Dweedles to Mission Control
Chapter 1: First Message To Planet X
You must have received and digested the information I sent by tachyonic transfer. Sorry I had to work back to front by sending the appendices first. I judged it best to do this, as it eliminates the need for numerous explanatory asides. I shall henceforth use Earth terminology, now surely familiar to you.
It would be beneficial if I were able to present a complete report in one transmission, but you will understand that my resources preclude this. I am forced to decide whether to keep you waiting a long time for the whole story, or to send relatively short missives via the accelerated route, which makes heavy demands of my equipment and necessitates frequent recharging.
I have chosen the second course, so might need to interrupt my offerings at tantalising moments. This would be appreciated by certain humans here – more on them later – who are addicted to being left gasping in anticipation of what is to come in further episodes of whatever serialised entertainment engrosses them. Also, commenting this way obviates any need for possibly misleading epitomisation. I know I am thought of as garrulous, but you don’t have a competent journalist who can match my ability to cruise the Cosmos, right? What would you do without me?
Now, I have been swanning around here for about a century in local terms. How do I convey my experiences? The length of time I have spent here indicates that there must be something to say, or I would not have used a twentieth of my likely current lifespan hovering around a place so remote from home. I have done so because my arrival coincided with rapid developments here.
You will have gathered that this planet has a slightly shorter year than ours, but is strikingly similar with regard to gravity, atmosphere, temperature, water/land distribution, and in having a single unusually large satellite. The Earth is rather younger than our home base and is at present less stable. Still, it is the first body I have found that has conditions broadly approximating to our needs. It would be a tolerable location for our expected overspill, but I must say that anyone moved from home and deposited here would face some uncertainties.
This planet has for aeons experienced upheaval by way of meteorite bombardments, some of which have changed living conditions quite drastically. Being in a fairly quiet quarter of our own galaxy, we have not had to contend with mountain-sized chunks of space debris striking us at many thousands of kilometres an hour. From what I have gathered, this kind of thing disrupts life here for long periods. We could cope, but there would be difficulties.
As if extra-terrestrial intrusions were not enough, the Earth itself throws up some problems by way of volcanic eruptions, grinding tectonic plates, huge ocean waves and goodness knows what else. This place is not for the squeamish. Survival here is a precarious matter, made more so by the activities of humankind – hold your collective breath for the grisly details.
Please don’t excite yourselves about the geography here, as it changes constantly – excuse the apparent oxymoron. The current continental profile arose from a break-up – about 200 million years ago – of a vast land mass called Pangaea, which split into Laurasia in the North and Gondwanaland in the South. No need for us to worry about this, as there will be further movements, with which we could cope.
Now, my batteries register almost empty, so forgive the pause. By the way, I think you should try to get your heads around this communication thing. After all, we are supposed to be quite advanced, aren’t we? It shouldn’t be left to me to tell our boffins what is required. I will resume contact as means permit.
All the best to everyone.
Note to the reader: Don’t be deceived by this quiet start. There’s dynamite on the track ahead, as the exchanges between Dweedles and those pesky types at Mission Control become acrimonious. Does the lonely voyager need a shrink? What will happen when love comes in? Another griping (oops) instalment soon. Editor