By Faye Murphy |
The president of the universe span into the room on a wheelie chair. “I have had a brilliant idea,” he said as he crashed into the Crisis Table, where Percy, his chief advisor, was trying to finalise a timetable for their weekly Crisis Meeting. Percy was not overly excited, and it mostly because Norman’s last brilliant idea had been to stage an open-air concert on his private cruise ship. Seeing as the ship was in space it had been fairly catastrophic. It was not so much the suffocating aspects of the vacuum that had angered the guests, but that they could not hear the band.
“So, you know how my ratings are like way down and the election is looming?” Norman asked.
“Yes,” Percy replied. He was more than aware of it. The most recent survey revealed ninety three percent of the population would rather have a slug as president.
“Well I have come up with a way to guarantee re-election. Are you ready?” Percy nodded with little enthusiasm. “We reopen Earth.” Norman pushed away from the table as though the little wheels on his chair were driven by the force of his creative genius. “Boom. Mind blown.” Percy raised his eyebrows. “We’ll make it a cultural retreat. We’ll return to our roots, remind ourselves what it really means to be human. The tabloids love that kind of thing.”
Percy straightened his sheets of paper by repeatedly hitting them against the desk. It was a sign of frustration, one that Norman had yet to pick up on.
“Norman,” he said, “it’s a brilliant idea.”
“It is?” Norman was surprised. Percy only gave compliments when his life depended on it.
“Yes. There is only one, slight problem.”
“Earth is completely inhospitable?” Percy snorted.
“Jupiter is inhospitable, Earth is one bad day away from imploding.”
“We’ll clean it up,” Norman said with a shrug.
“How do you propose we do that?”
Norman waved his hand vaguely. “We’ll move the rubbish somewhere else.”
“We’re in space, it’s not like we’re short of room.” Percy looked down at the pile of papers in front of him. It was one disaster after another these days. There was the deadly meteorite shower they had forgotten to warn people about, and the new government approved navigation system leading people into black holes. Perhaps a fantastically optimistic idea was just the sort of distraction they needed.
“I’m not saying it’s a yes,” he said solemnly, “but I’ll look into the economics of it.”
Norman let out a triumphant cry and punched the air. “And don’t worry about the money,” he said as he did a celebratory spin. “I can’t just summon money out of thin air,” Percy snapped. Norman looked confused. “Yes, you can.”
“Yes, I can,” Percy admitted. “I just don’t like people to think I can.” He pulled his phone out of the suitcase sized phone case he kept it in and hefted it onto the table. “So there’s the workforce that will need recruiting and paying,” he said, tapping away, “travel to get them to Earth and get the refuse of humanity off it. Earth’s renovation will be very expensive of course. And then we’ll need a little spare for any bribery along the way.”
“All sounds terribly boring,” Norman yawned.
“Let’s plan the exhibits.” Reluctantly Percy opened a new spreadsheet. Norman tapped his chin. “We’ll start with human evolution because everything else is irrelevant.”
He scooted his chair up to the Crisis Table so he could watch Percy type. “Now as far as I can tell nobody is a great fan of that whole monkey thing. Have you seen a monkey? It’s so ugly, like us with more hair. How about we drop the monkeys and say we evolved from dinosaurs?” Percy sighed. “How cool would that be? People could trace their family history. Am I part velociraptor, part brachiosaurus? I mean I’ve definitely got a splash of T-Rex in me.” Percy typed it all down and flagged it as a thoroughly stupid idea.
“Gift shops?” he asked.
“Millions of them. We can sell medieval armour and hold jousting tournaments. Obviously, we’ll have to include monuments like castles, pyramids, and the shard. And we can have a build your own nuclear weapon workshop.”
Part two coming soon.