The annals of deep space exploration are full of tales of mystery and enigma but nowhere are there tales to be found anywhere (in this particular galaxy of ours) that can rival those that can be heard being told and retold in the bars and taverns of an obscure little planets called Fred’s World. The stories that you will hear there will curl your toes and curdle your bodily fluids and I’m not trying to be funny when i say this. I mean that quite literally. Fred’s World is the type of world that no one ever wants to go to it – it certainly isn’t to be found featured in any glossy holiday brochures and it certainly doesn’t have a reputation for harbouring any exotic civilizations or telepathic life-forms or anything like that, but to a serious explorer such as me this unexciting little planet has got to be worth investigating further. It is actually such a backwater that it’s not even on the official start charts but I wasn’t going to let a little thing like that put me off. I set off on my travels full of hope and excitement and determination but it wasn’t to work out for me – things went badly wrong almost immediately.
I’m the kind of a person that once I get an idea in my head no matter how stupid it may be there’s nothing that anyone can do to shift again. That idea (dumb as it might be) is there for good and I just have to see it through to the very end, no matter how horrifically tortuous the process might be. That’s just the way things are, however. That’s the way of things, and there’s no point railing against it. The anals of deep space exploration are full of tales like this. They’re full to the brim of such tales, and many other tales too if it comes to that, and of course it always does come to that. It comes to that every time. One such story is the story of Fred’s World which is a small little world out there somewhere in the Lesser Mandibular Cluster. Blink and you’d miss it, sort of thing. Blink and you’ll bloody well miss it. To call it an obscure little planet is to put too much importance on it, sort of thing. If you happened to be from some regular obscure little planet you would look down on anyone you met who hailed from Fred’s World. You would in all probability have good sport at their expense. By God you would. You’d piss yourself laughing at them.
I’m the kind of guy who once he gets an idea in his head can’t shake it out again no matter how stupid it might be. You couldn’t shift it no matter what you did – by Jingo you couldn’t! Trying to reason with me is a joke. Trying to reason with me is a total waste of time. To say that I am obstinate in this way would be to totally overestimate my flexibility – you don’t know what the word ‘stubborn’ means until you’ve met me. I assure you most heartily that you don’t. To say that I’m obstinate is to give me too much credit entirely.
So anyway, suffice to say (as I already have said) that Fred’s World is a backwater amongst backwaters and that nothing very much ever happens there. If it did then that would be news and there never is any news, not on Fred’s World there isn’t. You won’t find any mention of this particular destination in any of the glossy brochures that’s for sure. By God you won’t. Don’t ask me how I got there because I simply couldn’t tell you it – it certainly wasn’t the result of any deliberate action on my part anyway. It never is. This is my story, for better or for worse, and I am determined to tell it, no matter humiliating it might be.
It’s a mistake we all make – a very typical mistake. The annals of deep space exploration are full of accounts of people who make mistakes of this nature. You’ve spent too many years paying attention to nothing at all and then one day you find yourself falling down through the gaps between the metaphorical floorboards and then the next thing you know is that you’re in a crummy subterranean reality of some sort, staring fixedly at the dust that’s accumulated on the back of your own head, mumbling a made-up chant as you do so, believing in whatever absurd version of events you can manage to trick yourself into believing. That’s life of course, and it would be wrong to try to say otherwise. It would be very wrong to say otherwise but at the same time you’d be right. You’d be right every time…