The stranger chronicled a queer history. Parts of it seemed vaguely familiar—due largely, I assumed, to the pieces I had been reading in the Atlantic Monthly (I decided to renew my subscription, if ever I got the chance). The stranger’s name was Àkbä; he described himself as a Third Level Joracian. Parts of his story, as I said, had to do with recent Earth history; these were the parts I seemed to understand—although what the food chain had to do with military spending, or top forty songs with American decision-making (as he implied) remained beyond my grasp. Àkbä made much, as well, of some peculiar connection between the dreams of domestic animals, suburban architecture, and political struggles in the Less Developed Nations—this, too, I utterly failed to parse. But the rest of his story—I was left behind here—involved a game, sort of like the Olympics, being played in a remote constellation. This game related to physics—or poetry—and it not only affected, but was also influenced by, events in every part of the cosmos, including those on Earth. But then, no, you see, it wasn’t really a “game” at all…I shook my head in perplexity.
Àkbä shortened his tale. “We decided to evacuate everyone.” By “everyone” I gathered he meant: everyone on Earth.