Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Hyperion Revisited

In response to my blogbit on the recent photos of Hyperion taken by the Cassini probe, nathan bissonette wrote something that's just too good to leave buried in the comments. All you Hollywood producers out there; nathan has a brilliant idea for a new TV series here and he's just waiting to hear from you. He writes:
Yes, it's hollow.

That's the command module you're looking at, abandoned in orbit around Saturn ages ago when the explorers left to check out the nearby planets for possible colonization. The robots that are still harvesting ice are too small to see from space, the others have broken down over time.

One of the missing chunks is the Lander that lost control, splashed down, caused massive climate change, and killed off the dinosaurs on the Third Planet.

Luckily, a few of the Lander crew survived. Unluckily, they were washed up in the Fertile Crescent without much in the way of tools and no way to get back to the ship.

So they split up to look for help and resources, some heading West into the desert of North Africa, some heading North into the ice lands of Europe, some heading East to the Orient.

Their small gene pool and lack of protection from our sun's radiation caused some rapid mutations: shorter stature and lifespans ended the age of giants who lived 800 years; skin color and eye shape adapted to local conditions.

But our ancestors were a bunch of breeders and toolmakers who survived and multiplied, waiting for rescue. Early on, they built huge "SOS" markers, visible from space, on the Nazca plain and near the Nile River.

They explained to their children that they had come across a great distance, that they had lost everything when their Lander was cast out of the heavens and fell into the water, causing a huge wave that destroyed the dinosaur's world like a great flood, but that the rescuers would come in great machines, flying like birds, billowing flame and roaring like thunder.

But the stories were forgotten, or confused, and eventually attributed to myth. They must be myth, as the rescue hasn't come.


Worst of all, the ship is unmanned because the captain inexplicably and idiotically composed the fateful landing party of himself, the First Officer/Science Officer, Pilot/Helmsman, Navigator, Communications Officer, Chief Engineer and Chief Medical Officer.

The only people left on board were a nurse, a couple of engine room techs, and the ubiquitous security men whose only apparant skill was to die at the first sign of trouble, but nobody who knew how to plot a course for home or steer the boat to get there.

When the landing party failed to return, there was a brief battle for sexual partners that involved a spate of killings and wild couplings too obscene even for cable television, followed by everyone's eventual death when life support failed.

Sad, really.