Taps for Earthlings, Part 2

Me
How did I get here? Excuse me mister, how did I get here?
Stranger
I don’t know.
Me
I can’t take time for pleasure trips.
Stranger
Don’t ask; I may have been murdered.
Me
You mean we’re dead?
Stranger
Don’t ask me. Ouch! I don’t think we’re dead, after all. That much I can tell you. You’re standin’ on my toe!
Me
Some of those people complained they had families to take care of, others about leaving their businesses. And they all went quiet when a man climbed up on a big platform in front.
Sam
Politician? 
Me
No, it was a very tall and dignified alien and he had formal clothes and a white beard, like the chief mourner at a politician’s funeral.
Tall Guy
Welcome to you all. If you were here and listening carefully to this orientation lecture you will know where you are and why.
Me
What is it?  
Stranger
It’s a pitch!
Tall Guy
I know you are puzzled at all this, now let me explain. You’ve been chosen, yes, carefully screened and selected to help us in what is undoubtedly the greatest cause of all human history. You will learn more about it as we work together in this vast and noble experiment.
Me
Experiment? I don’t like the sound of that.
Sam
What was it?
Boss Tunney
These guys out for something? Smells like a con.
Tall Guy
Now you know that the universe contains billions of stars and typically stars are encircled by planets, and we find a good many of these planets are inhabited. In almost all instances the dominant form of life is quite different.
Me
I knew it; they are among us!
Tall Guy
But ours is very different from yours. I am NOT of your planet or solar system. I am not as you see me; my true appearance would seem to be rather confusing to human eyesight.
Sam
Get to the point.
Me
He was trying to!
Tall Guy
Truth is we are not “here” and neither are you. Here is a projection of a hypothetical point in space, a place that exists only by mental force. Actually our bodies are on our own respective planets.
Boss Tunney
What was he saying? What did he mean?
Sam
Wait, they always give the convincer after the build-up.
Me
It’s not a con!
Tall Guy
For many centuries we’ve explored the universe physically and telepathically and during this we discovered your planet. We tried to establish communication, but difficulties arose.
Stranger
I’m not getting’ it. Where am I?
Tall Guy
Last time it was the era of your dark ages; and I’m sorry to report that those people we did make contact with were generally burned at the stake.
Sam
Here it comes. He’s getting ready to slip us the sting.
Me
I don’t think you want to say a thing like that about a fine decent gentleman. He sincerely wants to help preserve cultures.
Tall Guy
Your so-called leaders have doomed the human race. The history of your race is a record of incessant wars, each more devastating than the last.
Sam
Typical “repent and join us” pitch.
Tall Guy
And now finally man has tamed the power of worldwide destruction; the next war or the one after that will unquestionably be the end, not only of civilization but of humanity.
Sam
So they’re saying “join us instead,” eh?
Boss Tunney
I can feel his hand in my pocket now!
Me
They’ve never mentioned money.
Tall Guy
Then why have we brought you here? Because man, in spite of his suicidal blunders, is a magnificent race! He must not vanish without leaving a complete record of his achievements. This is our joint task.
Sam
Did you join up?
Me
Certainly not, at that point, but it turns out it’s legitimate!
Tall Guy
Each of you has a skill, a talent, a special knowledge we need for the immense record we’re compiling.  We must cover every area of human society in making our record. Your data will become part of an imperishable social document!
Sam
Boy he had a slick con! I’ll bet he had that crowd in the palm of his hand.
Boss Tunney
I once saw a guy sellin’ pearl necklaces on Sixth Avenue who worked the same way.
Me
No! True, we all cheered; we were all flattered to think we were joining in this vast project to make a record of the human race, just in case.
Sam
What happened then?
Me
After a while they asked us to break up into divisions. They suggested I visit a building marked Sports and Rackets. They took my name and my occupation, like I was applying for unemployment insurance.
Alien Two
Now here’s our problem, Mr. Locke, we’re making two kinds of perpetual records. One is written precisely on microchips. The other is a wonderfully exact duplicate of your cerebral pattern, preserved in more durable material than brain matter.
Me
Of course, of course.
Alien Two
The substance we use in place of brain cells absorbs memory quite slowly. But you’ll be happy to know the impression, once made, can never be lost or erased.
Me
That idea tickles me, to be honest.
Alien Two
I knew it would be so. Well, let’s proceed, shall we? First a basic description of this baseball specialty, please.
Me
I started telling him about advanced metrics in baseball, beginning in one sentence I had to repeat so they could record it. They projected a picture of my body back on earth, just repeating that sentence.
Alien Two
Well that’s enough for the day! Isn’t it amazing we have a more detailed record of human society than man himself ever had? Your life. . .  
Me
My life?
Alien Two
and the life of this girl, Elena, whom you came here to rescue, are trivial. For we must all die eventually, but the project, the project will last eternally.
Me
You’re telling me you know what I’m here for?
Alien Two
To secure the return of your wife! I would naturally be aware that you’d submitted yourself to our control voluntarily, because it was in your file sent to me by admissions.
Me
And why did you let me in?
Alien Two
We admitted you because we approve the ‘friend’ pitch.
Me
I’m here on business.
Alien Two
As you wish. We ‘let you in’ because you have knowledge that we should archive. We had hoped you’d recognize the importance of it. Most people do recognize it once they’re told!
Me
Yes I see that, Elena.  
Alien Two
Oh yes, yes. Elena’s extremely cooperative, quite convinced! Would you like to see her?
Me
Yeah, sure I would!
Alien Two
Well that can be arranged!
Me
Now!
Alien Two
I’ll call the Arts and Entertainment section and arrange an instant meeting.
Me
Elena! Elena, baby!
Elena
Clark! Give me a kiss!
Me
You bet! But let’s get out of here!

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