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,

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

‘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.

by NA. 11/25/00