Scientists breathed a collective sigh of relief yesterday at 8.31 yesterday morning, when it became apparent that the switching-on of the Large Hadron Collider had not brought about the collapse of the entire universe.
Critics, doomsayers, net-surfers, sci-fi anoraks and psychic mediums had all predicted that man’s arrogant, overreaching quest to recreate the conditions that existed seconds after the Big Bang would inevitably result in a disaster of infinite magnitude as the Earth collapsed into a giant black hole, setting off a cataclysmic chain reaction which would engulf the entire universe in a split-second.
However, when the big red button was pressed at the CERN Laboratory in Switzerland there was nothing but a dull hum, followed by the chattering of printers as they began recording measurements from a battery of instruments around the 17-mile circumference of the underground particle accelerator.
The champagne had barely stopped flowing, however, when a large black sphere appeared in mid-air, bursting open to reveal a gateway to a parallel universe. Cheers turned to screams as an army of unstoppable Cybermen poured into our dimension, firing on everything that moved.
As the cyber-troops spread out to create further mayhem, the rip in the fabric of space and time disgorged a horde of invisible brain-things, Captain Kirk’s evil twin, a hovering red robot with magimix hands, a legion of fighting Uruk-Hai, a dancing crimson-suited midget talking backwards, Godzilla, the Crawling Chaos, a dishevelled man with a chainsaw strapped to his arm and a shop assistant with a great big gun.
Switzerland was overrun by lunchtime, leaving the United Nations with little option but to nuke the entire region. However, before the desperate plan could be implemented, the elusive Higgs Boson – the so-called ‘God particle’ – finally emerged from the still-running Collider.
“Worship me,” boomed a deep, commanding voice inside the heads of everyone on the planet, “And I will rid your world of this pestilence from beyond!”
As the world quickly assented, the particle accelerator powered itself down and the rampaging hordes disappeared in a theatrical puff of smoke.
World leaders are said to be hastily arranging schedules and venues for mass acts of obeisance and sacrifice to the terrible, all-powerful, sub-atomic-particle deity, which will have to be appeased for the rest of human history if further outbreaks of chaos are to be averted.
Meanwhile, surviving physicists emerged from their hiding places at the CERN labs, saying: “Cool! Let’s run that again - but with full power this time.”