Ladies and Gentlemen, I write today to recommend a posthumous League induction for a fellow adventurer who was lost on March 15, 2009. He may not have been a gentleman in the traditional sense in that he wasn’t really a man at all. In scientific circles, he was referred to as Chiroptera Molossoidea, better known as a common free-tailed bat. However, this particular bat was anything but common. This bat had dreams. This bat yearned for adventure. This bat hitched a ride into space.
Prior to the March 15 launch of the space shuttle Discovery, NASA noticed our winged peer clinging to the side of an external fuel tank. A wildlife expert identified him as a free-tailed bat with what appeared to be an injured wing and shoulder. The launch was continued and it’s unknown what happened to our fateful hero after he and the shuttle cleared the tower, accelerating from zero to 100mph in the span of ten seconds. During a post-launch conference, Launch Director Mike Leinbach had this to say, “We’re characterizing him as unexpected debris and he’s probably still unexpected debris somewhere.”
Bats are the only mammals with the gift of flight, and it appears that having been robbed of this gift, our chiropteran hero decided to pursue one last, glorious journey. A flight higher and farther than any bat before him had dared to attempt. He aimed for the stars and gave his all in order to reach them. Truly, he represents the purest, finest spirit of adventure that any of us can hope to achieve. Wildlife experts may believe that he had that one injured wing, but in the gentlemen adventurer spirit, I believe he was instead simply tucking away some juicy piece of fruit or a tasty grub, saving it as part of a plan for a gourmet meal amongst the stars. And while NASA may characterize him simply as unexpected debris, he will always stand as a tiny American hero to me. We here at the League of Gentlemen Adventurers salute you Space Bat.