Polypropylene Mines

Yesterday I was talking about sending my picture in the space with NASA’s STS-133 expedition. Thousands of us uploaded the photographs which will be taken on the next two flights to the International Space Station. Not sure why we did that, probably just because we can. And because we can’t actually go up there. So the photographs are the next best thing. Or something like that.

Now, what if aliens find all those pictures including one that I just uploaded?

I know that it’s not going to outer space, but I like to entertain the idea. If my face is up there, I want it to be seen. Or sensed in the way that aliens usually do sense the world around them.

Tentacle Alien

illustration by Rutger Vos

So, a couple of thousands of years from now, on the wreckage of International Space Station orbiting around what once was a home of a weird self-destructive life form, a slimy being with an unpronunceable name, independent space archeologist and explorer by profession, slides its tentacles over the wall filled with photographs of faces. Thousands of them.

It has no idea about who those creatures are and why are they on the wall. But it recalls their shape from the books with the tales that no serious space archeologist will believe in. Tales of a tiny planet with vast mines of precious material that nobody believes exists. Polypropylene. And now the alien is almost sure that it’s close to it!

Alien curled in the corner of the wreckage, thinking. About wealth. About legends. About new shiny warp-drive spaceship it’s going to get. About mythical polypropylene and how nobody believed in it just because it can’t be found anywhere in the known space. But here it was. On the small planet right there. But there was a problem.

If it’s really going to make a huge wealth out of the new discovery, the whole place has to stay secret. Alien didn’t need anybody to share the profit with. It needed slaves that would stay on the planet mining the polypropylene.

Then a great idea came. It remembered the experimental technology his acquaintance had. Technology that was capable of cloning any being, from any era and part of space, just by scanning it’s appearance. And there they are, right in front of him, thousands of them. Natives of now deserted planet, perfect for the job.

So, a couple of thousands of years from now, on the small planet that once was a home of a weird life form that has gone extinct by suffocation caused by the enormous amount of polypropylene they have manufactured, clones – thousands of them – will mine the dumps of plastic toys, bottles, bags and what not. Slaves of a slimy creature with tentacles, space adventurer with a bit of luck and a great idea. And a shiny warp-drive spaceship.

NASA, can I take that picture back?

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