Chapter 2: Googorn, Planet of Data
The engine of the death machine behind them revved. The trio of interplanetary adventurers turned around and got stared in the face by a large, reinforced steel grille that seemed designed specifically for ramming. The headlights glared into their eyes, despite the fact that it was broad daylight and that the headlights were really not showing up well in all the light. The car itself was a giant, easily ten feet high. It was conspicuously missing a top, although this seemed deliberate. At the top, one could just barely make out a figure wearing a Mushroomer cap that was spotted red. The engine finally shut off, ending the fuel-wasting fury. As it turns out, for the ten seconds that it was on and in the field of view of Turn, Ludwig and Iggy, fifteen gallons of fuel were used up, or the equivalent of about thirty U.S. dollars on that quaint, often-referenced planet, Earth. Luckily for the owner of this car, the current fuel rate of the universe for his fuel was about three hundred gallons for a single gold coin, which was altogether rather nice. A rope ladder was dropped down over the side, and amazingly, Toad Fungi climbed down.
“AAAH! What are you two doing here?” Toad yelled in his annoying, high-pitched voice.
“Umm… that’s a good question,” Iggy said, “but, umm, before I kick that annoying cap off of your head, tell me what you’re doing here,”
“Yeah right,” Ludwig said, “you haven’t won a fight since you were six, and that was against Wendy.”
“Hey, hey, no stealing jokes from Bruce Almighty. And you still haven’t answered my question.”
“Well, I found this car parked in the Peach’s Castle parking lot, and as soon as I climbed in, it took off in auto-pilot to here, for some reason. I saw all these metal things, and I started the engine and ran them all over for the sheer fun of it all,” Toad said. The Tower of Foreknowledge behind him suddenly rumbled with a deep, dark tremble and the huge tower next to it spit out a legion of robots. The thoughts of the Tower of Foreknowledge, which as it happens programmed itself into a male gender, went something like this:
Who is this guy? He’s running over all my robots. I suppose I should send out more to stop him. Wait! In the future, he will just run them all over. Nevertheless, my experience has taught me that numbers dominate all, so I’ll just keep sending them out. Let’s see… after he kills them, three travelers in a rather odd and imaginative ship will come in, and step out. They’ll trade some words, and then they’ll run over all the robots again. Hmm… I'd better tremble just to get some fear in their blood. Wait… the one with the blue growths on his head… I think he’ll be instrumental to the plot… I better get the 1/100000ths of my computing power that I used to see 34983749 years into the future back to computing why man exists, and what the afterlife is.
Toad, Turn, Ludwig, and Iggy all climbed into the car, which had a large panel labeled “Weapons”. Toad started the engine again, and set off with a fury that would have inspired Stephen King to write about a possessed car had he been there, which he was not. Toad, as it turns out, was rather brave when he was in the driver’s seat of a car that would have made a Humvee whimper. He activated the weapons, armed the Gamma missiles, and aimed at the center of the huge armies of manufacturing robots. This whole time, Ludwig was trying to plot how to nail Toad so that King Dad wouldn’t have to worry about him. He decided to wait until after Toad didn’t have quite so much power, even if Ludwig was in the car Toad was in.
“Don’t press that!” Turn shouted, “That’s labeled ‘Antimatter Missile'! It would destroy everything!” Toad hesitated, then pressed the button. A missile about the size of a sofa shot out of the car, and missed spectacularly and hit the side of one of the towers, incidentally the tower that showed on the car’s sensors as the Tower of Irreplaceable Literature (not backed up). The positively charged electrons, or positrons, hit the normal negatively charged electrons, which then cancelled each other out in the equation E=mc2 so that the amount of heat energy they produced was the result of the mass of the positrons (one pound) times the speed of light squared. This basically resulted in an explosion that would have made Hiroshima hide in a corner and suck its thumb. Luckily, most of the towers were protected against this sort of explosion, which otherwise would have blown off about a quarter of the planet. The Tower of Irreplaceable Literature was, unfortunately, destroyed. The car they were in almost met the same fate, but they drove around behind one of the other towers, so that all they got was a bad case of smoke inhalation and a bruise on the shin. Toad drove the car out from behind the tower and ran straight into the Tower of Foreknowledge. They looked up, and the Tower of Foreknowledge opened up a link with their computer radio. Being extremely intelligent, the Tower of Foreknowledge already knew their language.
