that we met were baby blue in color, with three eyes, one in center front and another two, each on the side of a bulbous to oval-shaped, furry head. When the eyes blinked, which was rapid and frequent, we noticed enlarged lids, with black linings, presumably, to protect against the planet-wide bright reflections from ambient snow. Each had two rather long arms, culminating in baseball glove size hands, containing four radiating and opposable fingers. Their mouths were tiny in size, but quickly expanded when eating or “smiling.”
  3. Their interpersonal communication is exclusively accomplished by the mental telepathic transmission of meaning, which was easily understandable to us. We soon learned this unambiguous language of telepathy and were able to comfortably, converse with them.
  4. After an offered meal, consisting of some sort of warm fish-like stew and green colored homemade bread, we had a friendly exchange of thoughts and, learned a great deal about the Titan individuals, and life on the planet, the latter subject shall be revealed, but better reserved for the latter part of this report.
  5. The Titan inhabitants signal their consent and pleasure by the rapid fluttering of their hands and the blinking of their frontal eye, and displeasure or anger, by the heavy stamping one of their wide, studded feet. They live in groups of twelve or so, in small dwellings resembling wigwams in design, but made from a plastic-like material, suitable to their protection from the frequent cold winds and the unchanging cold. The most bizarre feature that we learned was regarding aging and mortality. It seems that that the Titan people, start to gradually shrink in size, after attaining a specific (old) age until the time of their death, when they are shrunken to the size of an average loaf of bread. Reproduction is non-sexual and accomplished by inserting a bread-size deceased predecessor, in a heated oven-like enclosure for a period of three days, after which there emerges an entirely newly born and growing member of society. Accordingly, the census of population has been virtually unchanged in number over the centuries.
  6. Every inhabitant of Titan as advised is virtually identical in appearance and level of intelligence, but do appear to exist in two distinct colors. Those who had welcomed us, as stated, had baby blue color skin and advised us that a minority of others were navy blue. Our hosts advised us that for a long time, there has been dislike distrust  and unjust treatment of the navy- blue minority by the baby blue majority.[ the visiting Earthlings, as reported, glanced at each other with knowing disappointment].
  7. There is little need for political governance and accordingly, the supervising body consists of two large bulbous headed, baby blue individuals, and an identical one, colored navy blue. It is in Titan, extremely difficult and time-consuming to effect governmental change, consequently resulting in the potential of the Titan population having to painfully enduring a long, unchangeable  period of superintendence by incompetent or immoral members. [The Earthlings were, reportedly, easily able to commiserate.]
  8. The representative of the Titan population, over the midday fish-type soup, reported an unprecedented outbreak of an unprecedented and frightening protozoan- based disease, with fatal potential, which was then uncontrollably, sweeping over the global population of Titan.  [the crew members, uncomfortably shuffled their feet and glanced each other.]
  9. It was reported by our amicable hosts that Titan storms and hurricane winds, indigenous to the Planet, have been increasingly becoming very dangerous, due, in large part, to certain stubborn and unwise practices in ice engineering and deep surface drilling. Despite the warnings evidenced by the Planet’s dropping temperatures and major increase in cyclonic snowstorms, the population, of Titan, in general, foolishly, having paid little heed to the scientific warnings, now resulting in a Planetary threat which is immediate and existential.[The members of the crew, experienced an uncontrollable fit if coughing]
  10. The hosts reported that frightened Titan residents are relying on the sole conclusory solution to the two-fold threat of increasing Planetary storms and hurricane winds and the advent of the deadly, protozoan disease, viz., the opportunity to colonize another planet before it is too late, but to date have not had the requisite means or knowhow to do so. [The now, greatly alarmed crew members, then beat a hasty retreat to their ship.]

The latest message from the crew, apparently sent, within a half hour following their speedy and surreptitious, retreat to the spaceship, to quickly initiate the protocol for the return to Planet Earth, was, simply, ” We expect to be back home in eight months”.

-p.

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plinyblogcom

Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Literature Student and enthusiast.

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