COB XI: THE ZENO PARADOX

On his way back to Earth after his adventure with the Space Jews, Cob received a disturbing communication.


“General Zeno has gathered a fleet, and he's headed straight for earth!” Qualia yelled in his ear. She didn't need to yell, as he could hear her just fine, but she preferred to because it annoyed Cob.


“NO!” Screamed Cob into the silence of space. He lashed out in his rage, and that's why there's an asteroid belt now. “Not Zeno! That guy's an asshole!”


This was true. A double-blind study had been conducted, and the results were very clear: General Zeno was the crustiest asshole in the entire galaxy. What was worse, the trajectory readings for his fleet were not reassuring. At his current speed, impressive as it was, Cob would arrive at Earth long after General Zeno had reduced it to crusty space ash.


“Looks like you're going to have to find a new home planet, fleshbag” said Qualia. “Unless you can figure out a way to slow Zeno down.”


“That's it!” cried Cob. Again, yelling was meaningless because space is silent, but Qualia read the vibrations of his vocal cords. Before she could formulate a suitably

shitty response, he was already on a hailing frequency with the General's command vessel.


“What is the meaning of this interruption?” glugged General Zeno over Cob's earpiece. “Can't you see I'm on my way to destroy earth?” Zeno was one of the

Swamp-Things of Gasulon IV, made entirely of sludge and decaying plant matter. Cob was glad he couldn't see the moist glass chalice which probably contained the General's “body.”


“But General,” said Cob, “You can't destroy Earth!”


“I can, and I will,” spat back the slime-creature.


“No, I mean you physically can't. How can you destroy a planet you can't even reach? Consider this: in order to reach Earth, you'd first have to travel half the distance between you and Earth, right?”


“Well, yes, of course.” Inasmuch as it was possible for a belching pouch of mulch and gas to sound nonplussed, this one did.


“And then you'd have to travel half the remaining distance. And then half of

that 

remaining distance. You can never reach earth, because there will always be

just a little bit further to travel!”


There was a long pause on the other end of the line. When General Zeno finally spoke, it was with a note of cunning in his guttural voice. “You can't fool me, Cob. I can see you on my scanners. Your trajectory clearly points Earthward. If it's impossible to reach earth, why are you headed there?”


Luckily, Cob had prepared for this particular objection. “I'm not headed for earth,”

he said, “But past it! I'm intending to hit the newly discovered ninth planet, whose orbit now carries it closer to earth than ever before in recorded history! I'll never reach it, but as I asymptotically approach it, I'll eventually pass Earth, and then I'll

just stop. That's how I'll get home.”


“Ah hah!” boiled the General. “You fool! You've unwittingly given me the key to your destruction! Navigator! Set course for the newly discovered ninth planet! Earth will be ours!”


But of course, Cob had been full of shit the entire time. The ninth planet, though

closer to Earth than ever before in recorded history, was still ridiculously far away. And the path to it from General Zeno's fleet took them nowhere near earth. They crashed into the massive ice planet, and were too embarrassed to try attacking Earth ever again.


“It just goes to show,” said Cob, watching the crash through a telescope and sipping contentedly on a tumbler of Hard Whiskey, “A half-truth is a whole lie.”

Tier Benefits
Recent Posts