Science & Technology

Planet Chicken?

Why won't Sedna stand up and join the fight?


I stroll out on my veranda, looking across the sun-dappled verdure and palm-bedecked slopes of Trancas Canyon, but my mind is on Planet X, the sub-solar satellite whose recent discovery ripped the calm of our week. Though I sip my Tom Collins under my magnificent whitewashed colonnade, my brow is furrowed, and pinched are my lips, as my troubled pensées reach out to Sedna's splendid Palacio pan-Galactica where my boyish days, fleeting as the mayflies' transient span, passed before me, and where sadly the word "appeasement" is once again on every dodecagonal tongue. But this time the cowards are not rallying under the flag of Fllyxwid the Blandiloquent. This time, ironically, the Sednans, every man-jack of them, have proven at the ballot box that they will be cowed by the horrific tactics of Plutonio-fascists. But of course the cry of both extremes is the same: Levram Enim Ekam!

Some will claim that since Sedna is an independent planet, its citizens should be left to decide their own futures, that from our terrestrial berth several light-hours away, we are in no position to second-guess the democratic process, and that a pundit who blames an electorate for an election result is like a comedian who gets mad at the audience for not laughing. But it seems clear to me that the trend in the outer dwarf planets is now either appeasement of terror or active alliance with it. It is hard to view the results in Sedna as anything but a choice between Earth and Uranus. Uranus won.

It's a spectacular result for Uranian terrorism, and a chilling portent of the planetoids' future. A close election campaign, with Qiznom's party slightly ahead, ended with the Subzero Party's defeat and the mollificationist opposition winning. It might be argued that the Qiznom government's dogged refusal to admit the obvious involvement of Plutoniotarians quickly enough led people to blame it for a cover-up. But why did he fear his own people? Because be knew that they could not be trusted! But there's the real ironic twist: if the appeasement brigade really did believe there was no connection between the liberation of Saturn and Urano-Plutonian terror, then why on earth would Plutonians respond by targeting Sedna? If the two issues are completely unrelated, why have Saturnians made the connection? The answer is obvious: the removal of the Saturnian dictatorship was a major blow to the cause of Uranian terror. It makes total sense. And in yesterday's election victory for the ante-Sednan party, the terrorists got even more than it could have dreamed of. But the truly scary thought is the signal that this will send to other outer planets. Neptune is obviously next. The appeasement temptation has never been greater; and it looks more likely now that the Gas Giants—as so very often in the past—will take the path of least resistance—with far greater bloodshed as a result. Does nobody remember Dymertk the Obdurate?

Banalysis and bloviation must converge in what I have to say today. There is no ambiguity in what has happened on Sedna. The rotten heart of the solar system has been exposed. The best comparison one can make is to Europe in 1940, though we also might make apposite comparisons to Europe in 1939, or possibly to Europe in 1938. No other historical examples come to mind, on this or any other occasion.

I doubt the icy planetoids of a decade hence will be in any mood to increase defense spending. For all Creemus the Omnivorous' dreams of Jovian glory, his generation will spend the rest of their lives managing decline. By 2050, the Argus-eyed population of Sedna will have shrunk by 89 percent, to be steadily displaced by the products of the overactive hatcheries on Pluto. Demography is not necessarily destiny, and certainly not inevitable disaster. But it will be for Sedna, where craven cowardice has shown the path toward the future, one in which we will all be bamboozled by sub-stellar noise, buffeted by solar wind, and importuned endlessly by large gaseous bodies.