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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the SCIENCE FICTION genre (05/10/07)

By Dan Louise Mann


"Why do I have to learn all this boring old history stuff, Reynolds?" Cherrith complained. At 6 years old Cherrith professed to know all that was necessary to survive on his birth planet of New Dawn, and history wasn’t on the list.

"I know you’d rather be doing your holographic constructs, Cherrith, but your parents assigned me the responsibility of providing you with a well-rounded education. That includes studying your ancestral lessons," Reynolds said firmly.

In spite of his teacher’s austere manner, Cherrith was quite fond of Reynolds. Cherrith nursed a hope the fondness was reciprocated, but it would be almost impossible to tell from listening to the modulated voice and observing the limited expressions of his humanoid robot instructor.

"Oh, all right," Cherrith said, exasperation mixed with resignation. "But pleeese program in that guy with the funny accent," he begged. "At least he makes history sound a little more fun."

The holo-lesson popped into view, the attention sensors began compensating for Cherrith’s pupillary wanderings, and "Mr. Accent" began the audio summary:

"Imagine if spectroscopic analysis revealed a blue planet with oxygen atmosphere just 4 light years away orbiting Alpha Centauri. The demand to build a warp drive would start right away!" This prophetic statement was uttered by Earth Prime’s NASA (National Aeronautic and Space Administration) official Daniel Goldin more than 200 years ago in 1992. The Hubble IV deep-space telescope did locate just such a planet in 2150, during the height of the global famine wars. Following the discovery, an unprecedented global alliance was forged with one goal: Develop a warp drive to facilitate colonization to Alpha Centauri, thereby reducing Earth’s starvation and overcrowding. The Weizsacker-Bethe-Salpeter (WBS) warp drive was perfected in 2162, the first colonization ships launched in 2165, and New Dawn colony, of which you are a third-generation member, was established in 2167 . . ."

Cherrith yawned, squirmed and fidgeted his way through the lesson, the post test accurately reflecting his lack of concentration.

Reynolds frowned as the results were displayed. "Those who do not learn their history, most definitely will be repeating it," he said sternly. "But let’s move on to literature and composition. Perhaps that will be more to your liking."

Reynolds called up the holo-textbook for the next lesson: Classic Tales from Earth Prime: Newly Revised and Updated for Today’s New Dawn Student. The accompanying story titles began their slow upward scroll.

"There are 100 stories. Pick any 12. You’re to read them in full...and the audio assist will be disabled. You'll have until this time tomorrow to write a one-sentence synopsis of each story."

"Awww, Reynolds," Cherrith protested. “That’s way too much reading for a little tyke like me," he said with mock sweetness.

"I suggest you dispense with moaning about your assignment," Reynolds replied matter-of-factly, "and prepare for your scheduled outdoor activities. You can expend some of that kinetic energy you displayed during history." Not wanting to lose a second of his treasured free time, Cherrith sprang from his chair and charged out the door which led to imagination.

After an exhausting afternoon of play, tomorrow came all too quickly. Cherrith worked feverishly to finish his assignment. With five minutes to spare, he handed Reynolds the tablet containing his 12 synopses:

1. Hansel and Gretel: First colonists and their children undergo hardship on New Dawn.

2. Rumpelstiltskin: Alien invader discovered living in the hill country of New Dawn.

3. Jack and the Beanstalk: Seeds brought from Earth Prime produce miraculous growth on New Dawn.

4. The Elves and the Shoemaker: First collaborative commercial enterprise between New Dawn’s indigenous species and colonists. [Reynolds, are elves the same as the Diminutives?]

5. The Ugly Duckling: Genetically altered ducks thrive alongside New Dawn’s bird species.

6. Snow White: First settlers sickened by New Dawn fruit.

7. The Three Little Pigs: Architectural successes and failures on New Dawn.

8. Little Red Riding Hood: Mentoring program and knowledge repository instituted prior to elder deaths.

9. Peter and the Wolf: The necessity of learning basic survival skills on New Dawn.

10. Beauty and the Beast: First interspecies marriage.

11. Thumbelina: First human child abduction by the Diminutives.

12. Rapunzel: At least 5 of the 7 deadly Earth Prime sins still flourish on New Dawn: Law for morality curriculum in colony’s educational system passes.

"Hmm…," Reynolds said as he perused Cherrith’s insights. "This is most satisfactory, Cherrith. I’d say you have a good grasp of the classics. Now. . .let’s get back to that history."

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Member Comments
Member Date
Julie Arduini05/17/07
I liked the take on Science Fiction you used here. What a precoious student here!
Sara Harricharan 05/18/07
Love the character of Cherrith! How fun! This was interesting to read and must have been quite fun to write. ^_^ Good job.