1996

Yenuary

On the 3Oth anniversary of the first Star Trek season, the original cast gets back together for one last episode titled 'Prop Me Up, Scotty'. Several of the space travel sequences are shot on location. The scene where a monster seems to be erupting from Grand Admiral Kirk's stomach is not a rip-off from Alien, but merely his paunch floating in zero gravity.

February

The notorious computer viruses of the past decade are proved to have been fakes, all rumours having been sewn by the Federation Against Software Theft in an effort to scare the wilies out of would-be software pirates. What really happened was that microcomputers got terminally bored by playing naff computer games and either went insane, or switched themselves off.

March

The EEC takes legal action against the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Wendy over the continuing use of lead in petrol. Children In the Birmingham Multiway area are still shorter, more sickly and with lower IQs than children in less motorised places, just as they were in the mid 1980s.

April

Over three-quarters of all eye malfunctions can now be cured by, laser treatment. In the West, designer plain-lensed spectacles are becoming chic, now that contact lenses are obsolete. In central Africa, India and central South America, eye diseases caused by contaminated water are also benefiting from portable laser units, as well as discarded specs donated via charity organisations.

May

The Turin Shroud is at last proved to be genuine, when the Turin Laundry Bill is discovered, along with an Invoice for two planks of wood and three nails.

June

With only 12 months to go before the Chinese take back Hong Kong, free elections are held in the colony for the first time this century. The Governor General, Mr Chuck Windsor formerly HRH, The Prince of Whales, formerly Wales) extends the vote to anyone over the age of 18, including trees.

July

A consortium of Philips, JVC and Sony launch the Lookman. Measuring five inches by six inches by half an inch, utilising an erasable CD, a multi-channel television/satellite receiver and a three inch plasma screen, it retails for £199. All over the world, joggers run into walls.

August

Islamic revolution sweeps through the Soviet Republics of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Soviet troops are recalled from Eastern Europe, the Chineese border, Latin America, Cuba, Angola, India, Korea and Vietnam, and redeployed throughout the Southern USSR in an attempt to control the rebellions.

September

The meaning of life is discovered by a little old lady living in a small village near Barnstable. She builds a model of the solution to every problem ever known on her scullery table, and dies contented. Her son-in-law, a loose-cover salesman from Doncaster, wonders why the old dear has got such a weird executive toy in the house, and rearranges the miracle into the shape of 101 dalmations and a giraffe, while waiting for the undertakers to arrive. Thus the secret is lost forever, and the world is doomed to end round about Part Six of this series.

October

An emergency supply rocket is fired to rendezvous with the Mars mission. it contains free fall cat litter.

November

Sweden becomes the first country to abolish cash transactions. Computerised credits and debits are automatically recoded via low-cost optical read-write terminals from the home or at points of sale. Credit rating files are open to inspection by the individual. Tax assessments and appeals are handled once a year on birthdays. Swedish income tax remains the highest in Europe, as do incomes and the standard of social services. The only losers are immigrant labour, who cannot afford to stay in the country as computers and robots handle more and more of their work.

December

The first wireless transmissions made by, Signor Marconi at the beginning of the Twentieth Century reach the planetary clusters of Alpha Centauri on December 1st, 1996. Unit E4-UXB is made ready for yet another routine deep-space contact mission. It is anticipated that, barring incident, it will reach the third planet of the Sol System round about one second to midnight, December 31st, 2000 AD, local time. Roughly translated, Unit E4-UXB means 'The Ark'.