|Either the whole thing was some kind
of elaborate hoax
or there really was, or had been,
life on Venus. Most people thought it was a hoax. The
whole idea of finding the remains of Venusian litter bin
was just too ludicrous to accept. What kind of clowns had
NASA sent to Venus? Had they picked two blokes out at
random from a competition form printed on the back of
boxes of Coke?
Oh yeah, they had.
Well, there you go then. Okay, so everyone had seen the pictures of Ralph and Chuck, apparently prancing around on Venus. And everyone had seen the pictures of the alleged metal object they had found. And everyone had seen the alleged writing which some crackpot scientists had deduced, with the aid of their alleged computers (probably nothing more than an old Vic 20 plugged into a shoebox full of old transistor radios), was actually writing, which said "DO NOT LITTER."
Yeah, right. Pull the other one.
But Ralph and Chuck, to their credit, weren't taking any notice of the doubts and criticisms. This was mostly because nobody back at Mission Control had had the heart to tell them. So they kept labouring away with their research, under the misapprehension that they were still regarded by the human race as skilled, brilliant, and extremely virile astronomic superstars. Whereas they were actually regarded by a great deal of the human race as frauds and scumbags.
None of their research really discovered anything quite as exciting or controversial as the alleged litter bin, and certainly none of the other things they discovered helped to prove or disprove the existence of life on the planet. Most of it was just about riveting enough to put even the most enthusiastic physicists and geologists and numerous other -ists to sleep.
But by the time they were finished two weeks later, most of the experiments had been successfully completed, and all the required samples of dirt had been collected. After the assorted grains of dirt had been thoroughly tested and analysed back on Earth, no doubt they'd go into the flowerboxes of some high up NASA and government officials.
They did, of course, pack the remains of the Venusian litter bin, and as the time for departure due near, prepared to head back home to Earth. But nobody, even the most hardened sceptics, was quite prepared for what happened next.
- The Year 2031
Copyrightę1998 Daniel Bowen