Madame Olatana, Warbut Astrologer, page 13
“Don’t you be telling your father what he ought to do! He left Nebraska to get away from all of that, what with three brothers who had made millions from wheat and himself without much more than the portion your grandfather left him in his will,” Haroldine said impatiently.
“He’s just a dreamer, Mom,” Isabella offered. “He has no more interest in farming than I have, but he putters around the land all day anyway.”
“Don’t you be offering your own brand of wisdom, young lady! Your father has enough troubles without having it known all over Telluric Island that he is a dreamer! If that got about, those bills from the Farm Agency would be due in a week!”
“But I just want to spend my own money for a reading from this famous astrologer. Everybody says the Queen goes to her,” Isabella pleaded.
“And a lot of good it did her, too,” Haroldine replied sneeringly. “The Queen had her castle fall to the ground after that bombing, and them on Farnoll on vacation.”
“You need to know the gossip, Mom. Everybody is saying this astrologer told Queen Mastila to get out of town during a certain week. The king went to the new island where he is going to put the Spanish Catholics, and the queen and the two children went to Farnoll,” Isabella told her.
“I never did hear that,” Haroldine admitted, somewhat taken aback. “But no matter how much bad news this woman will tell you, I can tell your fortune for free. You are going to marry Lucius Treeborn. That’s your fortune.”
“But I have no interest in Lucius, Mom. And he has two girlfriends from the college in the capital. He never looks at me,” Isabella said.
“Nevertheless, your father said he had got it all settled with Walter Treeborn. You and Lucius will marry as soon as Lucius is finished with school,” Haroldine insisted.
Madame Olatana picked up the recording device that allowed the Universal Message System to save for all posterity her words in support of Isabella Witchen.
“Now, Miss Witchen, just ask questions one at a time, and I will determine the answers. Let me start with a few prefatory remarks about this time of your existence.”
“Yes. I’m mainly interested in my career,” Isabella replied as she sat at the desk in her own bedroom on Telluric Island.
“I can see this is a good time for career concerns,” Madame Olatana said soothingly. “You were born just over seventeen years ago, a few miles to the west of New London, the main city on Telluric Island. Your parents had been living on Telluric Island for a number of years?”
“No, they had been here only a few months when I was born,” Isabella answered.
“So you were conceived on Earth? Is that possible?” Madame Olatana asked.
“Yes, but they didn’t know it right away. They found out when they were on the spacecraft, headed toward Warbut,” Isabella told the astrologer.
“And do you have siblings?”
“No, I am the only child,” Isabella said.
“So a career is an important issue for someone of your age and family situation,” Madame Olatana said.
“I don’t know about family situation,” Isabella whispered. “We are very poor here, and my parents want me to marry our next neighbor’s son, a boy who has never shown any interest in me.”
“Is an arranged marriage a common thing in your family?” Madame Olatana wondered.
“No. In Nebraska people marry according to various romantic inclinations. Here I have to marry to save the property for my children and Lucius’s children. Lucius’s father, Walter Treeborn, is very successful, and he has been after my father to sell him our land. My father has made this marriage deal, instead, and intends to live on our land for the rest of his life,” Isabella answered.
“But His Majesty King Hutarfe has guaranteed a college degree for every Earthling on this planet,” Madame Olatana said. “Surely you don’t want to forgo that benefit. And, if you are a good student, you might be awarded a fellowship for graduate work in England, on Earth.”
“My father is worried the deal with the Treeborns will slip away if I go to New London when I finish high school,” Isabella confessed. “It is not on paper, you see.”
“It really does not matter if it is on paper, Miss Witchen,” Madame Olatana said, perhaps unpleasantly. “The king will not allow any arranged marriage among any persons living on Warbut. Furthermore, the king will not allow any marriage until both parties are twenty-five years of age, no matter if a youngster is coming or is already born. You are at least eight years from any marriage, surely enough time to attend both college and graduate school.”
“Nobody told me that!”
“I am telling you that now,” Madame Olatana said firmly. “I don’t have to look at the planets and their motions to know that you cannot be forced into a marriage on Warbut.”
“I am free?”
“For a number of years, yes. And I really don’t see a love match for you until you are about twenty-eight,” the astrologer said.
“That’s when the planet of Angelto will be progressed onto your star, the indication of a love match that will satisfy you and will bring happiness,” Madame Olatana predicted.
“Yes, there is plenty of time for you to fall in love. But first you need to decide about a suitable college course, and I can help with your choice.”
