a writing by Paul Butters

Something I started:


Mankind has long since conquered Space. Well, at least half our local group of galaxies. Hundreds of years ago.

The other half is mainly occupied by the “Slykon”:
An alien race that makes the ancient fictional “Daleks” and “Borg” look like fluffy kittens by comparison.

We remain at war with them, as we have been for generations, in one of the longest stalemates on record.


Mother and son sit nervously in the school foyer.

The boy is called Patrick White and he is three years old. He is about to meet his first teacher, Ms Night. Both son and mum are natives of the terraformed planet known as Serenity. A world located in a relatively minor galaxy of our local cluster of galaxies.

Serenity was terraformed, i.e. artificially made earthlike three hundred or so years ago. Indeed the year right now is 312 AS – the AS standing for “Anno Serenity”. Frankly this planet is one of the most boring in the universe. The terrain is mostly flat and the weather is mainly temperate but drizzly. The terraforming companies have achieved some startling successes over the years, creating some lovely paradise-worlds, but sadly Serenity is not one of them. Not much else to say about the place really.

Patrick – known as Pat, his parents and his one year old brother Dave live together out on an arable farm, about forty old-Earth miles from Metrolee, a city of about 300,000 individuals. Mum has dragged him to the nearest school today. Unfortunately he has missed the start of term as the family have been offworld, on a fishing trip.

Ms Night appears, a little flustered.

Ms Night: “Oh no, not another boy!”

She does go on to introduce herself, but as they say, first impressions last! So Pat joins Ms Night’s class.


A short while later Pat is with his classmates, each one of them sitting at an old-fashioned computer station. Straight away Pat boots up his allotted PC and accesses his home page. He scans all the material in front of him.

Pat (thinks, brightly): “Oh, I get it. She wants us to personalise our home pages, starting with our names at the top.”

Promptly he starts to type in his name. (Infants are very advanced these days)!

Suddenly his whole body is jolted by an electric shock! Ms Night has employed the “social harmony” device that every teacher now possesses. There she is, standing scowling over him.

Ms Night: “I did not tell you to touch that computer!”
Pat just turns in fury and thumps her on the knee!
So much for showing initiative, if not brightness.

And so ends Lesson One.

(To Be Continued)

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