Excerpt for The Black Bot by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


Almost everywhere in the Universe, the ten-point clock is used. What differs from one place to another is the size of the clock and the intervals between points. However, some backward species completely discard such simplicity and use particularly confusing twelve point clocks. Although they group in hundreds and tens at the shortest intervals, their main instants actually combine in sixties. Well, apart from their days… These are counted by going twice around the clock (in a twenty-four group of sixties). Also, their months are curiously variable and their years leap… If this doesn't explain why they are so off with the rest of the Cosmos, it at least explains how.

Sometimes, space has its own way of bending time and the crew and passengers of Prospector XXI woke up from their induced state of unconsciousness two full weeks early and nowhere near their destination (a week consists of seven days or if you prefer, fourteen times around the twelve point clock).

Their hibernation cut short, there was a generally bad mood on board and everyone was at a complete loss as to where they were. Most especially the crew, which was desperately trying to hide this fact from the passengers who were fast growing suspicious.

– "My calendar indicates the 31st. We were not due to wake up until the 14th. How do you explain this?" demanded a grumpy passenger to the captain's first lieutenant, who was sweating profusely.

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