Author: Bill Cox
Hi Ted, let me tell you my story. Some of it you’ll know, but some will be new. I fervently hope that it’ll become your story too.
In 2006 the New Horizons probe was launched from Earth. Its goal was a flyby of Pluto, which it achieved on July 14th, 2015, after travelling a distance of 3 billion miles. It took over a year to transmit all the data from the fly-by and a decade passed before it was all analysed.
The world of 2026 was very different from that of 2006. Peak-oil had been passed, supply-chains were broken and social order was crumbling. Industrial civilisation was on the brink of collapse because the cheap, easily available fossil fuel energy had all but been used up. Solar panels and wind turbines simply couldn’t sustain a 21st century technological civilisation.
Then a scientist, still crunching through the New Horizons data, noticed something remarkable. The probe’s mass spectrometer had detected sizeable deposits of a stable isotope of element 130, also known as Untrinilium. Untrinilium, created in the lab for fractions of a second just the year before, was believed to have the potential of being a wonder fuel. We couldn’t synthesize it, we just didn’t have the technology. Yet here it was, just sitting on Pluto.
In 2026 Man had still to return to the Moon. By 2029, thirty astronauts landed on Pluto. It was a remarkable achievement, borne out of desperation. We were desperate to avoid resource wars, desperate to continue living the only way we knew how. Once on Pluto we were able to mine enough Untrinilium to power our civilisation for the next century.
This was a new element though, one that humans had never been exposed to before. We took precautions, but truth be told, the mission was too important to fail because of health and safety concerns. So we were exposed to Untrinilium, innocently unaware of the consequences, just like those people in the early twentieth century who used toothpaste laced with thorium, or drank radium infused water.
That exposure killed two-thirds of the astronauts over the course of our return voyage. Those of us that survived were altered in a glorious way. Our minds were fused together in what I suppose you could call a hive mind, a mentality of one singular purpose.
We share each other’s thoughts and feelings and I have to tell you that it’s an ecstatic experience. We all have an overwhelming urge, a missionary zeal, to share this experience with as many people as possible. That’s why we never reported any of the side-effects of Untrinilium. Since we landed here at Cape Canaveral we’ve been exposing as many people as possible to our wonder element. It doesn’t take much, just a minuscule amount, to initiate the change. Already I can sense our ranks swelling as my brothers and sisters spread out through the complex.
Not everybody survives contact with Untrinilium, of course, but Paradise was always for the few, not the many. We’ll head out into the wider world, covertly at first, but once our numbers increase sufficiently, we’ll be able to be more open about things. It really is a blessed state of existence.
Ah, Ted, I see by your glazed look, your unhealthy pallor, that you unfortunately won’t be joining the ranks of the chosen. Take comfort from your imminent death though, because you are stepping aside so that a new and better form of life will inherit the Earth. We will, with gratitude, build the citadels of our grand utopia upon the ashes of your fallen world.