“Oh Leomund!” cried Stibbons, “what a strange planet! They live on land instead of under the water! Is it not the domain of the devil, that which is parched and dry throughout?”
“Alas,” replied the older man, “there are somethings we are bound not to comprehend. Such is the nature of alien civilisations. Don’t hurt yourself over-thinking these things. Come, prepare for landing.” The ship descended over a collection of metal spires that reached up towards the heavens, like gigantic fingers stretching out from the ground, each one countless times bigger than the two men’s starship. The aliens were thoroughly alike our two characters in build and in feature. With the cloaking technology activated Leomund and Stibbons easily blended into the native population.
Around them, the aliens went about their daily business, some sitting, some standing still, but mostly walking, though to where and for what reason eluded the two pioneers. In front of them loomed a massive structure that bodies were emerging from. Inscribed above in deep set lines carved into the stone (or what seemed like stone from their perspective) were the symbols, written as they were copied by Stibbons: M U S E U M. Stibbons and Leomund looked at each other, and seemingly sensing the other’s intention, both men approached the ingress.
The external facade of the structure belied the sheer magnitude of space within. The walls shot up from the ground high up above both men’s heads. And along the walls hung giant portraits of individual aliens, bigger than life itself, stretching from the floor at one’s toes to the ceilings edge. It was breathtaking. And if the natives themselves were awestruck at this lavish design, the two visitors were much more deeply affected.
They looked around the entire place. The hall seemed to stretch on forever. But as they were walking, Leomund stiffened, for something had caught his attention. They had come abreast with a portrait of a man, long faced, and sharped chin. Whose nose curved downwards ever more slightly than normal, and whose eyebrows were furrowed in a pose of everlasting bewilderment. Could it be? Yes it was. A motionless replica of the one who was now staring agape at the painting – Leomund himself. A space explorer from a planet thousands of lightyears away, stepping foot on this new, untouched planet, only to find a close to perfect representation of his likeness. The two men stood marvelling at the detail, as if this civilisation had known Leomund somehow. Stibbons dutifully copied the symbols at the bottom of the painting. They were:F E Y N M A N , S C I E N T I S T , 1 9 4 1.
It didn’t take them much exploration to come across another portrait, this time of the likeness of the King of Berhenheim, also a one for one representation. He was labelled: P R E S I D E N T amongst other titles. Then there was the renown entertainer Maslov, who was also featured in a collection in the hall, and he was followed by Erva, and Ostidian, and many other prominent figures from home who, inexplicably, seemed to have doppelgangers on this planet. “I am utterly flabbergasted,” expressed an exasperated Leomund, finally. They had long given up recording the names of those on the walls, the sheer number was overwhelming.
“And what is this?” said Stibbons, for he had found and was standing in front of a portrait of himself. “Quite a charmer, ain’t I?” He said to Leomund as he came up from behind. “Certainly dashing,” came the reply, as both men mused at the artwork, deep in thought. “Though what the hell does this mean? They certainly aren’t my initials,” said Stibbons as he traced out the inscription at the bottom: H I T L E R.