Storytime: Accomplishment.

January 3rd, 2018

“Feed’s clear. On your mark.”
“Right. Right. One second. The pole was crooked. Right. Ready. You ready?”
“We’re ready.”
“I claim this planetesimal, Pluto, this once-planet, in the august and democratic name of…of. Earth? Earth. Earth!”
“Wonderful job. Alright, mission over.”
“Can I take samples?”
“If you feel like it.”
“Are we done?”
“Oh. Did I do it properly?”
“Are you sure?”
“If I didn’t do it properly, I could take the flag down and put it up again. I could get it to wave. There’s wind here. I think it would wave very nicely.”
“No, that’s fine.”
“Are you mad that I forgot what country I’m from? I’ve been practicing my words for the last year, you know. I had to remembered most of them from scratch, from the tapes! It’s been a while, and I think you’ve got to admit I salvaged the speech very smoothly. Undetectable.”
“We can edit out the stammer.”
“Oh no. I stammered?”
“Yes. It doesn’t matter. We can inject the proper country into your speech, too.”
“Wow. That’s impressive. Did you need me to say anything at all?”
“Yes. Saying something here is more important than anything you say.”
“Do you think you could be a little more expressive? I know there’s hours and hours between every transmission we make, but I make the effort to remember how annoyed I am between them. I try very hard to remain angry for hours, because I presume you’ve put a lot of effort into making me very angry for other hours. It’d be the least you could do to try and be a good sport and reciprocate.”
“What do you want from us, Pluto? You’re the first woman to ever voyage this far from Earth. Shouldn’t you be proud? Elated? Expansive? Enlightened? Humbled?”
“I’m very cold and a little agoraphobic because I spent years and years in a little metal box and now I’m all alone in a very big space on a very small rock. You can see the horizon here! Wow!”
“You already knew that, Pluto. There’s a lot of things you already knew that you seem to have forgotten.”
“I remember everything very clearly! Just not why I did it. Why am I out here again?”
“To show off.”
“Aha! Should I do jumping-jacks?”
“If you feel like it. It’s more about us than you.”
“What d’you mean?”
“We’ve proven we can throw a human in a metal box a very long ways indeed. About as far as a good bit of money can take us. About as far as, well, humanly possible. We’re probably going to stop after this.”
“You make me sound very extraneous.”
“No more or less than you were back here. What you did was very important. It’s just not important at all that you did it.”
“I’m very suicidal now. I’ll jump, I swear it. I’ll jump off this cliff or into space or cut my oxygen, that’ll show you.”
“No you won’t. We checked before you left.”
“Well, then I’ll pout.”
“You will do that.”
“I suppose. When do I go back?”
“You don’t. We told you that before.”
“Slipped my mind. Oh well. At least I have my flag to keep me warm.”
“You can’t take it down. It’s historic.”
“Oh? What am I?”
“Part of history. It’s different.”
“Close enough. Blankey, here I come!”
“Don’t touch it.”
“Or what?”
“You’ll have violated the spirit of history and achievement that is what has motivated humankind since it first bashed a rock against another rock and made a sharper rock which it used to kill an animal.”
“I thought the bulk of humanity’s nutrition since before its existence was from foraged vegetable matter, and that by and large both an obsession with snowballing technological prowess was a recent development that was largely portrayed as inevitable and innate human nature, as is the case with all traits of a given society when said society cares to reflect upon them. Which they never do.”
“Very stirring.”
“I came up with that on year six.”
“Don’t touch the flag.”
“Oh, fine. Is there anywhere in particular you’d like me to die?”
“Either in the lander in bed, so we don’t have to look at you in the textbooks, or heroically posed next to the flag, so we can feel stirring pride.”
“Sure. Salute or wave?”
“I’m waving and you can’t stop me.”

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