“Yes. You have several strengths, significant strengths, in this chart. You are good with communications, with children, and with money. You attract money, even when money is scarce. You will always have enough money, even if your father is worried about his own financial failings,” Madame Olatana read.
Just as Isabella was reviewing her notes from the conversation with Madame Olatana, Walter Treeborn was connecting through the Universal Message Service to his son at the university in New London. This university had been founded by King Hutarfe with funds from the sale of lands on Telluric Island, and it was essentially a diploma mill with dormitories.
“Lucius, your mother and I have some news for you,” Walter began. “We have a deal to acquire the Witchen land.”
Lucius stood at his tiny desk and ran his hand through his lush hair. “Dad, that’s just what you have been talking about for nearly ten years. I’m glad to hear it. How much did you pay?”
“The deal, son, involves your marrying the Witchen girl. When that marriage is on the Clerk’s books, the two parcels will be combined,” Walter answered.
“That kid? I have no interest in her, Dad. I’ve got two years left here at the university, and maybe I’ll be selected for graduate school in England. But that kid does not figure in those plans,” Lucius insisted.
“Better revise the plans, son. We can’t continue to grow without more land. Furthermore, the little Witchen girl is no kid anymore. She’s graduating high school in a couple of months, and she’ll probably be with you in New London when the next semester starts.”
“Dad, I can’t agree. She’s not my type. She’s quiet and mousy. Not the kind of a girl to keep my interest,” Lucius went on.
“I insist you at least take her out a couple of times, son,” Walter said. “It ought to be easy to get together there, and you can see how she’s changed.”
“Let bookish Marcus take her out. They are more compatible,” Lucius suggested.
“Holy smokes! Your brother is only eight years old!”
The assistant to the Dean of Freshmen looked up from her desk.
“Yes, miss?” she asked as Isabella hesitatingly approached the desk.
“I’ve come to see the Dean about early admission,” Isabella said. “The Registrar says I need the Dean’s signature before I can matriculate for the summer session. I’m a new student, in the College of Education.”
“Forget the Dean,” the assistant said, waiving away the entire department. “I’ll just stamp your form and enter the approval into the Regis
“Queen’s scholarship?” Isabella asked.
“Queen Mastila, you know. She has six full-fee scholarships for incoming freshmen. You didn’t have to apply for anything, but you have won one of them. The notice ought to be in your account when you get back to the dorm, since I have added the Dean’s approval. You can run along now,” the Dean’s assistant explained.
Madame Olatana looked over her schedule for the day the Earthlings called February 17, 2237, and noticed an update for Isabella Witchen.
“Mula, did Miss Witchen give any indication why she needs an update?” Madame Olatana said into the private intercom system.
“Needs to choose a major over to the university on Telluric Island,” Mula answered. “Been there less than a year, but she is on a fast track for finishing in three years.”
“Don’t have her wait when she calls. I’ll take her right away, unless Her Majesty needs a consultation,” Madame Olatana ordered.
“Oh, here’s Miss Witchen’s face showing on the incoming call,” Mula interrupted. “I’ll greet her and pass her to you immediately.”
Within a few seconds Madame Olatana was talking and the Universal Message Service was recording every word and was translating those words into ninety-seven different languages, including English.
“Miss Witchen, are you well today? Thank you so much for keeping your account current,” Madame Olatana began.
“My grandma sends a transfer through the Universal Clearinghouse each Christmas, and I’m able to spend it on something I wouldn’t ordinarily be able to afford,” Isabella began. “I was very pleased with the advice you gave me last year, Madame. I am now just about finished with my freshman year at the university, and I need to select a major.”
“Please, Miss Witchen, do not worry about money,” Madame Olatana advised. “Nikkion is very, very well aspected in your chart, and that planet in Warbut’s own star system rules all situations involving money. What money you need will always be available to you.”
“That’s good to hear, Madame. I almost wish my father had that same good fortune,” Isabella answered.
“Your father was not born on Warbut,” Madame Olatana said. “Earth’s fellow planet of Jupiter rules money, and your chart shows me that your father will always just get by. He will never starve, but he will always be disappointed with his money, no matter how much he may earn.”
“So it is all relative?”
“Exactly. I am happy you understand that. Some people consider themselves extremely prosperous with ten thousand in Universal Gold per year, and others consider themselves poor with twenty times that amount,” Madame Olatana went on.
“So even if I give him half my earnings, he will never have enough?” Isabella asked.
“Never. So there is no need to give him more than you can easily spare. The Universe has decreed you will be comfortable and he will be unhappy about money.”
