The Ecphorizer

A Modest Proposal For the Defense of Sol
Kenneth Schulze

Issue #67 (June 1987)

An open letter from The Honorably Exalted Frank H. Phobia, D.D.S., H20, I.O.U., C.I.A.

Dear Citizen:

Is interstellar warfare possible? Beyond question it is. It is also imminent.

[quoteleft]After months of agonizing soul-searching and consultation with psychiatrists,

...I expect that xenophilic assassins are after me...

astrophysicists, semioticians, weapons experts and others, I am unable to remain silent any longer about a matter of gravity instant to every inhabitant of Earth and to human posterity. Prepare for the greatest shock in history.

As it so happens, my duties as Chairman of Citizens for Better Pork Barrels and Treasurer of Americans for the Right to Bear Nuclear Suitcases expose me to some strange and highly suspicious characters. Last week, I received a curious jack-in-the box with a coded RSVP from Doctor Omnibus Triggerfinger, an active member of our international search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Dr T included a notarized voice-tape of a five-hour-long transmission from 3C-286.7, well known in astronomical circles as a hotbed of galactic radioactivity.

Naturally, I played and replayed the tape from my overwrought constituent in my limousine. Here, let me thank Pulsotron Corporation for its excellent onboard jamming system. One flick of a switch, and I was able to blow the cover of four KGB agents on the street. Their hairpieces hang in my study, reminders of our need for constant vigilance against secret alliance between foreign governments and alien tyrants diametrically opposed to our way of life.

Imagine my astonishment when I heard an unidentified dastard squeak the following bit of martial pep talk to cheers from countless thousands of its kind:


Sources at Space Command, the Pentagon, and elsewhere (who must remain anonymous for now privately admit we are hardly the only nation to translate orders from these alien belligerents.

Indeed, China has intercepted a secret recipe for hong su har kew with pea pods that would horrify any human cook with an ounce of morality.

India received a plan for global sterilization somehow involving long-distance conversion of clouds to floating icons of Oliver North and Fawn Hall, Donna Rice and Gary Hart.

The USSR picked up blueprints to keep the entire Soviet Union under six feet of snow, ticker tape, and vodka for at least the next several centuries.

France uncovered an all-points invasion of man-eating snails immune to gamma rays, the Sorbonne, and butter-guns.

Only the incredulity of our natural allies' respective leaders, who call foolishly for an extension of scientific studies that can only delay the inevitable, stands in the way of a unified defense of all the Creator gave us to hold dear.

Are we helpless against alien onslaught? Banish the question!

If we act now, we can not only dissipate the first waves of destruction, but also secure a peaceful existence for ourselves and our descendants for the foreseeable future — say, a millennium.

Basically, what we want to do is build a defensive shell around our sun. We haven't time or technology yet to convert the outer planets to a solid Dyson sphere impenetrable to projectiles faster than light. Eventually, of course, we should do so. For the moment, we must content ourselves with swift and immediate improvements in the rail-gun.

You may have heard the rail-gun was until recently under development as part of Star Wars, our space-based umbrella against hostile intercontinental ballistic missiles. To put it simply, electricity pulsed along a cannon barrel creates a sudden magnetic field. This ejects a projectile with force enough to penetrate tank armor. Soon, I'm told, given adequate funds and improvements in a defensive system too-soon abandoned, we might put bullets into orbit or bombard the Moon with rail-guns on Earth.

I propose we build a Super-rail-gun. Aimed by ultramaxcomputers yet to be designed, this behemoth could take out micro-worlds and planets of other stellar systems within a radius of at least 10,000 lightyears. Minimal cannonade would wipe out all battleships or whatever else the invaders plan to throw against us. Such a deterrent would have the added advantage of discouraging attack by aliens still to be discovered.

Space is large. And we need to block every potentially lethal access to our wives, children and fortunes. Therefore, I suggest we emplace a minimum of five Supper-rail-guns on every sizable cometoid in the Oort cloud. Many billions of interconnected and/or independently operated Super-rail-guns should provide more than adequate firepower to repel invasion.

Funds for this imperative project would come perforce from both balanced and imbalanced budgets of every nation on Earth. Taxes would rise incrementally on luxury items and corporate takeovers, as would tariffs on drugs, golden parachutes and purple ping-pong balls. Philanthropists of every stripe would soon see the urgency of defending humanity with their very assets. So, too, the rest of the population of our endangered planet.

Hands Across Earth, the Madonna Telethon, the United Way, and other charities would all be viable options for raising money. Universities would donate room and board, stock portfolios, and staff. Corporations would naturally want to contribute all they could to ensure the safety of free enterprise. Celebrities, sports personalities and foreign countries would raise money as they saw fit, quite possibly with guidance from Washington and the United Nations.

Copies of my proposal are in the hands now of leaders of NATO, the Warsaw Pact, and many nonaligned nations of the Third World. Watch your evening news! Mug shots may save your life. The person nearest you may in fact be an alien sympathizer or mercenary shape-changer intent of covert transferral of your human loyalties to moles planted by galactic tyrants. Don't panic! Beware subliminal alteration of your mind. Eschew kinky sex, soporifics, spoors, promises of stock options in off-world ventures, and other means of sabotage. Let no one divide and conquer our species. Would you want to live with a creepy Formigan?

At this very moment, I expect xenophilic assassins are after me. Hence I have gone into hiding on a fact-finding mission.

Good luck to you, too, my fellow Earthlings. My secretaries and assistants and the news media can all tell you where to send contributions toward our glorious cause. Let's shoot for twenty billion by the end of this month. Every month, let's add another five or ten. We can never raise enough until we repel the Invader once and for all. Televangelists may denounce me, but I have every confidence a hero and a heroine are born every Dow-Mitsubishi day.

With the highest regard for the will of the Almighty as revealed to His humblest servant, may I remain
Yours truly,
Frank H. Phobia

KENNETH SCHULZE's contribution in this issue has been published in Danish but not in English. The author lives and writes in Rocky River, OH.

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