Oil and natural gas are becoming more and more scarce. And yet, demand continues to skyrocket. To face this challenge, the major oil companies have come up with a radical new way to extract energy from our now exhausted planet: send explorer teams into the distant past to find more oil.
"We're plum out of black gold!" explained oilman Chauncy Hagspoon III. "We can't suck it out of the ground. We can't squirt it out of the ground. We can't even scrape away the forest and dig it out of the ground. It's time to explore virgin territory, and that's the past."
ExxonMobil has been designing a time machine/drilling rig that will travel back millions of years, to an era before humans existed. There, experts believe, we will find a bounty of untapped natural resources, ready to harvest.
"He who controls the past conquers the future!" is the logo painted on the side of the Exxon Pangaea, the massive thousand-foot long explorer rig. The drilling team safely departed from the present last month. Their destination: the prehistoric supercontinent of Pangaea, over two hundred million years ago (before our present continents even formed). And oil executives are ecstatic.
"Two hundred million years ago, there will be enough oil, coal, and other natural resources to boost our profits very nicely," said ExxonMobilTacoBell CEO Chad Gluckston. "From what I hear, it's uninhabited. No liberals, regulators, or tree-huggers there to annoy us. God willing."
Once the exploration team arrives, they will plant the American Flag on the primitive shores of Pangaea. They will clear away all vegetation and wildlife, and start extracting the valuable natural resources. Finally, they will build a two hundred million year-long pipeline to transport the product back to the present. Of course, environmentalists are complaining about the dire threat this pipeline poses to life on Earth.
"Look! This isn't about life. This is about lifestyle!" said Hank Grabman, of the Club for Wealth. "And this pipeline will guarantee our comfortable American lifestyle for at least another ten to fifteen years." Asked about the paradox of 'using up all the oil that we would otherwise be extracting today', Mr Grabman replied "We'll cross that bridge tomorrow."
News of the team's safe arrival in Eastern Pangaea sent energy stocks soaring. But just as oil executives were popping the champagne corks, the 'Pipeline to the Present' burst open. Millions of gallons of black ooze spilled somewhere in the late Cenozoic era (about 500,000 years ago) killing a bunch of our early ancestors, retroactively wiping out the entire human race.
"Whoops!" exclaimed CEO Chad Gluckston, just as he vanished into thin air along with the rest of mankind.