“#GoGetThoseGeckos.” On his HBO show “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver has issued a call, and humanity must answer. In brief, last week Russia lost contact with the Foton-M4 satellite, containing five hardy gecko cosmonauts (one male, four female) who had been sent up to test the effects of zero gravity on gecko sex. There are hapless geckos orbiting us as we speak, copulating vigorously for science, awaiting our rescue. Their food supply will run out in two months, before they come crashing back to earth on their own.
This shall not pass.
Whenever I hear of a Russian cosmonaut on a doomed mission, I am reminded of the story that circulated a while ago about Yuri Gagarin and Vladimir Komarov. Komarov, the story went, volunteered for a mission in a craft he knew was faulty in order to spare his friend Gagarin.
I am told something similar happened here, among the geckos of the Russian Sex Gecko Space Program. (Motivations for joining the Russian Sex Gecko Space Program vary, from a desire to do good hard science, to a desire to do good hard science.)
Spots and Geico, two male geckos, were both under consideration for this mission.
“Spots,” Geico said, looking at his friend in a pointed manner, “I don’t want you going up in that thing.”
“Well, if we’re going to be frank, I don’t want you going up in that thing either,” Spots said. “We both know Bowtie is going to be up there, and Bowtie and I have been building a relationship.”
“That’s not what I mean,” Geico said. “I’m not talking about the fact that this is an opportunity to spend months in space in minigravity doing sexual experiments with four females, probably including Bowtie and Gussie and Minnie and that one lady gecko with the speckled tail who always sits in the corner of the tank and we’ve never really been properly introduced. Put that aside for a moment.”
“I don’t see how you can put that aside,” Spots said. “That’s the whole mission. That’s sort of the deal.”
“I just don’t want you to get hurt,” Geico said.
Spots flicked his tail dismissively. “I literally see nothing hurtful about this.”
“I have it on good authority that something might go wrong with the craft,” Geico said. “Now do you see? I’m just trying to protect you.”
“Yeah, you’re really taking a bullet for me, Geico,” (oddly, geckos have this expression), “going up into space for months with four females on the sex satellite.”
“You’re not hearing me, Spots! You’d be stuck up there for months, well after food had run out, forced to continue with the experiment, whether you wanted to or not.”
“I think I’d be okay.”
“No, I have to do this,” Geico said, drawing himself up to his full height. “And if you want to live, you have to let me do this.”
“Not sure I do want to live,” Spots said. “Not when this is the alternative.”
They glowered at one another in silence for a few moments.
Now, at base camp, Spots is staring at the blank monitor screen and sobbing gecko tears. Not because of his friends’ terrible fate. Because he’s stuck down here.
We need to go get them.