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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics


Friday, October 17, 2014

The Bus Driver Who Went to Three Planets: A Science Fiction Story

Floyd Baxter was a Denver bus driver who liked to unwind from the stresses of his job by hiking in the mountains. One day he hiked deep into the mountains, and saw another hiker in the distance. Suddenly Floyd heard a strange scream. The hiker had fallen off a treacherous mountain cliff. Floyd rushed to where the hiker was. He was surprised to see the hiker was wearing some kind of strange helmet looking like the helmet of a space suit.

Floyd looked into the helmet and saw a strange face unlike any he had seen before. The eyes were larger than human eyes, and the nose was a weird kind of triangle slit. The skin was salmon-colored. Floyd thought to himself: what the devil have I stumbled on to? Some kind of weird alien hiker?

It was apparently an alien being, an extraterrestrial from some other planet. The poor creature had apparently died in the fall from the cliff. For some time Floyd just stood in wonder looking at this amazing site. He tried speaking to the alien creature, but got no response. He tried gently shaking its arm, but there was no sign of life.

Floyd noticed that the alien wore a kind of vest-like apparatus or device that was about the size of a life jacket used to keep swimmers afloat. The device fitted over the alien's arms much as a life jacket fits over a man's arms. At the front of this vest-like device there were dozens of small buttons. After great hesitation, Floyd finally decided to remove this vest-like device from the alien's body. He imagined that the vest-like apparatus might be some kind of a supply holder, and that inside it might be something he could use to help save the life of the alien – perhaps some kind of life-saving potion he could pour into the creature's small mouth.

So holding the machine, Floyd pressed one of the buttons on the vest-like apparatus. Suddenly Floyd found himself transported instantly to another planet.

Astonished, Floyd looked around. He could see no sign of the place he had found the alien, and no sign of the alien. He was now at some location he had never before been to. It was apparently some location that was not even on planet Earth.

Looking ahead he could see two mighty glaciers that fed into the waters of a sea. The sea water was bluer than any he had ever seen. In the sea he saw what looked like two large islands. The temperature was very low.


Floyd knew from the moon in the sky that this location was not on Earth. The moon in the sky did not look like any moon he had ever seen.

Floyd asked himself: how could this have happened? Then he had an idea. Perhaps the machine he was holding, the machine he had taken from the alien creature, was some kind of instantaneous transportation device. Perhaps rather than using big spaceships to travel to different planets, the alien was simply using some kind of amazing machine that could instantly transport a person to an entirely different planet.

The temperature was too cold, so Floyd decided that he might as well test his idea immediately. He decided to press another one of the buttons on the machine.

Then instantly Floyd again found himself transported to another planet. This planet was much warmer, and it was nighttime, but a night unlike any Floyd had ever seen. The sky was ablaze with hundreds of stars far brighter than any you could see on planet Earth.


Ahead of Floyd was a building, and Floyd began to walk towards it. But out of the building there came creatures unlike any Floyd had ever seen. They looked like elephants with spider heads. Terrified, Floyd thought to himself: I'm getting the hell out of here. He pressed another button on the machine.

Suddenly again Floyd was instantly transported to another planet. He found himself in a totally different landscape. It was a lovely valley flanked by mountain peaks. Floyd saw some strange-looking houses and a lake ahead. He walked towards them.


Near the lake Floyd encountered the planet's inhabitants. They were beautiful-looking creatures who had whitish-blue skin. One of the creatures seemed to say “Hello” to Floyd, but it was not through language, but through telepathy.

Floyd tried to talk to the creature, but it was useless. But then he tried just thinking his thoughts. It worked! Floyd could talk to the creature purely through telepathy.

Floyd stayed at the planet for two days. He found the creatures on the planet to be loving and trusting. He told them he was from another planet, and they believed him. Floyd found the planet so delightful he was hesitant to leave. But eventually he decided he really should get back to his home planet. So he decided to keep pressing more buttons on the machine. Floyd thought to himself: one of these buttons must be programmed to transport me to Earth.

Floyd pressed another button on the machine. Again, he was instantly transported to another planet. This time, the planet was his home planet. He found himself back on Earth, near the same place he found the dead alien and the alien machine.

Floyd hiked back to his car, and drove home. Floyd then thought: wait until everyone hears about this!

First, Floyd told his friend Charley all about what had happened. Charley refused to believe a single word of his story. Then Floyd called up a newspaper and got a reporter to come over. Floyd spent three hours telling all about what had happened. Two days later the newspaper published the story: Bus Driver Claims to Have Visited Other Planets.

But no one seemed to believe the story. Floyd became an object of ridicule and contempt. The bus riders would come on his bus and whisper: that's him, the crazy bus driver who thinks he went to other planets. Children from Floyd's neighborhood would stand outside his house and make scornful jokes about Floyd. When they saw him come out of his house, they would taunt him by saying things like: Hey, big-shot, have you been to any new planets today?

The bus company called in Floyd and told him that since he was either a huge liar or someone suffering from hallucinations, he could not be trusted to perform his bus-driver job. Floyd was fired. Unable to keep up with his house payments, he received a foreclosure notice from the bank.

Floyd thought to himself: what can I do? Then he remembered something very important. He had brought the alien machine back with him in his car, and had left it in the trunk of his car. He had also remembered which button he could press to return to the planet of the beautiful, trusting telepathic creatures.

Floyd remembered those creatures he had visited for two days. They were so loving, so trustful, and so innocent. They seemed so different from the humans he had recently dealt with.

Floyd opened the trunk of his car, and took out the alien device. Preparing to return to the planet of the telepathic creatures, Floyd thought to himself: as soon as I get back to that planet, I'm throwing away this damn machine.