Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The World of Robots By Zack Kaufen (

Snuggling in bed with my lady friend, I find her cuddling up close; so close in fact I am falling out of the bed. “What are you doing here?” I inquire; we have four pillows and a large quilt for a reason. I religiously stick to my half of the bed. “I want to be wherever you are” she replied. “So if I left the country..?” I said. “I’d find you!” she said. Worrying as the prospect was, it made me think about how far one would travel for a loved one. If I smuggled aboard a NASA mission to the moon, on Apollo 50 (or whatever number they’re up to) would I later find Apollo 51 landing with my lady friend aboard, financed by her, their priority objective to reunite us?

I doubt she would have the money to buy a space rocket, but certainly there are genuine ways to exploit (for the greater good of course) a person’s desire to be close to a loved one. Put a man’s wife on an island and he will build a boat. Put her on the other side of the universe and surely he’ll invent interstellar travel! My plan is thus, find an extremely intelligent scientist, kidnap his wife and fake an alien abduction. It’d have to appear pretty genuine. Not just a piece of paper glued with cut out magazine letters saying “goT YouR wife – come tO GalaXY M87 in tHe viRGo ClusSter iF U wAnt hER bACK!!!”. But like genuinely convincing. Hired actors could provide convincing eye witness testimony, that they saw the house surrounded by bright lights and floating objects. News teams would be brought in to cover the event. A few top figures would be in on the plan, but having reporters themselves flabbergasted at the event would add huge amounts of plausibility to the story. His house would be burnt down. A charred skeleton of the maid could be discovered (faked or real, no matter; she’s probably Mexican) amongst high levels of radiation. And best of all some mocked up camera-phone footage of his wife being taken, alive, by unknown alien figures.

Then of course you put the wife, blindfolded, in some underground cell for the following years, while Mr. Scientist becomes obsessed and fanatical. He spearheads a project to follow the alien ship’s ‘radiation trail’ (another fabrication of course) across the galaxy to a far off solar system by inventing faster than light travel. His determination would be unrivalled. His kids would beg him to let go, but he would soldier on, spending night and day testing new theories, new experiments, to create the ultimate space travel engine. He would break every rule in the book, and grow cold and methodical over the years, not stopping until he is done.

Until finally he finishes his work, clinging on to the hope that she is still alive out there.. somewhere in the cosmos.. imagine that laboratory. Mr. Scientist is coming to work early, hardening himself to lead the rescue mission for his wife in his newly built faster-than-light spaceship, when lights flicker on revealing his whole science team; balloons fall from the ceiling, banners reading ‘Just Kidding’ are displayed. SURPRISE!! She’s been here on Earth all along! His best friends burst out laughing, in tears they can finally stop the act. They’re all lining up to confess their little parts. Geoff, the chief lab tech, explains joyfully how he was the one who entered in the fake data onto NASA’s radar systems of the ship entering and exiting Earth’s atmosphere. John and Barry, the good natured jokers of the lab, were the costumed aliens; I swear to god, you were about one second away from seeing the costume stuffed in my locker one day, exclaims Barry cheerfully, slapping his sides. Cindy, the obsessive analyst, reveals she was the one who blew up his house and maid. Her tragic infertility, that she tearfully claimed was hereditary? That was really a result of mishandling the plutonium they left at the house’s remains!! John, your brother in law and best friend, remaining by your side, keeping you from turning into an alcoholic? He was just paid by the government to keep you on track!! He doesn’t even LIKE you!!

All of this, just because genuine love is such a strong emotion that people will do anything for it. So, there’s been a bit of manipulation, a few white lies, sure, but you can tell history would look back on it with fond giggles, impressed and awed at the story behind our first trip beyond the solar system.

Surrounded by tearful laughing colleagues, relieved they can finally stop the pretence, Mr. Scientist is numb and confused. “My wife.. where is she?” Oh, dear me, sorry, we just got caught up in the moment, Mr. Scientist. Yea – she died in captivity about two years ago.