"We could have saved the Earth but we
were too damned cheap." - Kurt Vonnegut
Story Time, kiddies!
the terrestrial year 3039 and the remnants of mankind are
sailing through the stars in stolen space ships. The Earth,
now just a vague dot that fades a little
more on the monitors with each passing astronomical unit,
is a seething cauldron of super-heated gases, the spitting
is terrestrial year 964 of the journey.
In 2037, long before the atmospheric processes that
doomed the Earth began its cataclysmic cascade, a race of
aliens visited our planet.
were not friendly.
From all that analysts could decipher
from the alien transmissions the merciless annihilation of
75% of the human population was simply because we were both
The invader's main weapon was a massive
orb standing as high as a five-story building. They would
land and begin emitting a slowly radiating pulse wave that
reduced organic life to sludge. Once their effective range
had been reached they ceased their attacks, lifted skyward
and moved to new coordinates.
Military strikes against the orbs were effective but they
were armored just well enough to complete their function,
usually annihilating all terran units in the process.
After the attacks had ceased, and it was clear that the aliens
had departed for solar systems anew, the few remaining people
discovered thirty-seven slightly-damaged orbs on the ground
outside major population areas. To their astonishment they
the ships were still operational, even space-worthy apart
from an easily-patched hole or two.
The controls for maneuvering were simple enough to comprehend
but no one understood how the engines worked. They seemed
from an unknown source. From all that the scientists could
tell these ships flew without fuel. A team of engineers disassembled
an engine but the resultant explosion left nothing but a
black scar in the Earth for thirty miles in every direction.
They did not try a second time.
By 2075 the last few pockets of civilization succumbed to
the greenhouse effect. There was no other option but to
gather up the last remaining humans in these alien lifeboats
and head for the nearest star that might support life.
Seven months later, on the night of the first Christmas
Eve, the priests stood before the assembled crowd of refugees
and retold the miracle of the Savior's birth, and reminded
one and all of their eventual reward in Heaven.
Afterwards, by unanimous assent, the priests
were tossed out of the airlock and the few remaining Bibles