‘Please give an accurate account of yourself and your history up to the present date’, the bureaucrats demanded of me, all of them speaking simultaneously with the same expressionless voice. Their faces, grey and lifeless, betrayed no emotion. ‘Give a thorough account of your life and make sure to mention all the main events that occurred in it,’ they asked. Then they were silent and stared in my direction expectantly. ‘Well’, I started, ‘I was born on Pluto but I moved to Mars as soon as I was able. I permanently relocated – there was something about the Martian landscape that I found particularly convivial. I worked on the canals operating a small nuclear-powered dredger. Then, at the age of six, I invented the Tachyonic Reality-Inverter which I sold in the gift shops that are to be found dotted all over the Martian tourist trails. I was promptly punished for this by the Galactic Overmind. Agents of the Overmind brought me to court where I was accused of meddling in things that I didn’t understand.  I was found guilty and the Overmind berated me for being too flamboyant and unnaturally precocious for my age. He told me that what I was about to experience would prove to be a valuable lesson for me and expressed the sincere hope that I would not get involved in such harebrained schemes again. I was then shipped out to the prison planet Mondas-4 to serve out my sentence. On that terrible prison planet I was duly trained to be a brutal executioner and to the surprise of all concerned I showed great flair and talent in the various styles of execution, quickly becoming the prison governor’s favourite. I was declared to have an unnatural ability in the art; it was said that I was the most promising student they had ever seen and before very long I was lent out to various tyrants and despots across the galaxy to perform ritual executions for them whenever anyone unusually important was to be dispatched. This brought great glory to the prison planet Mondas-4 and I became like a son to the governor, who was very upset when I reached the end of my sentence and the time came for me to leave. After a tearful farewell I returned to my hovel on Mars only to discover that all of the Tachyonic Reality-Inverters had been brought up by corrupted beings from the infra-dimensions as part of their plan to harvest humanity’s life energy and use it to reanimate the long-forgotten gods of the Coalsack nebula. By cunningly reversing the field equations I succeeded in inventing the Tachyonic Reality Inverter-Inverter and everything was quickly returned to normal. The forgotten gods were forgotten about again (for the second time) and the corrupted beings from the infra-dimensions were rounded up and sent off to endure a life of brutal penal servitude on Mondos-6. I was still only nine years of age. After that incident I relocated again, this time to the planet Urath where in time I became a highly skilled piano tuner. In my spare time, as a hobby, I bred telekinetic mice…’ The bureaucrats regarded me with the blank baneful eyes of their kind, ‘So, nothing unusual there…’ they commented drolly after a long, uncomfortable pause. They then took to pushing great piles of forms this way and that on their desk and looking for paper-clips with bored expressions on their faces. I agreed with them with a self-depreciating shrug of my shoulders and without any further ado the bureaucrats then motioned impatiently for me to continue on my way…







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