The Professor's residence is located in a private house in the suburbs of a large city, which is built on the site of the former Los Angeles. The majority of Boogeys live in large skyscrapers – hives. The aerocar lands on the platform in front of the house. The Professor hurries to invite his friends into the house. The house is very spacious. Boogeys’ taste in issues of comfort turns out similar to that of humans. The Professor's house could easily be mixed up with a human one – only with higher ceilings, larger rooms and bigger furniture.
Professor: Makkkke yourselves at home, my friends. (he points at a room that looks like a living room). You must be hungry? I'll feed you now.
The Professor goes into the next room.
Freeman: Gordon, do you trust this Professor? Maybe he brought us here to do experiments on us, like we do experiments with rabbits and rats?
Gordon: It doesn't seem like it… If he wanted to use us as expendable material, he'd have brought us here in cages. Like rats. Or do you think he's a humane butcher and decided to feed us before sticking some devices up our butts?
Freeman: Then what does he want from us?
At that moment, the Professor appears with two jars in his hands.
Professor: Here, friends. Here is some food for you. Help yourselves.
He gives each one of them a can and sits in a large armchair. Gordon takes the jar and starts to examine it. The can has an image of a beautiful woman with a bow on her head. But she is absolutely naked.
Gordon: Freeman, look, they put pornography on their canned food. Professor, what is this?
Professor: It's the best food for pet Humies… for people. It has everything that you need to be healthy and happy. Damn it, I'm talking like I’m in an ad. (he laughs) Our scientists have developed the ideal diet for you. It consists mainly of vegetables, amino acids, vitamins, dietary fiber, fiber, some fats.
Freeman sniffs the food and wants to pounce on it, but then realizes that he does not have a spoon.
Freeman: Professor, do you have utensils?
Professor: Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot! Usually Humies eat with their hands. But I have already come to learn that you are not entirely typical Humies.
A minute later, the scientists are silently devouring the food from the cans.
It is a bit challenging, since the utensils the Professor gave them are a bit too large for human hands. But at least there is more than enough food in the big cans. While they are eating, Professor examines Freeman’s smartphone attentively. In under 10 minutes the cans are already empty, and the scientists are full.
Gordon: Professor, can you please tell us, what isthis place we’ve ended up in?
Professor: I don’t even know where to start. Freeman, these numbers on your device stand for the date and time, right?
Freeman: Yes, you can see here – September 24th, 2020.
Professor: That’s inckkredible! That’s just inckkredible! (he throws the smartphone on the sofa and stares at the scientists)
Gordon: What, what is incredible?
Professor: It’s inckkkredible that by the old human ckkronology, it is the year 2424 now!
Gordon: How do you know that? And what does that mean – by the old human chronology?
Professor: I’ve been studying humans my whole life! I kkknow your history, the history of your society, your ckkustoms and many other things. What did you do in that Ckkalifornia of yours?
Gordon: We were developing teleportation technology.
Professor: And you got a time machine instead!
Gordon and Freeman look at each other.
Gordon: Are you saying that we’ve ended up in the future?
Professor: Exackktly! Apparently, something went wrong, and instead of traveling through space you traveled through time! This is just inckkredible! Without your smartphone and your unusual ckklothing, I’d never have believed you!
Freeman stares at the Professor with his mouth wide open.
Professor: And what is even more inckkredible is that you came right to me! Time travelers from the past came right to me! The universe brought you to me!
Freeman: It was not the universe that brought us to you, but rather one stupid, narcissistic idiot!
Gordon sits back on the huge sofa and begins to scrutinize something on the ceiling. There is a short pause.
Professor: Mmm… I thinkkk you may be interested to find out what exackktly happened to your civilization? I ckkan tell you.
Gordon remains seated in the same pose, and Freeman nods.
Professor: So, well… About 350 years ago, or, to be more precise, 354 years ago, our civilization found the Earth. We ckkall it something else, but I will use the human terms and names.
Professor: The planet turned out not to be inhabited with intelligent beings…
Gordon raises his head and looks at the Professor.
Professor: … in the sense that our civilization’s level of development appeared to be far higher than that of yours. At least the majority of my ckkomrades thought so. And that’s why we decided to settle down on this planet.
Freeman: Professor, tell us, why did your comrades decide that we were backward?
Professor: Well… that’s qkkuite a ckkomplicated qkkuestion. It’s not all so clear-cut. First of all, your techkknologies were much less elaborate than ours.
