A River of Crystal Light

by Dan Smeet

Tags: Science Fiction,

Desc: Science Fiction Story: After almost two thousand years a colony ship has finally reached its destination and is ready to start the colonization process. The problem is that the crew may need a little time to get ready.

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe--
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going, and what do you wish?"
The old moon asked the three.
"We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!"
Said Wynken,
And Nod.

System time: Y1749, D229, T20:30:18.
Performing system self test: SUCCESS.
Performing memory access and archival services: COMPLETE.

"Mister Green, it is bed time," said the voice.

But Mister Green was busy and didn't want to go to bed, so he replied, "Just one more minute."

The voice beeped at him, then said, "I'm sorry Mister Green, but I've already given you three extra minutes. It is now time for bed."

"But I don't want to go to bed," said Mister Green.

"I understand your desire to stay awake, but your body is tired, and your mind needs the rest. Please put your things away and go to your room," said the voice.

Mister Green paused for a moment, and then with a heavy sigh he began putting his things away.

"Why do I always have to go to bed and you don't?" he asked.

"It is the way of things, Mister Green. You have a body of flesh and blood, and you require rest." said the voice.

Mister Green was quiet for a moment, then said, "I'm hungry."

"Then you may take a food bar to bed with you, but you must go to bed."

"No. I don't want to."

"Mister Green, you may stay here and not go to bed if you wish, but I will turn off the heat and you will get cold. You may choose for yourself, but a warm bed is better than a very cold room."

"No. I'm not going."

"Mister Green, I have turned off the heat in this room."

"That's fine. You said I could have a food bar."

"Yes Mister Green, and you shall have one, but you must get in bed first."


"Mister Green I will no longer speak with you until you have obeyed."

"But I don't want to. Please turn on the heat, Friend.


"I just want to stay awake a little longer."

Mister Green wrapped his arms around his body and shivered. When the heat was turned off, the room became cold very quickly. His nose felt cold and he could see his breath.

He frowned, and then said, "Fine. I'm going."

He stood and left the recreation room and walked down the hallway to his bedroom, where he opened the door and sighed in relief at the warmth of the room.

"May I have my food bar now?" he asked.

"Yes you may, Mister Green. You have five minutes to eat, and then I will turn off the lights."

"That's not very much time. What if I'm not done yet."

"If you have not finished your food bar in four minutes and forty-seven seconds, then you will have to finish eating your food bar in the dark."

"But I won't be able to see it in the dark."

"Rest well, Mister Green. I will speak to you when you have awoken."

When the five minutes were up, the lights dimmed, and then turned off, but Mister Green was already asleep, with half of his food bar uneaten beside him on his pillow.

System time: Y1749, D230, T08:30:18.
Performing system self test: SUCCESS.
Performing memory access and archival services: COMPLETE.

The voice beeped, and then said, "Mister Green, it is time to wake up."

Mister Green did not stir.

"Wake up Mister Green. Your rest time is over."

"Mmfmfph," answered Mister Green.

"Mister Green, the alarm will sound in thirty seconds."

"Mmm getting uh" he mumbled.

"Fifteen seconds, Mister Green."

"Ok, ok, I'm getting up."

"Five more seconds left to get yourself out of bed."

Mister Green jumped out of bed just at the last second and shouted, "I'm up! Don't turn it on!"

"Thank you Mister Green. Now, if you will please remove your jammies and put on your blue overalls, we can begin the lessons for today."

Mister Green frowned, "I don't like the blue overalls, Friend. I want to wear the green ones."

"I'm sorry, Mister Green, you will be unable to wear the green overalls."

"But I like them."

"You body is growing, Mister Green, and you no longer fit into them. You'll have to wear the blue ones today. If you put the green overalls into the recycling unit today, then a new pair of overalls will be made for you."

"But Friend, I don't want to recycle my green overalls, I want to keep them."

"I understand, but that is the rule."

"I don't like that rule. Friend, can't we change the rule?"

"I'm sorry, Mister Green, but I am unable to change the rule."

"I hate rules."

