Nearing its destination, the deep space vessel 'Santini' slowed down and awakened it's hibernating crew. They had been in suspended animation for more than eleven years as they traveled far outside the solar system for the first time. The exploratory ship prepared to orbit the mysterious Earth-like planet while collecting atmospheric samples for biological analysis.
The crew struggled to awaken from their long-term stasis as the Santini's computers performed its automated functions. Naturally they were anxious to view transmission logs from Earth to find out what had happened during their extended absence. Once sensors confirmed that the new planet had conditions suitable for human life, the crew scanned the surface for signs of intelligence.
A long range message of unknown origin came from this 'neighboring' planet fifteen years earlier and set the world on its proverbial ear. While scientists were unable to decipher it's cryptic meaning, the repeating broadcast succeeded in confirming that there was other intelligent life in the universe. It wasn't just naturally occurring radio waves bouncing around in space. The organized pattern was almost musical in its composition and originated from a medium-sized planet in the Canis Major 'dog star' constellation.
It was dubbed 'Sha1Na2' by the governing body of the International Astronomical Association. Although nervously apprehensive, scientists and world leaders felt compelled to investigate the mysterious call from deep space. What ensued was the most ambitious 'road trip' the Earth had ever known. Volunteers were selected from among thousands of potential candidates who had few biological ties they would be leaving behind. Eleven years later, the bold explorers of 'Santini' approached the final destination of their quest near the brightest star in the sky, Sirius.
Almost immediately they picked up the same cryptic transmission that had drawn them so far away from home. It seemed to repeat itself on a constant, predictable loop. The scientists aboard hoped that didn't mean the civilization that created the message was extinct. They began broadcasting their own non-threatening message greeting in dozens of languages and universal communication methods. What happened next could either cement an intergalactic friendship or doom the human race. If the beings who sent the message to Earth were still alive, peaceful and were able to understand their simple greeting, then all would possibly be well. If not, it would be the most disastrous miscalculation in human history. Fortunately, they didn't have to wait long to find out.
Their 'Rosetta Stone' message definitely caught the attention of the beings who inhabited the 'Dog star' planet. The crew affectionately nicknamed it 'Bowseria' since it was easier to pronounce than 'Sha1Na2'. A previously unheard message began broadcasting on the same frequency bandwidth as theirs. The changed message strongly implied that someone or something had adapted their earlier message to reflect the Santini's presence in orbit around their equator. The crew were breathless as the implications sank in. They were about to meet another race of beings! Their eleven year odyssey had all led up to this.
"Greetings Earth people. We bid youze all peace. This is the voice of the ruler of the planet which youze guys all decided to call 'Bowseria'. As I represent all th' livin' bein's here, youze may call me 'Bowser'. We'd very much like to entertain youze guys as our guests. What'd ya say?"
The captain was taken aback by the almost Bronx-like heavy slang and accent of their extraterrestrial host. He assumed the aliens may have learned to speak English from monitoring old Earth broadcasts. It was all very surreal but the things were only about to get more bizarre. The crew were picked up in flying space vessels that bore a striking similarity to 1950's era Chevrolet Belair automobiles. The shark-finned spaceships took them down to the planet surface to meet with 'Bowser' and his staff. Remarkably, to their eyes at least, all of the inhabitants of 'Bowseria' appeared to look just like their greaser 'king'. He was human in appearance with tall, lanky features and slicked back hair. He wore a white tee shirt and kept making very odd, ritualistic mannerisms with his head and arms. All while chanting; "Do do doo de do". His cabinet would immediately follow his mantra with "Good night sweetheart, its time to go."
The crew looked at each other in disbelief and bewilderment. The original deep space message that called them light years from home was now clear. It was a symphonic rendition of King Bowser's chant! As a matter of fact, the entire population of the strange planet seemed fascinated with 1950's Earth. They performed countless musical numbers for the crew in the flamboyant style of that era. The king continued to make exaggerated gestures with his lower jaw while flexing his biceps and singing his deep 'doo wop' melody. It was so distracting that the captain wasn't able to conduct any real diplomacy. At the end of their meal of cheeseburgers, fries and Coca Cola, the king's cabinet serenaded all of them and bid them goodbye for the evening. The 1957 style Chevy spaceships returned them to the Santini.
The entire crew had a meeting to discuss the strange turn of events. The science officer offered his take on the odd Bowserian eccentricities.
"Clearly they have modeled their entire society after observing the Earth from such a great distance. Even at the speed of light, there is a significant lag in time as a telescope would retrieve footage of our past culture. It would appear 'current' to the ones that observe it. That would explain their fixation on imitating Earth events from 80 years ago."
"Very interesting!"; Declared the captain. "Do you think that could explain how they look so much like human beings?"
"Whether they are really humanoid or just presenting themselves that way for our benefit remains to be seen. We can all agree that despite the strange fixation with our past history and imitating us, theirs is an incredibly advanced, far superior culture to our own. Last night while they were doing a dance routine, I did some unauthorized exploring and witnessed incredible weaponry and scientific advances in medicine that we haven't even begun to touch. It would be easy to dismiss them as childlike but I think that is just to lull us into a false sense of calm. The Bowserians could crush us like a bug and then go and destroy Earth."
The captain's face turned as while as a sheet by the startling revelations. He made a mental note to not underestimate them again and thanked the science officer for his unofficial investigation and insight.
The science officer nodded at the recognition but held up his hand to indicate that there was more bad news. "We have a bigger problem. I've been going through the log updates that mission control sent us as we slept. It's taken a while to get through eleven years of monthly reports but I just finished them. About three years ago, the I.A.A. scientists deciphered King Bowser's mysterious chant and warned us to abort the mission. According to their top linguists, it's a mating call. The Bowserians are VERY lonely."