Freeman: Much less elaborate than yours? But we have nuclear energy and nuclear weapons! We have highly developed information technologies! We have lasers and nanoparticles and much more!
Professor: Yes, you are right, but none of that matters. Let me give you a ckkomparison. I studied your nature and animal world, the way it was before you destroyed it entirely. Anyway, at those times you had some kkkind of animals called monkkkeys. As I remember, they ckkould split fruit shells with stones. This ckkan also be ckkalled a techkknology. So – for us you were likkke those monkkkeys. And your languages were also qkkuite primitive.
Gordon changes his position and sits up straight.
Gordon: And what then?
Professor: You see, our race is not perfeckkt either. It also has all kkkinds of relickks of the past and other shit, as humans say. All in all, humans turned out to be a perfeckkt source of food for us in the form of meat, and of other resources likkke skkkin, hair, and milkkk. And there were about 16 billion humans on the Earth at that time…
Gordon: And you decided to simply turn us into cattle?
Professor: Yes, just likkke you, in turn, used other animals. I apologize if I am offending you in any way. I am just stating the truth. To be honest, I don’t likkke this state of affairs either.
Gordon: But we aren’t some kind of cows!!! Don’t you have any brains at all? Haven’t you seen our cities, our civilization? Cows can’t make smartphones, pigs can’t fly into space! How could you decide that we are not intelligent beings?
Professor: I agree with you ckkompletely, Gordon.
Professor: But the whole problem is that the majority of my ckkompatriots speakkk about you the same way you are speakkking about ckkkows or pigs right now. You presume that they are immeasurably lower than humans. And we thinkkk about humans the same way. Not all of us, of ckkourse, but the majority of us.
Gordon wants to object, but instead of that he simply waves his hand and sits back again, looking at the ceiling.
Freeman: And then… And then what happened? How did people allow themselves to be enslaved?
Professor: Well, first we domesticated the humans, so to speakkk. We gave them medicine and some techkknologies, helped them to resolve some ckkatastrophickk eckkkologickkal problems. By the way, when we arrived, your planet’s biosphere was on the verge of total devastation. And to be ckkompletely frankkk, without us, mankkkind would probably have vanished from the face of your planet qkkuite qkkuickkkly.
Freeman: Why so?
Professor: When we arrived on the Earth, your society was in an utterly ckkritical position.
Professor: The remaining resources were qkkuite sckkarce, so different groups of humans, which you ckkall ckkountries, fought for what was left of them. Most of the planet was suffering from starvation and lackkk of drinkkking water. Your agrickkulture was in deckkline. If memory serves me well, its volume deckkreased almost 10 times in ckkomparison with the beginning of the 21st century.
This time Gordon does intervene.
Gordon: That’s all rubbish! Those are just your cheap excuses to justify your terrible crimes!
Professor: Trust me, Gordon, I don’t likkke all this any more than you do.
Gordon: Then maybe your sources are lying somehow! I recently heard a scientist’s speech on TV – he said that our planet can theoretically feed up to 100 billion people! And the agricultural revolution that we carried out has allowed us to use GMOs to increase crop yields many times over! How could there be worldwide starvation?
Professor: Gordon, frankkkly, I am not a biologist myself either, but as your scientists reported, the whole problem was the soil and availability of water for irrigation.
Professor: But it actually doesn’t matter. You see, there were too many people on Earth, which led to a ckkatastrophe. You tookkk your biosphere too lightly. And this also proved that your level of development was not so high.
Freeman: So why didn’t you help us, if you’re so all-powerful?!
Professor: That’s a reasonable qkkuestion… Those likkke me askkked that qkkuestion and have gone on askkking it until this day. It is ckkommonly held that you were already beyond help. By that time, your civilization was already in deep shit – I’m sorry if this expression isn’t that polite. (he gets embarrassed)
Freeman: Then why turn us into cattle? You could simply fly away.
Professor: Maybe… but the thing is that… it so happened... that some of my ckkompatriots tasted human meat…
Gordon sits up straight again.
Professor: You see, our race, in ckkontrast to yours, is truly omnivorous. And human meat really hit the spot for us… And then we understood that humans are an exkkcellent source for skkkin and hair, which our society now uses widely.
Professor: This fackktor, and also the fackkt that you seemed so undeveloped, brought us to the decision to stay on the Earth, to restore its eckkology and biosphere and to turn humans into ckkatle, as you put it.
