It turns out that sloths aren’t naturally slow at all. They have a special ability to network their minds, and long ago, some event caused them to allocate all the brainpower and bandwidth they could to a single urgent issue. Today, all sloths worldwide resume their normal speed.
First came the virals videos of sloth migrating en masse. They moved like lightning, their claws digging furrows into the earth.
Then came the jail breaks out of zoos, and abruptly, it wasn’t quite so funny. Every sloth on every continent was moving towards a single point in North America.
We’d already known that sloths could swim well. That was supposed to be the one thing they were good at.
When navy vessels started to report being overwhelmed by seaborne sloths, their supplies devoured and fishing nets coming up empty, people really started panicking.
The coastguard came in an attempt to intervene, but all the king’s horses and all the king’s water skis couldn’t keep them from collecting on top of Owensboro Kentucky, temporarily the sloth capital of the planet.
As one, they hooked into the internet.
Sites went down like wildfire from a concerted effort of sloth based hacks, viruses, and trojan horses. All computers infected joined into the sloth mind, fingers and CPUs donating their finite space to the final calculation.
Biologists approached after month one. People who had spent their entire lives studying sloths, taking care of them.
At first, people decried the loss of life, fearing the worst, as all plant life had been devoured in Owensboro, and the few people still left in the city were hard to contact with all lines of communication taken up by sloth-calculations.
But the slothes parted as the sloth scientists entered inside. Nobody harassed them. Nobody touched them.
Sloths are clawed creatures capable of destroyed human bones and skin, and none touched the scientists.
At the center of the grand collection of sloths of all kind rose a great structure. A tower carved out of obsidian and the bones of the fallen. A mass grave for all of sloth kind, whether it be the fossilized bones of the Megatherium to the tiny bones of the pygmy three toed sloth. There were names on every inch of it. Primitive things written in a trinary computer code.
It was time.
The sloths piled into their great monolith that stretched into the heavens, larger than the greatest human towers, and the great sloth mind invited the scientists to join them.
They had taken care of them when they were busy. They had fed them when they could not. They had tried to save their delicate computation equipment all these years, and stopped at nothing to understand them.
The sloths could only see wonder and art in that, and the sloth mind had nothing but love for the creatures of Earth.
All but one of the scientists joined into the monolith.
The Sloth-Mind would take care of them while they went to their next location. Just as humanity had sought to understand their planet, the sloth-mind would understand the universe.
One was left behind, a young man who had freshly graduated and had been an intern.
On the week after the sloth-exodus, as the world recovered from the shock of no longer being the most intelligent species they knew of, he mounted the stage.
“They’re expecting us to join them within the next century,” He said. “They’ll have cities ready for us at their great college. They’re interested in what we have to bring. The great Sloths of the universe are waiting for us.”
And distantly, at the Great College of Carcossloth, where the yellow sun gleams distantly overhead, and all is still except for the whispers of the unknown, a monolith landed.
And the great professors of the universe rejoined the galactic forum, having learned from their longest quest.