“Welcome to Googorn. I trust your welcome was adequate. I already know your names, as well as why you were attacking the robots, how the Tower of Irreplaceable Literature will be fixed, and what cold cut you like best.”
“Okay, this thing is freaking me out,” Toad said as he reached for the button labeled 'Overkill', “We might as well just—“
“No! This tower might be able to assist us! Since when did you get so fearless anyway?” Ludwig asked.
“Once I know I can beat everything, I get a lot more confidence. Anyway, I still think we should smash him,”
“Well, first off, that’s the most intelligent object in the known universe, and secondly, it may know where my watch is,” Turn told them.
“Actually, I not only know where your watch is, I can lead you to the place where everything else alive on this planet is.”
“Excellent. Let’s go.” The tower took over the car’s driving system and drove them over to a really, really small camp of about 32 people. Oddly enough, there was a rock outside the camp with some moss on it. The plaque next to it said 'The First Life on Googorn'. Inside the camp was yet another thing that the three could add to the list of things that they saw today that was odd, strange, or in some way relating to not usual. The camp was populated by the humanoids from Orion. However, those humanoids happened to look, behave, and think exactly like the most important people on Plit. For all practical intents and purposes, they were the inhabitants of Plit on Googorn.
“What’s going on here?” Iggy asked incredulously. Toad peered at the readouts that said they were from Orion, then turned it upside down. The symbol for the different planets had been turned upside down. They were, in fact, from Plit after all. When the scientists working on a new continent for Plit got bored, they decided to clone a few people for kicks. As it happened, they had finished the 32nd person from small skin samples taken in their sleep when the whole machine fried, coughed out a little smoke, and somehow overcame all physical boundaries and laws and instantaneously transported them to Googorn, which luckily for them, had an oxygen atmosphere. Having the same minds and beliefs as the originals, they soon began to lead a semi-normal life. Larry, when he was bored, found a piece of moss on a rock and recognized it as the first life on the planet. The 32, which consisted of a smattering of Koopas, including all the Koopalings, a smattering of Mushroomers, including the Mario Bros, and a smattering of other characters who called themselves 'Tourists', which lived, believe it or not, in surprising peace. There was still the occasional kidnapping, and the three groups lived apart from one another, but they still lived rather happily. Iggy and Ludwig, however, currently had to contend with not only their clones but also a very confused rest of the camp. Iggy and Ludwig managed to explain to their clones what had happened, and all seemed peaceful until the two walked over to the Mushroomers’ side.
“Koopalings!” Peach screamed in abject terror, as the Mario Bros. defeated the Koopalings again, as they had done back on Plit. The two walked back to the other camp tired and defeated, as Turn mingled with the Tourist group.
“Yes, I knew Mario for a while. Pretty odd, and a little cheese crazy. However, you should see this hedgehog I once saw—“ was what Turn was listening to over a nice cup of instant coffee, which they had brought with them. The speaker was a blue Lakitu who called himself Miles Thumbs Power (call me Thumbs, he had said), and came off as a decent guy overall. Thumbs walked over to the new Iggy and Ludwig, shook their hand, and offered them a spot in a gameshow he was hosting, which Ludwig and Iggy both said they had been in before. Thumbs walked away, grabbing another packet of instant coffee as he walked.
