March 2003 A Conscious Evolution Newsletter
Lest We Forget...
(A graphic look at
nuclear horrors)
The Star Family Picnic
Masquerades of March
Survival of the Spirit:
Holocaust Survivors' Son
Book Review:
The War on Freedom
March Star Watch
Conscious Community
March Interactive
Newsletter committee, writers, & contact info
Index of All Articles
Volume 2, Number 3

Opinions presented in Metamorphosis are those of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of others associated with the newsletter.

The Star Family Picnic

by Anindita Basu, Sucheta Shetty, Carrie Chesney,
Darwin H. Webb, Lorsa, and Maria Barron

A planetary fable, starring the planets as their characteristic
selves, created on the Conscious Evolution forums
with contributions from a group of Knowflakes.

Jupiter rolled over, yawned, plucked a blade of grass and declared to nobody in particular, “I am bored.”

Immediately, Mercury looked up from the second book he was reading (the first one lay face down on the grass, abandoned at page 23) and piped, “Let’s go for a swim.”

“No!” said Saturn. “The waters run too swift.”

“Okay, let’s take a walk up to the main road and get ourselves some tea and biscuits,” suggested Venus.

“No!” It was Saturn again. “It will kill your appetite, and lunch is only about an hour away.”

“Hmm, then maybe we could play a game of horsie,” said Jupiter.

“Goodness,” Saturn exclaimed in shock. “It is far too juvenile and undignified.”

By this time, Mercury had quite lost his patience. He jumped up, started at a sprint towards the car, and tossed back over his shoulders, “Guys, any of you care for a ride?”

Mars, who until now had been polishing his tool set, was the first to reach the car. He’d always been jealous of Merc ever since Merc had managed to wrangle the two chairs closest to Sun and Moon at the dinner table. (Sun and Moon always sat together, at the head of the table, while the children occupied the chairs at the right for lunch and the chairs at the left for dinner, always in the same order.)

“Move over, I’ll drive,” Mars said angrily, trying to shove Merc away. “And don’t you touch my car. I built the car, so I will drive. You drive too erratically and you keep changing directions.”

“No.” Saturn had limped up to them. “Mars goes too fast and the tyres screech.”

“So, I will drive,” said Merc, as he fell right out of the car because Mars had punched him in the face. By the time Jupiter reached the car, huffing and puffing, a full-blown fisticuff had erupted, with Merc managing to survive not because of any pugilistic skills but because he dodged Mars’ blows fast enough.

“Enough, you two,” Sun’s regal voice boomed out from the shade of a banyan tree. “If you don’t behave now, I’ll send both of you to the Lizard Room.”

The fracas stopped immediately. Nobody liked the Lizard Room. It was cold, dank, dark and filled with musty wooden furniture. It reeked of death and the wind blew there eerily, whispering secrets that the children could not yet grasp. They trooped meekly into the car, with Jupiter taking the wheel.

And then, a silvery voice piped up, “Where’s Venus?” It was little Merc, now considerably chastened because last time he was in the Lizard Room, he had lost his speech for a full two hours. They all looked back and saw Venus, still in the process of arranging the pleats of her dress, and adjusting her diamond brooch so that it caught the light and twinkled.

“Hurry up,” they yelled.

Venus surveyed her brothers calmly. “If you all are done with that inelegant show of temper and extreme lack of propriety, I’m ready,” she said as she sauntered over, brushed a piece of lint off the seat and arranged herself in.

“Ah yes, a ride will be fun,” Jupiter thought, feeling rather jolly about being in the driver’s seat, one of his very favorite places to be. He sang at the top of his voice and got so excited that he began dancing in his seat, clapping his hands every now and then. Saturn, sitting next to him, shook his head and kept an eye on the road. Finally, when the car started swerving, Saturn couldn’t take any more.

“Get out from behind the wheel now! Let me drive. If you go on like this, you’ll bang into something or somebody.”

“No, I won’t! Stop worrying so much. I can keep the car under control, don’t you worry.”

“Don’t you worry?” Saturn was aghast. “Easy for you to say that. You think nothing can ever happen to you. You take too many risks.”

“What’s life without a few risks?”

“I said stop the car.”

“And I said, stop being such a spoilsport.”

Jupiter’s temper flared at the argument and he braked suddenly, causing Mars to almost vault out of his seat.

“Stop it you two!” hissed Venus. “I’ve had enough of your bickering. Besides,” she sniggered, glaring at Jupiter. “I hate it when people sing off-key. I’m out of here. Where’s Merc?”

“Oh, he vanished the moment we stopped,” said Mars. “Found another bookstore, I bet.”

“Or maybe he is looking for a galaxy-ready computer,” snorted Jupiter.

“I need to buy some perfume,” said Venus, eyeing the nearby mall. “Anybody coming with me?"

“Sure,” Mars volunteered. “You know how Jupiter and Saturn are. The big kids - always fighting over who’s bigger and more powerful. I’ll just pop into the games parlour. They have some cool new Terminator games.”

“Yeah sure,” Venus said. “Like the world doesn’t have enough blood and gore.”

“Well, at least it’s a lot more interesting than spending time sniffing your wrist,” Mars countered.

“Hrmph. Men!”

So Venus and Mars repaired to the mall, arguing, leaving Jupiter and Saturn still sitting in the car and arguing.

“Finally!” thought Merc to himself as he flew on silver-winged feet away from his brothers and sister. “That stupid brawny Mars always picks on me. Why can’t he pick on someone else for once? Like that pompous Jupiter?” And as he was speeding away he caught sight of an institute for the incredibly brainy.

