Practices 1-6 are based on extracts from the short story One Is One And All Alone.


Practice 1

Dear Diary,

I get so lonely, that’s my trouble. I am the only child on this space ship. Everyone else is a grown up with things to do. They’re all busy running the ship or checking their equipment. We will soon land on the planet Trion. Our mission is to find out more about this planet.

Yes, we’re heading for Trion. Now that might sound exciting, but it’s not. It’s not exciting at all.

When we set out, I used to tick off the days on my calendar. We left Earth on 12 March 2045. So I ticked off March 12, 13,14,15…then April, May , June. Then I gave up. We don’t reach Trion until mid-January 2047. By then I’ll be 13.

Dad does his best, he’s always poking his head round my door, grinning at me.

He asks, ‘Hi Trish. How’s things?

Everything all right? How do you fancy meeting me in the diner at 6 o’clock for a chocolate milkshake?

I grin back and say, Yum, Yum! But even as I say it his face changes. The grin is still there but the busy look is back in his eyes.

  1. What is Trion?
    1. a spaceship
    2. a ancient city
    3. a planet*
    4. a star
  1. The expected duration to reach Trion is within
    1. 1year
    2. 2 years*
    3. 15 years
    4. 47 years
  1. Trish’s father is …
    1. the only grown up in the ship
    2. the only child in the ship.
    3. always poking fun at Trish
    4. a very busy man*

Practice 2

Dad does his best, he’s always poking his head round my door, grinning at me.

He asks, ‘Hi Trish. How’s things?

Everything all right? How do you fancy meeting me in the diner at 6 o’clock for a chocolate milkshake?

I grin back and say, Yum, Yum! But even as I say it his face changes. The grin is still there but the busy look is back in his eyes.

After all he is the ship’s captain.

And I suppose he misses mum as much as I do. Almost as much anyhow. She is on Trion helping set up the space station. Busy Dad, busy Mum.

Which leaves me all alone in front of my VoicePrinter, talking to it, talking and talking. Then I watch it print out what I’ve been saying. It’s my private diary. It corrects my spelling and punctuation. It’s clever. It gives me school lessons, but it also plays game with me. My favourite game is Pop Star, where I can act out being a pop star on VP’s enormous screen.

I can switch it from Diary to Dialogue too. I suppose it’s my best friend, really. I’m going to switch from Diary to Dialogue now…

  1. The Voiceprinter is able to do all of the following except…
    1. correct spelling and punctuation errors.
    2. read Trish’s mind*
    3. print whatever Trish says
    4. play a game called Pop Star.
  1. Who is the captain of the ship?
    1. Trish
    2. Trish’s Dad*
    3. Trish’s Mum
    4. The VoicePrinter
  1. Trish’s best friend is
    1. her dad
    2. her mum
    3. her voiceprinter*
    4. no one.

Practice 3

You mean. It’s still done.

Certainly. Why to set up a clone laboratory, all that is required…

VP went on and on describing cloning techniques so I decided to press ‘save’ and listen to it all later. For now I have some serious thinking to do.

I’ll tell you what I was thinking. The Biolab in this ship is very big. It has to be, because biology is what this trip is all about- the biology of Trion- what lives there now and what, and who, could live there in the future. At the moment the ships Biolab is deserted. It won’t become busy until we reach Trion.

I need to use it.

I need it all to myself.

I will make a clone. It will be my perfect friend and companion. Perfect, because I am going to clone myself. Make another Me.

  1. Trish has decided to…
    1. visit the BioLab
    2. make a clone of herself*
    3. help her father find Trion
    4. search for a good friend
  1. Why is the BioLab deserted?
    1. No one knows how to use it
    2. Only Trish knows how to use the Lab
    3. The ship has not reached Trion*
    4. The BioLab is not perfect.
  1. What was the VoicePrinter doing?
    1. describing cloning techniques*
    2. talking nonsense and irritating Trish
    3. playing games with trish
    4. printing all that Trish is saying.

