“There was once a great and powerful being, the most powerful that had or has ever lived.” The large gathering of scientists from all over the globe that filled the room all but held their breaths as the diplomat from an advanced civilization spoke. He had been on earth for six weeks and had refused to answer any questions until now, insisting that he first be allowed to master a language through which he may communicate the answers correctly. It had taken him that month and a half of intensive training, but he was better spoken than most native speakers. Though his dialect and word choice was distinctly Californian, having been taught by the American military at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, he had somehow picked up an English accent. When asked about it, he would say things like, “I pronounce words how they feel most natural, am I doing it wrong?” in his thick, flawless London accent.
Now, having mastered the language, he had finally consented to a press conference. The media and scientific community flocked to the announced auditorium filling every square inch of usable standing-room and leaving twenty times more people standing outside. They would have been excited anyway at the prospect of hearing an alien species talk, but this one had come to earth expressing a will to share secrets of the universe.
It was a good thing that most of the gathered humans barely breathed, because the ventilation in the room was not adequate to accommodate that many people. The fire martial would have been appalled, had he been able to get inside. The alien was the spitting image of the gray humanoid creatures reported in Roswell. He wore a long magenta cloak of something that looked like crushed velvet with no shoes.
“Because names and gender become meaningless when we talk about this being, I would like to call it simply ‘It’, however, that would be confusing, a notable weakness in your language that you may want to see to, by the way. I shall call it, instead, ‘Lemonade,’ because I like to say the word.”
Many of the assembled humans exchanged glances that they were sure where meaningful, but not a single person knew exactly what they had meant by it, excepting, of course, the fellow in the back, for who the glance had nothing to do with the speech, and everything to do with the fact that he desperately needed to use the bathroom, and the person he glanced at stood in front of the door.
“So, Lemonade was the most powerful wizard that ever lived, and his power only grew with time-”
“Excuse me,” interrupted the woman who stood with the alien at the front of the room. Being the director of SETI, the search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, she had gotten the honor of introducing the alien before his talk. Most of the gathering would have been upset by her interruption, but her question was one that they all wondered. “Sorry to interrupt, but did you say that Lemonade was a wizard?”
“Yes,” the alien said, glancing at her with a very human expression of raising the spot on his face where an eyebrow might have been, if he had any hair. “Perhaps the word isn’t a perfect fit, but it is as close as I could find, perhaps when I finish, and you know what Lemonade is, we can come up with another word for it together.”
The director of SETI nodded and stepped back, feeling that pressing the issue might not be prudent for now.
“As I was saying, Lemonade was the most powerful WIZARD ever to have lived.” He shot the scientist that had introduced him a hard look as he annunciated “WIZARD” in his thick, unexplained accent.
“His power grew with time and eventually he became too powerful and became evil.”
This was the point in the speech where many of the glances exchanged before developed meaning. While some people were intrigued by this turn of the tale, and all wanted to know where the alien was going with it, the folktale quality that the story was quickly developing made many people a little uncomfortable.
“I’ll spare you the details, but essentially, he started using his power to subjugate civilizations. Finally, the universe had had enough and many other powerful beings banded together to stop him.
“He was trapped in the center of the universe and his power was leeched from him, dispersed throughout the universe, so that no single creature could obtain that level of power again.” He paused for a moment and sipped some water from the glass that stood on the podium in front of him. Even the most ready and willing to believe everything this alien said were looking at him quizzically now.
“This evil power, being distributed over the entirety of space,” he continued, “is causing it to expand at an accelerating pace.”
When he looked around the audience and found blank stares he said, “That should answer a few questions that my time here so far has shown me are among the most troubling to your scientists.”
The director of SETI spoke up again, “You are saying that dark energy, which is causing the expansion of the universe is actually evil wizard power, leached from the powerful being that we have today been calling ‘Lemonade?’”
“Makes more sense than any of the theories you guys have come up with yet, doesn’t it?”
The speech wound down after that. The alien sensed their disbelief and stated that after they had gotten a chance to digest what he had told them, he would speak further. The director of SETI sat at her desk three days later, still trying to figure out how to take the news. On one hand, he was from an advanced civilization, his presence on the earth alone said that much, but on the other hand, everything he said was obviously false. She had moved on to wondering if his little stunt was a test, to see how humanity would react to such false information. If it was, in fact, a test, she was not happy with the result. Humanity had failed. There were already half a dozen churches devoted to the evil wizard power popping up.
Everyone present at the talk had been screened for crackpots and thus, those who heard the alien’s words first hand hadn’t believed what he said, that didn’t stop them from broadcasting every word of the speech to every corner of every map ever drawn. Many of those corners, it turned out, held crackpots, who surfaced in force now. Some started churches, some claimed to have proof that the alien was telling the truth, and a few even cried out that they had been trying to tell people this for years.
Her musing about crackpots, though, gave her a new theory. Every culture had them here on earth, as evidenced by her in-box full of messages in obscure languages. This was also evidence of another theory of crackpots that she had known for a long time: nobody likes sharing their theories as aggressively as the crazies.
Could the alien be wandering the stars looking for people to believe his off the wall theory because he had been ousted by his own culture for being a crackpot?
When she thought about it, it made sense. In her line of work she encountered plenty of the human versions of these, and the alien’s being a crackpot made perfect sense. From this experience, though she didn’t have enough evidence to be certain, she got the hints of something that did turn out to be a universal truth, not just so on earth as she had previously thought:
There are crackpots everywhere, question everything.