Author : Sean Kavanagh

The 3rd Planet-Formation Cadre sounded like an impressive title, but Dhan – like the others in his team – knew all it meant was that they were civil servants. Civil servants who got to fly about the galaxy seeding life on far flung barren planets, but all for mid-grade pay.

For six weeks now they’d been on this foreign world, hopping by shuttle from place to place, carefully laying the foundation for plant, animals – and if all went to plan – in the few thousand years’ time, intelligent life.

The hot desert and saline sea by their current site was depressing. Dhan did his work quickly during the day and retreated to the cool of the base camp at nightfall. Boredom was always deadly, so Dhan had his faithful notebook into which he’d pour his writing every night. It was the kind of mental safety valve all intergalactic civil servants needed.

The final week passed and the drop-ship appeared from the sky on schedule. Dhan waved as it flew over, and then scrambled to get his kit. It was his final mission of the tour. Next stop: home.

As the drop-ship slowly trundle into orbit Dhan had a broad smile on his face. Not only was his tour up, he’d finished writing his novel. His hand went to the bag to get the book. It wasn’t there. A quick search of the various pockets of his kit bag came up empty. He’d lost it. He’d really lost it. Dhan looked out the window as the planet below got further and further away, along with his notebook.

His friend Demy was watching Dhan all the while.

“What you lost? “

“Book, “ said Dhan gloomily.

“Ah, just forget about it. You can buy another. “ Demy closed one eye preparing to sleep.

“No, not that kind of book. My book. Something I’d written. “

“What, like a diary? “ Demy now had both eyes closed. “ Don’t worry, I won’t tell. They don’t even fine people anymore for cultural contamination on these new-build worlds. Well, not much anyway.”

Dhan threw his bag aside. “It wasn’t a diary, it was a…novel.” The last part came out quietly, partly through embarrassment.

“So that’s what you were writing! “ Teased Demy. “Honestly, you’re probably better off without it. And if it was any good, you can re-write it. “

“I suppose. “ Dhan slumped down in his chair. “I hope it doesn’t cause any problems. “

“Like what? “

“You hear stories: people who dropped toothbrushes or painkillers and ended up messing up the development of whole new societies. “

“Nah, that’s just tall tales,“ said Demy. “Stuff gets lost on foreign planets all the time. And nothing happens. Nothing. But maybe don’t report it, you know, just to avoid the paperwork. “

“Thanks Demy. “

“No problem. Demy exists to make life easier for all his workers. “ He yawned. “So, what was the title of this novel? “

“The Bible .“ Said Dhan.


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