A reply to Bulgakov et al., 3243
[ fiction - february 08 ]
In my experience of science, the vast majority of field workers are unimaginative drones. I should know, I am one of them.
As an army we are pointed in certain directions and told to march straight ahead. The heads of institutes and departments are generals that pore over maps and point the way.
This kind of warfare is remarkably efficient. There have been no defeats so far.
But there are limitations.
Consider the following scenario which I believe to be inevitable:
The mapping of planets and bodies continues unabated. Wonderful, unimaginable distances have been covered. Every conceivable planet gives up its landscapes, moons and species to the astronauts, geologists and physiologists of the future. Finally, they stumble upon heaven, which happens to be just another planet. Representatives from the European Space Agency walk on its surface, converse with the locals, take measurements and samples. Papers are published in Nature and Science - Bulgakov et al., 3243; Thomson et al., 3247. Minor controversies remain but they are soon ironed out so that a comfortable orthodoxy prevails.
Work complete; they press on to the next planet.
No one was aware that it was heaven. Jesus swore the inhabitants to secrecy. He himself was interviewed by Bulgakov, although he did not lie.
The scientists passed on; and heaven breathed a sign of relief.
For future reference the astronomer who first discovered that planet named it after his dog, ZP115 Calvino; and the first paper relating to the physiology of the inhabitants was entitled: Conditions for the induction of long-term potentiation and long-term depression of a homologous population on ZP115 Calvino by conjunctive pairing in the dentate gyrus, in vivo.