It was a constant worry in the camp that the instant coffee would some day run out. It could happen at any day, without warning. They would open the crate, and see nothing but an empty box. To combat this horrible disaster, they were not only trying to cultivate instant coffee on their own, but they sold kits for the disaster and had occasional coffee shortage drills, where they would all start to go under a table, then think better of it and scream like ninnies. Their entire culture on Googorn revolved around the instant coffee, which they made using the water in a well that they dug. They had brought it along with them to Googorn. A certain Yellow Yoshi in the Tourist camp had been lying in a pile of instant coffee crates when she had been transported to Googorn, which therefore came with her. She was, essentially, largely responsible for the nectar of the gods, as the Mushroomers put it. Ludwig (the cloned one) had once come up with a theory that perhaps the instant coffee combined with the smoke of the cloning device caused a rift in space-time to open up, hopelessly biased towards space, and sucked them all into the rift coming back out in Googorn. Ludwig was thrown into the rudimentary “dungeon” (a tent with the flap sewn shut) for three days for even doubting the gift of the gods’ importance. And so it was that the instant coffee remained, always worrying the clones about when it would run out. The Tower of Foreknowledge, as a matter of fact, wasn’t armored until he saw simultaneously the antimatter missile. A year after that, the dreaded (though it wasn’t dreaded yet) Coffee Wars, in which all of the living organisms reprogrammed the robots to become armies and battle each other for the instant coffee that remained, raged on. The battles would have decimated all of Googorn had the tower not armored all of the towers, though for the Tower of Irreplaceable Literature he had to go cheaper. The Coffee Wars, however, were still far away, and our three heroes had all of the instant coffee they wanted. Soon, however, it was night, and the caffeine-hopped people settled down for yet another sleepless night partying and dancing. On this particular planet, the people had not slept for the last three months, which was how long they had been there. They drank coffee all day, then partied during the night. Once that had worn off, they drank some more coffee. Sleep was an enigma to them. The original Ludwig, however, took the clone aside to tell him a few things, namely what had been on his mind ever since he had been sent without ceremony into the universe at large.
“And so, I’m trying to figure out what this power that I have is,” Ludwig finished to his clone. Both of them were sitting outside the camp on a small hill, looking at the towers.
“Hmm… interesting…” the clone replied, “but useless.”
“Well, think about it,” the clone explained, “If you got by all these years without this power, then obviously you must not need it.”
“Perhaps, but it is possible that I have been using it all this time. In any case, for the scientific community, I will find out what this power is! I’ll go to the ends of Plit if I have to! That would be nice if I could do that, since I’m stranded out here in the universe.”
“Don’t worry yourself,” the clone assured, “it’s probably something worthless anyway, like being able to make your tongue into a U.” The clone did so. “People love that. Anyway, since this whole thing is a Douglas Adams parody, it’s probably something like that,”
“It’s a what?”
“Er, never mind.” What Ludwig didn’t know was that his clone had been created with a slightly different personality from him, somewhat like the butterfly effect in Universe #32. When the scientists had moved, a piece of thread from a labcoat fell off and went into the machine, which slightly flawed the cloning. The result was that the clone had a more worldly-wise attitude about things. The whole thing doesn’t matter, however, since the week after our three heroes forgot all about the camp on Googorn. But first, they needed to get some coffee.
It was a bright morning on Googorn as the three heroes started to leave the camp. Ludwig had insisted that they visit the Tower of Foreknowledge, which could probably tell them what, if any, powers he had. They were about to leave when Bowser ordered a full-scale kidnapping. Everything on his side that had a pulse moved in to try and kidnap Princess Peach Toadstool. Bowser immediately stormed the Royal Tent, and Mario was unable to stop him. Iggy and Ludwig decided unanimously that they should join the fight, while Turn made his way over to the car that Toad had driven. Iggy and Ludwig both leapt into the fray, and soon had to contend with Mario and Luigi. This time, however, Bowser decided to allow them to gang up on the Bros.
