I: Emma Goes On Holiday
Emma sulked in her parents' Space-Rover.
"Will we EVER arrive?" she moaned. "And must we go to this stupid cottage EVERY year?"
"You know you'll love it when we get there, darling," her mother said.
"But why PLUTO? Can't we have holidays nearby like other families?"
"It's all we can afford," her father grunted, seething inwardly; asteroid traffic had delayed them for ages at the Saturn Interchange. The school holidays were always the same.
"You'll love the pool, Emma," her mother said soothingly.
"It's a hot tub," Emma reminded her. "Otherwise we'd freeze like last year when it was broken."
II: Entertainment On A Rainy Holiday
A week into their Plutonian holiday, the violent hailstorms showed no signs of relenting. While her father huddled beside the fire getting to grips with "Plutonian For Dummies", Emma's mother entertained her daughter in an enormous game of Long-Sleeved Bezique. Not that she was letting Emma win even occasionally; she managed seventeen double-beziques in the first twenty-three hands.
"Are you cheating, mother?" Emma asked. "It's a Plutonian tradition, isn't it?"
Her mother's innocent face gave nothing away. "Whatever makes you say that, my cherub?"
"Aren't there a lot of black queens and red jacks?" Emma wondered.
"Karg-a-bor-mann-tor!" her father announced.
They'd run out of sugar, the shops were closed.
"I'll ask the next-door neighbours," Emma's father insisted. "I'll try out my Plutonian."
Emma suggested quietly, "Can I come, too, Dad?"
At No. 86, a woman answered, wearing trousers top and bottom over a wetsuit.
Emma's father bellowed, "Jib-part-yobit-war-war-ham!!!*"
Bemused, the woman leant against the doorjamb, antennae akimbo.
"Can we borrow some sugar, please?" asked Emma.
"You're welcome, sure," the woman said. She sounded like Jennifer Aniston.
"You speak perfect English," Emma said, admiringly.
"It's the Friends Channel. We get endless repeats here. This is The One Where They Borrow Sugar."
*Another unique Plutonian tense, the Present Desperate, indicated by high-powered shouting.
Emma and her mother had been engaged in Long-Sleeved Bezique for over two hours. At first, her mother had produced a series of double beziques, but Emma was getting wise. She was wearing kimono sleeves and fighting back, miraculously conjuring up face cards from everywhere.
At hand twenty-nine Emma tabled seventeen double beziques and eleven melds, all from just two cut-down card decks. Her mother looked desolate.
Suddenly, her mother laid down fourteen cards, all face-cards. "I claim ACRONYM," she announced. "I've won."
"All Cards Remaining Over Now Yield Megapoints."
"Mother!" Emma gasped in shock. "How could you?"
These two episodes coincided with the late stages of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. The inspiration will be recognised instantly by any fan of science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury.
V: The Butterfly Effect
Pluto's biggest tourist attraction was its time-travel theme park. Employing retroreconstructive postquantal temporal physics, it replicated Earth's periods of historical interest, including the Kennedy assassination and Jesus's birth
Time-travel was real; interference could have disastrous knock-on effects on the future. Death was the penalty for visitors who left the path.
Half-way through 'Victorian Britain', Emma dropped something – a playing-card in her sleeve. Emma's father slipped trying to catch it, his foot touching the ground.
"NO! – Careful, Travis!" Emma's mother cried.
The guard saw it; but also the dead butterfly attached to Travis's shoe.
"Come with me," the guard said quietly.
VI: A Sound of Thunder
They sat in the back of the police spacerover, Travis sitting handcuffed alongside his wife and daughter Emma.
The police had agreed to return to Earth to ask if Travis's death penalty could be commuted, but as they arrived in Glasgow, everything had changed. Wherever they looked, the face of a "Supreme Scottish Dictator" glowered at them. No-one smiled. Many people – mostly English, it transpired – wore yellow stars on their coats.
The police stared at Travis.
"No," Travis pleaded, "it can't be... just one butterfly!"
His wife covered Emma's eyes.
Behind, Travis heard a click, then the sound of thunder.
The last part.
Emma awoke screaming, in a cold sweat. In seconds, her mother was at her bedside.
"Emma, it's four in the morning. What happened?"
"I had this awful nightmare," Emma sobbed. "Dad killed a butterfly so Scotland had a dictator, the English were all in concentration-camps and everyone spoke Plutonian. They executed Dad..." she wailed.
Her mother hugged her. "Hush now, Dad's fine. Look he's here," she smiled. Travis stood silhouetted in the doorway. "Dad's been shouting Plutonian in his sleep. You must have heard him."
"Sorry," Travis said. "We leave tomorrow, Emma. I think we're all ready to go home."