ORBITERS: good scouts | Pagosa Daily Post News Events and Video for Pagosa Springs Colorado

Watching and waiting, visitors to the Moon orbit the planet. Their mission: to conquer the Earth. Of course, that’s the easy part…

In conquering Earth, the Empire of Malthusia had a primary problem. Earthlings. What to do with them? There were cynics who said they should just be wiped out. Out of their misery, but they weren’t really serious. The Malthusians are a beneficent people.

No, the population would be transported en masse to Mars to work in the graphite mines. The earthlings were prey to laziness. A little hard work and a strict vegetarian diet wouldn’t hurt them. Not the least.

What to do with a depopulated planet? The Malthusians did not want to go too far. The cities, of course, would be reduced to dust. The Amazon, the American prairies, the African savannahs have made it possible to return to their natural states. Regular junkets carried Malthusians to hike, pick berries, and generally marvel at the splendor of their former home.

As for permanent settlements, there was less enthusiasm. Earth might have been a beautiful place to visit, but the average Malthusian loved the Moon.

In orbit in Spacecraft 1, the men relaxed at the officers’ club, playing pool at one of twelve tables. Any change in orbit could cause the balls to roll, but players took it head on. Captain Rollhagen lined up a shot. He was an excellent billiard player.

“Would you like to live there, Kern?” asked the captain.


“Where are you thinking? The eight ball crashed into a corner pocket.

“Land? I don’t know. I don’t really like camping.

“This is not camping,” said the captain. “I understand that they are going to build very nice resorts.” He put down his stick and re-racked. It wasn’t much fun beating his subordinate. Lieutenant Kern had a way of making you feel like it was no big deal. As if no one cared. Of course, when he won…

Kern’s dark, slightly piercing eyes scanned the Officers’ Club. He was always looking for someone to pamper. “What about climate change?” he said. “Heat, hurricanes, tornadoes. It doesn’t seem very comfortable.

“Climate change is overrated,” Rollhagen said.

Kern’s arched eyebrows arched a little more. “It’s not very scientific.”

“You’re right. It’s political. Didn’t you watch TV?

“Not really.” It was a lie. The entire crew watched American television, using their personal video discs. These looked like dinner plates and were taken everywhere. That week, the captain posted a note about restricting screen time. It was ignored.

The captain continued. “Of course the planet is warming. But how do the Earthlings react? By sending billionaires to trade credits like car salesmen. All the while, rainforests are being wiped out.

“They have to do something.”

“Listen, Kern. In fifty years, the needle could move a degree. By then, Borneo will be treeless. A tropical forest takes sixty million years to develop. Even we can’t solve this problem.

It was depressing. Trust Lieutenant Kern to find a bright spot. “Billionaires on Earth feel pretty good,” he said. ” I grant you. But wait until you get them to Mars. A pickaxe and a wheelbarrow will do wonders for them.

Captain Rollhagen smiled grimly. He shot the cue ball. Two solids entered. With the balls evenly distributed, he could run the table.

Kern barely paid attention. He was thinking hard. Earth might need a few scouts, people to identify butterflies and help older Malthusians get on and off the hovercraft. Mars would need real leaders, wearing duty belts and polished boots. Those who loved power and knew how to use it.

He saw his future, and it wasn’t on Earth.

Richard Donnelly

Richard Donnelly lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Classic flyover land. Which makes us feel just a little… superior. Mr. Donnelly’s first book is “The Melancholy MBA”. published by Brick Road Poetry Press.

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