“Now, this is all purely experimental,” Bowser explained, “I’m guessing that this won’t work, and we’ll go back to the tried-and-true method of attacking one at a time.” Little did Bowser know that he had finally come up with a working tactic. The Koopalings actually defeated the Mario Bros, although some argue this was because they had two extra members. They took both of the Bros. inside their tent, and tied them securely to a post in the center of the tent. They then sewed the tent shut, kidnapped the princess, and then were at a loss. They had never actually gotten this far before. Clawdia suggested that they treat Peach to a dinner, which they did. Bowser had completely forgotten what, exactly, he had wanted Peach for in the first place. None of the Koopalings knew, since by the time he had had them it was years after his first attempt. Being the stubborn Koopa that he was, he had not given up trying, to the point of forgetting what it was that he wanted. Meanwhile, inside the tent, the Mario Bros. would have simply gotten free, as the Koopas had tied the rope with a slipknot, were it not for two things. One, the tent flap was sewn shut, and after three months of living in tents, they had come to regard tent fabric as walls, with all the durability of walls as well. Secondly, Mario refused to leave without a decent meal, which was rather difficult to find in the tent.
“Cook her into a pie?” Wendy suggested back in the room with Peach.
“No, that wasn’t what I wanted,” Bowser said.
“Hold her for ransom?” the real Iggy suggested tentatively.
“Hmm… that just may be crazy enough to work!” Bowser shouted. He proceeded to ask for ten million coins as a ransom for Peach’s save return. Unfortunately for both sides, there was not a single coin on the entire planet. Bowser thought for a minute, then decided on ten crates of instant coffee as ransom. The Koopalings, particularly the ones that had been in space, berated Bowser, but he got his coffee, and the Mushroomers got Peach.
“Good work, King Dad,” Lemmy said sarcastically, “Now what do we do with the Mario Bros?”
“Hmm… good point… I suppose we could destroy them once and for all!” Bowser laughed as he sipped coffee, which is a very difficult thing to do without squirting coffee everywhere, but he was a coffee expert. The Koopas liked his idea, but like the previous one, it didn’t work practically. They had no methods of killing the Mario Bros. They tried fire, stomping, and any other way they could without weapons. The only thing all that destroyed was the tent. Mario, however, still wouldn’t leave without a meal, and started holding his breath. Luigi walked away, exasperated, leaving Mario there with his face turning all sorts of delightful colors. And so it was that Bowser’s only successful kidnapping ended in complete and total failure.
“I can’t believe the one time you do it right, King Dad, you mess it up. I mean, ten crates of COFFEE?!” Is that all you can come up with?” Larry screamed.
“It’s the closest thing to currency we’ve got here on Googorn,” Bowser explained sheepishly as he drew some more water from the well. The real Koopalings shook their heads and walked over to Toad’s car, which Toad would drive to the Tower of Foreknowledge. After a few hair-raising minutes of Toad’s rather bad driving (one’s driving skills decrease dramatically when you have to rely on some old planks to reach the pedals), they reached the Tower.
“Why have you come to me again?” the Tower asked in its deep, mechanical rumble. “No, wait, I already know. There are two questions that you will ask of me. One is where that car came from, to be asked by the fungus. The answer is from a space station in orbit around Earth. In Earth years it is from 2599 A.D. It has gone through a space-time rift, much as your watch supposedly did, Mr. Strat. Speaking of which, your watch is in your left pocket in your dressing gown in The Imagination’s bathroom. I already know you were about to say that you must have been drunk when you lost it. And Ludwig von, I too know the answer that which you ask.”
“You do?” Ludwig asked, impressed by the Tower’s foreknowledge, which, as you have seen, was never asked a question in all its existence, until now, when this blue-haired kid just had the nerve to do so. It was not that nobody ever linked to its communications frequency, it’s just that it knew the questions and thus gave people the answers to the questions before they asked it. It is rather lucky that the only inhabitants of Googorn have never actually met the Tower, save for Toad, who, by the way, is not a clone. If one looks carefully through this self-referential tale of epic proportions, one will find that Toad got to Googorn by space travel, not proton reconstitution. The scientists carefully researched the Royal Mushroom castle and concluded that Toad was not important, and seemed to be a mindless slave to Peach’s will.
This is not entirely inaccurate.
