This is an epic prose poem, written in the future tense, about what was almost Earth’s greatest legacy.
The aliens will never know the pleasure of a pizza. During the invasion they won’t recognize it as a food, but will wonder at how much it resembles their mothership.
After they point their enormous lasers at Earth, liquefy the population, and incur a nearly instant nuclear winter, after their mothership returns to their home planet and their researchers analyze recovered traces of our media, they’ll find descriptions of pizza in our movies and books, and then they’ll find recipes. The anthropologists will be intrigued.
Following a recipe, the aliens will attempt to reverse-synthesize each ingredient. Their data is limited, and the gastro-engineers produce a pizza that is remarkably far from edible. Digestive tracts grumble disappointedly.
A stumped intellectual community will spend a century of sleepless nights trying to adapt their technology to deep dish, margarita, and the holy grail: New York.
In their utopian society, lacking an immigrant population, they won’t have anyone to call to bring them food in the middle of the night. The short-lived, secondhand dream of conjuring a teenager on their doorstep holding a box of ten thousand calories will tragically begin to fade.
An anthropology program with a particularly creative and persistent grant writer will receive an allocation sufficiently large to charter the mothership for a return voyage to Earth. Project Pizza Resurrection breathes its first, tremulous, hungry breath.
A diligent intern will make a last-minute adjustment to the calorie scanner that relies on the presence of fresh oregano to extrapolate the P constant; later, the intern will be nominated for a global science award. (He will not win.)
The mothership’s exit launch will break every viewing record set by the Galactic Media Conglomerate; it will be the most-watched event in the history of the universe.
Unexpected drama will visit the launch. The ship’s last exit burn won’t be powerful enough to blast it out of their planet’s considerable atmosphere – either the ship is a bit overweight, or the ion rockets have been slightly undercharged. The universe’s largest audience ever strains to hear the audio stream from the ship, which carries tense silence and heavy breathing to the aliens’ acoustic media replicators. The captain initializes reserve boosters, and a trillion breaths are held.
The ship will totter on the edge of their atmosphere, and as the last of the reserve rocket burns out, it will leap into space.
Onboard, the crew will breathe a heavy sigh of relief. In mission control, all the interns (except Mr. Oregano, as he has come to be called) will be fired.
The ship will hurtle towards Earth. The aliens will not realize they are making the last pizza run, ever.
One hundred and twenty six faces will strain through the portholes as the blue and green ball grows in their retinas. A one hundred and twenty-seventh form, unknown to the one hundred and twenty six other crew, will hunker behind a storage crate in the mothership’s hold. The hunkered (and cramped) form belongs to a rogue journalist, and her mission is to break the tyrannical news monopoly imposed by the Galactic Media Conglomerate.
The scanners detect promising levels of the P constant over the frozen city of Chicago. Sifting through the rubble, a surface team will find a 1998 Toyota Camry with a red plastic Pizza Hut sign suction-cupped to the roof.
A flat box, crusted with frost, sits in the trunk next to a pair of petrified socks.
A lifter is selected.
She wipes the dust and ash from her stasis suit gloves and reaches into the trunk.
From a small porthole on the belly of the mothership, the rogue journalist pushes a button on a small camera and scribbles some notes on a scrap of paper.
As the lifter lifts the box lid, the gathered researchers and maintenance crew imagine they can smell the salty, greasy aroma of pepperoni wafting through the scrubbers of their breathing apparatuses. The aliens salivate.
The frozen disk is delicately elevated by a mobile tractor beam unit, maneuvered into a specimen box, and transported back to the mothership’s hold.
Again, the mothership barely escapes orbit. It falters for a second at the edge of Earth’s mesosphere – a term the aliens will find charming in its archaic roots – before slipping back into the dark of space.
The mothership nears its hungry planet.
The population wears pizza hats and sleeps in pizza shaped beds and eats from yellow and red triangular shaped dishes. A very enterprising alien, having hacked the archived Earth media files, has licensed ninety-two merchandise lines in advance of the mothership’s return.
A team of atomic engineers with culinary-gastro-molecular biology backgrounds analyze the pizza. They quickly unwind the chemical composition of each ingredient. Reverse aging the molecular bonds takes slightly longer. Synthesis teams struggle for an insufferable two weeks to perfect mozzarella.
The Galactic Media Conglomerate provides continuous updates on Project Pizza Resurrection.
The rogue journalist releases an underground documentary of the trip. She is prosecuted by the Conglomerate, but a slew of grass-roots media campaigns and sit-ins force the Conglomerate to drop all charges.
Deep within the proto-kitchen facility, a timer dings.
A thousand molecular copying machines churn out millions of exact copies of the pizza.
In the greatest logistical undertaking in recorded history, each district of the planet receives a dozen pizzas, piping hot.
As one, the aliens raise their miniature slices and take a bite.
They find it terrible.
Trash cans are filled. The provided beverages are quickly depleted as the aliens chuckle at the absurdity of it all and go home.
They’ll never burn their mouth on oregano and tomato paste sauce, never laugh at that girl in the corner who blots the grease.
They’ll discard pizza as an extinct artifact of an ancient, dead civilization, and plan the next invasion.