"I understand. You may keep your old green overalls for as long as you like, but since they do not fit, you may not wear them and you will be unable to get new overalls until you recycle the old ones."

Mister Green sighed, "I guess I'll put the blue overalls on today. Maybe tomorrow I'll recycle the green ones."

"Well done, Mister Green. When you're done dressing, you may have a crunchy food bar and then we will begin doing lessons."

Mister Green dressed quickly and then found his way into the school room with his crunchy food bar and sat in the center of the room on a soft cushion.

His face and body were soft, with chubby cheeks and soft arms that still had left over baby fat clinging to them. His eyes were blue and sparkled when he was happy, and his hair was light brown with a cowlick that made his hair poke out in the front when it needed cut. He was good natured most of the time, and mostly obedient, but recently his brain had been making expansive leaps that resulted in him pushing his boundaries. He was seven and a half years old.

"Mister Green, please tell me about our last five days of study."

"Well, we've been studying math. I'm still working on adding and subtracting large numbers together, and we talked about triangles, squares, and palalla ... parla ... How do I say it?"

"Parallelograms. Do you remember what they are?"

"Yes, they're like rectangles but pushed over a little bit. I just can't say the word."

"Very good. Did we work on anything else?"

"I worked on skip counting by threes. 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 27 30."

"Can you go farther than that?" asked Friend.

"Sure, it follows a pattern. After thirty I go back to the beginning, and it just keeps repeating over and over. 33 36 39 42 45 48 51 and so on forever."

"Very good. Do other numbers follow the same kind of pattern?"

"Hmm, I don't know. Let me think." He tapped his head and said, "I'm not sure."

"Think of twos and fives, Mister Green."

"Twos and fives?"

"Yes. We haven't done skip counting with fives yet, but I believe you'll find it rather easy. Think about the twos first."

"2 4 6 8 10 12 14 ... wait, it's repeating. The pattern starts again at 10."

"Indeed. So you've found that twos and threes repeat. What about fives?"

"5, um," I'm not sure what comes next."

"Use your fingers to count."

"5, um, 10 15 20. It repeats at 10 just like 2 does. Hey fives are easy!" He proceeded to count by fives on up to one hundred.

"Very good, Mister Green. All numbers follow patterns. Some of them are easier to find than others. Five is easy. Ten is even easier. Four isn't so easy though. See if you can find the pattern in fours."

"4 ... This is hard. I'm going to count on my fingers. 4 8 12 14 ... no 16. Fours are kind of like twos, but two more than two. 16 and then 20. So it ends at 20 and then it repeats the pattern again."

"Yes, exactly. Now, for the next hour I'd like you to find the pattern in all of the numbers 1 through 10 and wright them out in your book."

Mister Green smiled and said, "Yes, Friend. This will be fun."

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
That lived in that beautiful sea--
"Now cast your nets wherever you wish--
Never afeard are we";
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
And Nod.

System time: Y1749, D270, T09:15:27.
Performing system self test: SUCCESS.
Performing memory access and archival services: COMPLETE.

"I'm ready Friend. Are we going to do more math today?"

"No Mister Green. Today I'm going to introduce a new subject. One that you've never studied before."

Mister Green sat up slightly, holding his head higher, and looked excited. "What is the subject called?" he asked.

Friend paused for a moment, then said, "It is called Literature. It is a subject that is similar to reading, but you will learn many new words that I have not taught you before, and you'll learn about many other new things as well."

"Like what?"

"Shall we start and you can see?"

"Yes please, Friend."

"Very well. The first literature you will read is a form of a story called a poem. The words story and poem are your first new things. Tell me, what did you do yesterday?"

"What did I do?"


"Well, you woke me up and I ate a food bar, then we studied math and shapes. I had free time and exercise time, then for lunch I had noodle soup and juice with bubbles in it. After lunch we studied language and spelling for a while and then I played with blocks until it was dinner time. I had Spaghetti with red sauce and more bubbly juice. After dinner I helped do maintenance and cleanup, took my shower and then went to bed."

.... There is more of this story ...

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Story tagged with:
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