It was the morning after Joe Firmage had his revelation about gravity and quantum mechanics that the alien showed up. The clock radio went off in his Los Gatos, Calif., home at 6:10, and he'd just hit snooze when the image of a dark, bearded man appeared over his bed. "Why have you bothered me?" the visitor asked, sounding rather annoyed.
"I want to travel in space," Firmage replied.
The being chuckled skeptically. "Why should you deserve that opportunity?"
"Because I'm willing to die for it."
The visitor bowed his head, and a blue sphere of light...