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CHAPTER 1 Robot Teacher

The android turned and smiled at the students. A static line scrolled up its screen, briefly distorting the image of its pleasant face. “Quiet down, class,” the artificial teacher said, raising a metal finger to its pixelated lips.

A ripple of excitement traveled through the middle graders as they commented on the bold 3-D letters projected above the entrance to the high-tech museum.

The letters read:


Heart of the

Welcome to the
Citizen of Enillon,
Space explorer,
Discoverer of the EXOSTAR.

Enter the world of the legendary

Before the entrance to the museum, a massive statue of a young man in space attire, pointing with his right arm into the distance, dwarfed the students.

“He’s so handsome!” girls quipped to each other, while boys narrowed their eyes and puffed out their chest in an attempt to copy the thoughtful stance of the famous explorer.

It took a while before Ms. PT-A’s class calmed down enough for her to speak again. “I know you are impatient to start exploring, but first we must go over some important rules… KARAL! Leave Olivia’s backpack alone!”

Twenty pairs of eyes turned to the student standing at the back of the group.

“Hey! That’s mine! Give it back!” Olivia yelled, pulling at the strap of her backpack that stuck out of Karal’s mouth.

Eight eyes sitting atop stalks on Karal’s head blinked at her.
“Karal,” Ms. PT-A scolded in a monotone voice, “We have been over this. I know you come from Lluunides and that you do things differently there, but you are old enough to know that—on the other Alliance planets—eating your companion’s belongings is very rude. Now let go of the backpack or you will spend the rest of the day in the IQURUS, where you will wait for us to return from the exhibition!”
The strap slipped out of Karal’s mouth.
“Good boy,” Ms. PT-A praised. The teacher’s hovering body spun towards the rest of the students with a soft buzz. “Class, remember to help your new companion. Moving to a different planet is difficult and takes a lot of adjustment. Now, where was I? Ah! Rules. We are ready to enter the Professor Nando Pazorri Exhibition…”
“I want to see the Exostar!” a girl complained, twirling a strand of hair around her finger while she chewed on a piece of gum.
“All in good time…”
“I want a hoverchair,” a boy grumbled. “I’m tired.”
“No, Thapu,” the robot said evenly. “We will not get hoverchairs. Legs that are made of flesh and bone like yours, need exercise. I won’t have laziness in my class. You will walk around the explorer’s exhibition and I will hear no more of that hoverchair nonsense.
“You are free to wander on your own for two hours. I expect you to pay close attention to the information provided in this interactive exhibition. At the end of the tour, you will answer the ten questions that I am sending to your Mass Data Transfer devices now.”
The childrens’ ear devices pinged in unison at the incoming homework. Some students groaned, while others stepped forward, eager to start the challenge.
“Wait.” Ms. PT-A’s four arms snapped out of her metal body to form a barrier. She turned up the volume of her voice to speak over the ruckus. “Listen, now! If you get eaten by cannibals, get lost in the forest or get stung by a venomous arachnis, proceed to the EXIT sign blinking on your MDT-map, located at the end of the main hall. We will regroup there for lunch before we visit the Exostar.”
Cheers exploded throughout the group, making some well-dressed alien visitors arriving at the intergalactic museum glance at them with a frown.
Ms. PT-A’s outstretched arms reintegrated into her metallic frame and the students broke into a run. They crossed the spacious terrace leading to the exhibition and were soon swallowed up into a virtual universe filled with danger and wonder.
Ms. PT-A smiled placidly and waved a mechanical hand after them. “Have fun, children.”


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