A satirical farce about social polarization, dysfunctional government, and economic inequality.
Chapter I: Day/Page 1
“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.”
― Socrates [469-399 BC]
The cosmic catastrophe started innocently enough, as so many catastrophes do, with the simple actions of one well-meaning person on a far-off foreign world. The planet is Gâia, home to a venerated people from the Avian class. These people, like their planet, have been around longer than most, certainly longer than my species or yours, and are famed for having keen eyes and inquisitive minds, with which they delve assiduously into the mysteries of the cosmos. One renowned academy of astronomers in particular, L’Avian Académie du Cosmologié, or LAAC, peer tirelessly into the vastness of the universe searching for evidence of intelligent life—“Class-1 life,” they call it.
Perched high in frosty towers like noble birds of prey, whetted talons clutching tightly to icy mountain crags, proud head and imperturbable beak jetting into cosmic winds like a ship’s sharp bow dashing stormy seas, ever searching with clear keen eyes through impenetrable darkness for any stirring of intelligent life; and then, if detected, with effortless grace and breath-taking speed, falling like gods from the rarefied heavens of frozen mountain lairs, they plummet in a perilous spiral to pounce on the tremulous new life-form scampering below.
Well, anyway, that’s how they describe themselves and their work in the many official pamphlets and publications sent out regularly by their PR department, soliciting public donations and government funding. In reality, though, things are quite a bit different. The work of these avian astronomers, these seekers and ‘pouncer-oners’ of new-found tremulous life, is not nearly as glamorous or exciting as one might initially think.
While it is certainly true, as their brochures maintain, that they are often found perched high in frosty towers on icy mountain crags, peering through telescopes into empty, limitless space, the fact is, most of the time, that’s pretty much all that they do. Just hour after hour, night after night, year after year of looking, searching, seeking, and nothing more. An interminable train of old coffee, stale sandwiches, constipated bowels, cold feet, and tedium—endless inexhaustible tedium—broken only rarely by a momentary spasm of excitement, a flash of bright hope that for a heartbeat and blink of an eye glitters with a diamond’s promise, before invariably turning out to be a chunk of illusory coal, a false alarm, a glitch in the system, a smudge on the lens, nothing more. There is not nearly as much “perilous spiraling” or “falling like gods” as one might think; unless spiraling down the observatory stairs late at night, or falling asleep in a chair, counts. Those things, it is true, occur with steady regularity. In short, the daily work of these avian astronomers is usually pretty boring.
But two weeks ago all of that changed. . . . TO BE CONTINUED.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 by Gregory James
All rights reserved