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The Money Reform Party

Star Woes

Chapter 5

Mark Skyspotter had run out of the village of Elysium and down to the river. The tears flowed and he let them come, confident that no one was near to see him. His last ambition was shattered. What was left for him now but a future of tending verges and spotting the occasional passing Imperial Patrol Ship? He knew that away off planet and around the galaxy, important things were happening - major business deals, the establishment of trading monopolies, the creation of whole new economies.

The fact that his was a Restricted Planet, that no off planet vessels would ever visit them, save Imperials, had been difficult to reconcile, but he had fostered the ambition to use his knowledge of economic theory to become the financial power on the planet Elysium, but now even that hope had been snatched away by Derek Moneypenny's grotty Toy Town Pounds.

Yet even now a new realisation awoke within him. How could he have achieved his plans on Elysium when everyone thought of him as a spotty starship spotter? He would need gravitas, an authoritative presence and a clearer complexion. He would not achieve these for years in the village of Little Elysium-on-the-Planet. He would need to disappear for a time, to become physically and mentally stronger, to re-invent himself and so re-emerge as deep and mysterious.

He turned around to stare at the little house that he shared with his Uncle Ewen and Aunt Beryl. They had cared for him since before he could remember. He was sorry to leave them without a word, but then had they been more forthcoming about the fate of his parents, maybe he would have given them more trust. He had always felt like an outsider, now an outsider he would truly become.

He set off into the deepest woodland that he could find. He headed away from Elysium still with tears in his eyes, and so he failed to spot the starship that came in to land on Elysium's spacious and neatly trimmed village green.

On and on, deeper and deeper into the wood he ventured, until he reached territory that had never yet been explored even by the most intrepid of Elysium's inhabitants, which was actually not very far. He was pleased to notice that in some of the more open glades there were new species of flowers that would make excellent bedding plants...

"Oh no!" he cried aloud. "They've even got me thinking like a gardener now!"

"Mm, mm," came a high-pitched strangulated voice from behind him. "Thinking like gardener is problem, is it?"

Mark spun around and there, sitting upon a log, was an odd little man of pale green colouring and with enormous pointed ears which drooped.

"Who are you?!" demanded Mark.

"Hmh. Who are you to be demanding who am I? In my land now you are. I it is who should be demanding who you are and where it is you are going?"

The little man raised his left eye-brow quizzically, which also caused his left ear to rise somewhat.

"I am Mark Skyspotter. I come from Elysium," Mark explained.

"Skyspotter. Mmm. Known is the name to me. But asking whence you came I did not. Elysium only is that possibility. Whither you go is what I wish to know."

"Nowhere, really. I was just following the river... towards the source, I suppose."

"What know you of the Source?!"

"The source... It's where the river begins."

"Oh, that source. Yes. Yes, it is."

"There's another kind of source?"

"Hm. Quick on the uptake, I see you are."

"Old Mr Grumbleweed often mutters about the Source, like its some kind of power, to be heedful of, but everyone else just laughs at him and calls him a dotty old man."

"But interesting you find it yourself, young Mark?"

"Yes, I want to understand the secrets of the galaxy. Doesn't everyone?"

"Not power?"

"Power?"

"Interested in power are most young men - in wealth, in status, in guns and machines, in having everyone look up to them when they're not bowing down before them..."

"Yes, but surely understanding the secrets of the galaxy will give one ultimate power!"

The little man nodded sagely and thoughtfully. The Source, he thought, is very strong in this one.

"What of your parents, Mark?"

"Both dead, I think. Uncle Ewen and Aunt Beryl say that my mother died giving birth to me, but their stories differ about my father. It's like they're not telling me something. All they tell me is that he was called Anarkist and that he once worked for the Co-op Mutual Building Society, whatever that is. Then he started working for himself, got himself an inter-planetary jet-setting lifestyle, then he had a terrible accident. Uncle Ewen says he's dead, but Aunt Beryl is not so certain. I don't think that they approved of what he did."

"Much sadness you have, and grief and anger. Natural it is, but dangerous."

"Dangerous, how?"

"Corrupt you it can, and turn you away from the good that there is in the Source."

"What do you mean? I don't understand..."

"Of course not, young and ignorant you are, but teach you I can."

"Teach me? Teach me what?"

"To understand the secrets of the Source. With me you should stay, unless to some lonely mountain you wish to travel."

"No. I haven't anywhere else to go."

Next: Chapter 6

Previous: Chapter 4

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