Saturday, June 24, 2006

Last One

From the Intergalactic Times:

T’Dwarkaq City, Rigel Stardate 2354.06 (w)

Museum to Put Rare Earth Vehicle on Permanent Display

The Intergalactic Museum of History and Technology has announced plans to put the last known internal combustion powered Planet Earth land vehicle, commonly known as an auto-mobile, on permanent display in the new wing of the museum. The new wing and display will be open in about .5 Stardates.

“This is the only known, complete and functioning auto-mobile from the Planet Earth” said Rwety~Qjada, curator of Extra-Rigelian Technology at the museum and the foremost expert on Earth vehicles. “We have parts and pictures of other vehicles, but this is the only one that is complete and still functions.”

The vehicle, estimated to be around 550 Earth years (45.65 Stardates) old was discovered and transported to Rigel in Stardate 2353.54(w) (about 2 Earth years) during the last expedition to Earth. Ironically it was the dependence on the internal combustion auto-mobile that ultimately made the Earth uninhabitable.

Internal Combustion automobiles were popular on the planet for about 200 of its years. Evidence of their use has been found in every land mass on the planet, including the uninhabited Polar Regions. In the late 21st earth century, dwindling supplies of the fuel used to power the machines caused them to be abandoned and alternate sources of power found. But by then, the damage to the atmosphere had been done. The resulting lack of livable space and clean air and water led to the massive wars that destroyed much of the population and scattered the survivors. In the last .2 Stardates, the planet has lost all remaining atmosphere and is now a barren rock, too hot to inhabit.

The vehicle has run since its arrival on Rigel but with the small supply of the necessary fuel confined to laboratories, it is unlikely the vehicle will function again soon. “It could” Said Rwety~Qjada, “and it is ready to function, all we need is some fuel.” It last ran about .005 Stardates ago (6 earth weeks) for about 22 Paktaseu (30 minutes) until the fuel was exhausted. “I can see how the Earth’s atmosphere was destroyed by these auto-mobiles” said Rwety~Qjada, “the oily blue fumes were quite noxious. A series of buttons, pedals and levers make the auto-mobile move. It moved about 23 R-utw (3 miles) and was hard to control. I am sure many Earth people were killed or injured by these machines.”

The large, black and gray auto-mobile has been identified through markings as a “Packard Clipper” and likely built in the middle of the Earth’s 20th century, according to Rwety~Qjada. A small piece of metal attached to the auto-mobile indicated that it came from the "Kans WY" region of the planet. Papers with the word “Sneed” on it may have indicated the owner of the auto-mobile. “Earth People were very possessive of their auto-mobiles”, said Rwety~Qjada. “They loved them to death, literally”.

* A bit of explanation*

Kansas City is the home base for the Mid-America Packard Club. Owners of the magnificent autos that were made by Packard from 1899-1958 gather to show off their prized survivors. Many are stunning autos, like the sporty and elegant Caribbeans, the Haupt's massive 1927 Rollston bodied tourer, the Patricans of the 50s and even a 50s hearse. An then there is the Sneed's 1954 Clipper. Black and gray and far from the most elegant Packard ever made, she is nonetheless an incredible survivor. Starts every day and even drives across country with not a bit of problem. Most of her parts are original, even the engine is as it was made in 1954. She is as wonderful and incredible as a Caribbean Convertible and just likely would be the last auto left on earth.

Don't let anyone tell you she is not a true Packard. She has all the craftsmanship and reliability that were the hallmarks of the marque.

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