To Boldly Go…To Pluto

By: Laurence Hughes

Captain’s Log, Stardate 2584.6: An encounter with a wormhole while approaching the Terran solar system has thrust the Enterprise back in time…

CAPTAIN KIRK: Status, Mr. Spock?

MR. SPOCK: Ship is in standard earth orbit, Captain. Judging from the condition of the ozone layer, the elevated global temperature, and the violent conflicts in the region known as the Middle East, I would say we had arrived in the middle part of the year 2007. However, there is something curious.

KIRK: Yes?

SPOCK: One of our planets appears to be missing.

KIRK: Missing!

SPOCK: Pluto, to be specific.

KIRK: You mean it’s just gone? An entire planet?

SPOCK: According to the primitive Earth broadcasts we are able to monitor, there are currently only eight planets in our solar system.

DR. McCOY: Dammit, Jim! I knew a good masseuse on Pluto.

KIRK: Easy, Bones. Spock, scan the quadrant and see what you can find.

SPOCK: Scanning…Correction: Sensors indicate that Pluto is still in its orbit.

McCOY: Thank God!

SPOCK: However, some powerful force has reduced it to a dwarf planet.

McCOY: A dwarf planet! What the hell is this, some kind of galactic sideshow?

KIRK: Spock, when you say “dwarf planet,” do you mean like Beta Hydra IV — the Planet of the Pygmies?

SPOCK: Negative, Captain. Dwarf planet is a classification for a specific type of body found within a solar system.

KIRK: What entity could wield enough power to reduce Pluto to a dwarf planet?

SPOCK: Sensors are now picking up a previously obscure body exhibiting power out of all proportion to its size.

KIRK: Can you identify it?

SPOCK: It appears to be…the International Astronomical Union.

McCOY: What in blazes is that?

SPOCK: A handful of astronomers meeting in Prague.

KIRK: Spock, I don’t understand. How could a few astronomers wreak havoc on a planetary scale?

SPOCK: Apparently they voted for it.

McCOY: The damn fools! Can’t they see what they’ve done? What the hell gives them the right to play God–?

KIRK: Calm yourself, Doctor. There’s something here that doesn’t jibe. In our own time, the 23rd century, the solar system has nine planets — including Pluto.

SPOCK: Correct, Captain. According to the ship’s archives, shortly after the IAU reclassified Pluto as a dwarf planet, the populace rebelled. A coalition of disappointed schoolchildren, angry science fiction writers, starry-eyed astrologers, and sentimental Baby Boomers rose up and forced the IAU to restore full planetary status to Pluto.

KIRK: Of course! The Plutonian Revolution. I remember reading about it at the Academy.

SPOCK: Astronomers became outcasts, hated and persecuted for years afterward. The word “astronomer” became a vile insult.

McCOY: You mean like: “Yo mama’s an astronomer.”

SPOCK: Precisely. Such comments could quickly lead to physical violence. It was decades before astronomers regained sufficient status to be welcomed back into society.

KIRK: How did they accomplish that?

SPOCK: With another vote, the outcome of which earned them the eternal gratitude of all who care about the solar system.

KIRK: And what did they vote to do?

SPOCK: Rename Uranus.


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