In the middle of the blazing, blistering Chihuahuan desert in Mexico, there’s a place dubbed the "Zone of Silence" by the curious visitors who venture there. Electromagnetic waves fail to travel through the air within an unspecified and sometimes shifting area, creating a sort of “dark” zone. No television, radio, short wave, microwave, or satellite signals seem to be able to penetrate this zone. The explanation remains unclear, but this is what I think must have happened:
“Ahem! Respected King Fortu the Four Thousand and Twenty Seventh! My Dear Queen Linly of the Forty Chins! Ladies and gentlemen and robotic gnolms! This is the moment we’ve eagerly been waiting for!
After having bravely travelled 180,420 light-years in a round trip to the Mines of Methalda to obtain a nugget of the universe’s most sought after metal – toughasnailsium, - Master Spleck the Once Awkward has now returned! As you know, any planet with even a tiny bit of the magnetic material becomes powerful enough to be added to the reputable UCTP*. For generations upon generations we Armpetians have tried to defend what little respect we get for being tiny, hairy, and soft. We’ve been mocked, ridiculed, sprayed and waxed. But now things will change! For now, our time has finally come! The plan that was masterminded by King Fortu the First nears its end.
Master Spleck fought against the Sparring Spectacles of Supercluster XI, shouted at the Whispering Asteroids of Andromeda, deflated the ego of an Earthling, sat on the Standing Ovation of Centaurus, and meandered between the not so mellow guards of the Mines of Methalda – all for the sake of this planet.
More patriotic an Armpetian you will never find! He gave up the life he had for us. His beloved friends and family are long dead. His own aging process was slowed, due to traveling at near light speed coupled with continuously performing the Time Warp** on board his ship.
And now, without further ado, let me present Master Spleck himself!”
All 568 square kilometers of the planet erupted in applause as the scrawny looking Armpetian stumbled out from behind the green curtain onto the balcony. The more scrawny announcer clapped him cheerily on the back.
The additionally scrawny king and his not-so-scrawny consort, along with her forty chins, wobbled in delight.
“Come, let us see it, then!” chirped the eager king.
An anticipatory hush came over the crowd. Well, all except Acidic Admiral Arnie, though he did keep the more respectful – and controllable! - end silent.
“Note that Master Spleck here hasn’t looked at the nugget himself as per rules laid down by King Fortu the First. He had to search for it with a blindfold, and slip it immediately into his pocket. And so, we will all be seeing it together for the first time!” The announcer was spitting with excitement.
Spleck wiped off the tip of his nose, then very solemnly reached into his pocket whereupon the ring on one of his fingers entangled itself with the button. There was a bit of a struggle between Armpetian and button, yet the crowd, the king, the queen, the chins and Arnie waited patiently.
Spleck eventually overpowered the button, which consequently popped itself in depression and sulked off into a corner.
The crowd, the king, the queen, the chins and Arnie all leaned forward as Spleck’s hand slipped into the pocket. And leaned even more forward when it slipped out, empty.
They very nearly fell out of their seats as Spleck began to frantically pat himself all over.
“Where is it? What are you doing? Is that supposed to be a magic trick?” the king squealed in delight. Everyone knew of his obsession with magic tricks. He would often attempt to entertain his wife by pulling her out of a hat, and just couldn’t understand why the queen was never surprised that she had been there all along.
“Um. Erm.” A look of panic overcame Spleck, and he began to sweat – much more than the average Armpetian. “It seems, that I, um -- now please don’t get cross! -- but…I think I might have, um, dropped it somewhere...”
*Universal Council of Tough Planets
** a universally famous folk dance that combines arm waving and kicking oneself as hard as one can.