“Yessssss!” Merc beamed from ear to ear. “I think I’ll go in there and help them make some advances in medicine, biotechnology, nuclear fission, chemistry...” And as he flew to the institute, he bumped into the most beautiful girl that he had ever seen. He couldn’t resist the temptation to test her, and so, “What is the radius of...” he began.

“268.537442 pi googleplex squared.” she answered.

“How did you know what I was going to ask?” exclaimed Mercury.

The girl looked at him strangely. “Who wouldn’t know that?”

Mercury fainted on the spot. He had met the girl of his dreams. The moment he came to there began an extremely speedy exchange between them, which was interrupted when someone called out from inside one of those labs with weird-looking contraptions, “Uranus, come here for a second please and help me set up this autoclave. The gel seems to be breaking every time,” at which point Merc and Uranus decided to go inside and work together on an antidote to acid rain clouds.

Meanwhile, Sun was feeling abandoned. Only Moon and Neptune remained at the picnic table, and Moon paid more attention to feeding the squirrels, while Neptune was not mentally there anyway. This was rather unbearable to Sun, whose grandeur always sought an attentive public, so he set off to find Mars, Jupiter and the others. He found a car suitable for his majesty that could take him to town. Or to be more specific, he flagged down the first car that appeared on the road and demanded “Take me to town!” Then he simply got in, leaving the driver utterly bewildered but with little choice other than to start driving. When they got to town, Sun stepped out without bothering to thank the driver, as, in his opinion, had he not just granted the driver the greatest honour, a chance to serve Royalty?

Soon enough, he found Saturn sitting alone in the car.

“Where are the others?” asked Sun.

“Well, Venus and Mars went inside that shopping arcade, Merc disappeared someplace and Jupiter has ambled over to the lottery store - yonder,” said Saturn disapprovingly.

Sun left Saturn there and went looking for Mars and Venus. It was not very difficult to find them. Mars was sitting right in the middle of the arcade, happily surrounded by bits and pieces of the gaming machine that he had cleanly taken apart and was busily putting back together again, all the while muttering to himself, “Hmm, so now this little washer goes here and oh no, there’s only this naked copper wire here, no wonder the machine jammed, where do I find some two-ply insulated wire…”

Venus was sitting just a little away, charming a group of men right out of their wits.

Back at the car, Saturn sat and stared balefully at the crows flying above and thought, “Nobody understands responsibility. Who is supposed to look after the car? And I don’t even have the keys so that I could lock it and pay a visit to the ashram nearby and help them clear out weeds and deadwood from their garden.” He sighed heavily. He was rather hurt that Merc should leave so suddenly, especially because Merc had winged feet, while Saturn had a limp. The rapport between these two was rather touching, with Saturn bringing a modicum of order to Merc’s harum-scarum ways and Merc considerably lightening up his eldest brother’s dourness with cheerful witticisms thrown carelessly in the wind.

“Merc is too immature, he needs to grow up,” thought Saturn. “Why, he’d be better than that conceited, overstuffed Jupiter, but only if he paid a little more attention and saw things to their logical conclusions rather than getting sidetracked by something new every millisecond.”

He imagined the others having a ball … and felt terribly lonely … and would have almost wept, but Big Brothers were not supposed to cry. Big Brothers were born not only to carry their own cross but also the crosses of their younger siblings as well, he thought, and wiped away a tear.

He was startled out of his reverie when a crackling, somewhat ominous voice commanded, “Come with me.”

“Uh Uncle Pluto, now what?” said Saturn warily, noting with consternation the sparks flying out of Pluto’s eyes and wondering where the hell Pluto had been the past few aeons.

“We are going to the Municipal Council Meeting to demand something be done about the terrible state of the roads here,” replied Pluto. He plucked Saturn out of the car, walked him into the nearby auto-shop, pushed the babbling sales clerk into the decorative water fountain, climbed atop a gleaming 8,000-cc 1-geared bike (Mars’ newest invention on which Jupe owned the patent drafted by Merc), deposited Saturn on the pillion and vroomed right out of the display window and down the footpath, leaving a spray of shattered glass behind that caught the light and winked.

Mother Moon was waiting at the Council chambers, ready to back up and balance out Pluto’s fearsome vision of the cataclysm that would befall the town if the entire concept of transportation did not undergo a paradigm shift and transform in totality. She would provide a mother’s eye view of why the nice young citizens who made up the Council really ought to undertake this road project as a way of taking care of all the village’s children - its gallant men and lovely maidens. Mars and Venus silently appeared at the back of the Council chambers as if on cue when their mother spoke the words “gallant” and “lovely.” Their regal father appeared behind them, smiling in sunny radiance at Moon, a smile that Moon reflected back to him with love.

Saturn, at his Uncle Pluto’s elbow, nodded gravely to underscore the seriousness of the issue. Mercury, now with Uranus glittering at his side, flew in to seal the deal, making sure that communication given was communication received. Taking the microphone from Mother Moon with a natural cool, Merc looked each Council member in the eye, then uttered a single, confident word: “Agreed?”

Jupiter happened in, just then, like a good-luck charm, and the Council’s approval was unanimous, in a rousing voice vote. “Great,” said Jupe, holding his arms out to his family. “Let’s all go party.”

The family trooped happily out of the building then and set off to find wayward Neptune, who had fallen asleep in the clover near the picnic table hours before and was dreaming of riding the carousel, in a pink chiffon dress, at an old-fashioned family picnic.