THE PLAINS OF VALTAKI
By JP BROWN
Valtaki was a small world of no great importance to the Empire. It was too small to colonize, and had no natural resources to speak of. Its location however, made it an ideal planet for a way-station for passing space-vessels of the Empire’s Fleet.
There was a small town located near the centre of the planet, but besides this docking-post, there were no other settlements on Valtaki. The town had about two thousand residents, and the landing-strip for spacecraft was the biggest construction in the area. Apart from this, there were only a few hundred buildings, which were mostly accommodation for passing way-farers.
It was a beautiful, uninhabited and unspoilt little world. In the dark nights, its solitary moon glowed brightly in the sky, and the stars shone unhindered like a billion bright light-bulbs against the black canvas of the night.
And by day, the winds swept the rich, yellow grass out on the plains. A solitary herdsman was tending his flock out in the open grass-land. The beasts grazed contentedly on the nutrient vegetation, while the cloaked herdsman dutifully kept an eye on them. Each day, year in and year out, through the changing of the seasons, he faithfully tended his animals, and they in turn earned him his living. He was a man that lived his life in harmony with nature, and his herd.
He sat on an outcrop of rock among the tall grass, and he kept guard over his herd. The wind swept the tall, yellow grass out on the plains of Valtaki, and the sun shone warmly above. The wind stirred the thin white clouds in the rich blue sky. Birds flew through the sky, and darted through the tall green trees.
Through the ages, Valtaki remained unchanged, as the ships of the Fleet of the Empire, came and went. The stars shone bright by night, and by day it was the sun. And throughout eternity, the wind stirred the grass out on the plains of Valtaki…