Dear Judge and members of the esteemed Intergalactic Judiciary,
I am writing to you to explain that the unfortunate turn of events which in the end led to the complete annihilation of the planet called Earth, was entirely unintentional and a result of many unrealized mistakes.
I am a scientist by trade and I was signed aboard the cruiser, Nova, as the lead researcher for young world studies for which we would be studying the humans on planet Earth. The spaceport bustled with people of all shapes and sizes and as a man of books and journals, I was hopelessly lost. Lucky for me, – though it seems unlucky in hindsight – I spied a young officer helping to direct the traffic.
“Excuse me, young sir,” I said, “Would you be so kind as to direct me to the Nova's docking gate?”
“The Novas?” he asked, and neither realized the mistake, “Of course. Right this way.”
On we went through the busy crowd as he led me to the Novas, which I thought was the Nova, and brought me to the gate. With a salute, he left, and I turned to face the admissions officer.
“Your name,” he said. The deafening noise made him, who only stood a foot from me, hard to hear.
“Orlo Dimirunia,” I replied, and the soldier snapped to attention.
“My apologies. I didn’t realize, sir. Come aboard immediately.”
The sudden outburst confused me, but I wasn’t going to question it if I received a high degree of respect from the younger folks traveling with me. He led me forward and up the lift to the bridge. When it opened, he yelled, “Captain on deck!”
All the officers rose and saluted while I twisted my head back and forth trying to figure out how I’d missed seeing the captain. The situation grew more strange as I walked out, and everyone nodded at me in acknowledgement. Feeling that I was finally getting the attention I deserved, after living unappreciated for most of my life, I nodded back at every single one of them. Young world research was important and this ship seemed to understand that.
“Sit down, sir,” said the deck officer, pointing towards the Captain’s chair.
Though hesitant at first, I took the seat. “When will we be heading to Earth?”
“Now, sir,” he said, turning to the crew “You heard him! Set course for planet Earth!”
The engines started to rumble and we began gliding out of the spaceport. The satisfying hum of the power generator put me at ease, but not wanting to be found in the Captain's chair when the Captain returned, I decided to retire to my cabin and go through my textbooks once again. The room, to my surprise, was much larger than I expected, and the problem would have been resolved right then except the officer who’d brought me there was kind enough to open the door for me. In doing so, she covered the plaque where the name Captain Orldo Rimirunia, who the admissions officer has mistaken me to be, was inscribed.
Unbeknownst that the entire ship and crew of the Novas, a military vessel which I thought was the Nova, thought I, Orlo Dimirunia, was Captain Orldo Rimirunia, I began unpacking my things and prepared for the coming adventure.
As outlined in the Guild of Expeditionary Scientists’ requirements, we would first launch a series of study probes to determine the atmospheric makeup of the planet. Then, with our breathers tuned to their atmosphere, a landing craft would be sent down to study the native species of flora and fauna. Samples would be collected and we would set course for the next planet on our list.
Laying down to rest, I drifted off to sleep as starts and nebulas sped past my window.
The next morning, I arose in good spirits. Making my way to the bridge, I hoped to finally meet the Captain, but when I arrived, the chair was empty.
Unease lingered in the navigation officer as he said, “We’ve reached planet Earth, sir. What are your orders?”
Tension filled the air and I wondered what the crew could possibly be worried about. This was a peaceful research expedition, after all.
“Full launch,” I said, “Let's see what they’re made of.”
The officer at the controls turned to me in alarm. “Are you sure, sir?”
“Of course I am.” Why would they hesitate to launch the probes? That was the entire purpose of our trip.
“Very sure, sir?” All eyes landed on me.
“Yes,” I said, “Bombs away!”
The crew turned back to their various stations in a frenzy, and the officer at the controls said, “Commencing firing sequence now.”
On the view screen, I watched a series of ten sleek research probes sail towards the blue planet. My mouth watered just thinking of we would learn, but as the first one impacted the planet’s surface, it burst into flames and exploded.
“What is going on?” I asked, terrified that something had malfunctioned.
The controls officer turned to me. “Impact, sir. The bomb hit its mark.”
“Bomb?” I shot up out of my chair. “Why did you launch bombs!?”
“You said to, Captain,” she replied.
“Captain? I’m not the captain!” My frantic outburst had the whole bridge in a tizzy. “I'm the head scientist!”
“This is a military vessel. We don’t have a scientist.”
Reaching into my bag, I rifled through the papers, looking for my contract. “What about the research mission?”
“Research mission? This is a special forces cruiser.”
“Here,” I said, shoving my papers forward. “Read this.”
The deck officer took them from me and read them over. “Mr. Orlo Dimirunia is hereby commissioned to conduct young world research on planet Earth aboard the research cruiser Nova?”
“This is the Novas! Not the Nova!” he yelled, “And you are not Captain Orldo Rimirunia, are you.”
Flinching, I shook my head and the entire mishap became clear in my mind. Turning to the view screen, I watched the last of the bombs impact the planet’s surface, breaking what was left of it into a series of large asteroids floating aimlessly into space. Gritting my teeth and rife with embarrassment, I skulked off the bridge, leaving the angry crew to themselves.
We returned to port immediately after the incident, and though it seems as though I impersonated a military officer, commandeered a cruiser and destroyed an entire civilization, I did not – not intentionally at least – and I hope you’ll understand that though the evidence is akin to the contrary, the decimation of planet Earth was not my fault.
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I love how it wasn't even that big of a deal to destroy a whole planet it was a really funny story!
Such a twist at the end...very funny and comprehensive!!