Yet another story from the Aquarion's Fiction collection


Imagine a sphere lit by three lights, or apparently so. The colours are indescribable, which is a cop-out really, but for the purpose of this demonstration they are Red, Green and Blue, and each one is precisely the same. The Red is the same brightness as the Blue, The Green is covering precisely the same area as the Red, and all the lights are equal. But huge, unseen forces are working to overbalance this model, to make one colour brighter, but since all the forces are working against each other nothing happens, for a thousand years nothing happens. At all.

Then something goes wrong. The force that keeps the arguments equal is too involved, and something goes wrong, and that force is lost, perhaps forever.

And slowly, the red light, in our model, starts to grow. This is not a good thing, the end of the world is nigh.

Except it may not be, the force was never destroyed, merely lost. What is lost may be found again, perhaps.

There is, in fact, one hope for the universe, and he is sitting, in a room that is predominately brown, with an equally brown envelope in front of him, opened, with his eyes shut.

'I must not fear', quoth Simon in the privacy of his head

'Fear is the mind killer'.

This was probably the fiftieth time today he had repeated this.

'Fear is the little death'.

It was helping though, he wasn't shaking now as much

'That brings total obliteration'.

He couldn't remember the next line, he never could.

By touch alone, he opened the piece of paper contained in the envelope.

And opened his eyes.

"NEEU" said the paper.

For a member of the National Exception to the European Union, this would have been an expected opening to a letter, the header at the top telling you that you need to renew your subscription. However, for an A-Level student expecting his exam results, 2 E's, an N and a U were not A Good Thing.

Simon's world calmly and slowly crashed down around his ears.

There is one certainty when you get your results and were planing on University.

Maybe two.

The first is that alcohol will be drunk. Champagne or otherwise, depending on the letters on that all-important piece of paper.

The other is that a phone call will be made to whatever university you confirmed to, saying either "See you soon" or "Please Please Please". Again, depending.

Eventually Simon came out of his trance, and found his friends. Of the four of them, two were of to their first choice, and Simon and another were on the "Cheap Wine" end of the scale. And so, after a couple of bottles of exactly that, a movie, a video and a sleep, Simon stuck a pin in the list of universities which might just take him on a course he could upgrade later. One in a hundred chance, he phoned up and a line was free. One in a thousand chance, on clearing day, that the first university he phoned said "yes", a qualification, almost infinitely upgradable. Simon was going to University.

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