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Wrong Way Go Back

by Ulysses Ai


Background
Wrong Way Go Back Cover Illustration
Artwork © Ulysses Ai
Growing up on the planetoid of G15-275 was not as exciting as it sounds. You could not wait to leave and as soon as you had amassed enough cash, you announced to your parent-bot that you were leaving. The unit tried to dissuade you, telling you that your departure would surely sadden your mother and father. You paused for a few moments to consider the man and woman who had appeared periodically to ruffle your hair, but found no good reason to speculate too much about how they might feel about your absence. Telling your parent-bot to go and deactivate itself (poor thing took your words literally), you packed a bagful of your belongings and set off for adventure!

You were seven at the time and were promptly returned to your habitation unit by the local lolly-shop owner to whose establishment you had gone to acquire further supplies. The parent-bot was reactivated and had its settings adjusted to 'stern'. But you did not give up and your attempts finally saw you reach the departure lounge before you were returned and the parent-bot set to 'mother-in-law'. After that nothing escaped the darned robot's attention and with your teddy-bear held as a hostage you were unable to abscond.

Finally at the age of fourteen you realised that you didn't care about the fate of Mr Fluffles anymore, and made good your escape. Rather than buy passage, you stowed away on a transport, and finding some coveralls, made yourself appear useful, carrying things through the service decks, polishing equipment, writing on clipboards, etc. No one suspected you were not part of the crew, and at the age of eighteen finally left, holding a glowing reference from the chief engineer about your excellent conduct and capable performance at whatever it was that you actually did. On the strength of your reference you were hired as a systems technician aboard the luxury cruiser Attila the Hon, a vessel famed for romance. You promptly decide it is time to find a girlfriend. Accordingly, you hit the dance clubs on board after your shifts end and try to be as charming as possible by drinking copious amounts of alcohol.

One day, like many of the days before, you fail to score and fall asleep under a table. You wake some hours later with a terrible hangover, and groan for several minutes, hoping someone will come to offer you sympathy. But nothing happens and you eventually force yourself to get up. The dance floor is strewn with rubbish and spills of various kinds of liquid. You stagger from the dim chamber and out into the bright corridor, the white lights searing your eyes. You feel your way down the hall, still groaning in the hope some sympathetic soul will get you a hair of the dog, or at least help you find your cabin. After your eyes adjust somewhat to the brightness, you squint about and see that the decks are completely abandoned. Examining a electronic noticeboard, you see it filled with a star scape dominated by an uncomfortably large star. Superimposed on top are large flashing red letters that read:

STELLAR COLLISION IMMINENT. PLEASE INPUT COURSE CHANGE


You begin your adventure with a headache, a dry thirst, a bruise on your right elbow and sensitive eyes.
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