There is a long pause in the room. The scientists take in everything the Professor has said, and the Professor is sitting, embarrassed, unsure of whether he should continue his speech or not.
Gordon: There is just one thing I can’t understand. Why did you turn usinto cattle instead of using real cows, pigs and other domestic animals instead? We have more of them on our farms than there are people themselves, not to mention wild animals.
Professor: Ah, yes, I haven’t told you. When we arrived, prackktickkally all the animals had been wiped out. Ckkows, pigs – there weren’t any of them. Humans fed themselves exclusively with synthetic food. As I understood later, animal husbandry had been destroyed even before we came, as an attempt to solve the eckkological problems, but it was already too late.
Gordon takes a look at Freeman.
Gordon: Did you hear, Freeman? It looks like we got out just in time.
Gordon: Judging by the Professor’s story, our civilization really got screwed! (he smirks) And now people are just upholstery material (he flaps by the sofa they are sitting on).
The sofa is upholstered with a soft material that is pleasant to the touch.
Gordon: Damn it, Freeman, we're sitting on a sofa made of human skin!
Freeman jumps up like he’s been stung and starts staring at the sofa and feeling it with his hand.
Professor: Don’t worry, my friends! This sofa is not made of human skkkin! The upholstery is artificial… You see, I don’t eat human meat and don’t use human skkkin. I am one of those rare Boogeys who is against the exkksploitation of humans. We have a movement that advockkates for kkkindness and respeckkt to humans and all living beings.
Gordon: Well, and how is your movement going? Judging by what I’ve seen today, it’s not doing so well!
Professor: You are right. This movement is not very popular with Boogeys. They ckkonsider us to be a bit ckkrazy. The same as humans, Boogeys are inclined to stupid stereotypes and all kkkinds of relickks of the past.
Professor: It’s ckkonsidered to be a sign of prosperity to wear human skkkin and hair. Things made of human skkkin and bones are supposedly high-qkkuality and natural.
Gordon: But you have such technologies, damn it! Can’t you produce high-quality materials instead of carrying out the genocide of an entire civilization!
Professor: That’s just the thing – we ckkan. I told you – it’s only stupid stereotypes and nothing else.
Gordon: Stupid stereotypes??? “Stupid stereotypes” is being afraid of black cats! Or even to keep oneself pure until marriage! What you are doing is a terrible crime!
Professor: You kkknow, Gordon, I really am ashamed of my nation. I have a feeling of deep sorrow for the human race, and massive guilt for what Boogeys do to humans. I’m trying to do what I can to fight it. I’m trying to get them to realize that we don’t have any moral right so exkksploit humans so ckkruelly. But most Boogeys don’t understand me. I deeply regret that everything has turned out likkke this…
Gordon: But what, what is there to understand? It seems like an absolute no-brainer! We are living creatures! We have our own desires, our own feelings, our own affairs. We should be free and do what we want instead of rotting in dirty enclosures or sitting in cages waiting for our turn to be eaten or for the chance to decorate someone’s table!
The Professor doesn’t reply and just sighs.
Freeman: Professor, are there any free people remaining?
Professor: Prackktickkally not. Only some fugitive Humies, who sometimes gather in groups and establish settlements far from our cities. But sooner or later they are found and sent direckktly to slaughter. Humans who have sensed freedom ckkan never again resign themselves to the humiliation of living in ckkages, in ckkaptivity. They will try to escape at every chance they get and will incite other humans to do the same. That’s why Boogeys prefer to kkkill them right away. It’s very ckkruel and unfair.
Gordon lay down on his back again.
Gordon: Freeman, it looks like we’ve gotten ourselves into a real mess! It would have been better to go to the past, like to the Middle Ages.
Freeman: Yeah, and then they would have burnt us at the stake when they heard that we are two scientists from California (he smirks). I’d prefer bloodthirsty humanoids from outer space. (he looks at the Professor and gets embarrassed) I’m sorry, Professor, I was being sarcastic; I didn’t mean to offend you.
Professor: Oh, don’t worry. We also have a sense of humor. And what you just said is completely true. There’s no need to apologize.
Freeman: Gordon, do you have any ideas of how we can get back?
Gordon: No, I still haven’t gotten over the shock of what happened. I’m exhausted and I just want to sleep.
Five minutes later, Gordon is snoring soundly, while Freeman does not fall asleep for a long time. He cannot get the images of what he saw in the butcher’s shop out of his head.
Log in to add a comment