“I see. And my selection of a major should not be made with money in mind?”
“I think your selection of a major should be made only with your inclinations and talents in mind. What are you considering?” Madame Olatana asked.
“Teaching. It is the specialty I am debating. I have good grades in astronomy and microelectronics. I also like Universal history,” Isabella answered.
“Based on this chart, I would recommend you major in teaching administration,” Madame Olatana said. “Although you do not have aspects for a dynamic personality, you have an organizational aptitude.”
“Yes, I had considered that,” Isabella admitted. “However, that specialty takes an extra year at university in New London, and most administrators go to Earth for two years for advanced studies.”
“And what is wrong with that? You will have no money worries, and the love of your life will not appear until 2246. There is plenty of time to get a doctorate on Earth and then return to Warbut to find love,” Madame Olatana advised. “Are there any love interests now?”
“Not really,” Isabella replied with a sigh. “I had two dates with our neighbor before he had to go home due to academic troubles, but nothing in the last two months.”
“Love is not really favored now,” Madame Olatana admitted. “The time until 2246 needs to be filled with work, and you are well poised to do that.”
On March 3, 2242, Isabella was scheduled to call for her update.
“Why does she need a yearly update?” Sando, Madame Olatana’s receptionist, asked. “Everybody else just calls when they are in trouble.”
Madame Olatana sighed. “I think she has very few people she can count on for good advice,” she said. “Miss Witchen has disappointed her parents by not taking an interest in the young man they selected for her, and she cannot complain to her beloved grandmother because that woman is under the impression her father is making a success of his agricultural enterprises on Warbut.”
“How about the worthies at that university in New London? Surely they would talk turkey without charging her an arm and a leg, the way we do,” Sando went on.
“The people at the university are paid to keep students on track to earn degrees,” Madame Olatana explained. “You can’t expect them to have encouraging words about love.”
“Seems very foolhardy to me that she spends her only decent Christmas gift, year after year, on just talk,” Sando concluded.
“I’ll speak with her the minute she calls,” Madame Olatana said. “She is our most conscientious client about keeping her account up to date.”
An hour later Isabella was connected via the Universal Message Service to the Warbut astrologer.
“Yes, Miss Witchen, I see things are progressing nicely. I see no impediment to your earning your doctorate by the next of the next year,” Madame Olatana insisted.
“Will I find a job on Warbut?” Isabella asked.
“I see a choice, one job with responsibilities and one job with money,” Madame Olatana replied. “You might want to think about which is more important to you.”
“But you told me money would never be a problem,” Isabella recalled.
“That is still true,” the astrologer said. “With the job that pays very well would come opportunities to travel in different circles. To meet entities from many planets who are concerned about education and policy.”
“And with the other job?”
“That job would bring a very satisfying relationship with students and other teachers. You would work directly with students, and your work would affect those students for their lifetimes,” Madame Olatana said.
“Which will I take?”
“The planetary aspects are favorable for either job. You would be in a position to meet the great love of your life in either job. The men who come into your life will be very different, of course, depending upon which job you select,” the astrologer predicted.
“So there will be some men?”
“Yes, you cannot complete this life without a strong partnership commitment. Are there men of interest now?” Madame Olatana asked.
“No. My neighbor, the one I dated briefly in college, has gone to Farnoll to complete his undergraduate work, and I never see him. His father and his brother visit my father frequently, and the brother came to New London to see some Shakespeare several weeks ago. But he is just a teenager,” Isabella said.
“How old is he?”
“I guess he is about fifteen,” Isabella answered.
“Keep your eye on him,” Madame Olatana replied. “He will not be fifteen forever. When you finish your doctorate, he will be ready for college, and you will have a friend in New London.”
“Son, this call is costing me more than I can afford,” Walter Treeborn said. “Are you still working on finishing up at Farnoll?”
“Dad, the college says I may graduate in six weeks if I can complete two papers,” Lucius Treeborn answered.
“That’s fine, son. And the Witchen girl is just now completing her doctorate. She went to Earth for a year, and now she is back in New London, with two real good offers in hand, according to Witchen,” Walter told his son.
“Dad, I cannot get involved with Isabella. She’s a prude and she looks like a virgin,” Lucius insisted.
“Your brother has been in New London for three months, and he and she are seeing something of each other,” Walter confided. “Your brother has always been bookish, always with his nose in some highly technical report, so I suspect there’s nothing going on there. Nevertheless, old Witchen is still holding onto his land, waiting for somebody to pay him twice what it is worth.”