Hey Space Bloggers!
Welcome back for the merry (I hope) conclusion to the D12’s tale of woe, The Very Lonely Planet. When we left D12 he was thinking rather unpleasant thoughts about the intrepid space explores (actually, he called them ‘parasites’) from his little sibling Earth. (That would be us.) He called us ‘impertinent’ just because we visited some of his siblings, being, you know, intrepid space explorers. And he tried his best to ignore us.
D12 turned his back as Earthlings first visited their own moon. Who cares, what goes on between a planet and its moon, D12 thought as he continued on his great circular journey. Except he had to admit it was shocking. Remarkable, really. Parasites from one planet jumping off and flying to another celestial body. It had never happened before in all the 5 billion years D12 had been watching. But still, it has nothing to do with me, D12 told himself.
He tried not to notice as the ‘parasites’ got more daring. 10, 15, 20, 50 times they blasted off his little blue and white brother, most often heading toward its moon, to be sure, but starting to swoop on past, out to the other rocky planets near the sun. First, they visited his little sister Venus. Well, that was no surprise. She and Earth had always been close.
Then of course, that brassy, upstart Mars. All rock and no air, thought D12 disdainfully. I’m much more interesting than that. But still, he didn’t much care about his small, rocky siblings always in the Mother’s bright light. But when those ‘parasites’ left the inner planets behind and flew straight through the asteroid belt to Jupiter—Well, that could not be ignored.
Jupiter is one of US, he thought. A BIG one. In fact the biggest. Was that it, he wondered. Was that why they went to all that trouble? And it really must be a lot of trouble, he had to admit, for those tiny, minuscule, insignificant creatures from Earth to overcome the tremendous force of gravity; And then to navigate huge distances, many times bigger than their own orbit, through the cold vastness of space. What must it be like to be visited by creatures who cared that much? D12 wanted to know.
So he watched. And he waited. And with every spin on his axis he checked to see what they would do next. He was watching when they traveled from Jupiter, to Saturn.
Ahh, yes, he thought. Of course they would want to see Saturn up close, with those rings. He had rings too. All the BIG ones did. But Saturn had R I N G S ! He had to admit that Saturn’s rings were truly spectacular. After seeing them, he worried, would they bother to come visit me? And for the first time in the eons since his birth, he questioned himself. Am I big enough, he wondered, or bright enough, or blue enough maybe, to interest the Earthlings (yes, he stopped calling them parasites).
He wondered, and again he waited. And finally, after many spins on his axis, he saw them leave Saturn. But where were they going? He wasn’t sure.
He had watched many rocks move through space and learned to judge their paths, but these Earthlings were different. They would fall through space like any other object, and then suddenly, with a burst of fire, veer off unexpectedly. Maybe, just maybe, this time… No. They went to Uranus. And his hopes fell. You see, they were nearly the same, D12 and his almost twin. After visiting him why would they want to go all the way on to D12? He was so much father out. Almost to the edge of the great black, emptiness. Almost beyond the reach of even the great Mother Sun.
But still he watched. He turned on his axis 1000 times, 1500 times, 1700 times. And then, finally, they came. They didn’t stop. Well, they couldn’t. But they took pictures. Lots of them. In fact, D12 realized to his utter amazement, they took 10,000 pictures of him and his moons. But what did they see. What did they think of him? He had to know. He listened ever so carefully. He sensed the electromagnetic waves that pulsed slowly and softly from the tiny ship. And then, for the first time in 5 billions years, he saw himself through the eye of another.
And Neptune glowed.