Take Me With You
by Roy Dorman
Hogan’s Irish Bar, Cape Canaveral, Florida, August 12, 2050
“Just seems like a glorified suicide to me,” said Edward Taylor, after taking a sip of his beer.
“Oh, don’t be such a drama queen, Edward,” answered Jill Swenson, Edward’s soon to be ex-girlfriend. “You of all people should recognize this for the opportunity it is.”
“Yeah? Why’s that?”
“You know; I’ve always been ‘science’ and you’ve always been ‘science fiction’.”
Jill Swenson, age 28, was an astronaut about to go on a mission that was the very first of its kind. Edward Taylor, age 30, was a high-school English teacher and was dead set against the mission; he would never see Jill again.
Jill was correct; the mission was one that had been speculated about in a number of science fiction stories over the years. In two weeks, she would be launched into space on a journey to meet other intelligent life.
After the launch, she would go into suspended animation until she was gathered in by the first intelligent life to find her. It was to be the blind date of all blind dates.
Her small ship would be powered by an advanced form of energy based upon the principle of hydrogen fusion, allowing it to leave the Solar System and continue almost indefinitely.
It would be loaded with electronic and hardcopy recordings of all sorts, describing the history of Earth, warts and all. Upon awakening, Jill would be Earth’s ambassador.
“Look, it’s because of the science fiction I’ve read that I am concerned,” said Edward. “In science fiction stories, the hero has a few obstacles that he or she must overcome, written mainly to make the story exciting, but the hero almost always arrives at the goal intact. What’s more likely to happen to you is that a meteor shower will cause an air leak, or you’ll fly smack dab into another sun.”
“You are such a vibe-killer,” said Jill, punching Edward on the arm. “Anyhow, the programming is written to avoid things like that happening while I’m sleeping. When I’m finally found by intelligent life, hopefully they can fix anything that needs fixing.”
“Well, I’m going along,” said Edward.
“What!” said Jill. “You can’t come along. I’m not going to Disneyland, ya know. This is a one-person show, and I’m that person.”
Edward sighed and took a small gold vial from his pocket. “Here,” he said. “This has some blood, hair, skin scrapings, and nail clippings in it. If that intelligent life turns out to be as advanced as you hope they are, they can use this to clone me and I could join you.”
“Why, Edward, that’s so sweet,” said Jill. “I am allowed three kilos of personal effects. I just won’t mention what’s inside this nice piece of jewelry; some tight-ass might think I’m trying to start a dynasty at the other end, right?”
The planet Grendal, roughly two dozen light-years from Earth
“We were working with the ship to get it to land safely at one of our ports,” said Xandor, “but at the last minute, it pulled itself loose from our guidance and crash-landed on the flora and fauna world.”
“I’m guessing it was on automatic pilot until the moment it pulled away,” said Marius. “And then, for some reason, the pilot must have taken control and tried to land away from us.”
“There was a humanoid on board,” said Xandor, “but the ship landed in one of the wild areas, and some of the larger carnivores had ripped it open and devoured the humanoid before we could perform a rescue. We weren’t able to identify which animals had eaten it, or we might have salvaged some of the remains for study. ”
Xandor and Marius were two human-like bipeds who worked in the science division on the planet Grendal, the humanoids’ planet in the system. About 250,000 miles from Grendal, roughly the distance between Earth and its moon, was Lucerneo, the planet where the flora and fauna lived. Grendal, somewhat smaller than Earth, was completely covered in buildings and a cement-like substance with no plants or animals on its surface.
“We’ll know more when our anthropologists have finished with the records that survived the crash,” said Xandor. “Fortunately, none of them were edible, so most were recovered.”
Two Grendal weeks later
“The ship was from a planet called Earth, one of eight planets in its solar system and the only one currently supporting life,” said Xandor. “And get this: humans, plants, and animals all live on the same planet. They have a moon close by, but it’s lifeless.”
“How can plants and animals survive with a human’s constant need for expansion?” asked Marius.
“The records we recovered were remarkably uninhibited about any of Earth’s, shall we say, ‘shortcomings.’ Over the course of thousands of years — Earth is much younger than either Grendal or Lucerneo — many species of plants and animals have gone extinct. They were simply pushed out of their environments by the expansion of Earth’s humans. Some on Earth feel guilty about it but do little to stop this behavior.”
“Our own history is not clear as to how we came to have separate planets,” said Marius. “How do you think that could have come about?”
“It’s possible that having two life-supporting planets so close together was a good evolutionary fit,” said Xandor. “But before space travel, we must have co-existed with plants and animals on one or both of the planets, or those early people would have starved. That was millions of years ago; we may never know the answer to that question.
“But here’s something interesting that was found in the wreckage of the ship. In a small package of what might be the personal effects of the pilot, Jill Swenson, there was a small metal vial. The color of the metal is beautiful, much more beautiful than anything we have on Grendal or Lucerneo, and the vial contains organic tissue, possibly human.”
“Do you think we could we could use the cells of these samples to recreate the pilot of the ship?” asked Marius.
“We’ve done things like that in experiments with our own people and the plants and animals on Lucerneo,” said Xandor. “I already have the geneticists looking into it.
Five Grendal years later
Xandor is leading Edward from the lab room where he has been “growing” and Marius is leading Jill from hers. When the geneticists discovered the tissue samples were from two different donors, they were very excited.
Now, five years later, using accelerated growth treatments, Jill and Edward have grown from tissue samples to mature adults. Their original memories have been restored and the scientists feel they are ready for the next step: They will meet face to face for the first time.
“Edward, that was brilliant of you to think to add some of my tissue samples to the vial,” said Jill. “You’ve given me — us — another life.”
“You know how you joked about us starting a dynasty here?” said Edward. “I haven’t noticed any form of organized government, have you? If we can persuade these people that strong leadership is needed to keep things running smoothly, we and our descendants could have cushy jobs for life.”
“Sorry, Edward,” said Jill. “But by now they’ve read the history of Earth and will be watching us closely to make sure we don’t get too aggressive. A few days ago, they took me to where they had put what was left of my ship. I was told to go through it and sort out what I wanted to keep. The assault rifle and the two pistols were not in the storage locker. That tell you something?”
“So much for a hostile takeover,” mused Edward. “I wonder if they could use a good English teacher.”
“It may take some getting used to the different social mores,” said Jill. “I, for one, am going to tell them I’m more comfortable with clothes. What about you?”
“Nah, I’m good.”
Copyright © 2018 by Roy Dorman