Sunday, September 7, 2014

History of the Universe 2: Breather Bugs

Kevin was 92yrs old when he was brought to Earth to play victim in a classic schoolboy prank.  Typically in such a shenanigan the boy's friends would wait a short distance away with their ship camouflage activated.  They would watch giggling while their victim searched frantically for his only way home.  Unfortunately, World Gov soldiers were heavily patrolling the area these unlucky boys had chosen for their trick.  Kevin's terrified friends flew away under a barrage of bullets and missiles while the alien child lay prone and in shock on the ground.

The utter stillness of Kevin's small body and his wide glazed lavender eyes were what ultimately saved him from being slaughtered by men and women trained to shoot aliens on sight.  There was no doctor among these soldiers, though that hardly mattered.  No doctor on Earth was equipped to guess at the anatomy of the many aliens who had suddenly begun dropping out of space onto the planet like flies onto a picnic plate.  The soldiers thought Kevin was dead.  They tagged and bagged him and laid him in the back of a truck bound for the nearest World Gov medical research facility.

It wasn't until Kevin was on Dr. Hitler's autopsy table deep in the restricted area of the center that the purple boy's full horror burst through the still surface of his shock.  Kevin sat up and screamed.  And then he screamed again.  And again.  Kevin's scream was a consonant filled shriek like none Dr. Hitler had ever heard.  We write "moo" when referring to a cow's low, and we write "arf" when referring to a dogs bark.  The truth is that we don't have the right letters to accurately convey the language of most of Earth's denizens effectively.  Human alphabets are incredibly specieist.

And so to Dr. Hitler, whose area of expertise lay in forensic biology and not in linguistics, and who had an incredibly limited alphabet with which to record his findings about this creature, it sounded as though the creature was screaming "Kffn kffn kffn kffn kffn kffn kffn!" 

Literally translated, the purple alien with the wide lavender eyes was screaming "Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit!".  Of course Dr. Hitler had no way of knowing this, having never heard of planet Ffffff or it's complicated language.

Dr. Hitler was related in no way to the famous 20th century German Nazi party leader.  His father and his father's father, etc etc back through his long family line, had learned to brutally condemn and openly resent the most famous Hitler as a way to both atone for and defend their family name.  Another longstanding family habit of the Hitler men was their often overblown displays of compassion and kindness.  Perhaps this trait was a natural inclination, and perhaps it was another way to distance themselves from their unfortunate connection and establish a more favorable reputation.  Either way, it saved young Kevin's life.  Twice in one day the boy had avoided a nearly certain death.  Not bad.

Dr. Hitler's highly attuned empathy and sensitivities recognized right away that the alien was screaming in terror rather than aggression.  He did the only thing he could think to do, Dr. Hitler held his finger to his lips and whispered "Shhhhhh" again and again.  Kevin calmed himself, not because of the kind doctor's bizarre soothing technique, and only partially because he realized he wasn't being murdered or eaten alive by the grizzled pale creature before him.  

Shhhhhh is the sound newborn babies make on planet Ffffff while they struggle for breath before they receive their breather bugs and names.  The aliens of planet Ffffff live a pseudo-parasitic life with the breather bugs.  A millennia ago, the atmosphere of planet Ffffff became mostly unbreatheable due to an excess of volcanic activity along with some particularly violent solar flares which fried the air.  The breather bugs have the remarkable ability to breathe in anything and then flatulate out a mix of gases, primarily hydrogen sulphide.  These gasses are what the aliens of planet Ffffff needed in order to live.  Most of planet Ffffff's scientific community believe that the reason their atmosphere existed in that particular mixture is that these breather bugs were busy for billions of years filling the planet's atmosphere with their farts.  Aside from the breather bugs that were given to new babies on their naming day, these slug like creatures were a well protected species.  Harming a breather bug resulted in the perpetrator's own breather bug removal and release into the wild.    

Kevin heard the shhhhhh and thought the doctor must be an Earth baby, this was what ultimately calmed him.  The thoughtful and considerate boy wondered where the baby's guardians were, or if it had guardians, and if it was a male, female, or both, and he wondered what kind of creatures would leave a stranger from another world with a baby.  The doctor thought that "Kevin" would be a good name for this alien boy who had shouted out "Kffn" so many times.

Dr. Hitler made some calls and used nearly all of the professional favors he'd accumulated during his 35yr career in order to get a live study area for Kevin.  This live alien study area began as a few rooms and later grew to an entire facility with Dr. Hitler at the helm and the beautiful purple boy at his side.  Of course over the years the boy learned that the doctor was a full grown human adult, although 65yrs seems very young to a race that can easily reach 300.  And the good doctor learned that he had inadvertently named the boy who would become his dearest friend and colleague "shit". 

The pair were famous for both the quality of their research and results and for the unfortunate side effects of working closely with hydrogen sulphide farting slugs.  Through Kevin, the doctor learned that the slug asexually produced and could be made to vomit out a small cluster of shimmering green eggs at the end of it's reproductive cycle once every five years.  These eggs matured rapidly and the new breather bugs began to go to work immediately changing the atmosphere inside of Dr. Hitler's laboratory into a mixture of rotten eggs and dog shit.  Kevin loved it, the laboratory smelled like a home that he missed dearly.  Dr. Hitler spent 5,000 GovBucks a week on air freshening devices, colognes, and fruity hand soaps.

It took the pair working with a few brave interns 30yrs, 6 reproductive cycles, and countless failures to altar the slugs enough through genetic manipulation to flatulate oxygen rather than hydrogen sulphide. 

The extremely health conscious, ironically, were the first to sign up to have farting slugs inserted into their throats.  The rationale was pollution based.  A person with a breather bug installed could jog down a city street during rush hour traffic and happily breathe in nearly tangible black smog and goo with no ill effects.  Public safety workers who were often exposed to unsanitary air and smoke situations were the next to sign up en masse.  Once the benefits were fully realized, most factories opted to force their employees to accept free breather bug installation under pain of higher medical insurance costs.  It wasn't long before the government got involved due to extensive lobbying from corporations who were tired of paying medical bills and keeping sanitary conditions.  Within five years, factories with fully bugged staff were offered looser internal pollution restrictions.  With a breather bug, it was no longer possible to get a lung or throat disease from the job.

Within ten years the pollution boon caused by the dramatic lessening of restrictions had killed off 30% of the world's flora and fauna.  The answer, of course, was more farting slugs.  Each factory was required by law to maintain a live and healthy field of breather bugs of the same square footage as the factory itself.  This seemed to work.

Dr. Aaron Fonzie Hitler died peacefully in his sleep at the ripe old human age of 103 with his dear young friend Kevin by his side.  Kevin lived for another 130 years before taking one of Dr. Hitler's great nieces, Fannie Hitler, 78yrs old, as a wife.  Kevin took Fannie's last name.  Both Fannie and Kevin died two weeks apart just ten years later after a well funded and quiet retirement. 

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