Meanwhile, the Tower of Foreknowledge was answering Ludwig’s question. It did so with a certain resentfulness, as it knew it had just been asked a question for the first time in its entire existence, which was about two million years and fifty three days. The Tower had also calculated how many nanoseconds it had existed using a tiny decimal that, had we printed it here in this story, would take up the next two hundred trillion pages with zeros, followed by a one. That tiny decimal represented the percent of its computing power that it had used. Anyway, it is lucky that the inhabitants did not find out about the Tower, because every single civilization that contacts the Tower almost immediately collapses from a broken economy. This is because with the Tower, consumers can predict movies and see if they are any good, which means movies that are only fair are avoided. These movies make up a large percentage of the movie population, which means that the movie industry sinks. People also look at future technology. It was in this method that the world of Ursa Minor Gamma went from technology similar to the kind on Earth in about 1931 to technology similar to that on Earth in 2999. Having accidentally contacted the Tower through a radio channel, they made spectacular technology leaps, created huge amounts of greenhouse gases, and all broiled from the sun’s rays since they didn’t consult the Tower on pollution. Anyway, the Tower answered Ludwig’s question.
“That was your question, was it not? It was ‘You do?’ I answered your question.”
“Umm, the question I was going to ask was—“
“Ah yes, your special powers.”
“Figure it out? Perhaps.” The Tower was excited. This was the first time it had to use all its computing power. It tore itself away from calculating pi (which, as it turns out, terminates at the twenty quintillionth digit, and therefore is not irrational, as everyone thought it was) and attempted to figure out Ludwig’s special powers.
“Do it?” There was a long silence.
“Cannot.” Ludwig slumped hopelessly in his seat. The Tower was doing the same thing digitally. This was the one problem he could not figure out. “Give me a little time, and I will probably figure out your powers,” it said.
“Time? About 34.8 years.” Ludwig sunk deeper into his seat. “You can, however, find out faster by going to the planet known as Reescalph X, which is a highly religious planet that may be able to help you. Its spatial coordinates are 45, 345. You should go during the present, which would be now. You are welcome.” The Tower’s communications cut out abruptly, which ended the whole thing on a very confusing note. The three heroes walked into The Imagination confused and tired, got in their seats (though not before Turn grabbed his watch) and started the computer. After a little of forcing it to play video games (which, according to parents everywhere, dull the imagination), they took off. They had just reached critical imagination levels so that they could take off at ten times the speed of light when three things happened at once. First, Matt got his imagination back quickly and a drooling goblin appeared in the room, which dispersed into pseudo-particles when Turn punched it in the face. Second, the faucet in the bathroom dripped a single drop of water. Thirdly, all the Koopaling clones, minus Iggy and Ludwig, appeared on The Imagination’s monitor.
“Okay, what are you five doing on this radio communications doohickey?” Iggy asked.
“Well, we saw your ship just before you boarded it, stole a handheld radio thing, and ran away. The only thing on the speed dial was this ship, so we just called you guys. Oh yeah, and Iggy and Ludwig aren’t here, since they decided not to burden us with all the confusion,” Larry said.
“Um, where is the ship headed, anyway?” Lemmy queried nervously.
“Reescalph X,” Turn said.
“Somewhere in the Andromeda galaxy.” The Koopalings were rather impressed with this, even though they had absolutely no idea where the Andromeda galaxy was. In reality, it was only a couple million light years away from Plit. Since imagination travels only ten times faster than light, it would take about a couple hundred thousand years to get there normally.
The Imagination is a really neat ship, as the grand Czar of Indioto said once, when it was first unveiled. How Turn acquired this ship is still a mystery, as it was the product of years of government research and Turn got to the planet where it was unveiled in his star bicycle. Luckily, he was living on a planet in the same system. Whenever asked, he usually mutters something about Graniatian police and grand theft starship, and changes the subject. What many people don’t know is that he modified it heavily from what it first was. He gave it a new paint job, picked up a vending machine, added a few extra rooms and furniture, and other things largely relating to the interior. The only exterior change that he made was to put in a Space-o-tron™ Plasma Drive, which he thought he would never use, since imagination was so fast, but he decided he could use it in case of emergency. Since he normally stayed around Sector 3, he never needed to use it, but he experimented once and found that if he turned on the Plasma Drive and the imagination drive at the same time, he got to the other side of the galaxy in less then thirty minutes.
