Many people in the well-scrubbed
and highly visible world of international primatology and lumbering, including
not a few in the dusty, primate-infested southwest Arizona community of
Hellmouth, were completely caught off guard by the announce- ment yesterday
from the Lenin Monkey Institute in Braty-Bublinsk that the USSR's Volga-138
spacecraft has accidentally discovered some definite and incontrovertible
evidence for the presence of what can only be rainforests on the cloud-covered
surface of Earth's twin planet Venus, something that the first 137 probes
apparently failed to do. The data from the spacecraft was relayed to the
Institute from the Chudleigh- Lilydale Royal Tasmanian Primatological
Observatory, which was searching for more information about the giant
space primate heading towards Earth, and which was the only station to
receive the strange telemetric broadcasts.
The amazing and unexpected
news was revealed in a press conference held in his office by Dr. Ivan
Grozny, Professor of Simian Socialism at the Institute, which has sponsored
and supervised the entire Venus-Volga project. On an open telephone line
were Drs. Mawbanna Waddamana and Basil Smith from Chudleigh-Lilydale,
who could be heard arguing vociferously in the background. Perspiring
heavily, the crusty old Russian scientist squinted at a dimly-glowing
computer terminal and pointed to some squiggly blue lines. See that
peak right there? he said with growing excitement, that's
the thermal signature of chlorophyll. Rustling busily through some
heavily-inked graphs, he warned against premature and unwarranted conclusions.
These will not be like rainforests on Earth, he said, pausing
for a drink of brown water from a mineral- encrusted tea cup. We must be
prepared to accept some very strange things. Every- thing will not be exactly
the way we think it is.
Whether there are primates
in the Venusian rainforests and whether or not they plummet the way terrestrial
primates do remains an open question.