Here we sit on the razor edge of the galaxy, where time is slowed by the speed of our rotation, playing tiddlywinks with data chips for the treat of winning one of the few remaining pickles from ships' stores.
Who knew how delightful a pickle could be after months of vitamin drinks, yeast-protein and various processed starches? We, the acolytes of the religion of galactic exploration, had outrun our supply lines in our enthusiasm for discovery. Which might not have mattered except that the Frangle drive broke down.
"We need to get a script together NOW for our next project, you know," said Tim.
"Yeah, " said Harry, "but the three kings theme has been done to death, and so has the play within a play format."
"True," said Tim. "Even Star Trek did that one, with Shakespearean actors putting on their play on the
as subtext for the plot." Enterprise
"OK," said Rafe, "so, how about a classic murder mystery?"
"BO-ring," said Tim.
"Maybe an overthrow of government with romantic overtones," said Harry.
"Oh, yeah, set in space," said Tim.
"Umm, isn't that Star Wars?"
"Don't be a killjoy, Rafe," said Harry.
Tim chimed in. "We could have the protagonist die at the end."
"Hmm," said Rafe, “I guess I could work with that. But no little talking teddy bears."
Harry grinned. "How about rainbow pastel ponies?"
"Now cracks a noble heart," said Rafe
"Good night sweet prince," caroled Tim.
Harry joined in. "... and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."
Rafe raised his notebook and cracked Harry over the head.
Harry ducked and yelped, "Why does the drum come hither?"
Everything the priests told us was wrong. The poets came much closer with their talk of destruction by fire and ice, but that's only because anything this ... universal ... fits poetry better than plain prose. And fiction seems more plausible than the entropic death of the universe.
Well, the universe may have millenia or even eons left before that time but our corner of it will come to an end soon enough. The larger star of this binary system, about which this planet orbits, shows daily greater instabilities, surface and subsurface.
So tonight, the interstellar research institute sends this message out, both broadcast and engraved on the inner skin of a rocket. I'm not sure why, but someone might find it.