Given the distance he currently had to cross, he just needed about two hours.
The Koopalings heard this after Ludwig brought up the problem addressed before, and were much impressed, even more so than when he told them about the Andromeda galaxy. Turn dug around in the sofa seat cushions until he found a Space-o-tron™ Holo-Projector, similar to what the Koopalings had. Turn gave them the number of the projector, and the Koopalings communicated through that to them. It was a couple more hours before they reached Reescalph X and stepped onto the alien soil with naught but the clothes on their backs, the projector, and a jar of instant coffee.
Instant coffee is important not just to the inhabitants of Googorn, but most of the known universe. There are few fully-grown humanoid creatures that can get up in the morning without coffee. Natural-brewed coffee is better tasting, but instant coffee has the advantage of being easy to create, needing only a few pints of water to turn the whole jar into a wonderful, caffeine-filled brew. It is therefore recommended by the members of LLF to always carry a jar of instant coffee whenever you go somewhere unknown. The webmaster himself is completely unaware of most of the conversations referenced to in this story, as the other admin had been the one to create the secret forum on it that is reserved for those who have achieved interstellar contact. Hence, this secret board is filled with all sorts of helpful advice for interstellar travel.
So, the point of this is, if you’re going anywhere where you don’t know what to expect a jar of instant coffee is a good thing to bring.
The three stepped out of The Imagination and onto the soil of Reescalph X, and were immediately greeted by the sight of several large religious temples, all of them looking slightly similar. This seemed to indicate that they all worshipped the same religion.
“Woah, nice, excellent, good buildings, temples, places of—“ Morton started, until he was suddenly stopped by a gray sock to the mouth by Roy.
“Yeah, great temples, what’s in them?” Roy asked impatiently. The trio walked inside the temple and saw a largish, church-like structure, with rows of pews and a large banner that said 'Praise Tim'!
“Who’s Tim?” Lemmy asked.
“He is a great deity far beyond your comprehension,” a frail old voice behind them said. This caused quite a stir in the ranks of our heroes. They whipped around and saw a frail old man in tye-dye robes that nicely complemented the frail old voice. He was perfectly normal except that he had an extra nostril and an extra left arm.
“Better question: who are you?”
“There are some who call me…”
“Your name is Fred?”
“Yes. And you are standing in hallowed ground. This is the temple of the greatest deity in all of time: Tim!”
“Not very creative with the names, are we?” Iggy said. In truth, these were all sacred names given to them by the great Tim.
“Shut up. And I believe that you have come for the answer that you seek so boldly.”
“How’d you know?” Ludwig asked.
“Nobody ever comes here to worship, so the only explanation is you’ve got a question.”
“Well, yeah. Do you know what my secret power is?” Fred thought for a long, long time. He pondered, he used his noodle, and he meditated. He put books on his head. He didn’t even eat. All this time, Iggy and Ludwig fell asleep and Turn played with a ring tone on the projector. Finally, Fred spoke.
“After intense pondering, I must say, the answer is…”
“Beats me. Maybe you should ask the great Tim!” he said with much fanfare and trumpeting. Had this been a movie, there would have been a great blast of holy light right then. There wasn’t. Instead, there was a slight breeze that ruffled the 'Praise Tim' banner.
“A sign from the heavens!” Fred bellowed, apparently unaware of the wind that had just struck up.
“Could you stop bellowing?” Iggy asked.
“No!” Fred yelled at the top of his lungs. “Consult Tim on your predicament, and the holy answers of the world will be revealed!”
“Have you guys figured out the meaning of life through this praying deal?” Wendy asked.
“What is it?”
“Instant coffee is the reason we are all here. That, and smoked halibut. For if we had not been created by the great Tim, we would not have invented those delectable dishes!”
“Speaking of instant coffee, I’ll give you this jar of the stuff if you’ll stop bellowing,” Turn announced. It was a shameless bribe, but Fred eagerly accepted the offer and took the coffee. After “brewing” a cup, he explained to them in a shaky, hyper voice how to pray to Tim.
