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Suron tapped the console impatiently. It was bad enough having to tutor 75
idiots in this jerkwater part of the galaxy for no hope of reward or recognition, but
these particular young minds were spread out over half a light year on weather
stations, research stations, agricultural stations and Krom knew what else. Not a
single city within a month's travel, not even a single habitable planet for Krom's
How did a teacher of his superb training and intellect wind up on this
decrepit station so far from the gleaming centers of commerce and art? He who
was third in his class at the academy and could have had an appointment at the
great university on Helms. It was all politics. "Politics!" Suron spat out the word
and fetched the console a resounding smack.
One by one the console's lights winked off as the far flung students
submitted their assignments, communicated with each other and signed off after
the day's lessons. Seventy five little lights connected him to seventy five little
minds. Some bright, some hopelessly dull; all of them reluctant to work but eager
to win his praise. He demanded nothing less than perfection from them. This may
be the despised ass end of the known universe but by Krom it will have seventy
five well spoken and highly literate young minds. One light stubbornly remained. A
young third former named Veech who lived on a small mining station at the very
limit of The People's expansion.
Keying the switch with contempt Suron spoke to the boy, "Yes Veech, why
do you tarry?" Static and the garbled sounds of voices and commotion came over
the speaker. Suron turned to the small screen. A picture of the floor or perhaps a
wall. Finally a panting and dishevelled Veech. "Professor! Thank Krom !Help! help
us please. Explosion. People hurt. I don't know what to do."
"My dear young man," snapped Suron, " you will address me in the correct
manner. You will ask permission to speak. And then you will speak clearly and in
whole sentences as I have instructed. You will state your case in precise
declaritive sentences without emotion. In fact, I would prefer to read a written
report on your problem which might help your flagging grade in composition. I will
expect your report before class tomorrow. That is all." So saying, Suron flicked the
switch cutting off communication with the horrified Veech.
Several hours later this report came through on the data transfer machine:

Dear honored professor,

I do not have much time. Several explosions and fire have killed everyone
but me. The station is in ruins. Only this channel of communication remains. I
have no food and very little air. All life support systems are distroyed and there
are no escape pods in this part of the station. I do not think I can last more than a
few days before I slowly die of thirst or cold or asphixiation. I might be better to
simply throw open the airlock and end all suffering. I hope you find this
composition to your liking.
Your most respectful pupil,


Sighing deeply and tut tutting to himself Suron takes the red pen from his
pocket and begins to circle the obvious grammatical and syntactical errors in the