Group after group of astronauts had been sent to the planet Dextrose.
None had returned, none had ever been heard from again.
Those in charge argued among themselves. Should the searches continue, or should they be stopped?
"Sending another search party would mean sending more men and women to almost certain death."
"There's your operative word… ALMOST. Why are we assuming that they are dead? Isn't it possible that they are being held captive? And if they are, isn't it our duty to do all we can to rescue them?"
"There's your operative word… IF."
It was finally decided to send one last group, made up entirely of volunteers. They, too, never returned, nor were they ever heard from again.
The searches were officially ended, and the lost astronauts declared dead. There was deep, intense mourning all across the planet Earth.
But what had become of those astronauts? What was their fate?
Suffice it to say that the Dextrosians' favorite frozen treat came in containers marked:
ASTRONAUT ICE CREAM. MADE WITH REAL ASTRONAUTS