“You know, I’m more of a Familikoopa type,” Iggy said.
“Foolish mortal!” Fred started bellowing again, this time even louder. “Tim will not stand for these false gods! You will bow down to Tim, or you will perish!”
“Fine, fine, we’ll try it.” Praying to Tim basically involved taking a sip of instant coffee, which made you all hyper and unable to sit still, then sitting still for an hour. After an hour, they had a little smoked halibut, and then sat down again. They just sat there in the ceremonial tye-dye robes, waiting for a sudden burst of inspiration and meaning, which would then be interpreted as a sign from Tim. After three hours, Iggy began to get an itch in his nose. He decided to quit after he got hungry. It was another two days before Ludwig decided that this wasn’t working. Fred bellowed a little, and called them all nonbelievers, but Turn told him to shut up and they all walked out of the temple.
“So what now?” Turn asked, not really caring where they went. This little adventure of theirs was becoming quite fun. Life, to put it in his words, stood a chance of becoming extremely groovy. Ludwig decided to go to the next temple. It took another week of this for Ludwig to realize that Tim may just be a load of bookworm’s intestines. After this, they all piled into The Imagination and took off into outer space.
“Where now?” Iggy asked, somewhat bitterly. It wasn’t fair. Here he was, just a normal Koopa, when some hotshot guy bursts through the window and says that Ludwig has all these special powers. He was just being dragged along for the ride. What’s more, he would have been perfectly happy just living on Googorn for a year, but Turn said he didn’t know if he could get back to Googorn when the year was up. There was a good vending machine on The Imagination, though. Pretty good snacks. Ludwig said they should try to find a planet with a super-intelligent race. Iggy suggested they take a vacation. Turn thought this was a better idea and set the course for the famous planet of Earth.
Earth draws a lot of parallels to Plit, but is remarkably different in that the dominant race is humans. This does not mean, however, that humans are the fastest, strongest, or even the most intelligent (although they like to think they are). They simply are the best at polluting and killing off all the other species. This worries a small percentage of them, but that percentage doesn’t realize that oftentimes they are the ones contributing to the pollution. Anyway, they think they are the most intelligent. This is almost laughably untrue. They point the evidence to brain size. In some of the same laboratories where the brain size was measured, they have proved that human brain size does not contribute to intelligence. They believe they are the most intelligent race, but they are really getting their leg pulled by a race known only as cats.
Cats are perhaps one of the most intelligent races ever discovered. They are so smart, they trick their human owners into providing shelter, food, and care for them for free. The humans call it 'company'. The cats call it 'free lunch'. The cats grow fat, lazy, and overweight, and the human owners just assume it’s what cats do. The cats would have established interstellar contact long ago, but they really don’t want to get up and build a radio. Some cats, which are slightly less smart and as such cannot get an owner, go to dark alleys at night and try to build radios. They build them largely in waste disposal containers called trashcans. They only fail because of an appalling lack of parts. Otherwise, we would all probably be extremely envious of these felines. As it is, it is only like this on Earth.
Turn, Ludwig and Iggy landed on Earth on the star bicycle, left the projector behind on the bike, then went to a small, secluded beach where nobody actually saw two large, walking turtles. Turn grabbed a picnic lunch in exchange for a jar of instant coffee (even on Earth, coffee is much coveted) and they sat on the beach, eating and sunning themselves. They then dressed Iggy and Ludwig up as humans (both of them looking like the guy on top of a golf trophy), then went to a premier beach resort in California. It’s amazing sometimes what a normal old Space-o-tron™ Holographic Disguise and a few old jeans can do. The only reason Turn had so many Space-o-tron™ products was because he once stumbled upon an old warehouse that had been inexplicably abandoned by the Space-o-tron™.
“This is the life,” Turn voiced out loud, drinking a Coke.
“Yes, I agree. By the way, what’s that black and white car doing heading straight at us?” Iggy asked. Within minutes, the three were sitting in a police station, trying to explain why they stole a couple of jeans right off the rack in a store.