Practice 4

Dear Diary,

I haven’t spoken to you for ages because I have been busy with my new friend Clo.

Clo for Clone. Clo is me. I am Clo. We are identical twins. No, even closer than that. Clo is made of me, from me. We are one. Except that there are two of us- which is tricky. I mean, suppose Dad put his head round the door and saw Two Trishes instead of one!

But I’ve solved that. My cabin door leads to an identical cabin next door. Clo can vanish through that door in a split second.

The next-door cabin is empty of course. All the cabins are. They won’t be filled until the return trip from Trion. So, I sleep here. Clo sleeps there. Clothes, food, toothbrushes?

Well, yes. I now need two of everything- but the ship is loaded with stores. No one notices or cares about an extra toothbrush or an extra towel.

  1. Who is Clo?
    1. Trish’s friend from Earth
    2. Another name given to Trish
    3. Identical twin created by Trish*
    4. Trish’s biological mother.
  1. Why are all the cabins used for?
    1. to store things from Trion*
    2. To hide Clo.
    3. To store all the toothbrushes and towels.
    4. They are actually bedrooms.
  1. Trish does not need to talk to VoicePrinter very often as…
    1. she now hates it
    2. she has a new companion in Clo*
    3. she has found her mother is Trion
    4. she has found her twin sister.

Practice 5 

One of the features of this ship is its disposal system. There are five big hatches, each one marked ‘DISPOSAL’. You open the hatch, put the thing you want to get rid of into the hole, and whoosh it’s gone. Disposed of for ever in infinite space. One of the five hatches happen to be outside my cabin, in the corridor. There’s never anyone in the corridor at night.

There you are then. Tonight’s the night. I’ll be disposing of something definitely. I am going to write a note to go with the item. The note will read, ‘Goodbye, Clo. Have a good trip. Yours never, Trish.

Well, it wouldn’t be murder, would it? How could it be? You can’t be charged with murdering yourself, can you? You couldn’t even be charged with suicide because there will still be one person left and that person will be alive- walking and talking, eating and sleeping.

So, it’s foolproof. “Goodbye, Clo. Yours never Trish.”

  1. What is Trish planning?
    1. She wants to dispose Clo*
    2. She wants to dispose garbage
    3. She wants to kill herself
    4. She wants to tell her family the truth.
  1. The phrase “one person’ refers to
    1. Trish’s Dad
    2. Trish’s Mum
    3. Clo
    4. Trish herself.*
  1. The words on the note, “ Yours never” implies that Trish…
    1. Loves Clo very much
    2. Hates Clo*
    3. Never wanted a friend
    4. Loves to be alone

Practice 6

Over and done with. Finished and forgotten.

No, that’s not true. There’s no question about forgetting. Just the opposite. Every minute of every hour. I mentally hug myself and give a silent shout. Of “Whoopp! Yarroop! Hooray! Finally Free! Alone at last!”

Even dad noticed a change in me. “You’re looking wonderful today,” he said.

“Suddenly you’re bright as a button.”

‘I feel terrific! I said. “Can I have a chocolate milkshake?’

“Have as many as you like.”

“Just one.” I said. “Only one. One’s enough isn’t it? Who needs two? There’s only one Me. No longer do I have to remind another me to wipe chocolate from it’s greedy mouth. No longer do I have to listen to that other Me’s corny “Yum,yum! Noises whenever chocolate milkshakes are mentioned. From now on, there’s only one me.

You have no idea how wonderful it feels, how bright the future looks.

  1. Dad shows surprise at his daughter’s good mood because…
    1. usually Trish hates chocolate milkshake
    2. Trish is usually moody*
    3. She likes to talk to the Voice Printer
    4. Trish is always hot tempered.
  1. What has happened to Clo?
    1. She is now dead
    2. She is living the life of Trish*
    3. She is sleeping
    4. She left because she was unhappy.
  1. Clo’s feelings can be described as …
    1. extremely happy*
    2. very sad
    3. disappointed
    4. very confused