April 30th, 2012 It was a large rock. It was blue and rich in diversity. It had a single satellite.

Teeth and claws were rulers of this world. The planet had been scandalized since its inception. The food chain ran wild. There was too much bloodletting. Intelligence was sparse. Yes, it was true. But that didn’t stop visitors from visiting. A marbled, ovate spaceship touched down on the planet’s leafy surface. A corrugated hatch peeled back. Tall, bipedal creatures disembarked. Fear not. The visitors were alien excavators. Treasure hunters. Seek and you shall find. The aliens knew it as the truth. They had searched the cosmos for the ultimate treasure. A device that could tow

galaxies across vast voids, the aliens found it. God’s portrait, in a museum. Tonight, on an inauspicious, out-of-the-way world, the treasure hunters thought they had hit the mother-lode. In a moment’s time, they would possess it. The alien blended into its surroundings. Its colors were variegated and tropic. Nearby animals hadn’t detected it yet. Perfect. Its communication device chirped. Not so perfect. The alien swore under its breath. Still swearing, it answered, “Yes?” A voice, monotonous and raspy, said, “We found it, Lockjaw! We found it! We found—!” Lockjaw canceled the call. It smiled despite itself. Good, it thought. Now we can get off this godforsaken planet. Lockjaw followed the trail to its awaiting party. It cut through thick, swampy foliage. Rivulets of sweat poured down its face. Excitement wracked its nerves. Bending low, it moved under a downed tree. It stepped into a clearing. The prize was held; the treasure unearthed. It was a rusted canister of some sort. This was important. The contents of the canister were

why Lockjaw and its companions had traveled a billion parsecs. The language on the canister was foreign and opaque with dirt. Lockjaw was the leader of the group. The canister was given to the leader. Lockjaw wiped off the clots of dirt. As for the language, Lockjaw used its recalcitrant interpreter. There was one word on the canister. The word was HUMANITY. The End

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