A few people on Earth were desperate. In the reflecting telescope, they saw the bringer of death approaching. Since they had to keep secrecy, they were not allowed to reveal to the public that the approaching poinsettia was actually a death messenger.
The days of the Earth were numbered. Twenty-four days remained.
The scientists decided to send a distress signal into space, even if the probability of being heard by an alien civilization was close to zero.
A few months earlier they had met at a conference and happily speculated on various scenarios of the end of the world.
Among other things about how the Earth could be saved from the inflating sun in about seven billion years. What to do before an inferno breaks out on Earth; what to do if the mother threatens to eat her children – the sun her planets.
Although the scenario only arrives billions of years later, and the survival of mankind is seriously questionable until then, they thought about how to give the Earth a push towards Jupiter with the help of nuclear power. Then the Earth would become the satellite of the gas planet and find temporary protection. But even this would not save the blue sphere. At some point, the red giant would collapse into a white dwarf and bitter cold would seize the solar system.
They also considered whether one could influence the course of passing suns to let the Earth be captured by a distant sun, whose burning duration would be considerably longer than that of the home sun.
All this sounded ridiculous now that only a few days were left to save the Earth. They admitted to themselves that no technology in the world was able to avoid the cosmic ping-pong game.
One of the scientists didn’t seem at all desperate, and they asked him why.
»When I was nine years old, grenade fire hailed from the sky. When I was ten years old, there was nothing to eat. The poorest of our people starved to death. When I was eleven years old, I lost my parents to prison and my five-year-old sister to cholera. Only I was to survive. Then came a stranger who had resolved to save an abandoned soul. His choice fell on me. Whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world, he said. I went with him and promised to do it like him at some point,« Asiel replied.
»What are you trying to tell us,« his colleagues asked.
»We submit galactic asylum. We politely ask for immediate admission to another solar system.«
His colleagues laughed.
Asiel smiled at himself. »Just do it.«
They complied with his request because there was no chance of rescue anyway, they said.
In addition, the range of the signal would be from the shortest distance. One could not expect that the neighbours would listen at all, if they were so far technically, and, and, and …
It came as Asiel had wished.
A superior neighbouring galactic authority, which actually wanted nothing to do with the Earthlings themselves, received the asylum application just in time.
Shortly before the fireball, which corresponded to a lost dwarf sun, would collide with the Earth, the Earth was transported together with the moon into another solar system. The divine marble game was over in the twinkling of an eye. For a short time, Earth and Moon got stuck in a waiting hall like a train station and were then transferred to a suitable system. After the poinsettia had confused our solar system, clean-up work became necessary. When this was finished after about a month, the Earth with its moon was moved back to the place where it should have been according to the calculation.
The galactic authority had tacitly accepted the asylum application. The galactic neighbourhood aid went almost unnoticed by the majority of mankind. Many remembered the cosmic event of the approaching poinsettia. The associated physical events could not put them in the correct context.
After saving the Earth, Asiel and his colleagues worked on the new spellbinding technology they called the »Gravitational Slingshot«. Sometime in seven billion years, when the Earth would have to leave the solar system again – … yes, by then they would have found out how it works.
The real magic, however, was that the unknown authority, which revealed itself only this once, had taken mercy on Earth to help it.
The Earthlings have never experienced that Human Rights are essentially identical to those of Galactic Individual Law. The Earthlings were also not informed that to facilitate cosmic communication, all radio signals were diverted with the help of mini-wormholes. They circle at the edge of a solar system and absorb all signals reliably. The Galactic Council is up to date within a few hours. Only the galactic administration took a little longer to process the application. That seems to be a cosmic problem …