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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #137
Alien Life Forms, P-Q-R
David Gunn
Having tired of tweaking knobs and pulling levers in the Parolean transport pod, Bobby and Ninkota left to examine other exhibits in the spaceship museum that was located deep within the bowels of Hangar 52. Bobby liked the displays a lot, and was always disappointed he couldn't tell anyone else about them. Like all other facility visitors, he was sworn to top secrecy. To help him keep his little secret, Defense Department administrators had implanted an electrode in his nose. If he ever said the words "Hangar" and "52" together, it would instantly deploy a helium-filled airbag that would lift him 50 feet in the air while making it extremely difficult for the lad to say anything intelligible. Ninkota paused before a display that read "Alien Life Forms, P-Q-R." She scrolled down to number 47 on the list, Paroleans, and clicked her mouse on the antlike icon. The datascreen glowed blue-black, then filled with a holographic image of Dr. Frank Baxter.

"The Paroleans," said Dr. Baxter in a mechanically gelatinous voice, "first visited the Earth home world in 1957. A crash landing in the desert southwest of Roswell resulted in sanguine resettlement at the Hangar 52 facility. They closely resemble the Earth ant in size, number of palpi, and diction, but have a marginally better sense of humor. Like the ant, the Parolean body is comprised of a head, an alitrunk and a gaster, or caboose, however the middle segment on the alien torso is used exclusively to carry luggage. Both critters sport metaplural glands, but the Paroleans use theirs for species-to-species communication and elimination of bodily waste. We speculate that they move their lips only to confuse their enemies and as attempts at alien ice-breaking humor at parties. Not only do they frequently all think alike, but applied concentration on a single thought produces pheronomic rays which, scientists theorize, can affect the behavior of Algonquin Holes in the space-time continuum." The accompanying music track swelled in volume to emphasize the importance of this statement. A video clip showed an artist's conception of an Algonquin Hole in a state of stasis, followed by the same Hole, presumably under the influence of pheronomic rays, doing the galactic equivalent of the Wooly Bully. Dr. Baxter continued, "Continued pheronomic ray production has been shown to cause a kind of massive hysteria among universal constants, even to the point of temporarily discombobulating the natural laws of physics. By projecting this 'mindshield,' the Paroleans can change the will of inanimate objects ... even my no-good son-in-law, Boise!" And here, the normally reserved Dr. Baxter roared with laughter. Composing itself, the hologram continued. "The only natural enemy of the Paroleans is a carnivorous hydroponic bug from the constellation Scorpius called, as best as we can translate, the Antarean antsucker ... but just wait until they meet their first Amway distributor!" And again Dr. Baxter abandoned his staid image of the consummate professional spokesperson and cackled loudly. Ninkota turned off the datascreen projection and looked around for Bobby. He was seated before the exhibition of alien ultimatums, a list of threats -- both real and imagined, both mischievous and deadly serious -- which the Earth had received during the 50-year history of the Alien Incursion Response Team. An interactive computer program allowed museum visitors to formulate and present their own demands. Bobby had written several in the past, but today he was just reading.

"Did you know that bug blood from a Parolean queen," he said as Ninkota approached, "makes the best fishing bait in the whole universe? Yeah, it's here in the Zontar Ultimatum of 1969. The Zontari had been competing in a galactic fishing contest for 40,000 years and using Parolean blood to reel in some really big astrolunkers. They were way ahead of the other competitors when they ran out of bait and had to detour to the Parolean home world in the Klondike Quadrant. The Paroleans didn't like their vital fluids being sucked dry 40,000 years ago and they didn't look forward to it again, so they left planet. They were apparently heading for sanctuary in the Cleveland Sector when their guidance system malfunctioned and they crash landed here on Earth. After following their space spoor for 12 years, the Zontari also arrived at Earth, however they came with an attitude and an ultimatum: "Provide bug juice from 6,580 queen Paroleans or be incinerated."

Bobby continued to read. "But then, it was as if someone was watching over the Earth and the Paroleans, because an Algonquin Hole opened up right in front of the Zontari spacecraft, swallowed 'em all, then closed and just as suddenly vanished."

"And they haven't been seen since," finished Ninkota, who'd heard the story many times before. "C'mon, let's get some lunch. I'll call to see if they have the oysteroni today."

Ninkota moved the museum phone cursor to the cafeteria symbol and watched as the telephone icon rang and rang and rang. Oddly, no one answered. Ninkota pressed the Stop button, then rekeyed the command. But there was still no answer.

Dr. Beezer, meanwhile, had likewise been unable to raise anyone over in the AIRT command center, which was not only highly unusual but also incompatible with facility regulations. Sensing trouble, he logged onto the DoD's Wollensak supercomputer and accessed the beezerscope, his own invention which measured distortions in the space-time continuum. As he feared, all communications into and out of the Hangar had been suspended pending the arrival of an unidentified sentient entity with humanoid markings through the Algonquin Hole Roswell gateway. Who on Earth (or off!) could it be? And why was he being pursued by -- the doctor reconfirmed the beezerscope's corporeal analysis function -- a large sheet of linoleum from the Flambeau Oriange Zone?

It is a pity, dear listener, that the answer to this and other improbable questions will not now be answered, but consider it a good omen that today's 137th episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar will try to make up for it while getting the new year off to a grand start by playing all of your favorite tunes ... that is, just as soon as we wade through the stack of CDs which confronts and, yes, ruffles the nasaline feathers for the first time in 1998 of Kalvos.