Madame Olatana, Warbut Astrologer, page 20
“Then, Your Excellency, I approve this plan. The aspects for a trip look good, and I believe the aspects for the resolution of this matter have never been better.”
“Now that the kids are off to grad school, Mama, we are free to go,” Yasg Gerbyal said.
“To Farnoll? Wizzent is springing for Farnoll?”
“Actually, it is part of an assignment involving farming implements,” Yasg told her mother.
“You mark my words, that Octulian woman will be there. You heard it here.”
“Nothing has been said about an Octulian woman,” Yasg replied.
“Let’s just look up that agenda, if I can get my console to access the Universal Message Service. Ah, yes, here it is. Is this woman some Danala? The president of some big company?”
“Yes, Mama, you know that’s the woman. Papa has used her name frequently enough when discussing our financial situation here,” Yasg said.
“She’s on the agenda. You are going to have to meet her, Yasg. Mark my words!”
“Why are we in this tiny compartment?” Yasg asked Wizzent Gerbyal. All Seekers are short and dreamy, and Yasg was no different. If any Clarklian is admired for its beauty by entities from other planets, it is a Seeker.
“Now don’t get started with me, Yasg,” Wizzent Gerbyal said to its partner. “This is the best I could negotiate. The Monarchs are never generous with others, and we have to take what we can get out of them.”
“We are going to have to sleep in one bed, Wizzent,” Yasg went on. “We Seekers need at least twelve hours of sleep each twenty-six-hour day, and I can’t sleep with you on top of me.”
“Maybe the Captain has a cot you can use,” Wizzent Gerbyal suggested. “Why don’t you ring for the steward.”
“And the food is piled on a large table in the dining room,” Yasg went on. “We have to serve ourselves. Not even a robot to serve us.”
“Yes, that’s the way they do it on this craft from Drintde,” Wizzent Gerbyal answered. “The first class has a waiter, but we are at the bottom of the passenger classes.”
“I thought our only ride together on a spacecraft would be a little more comfortable,” Yasg said. “Something special. This is much worse than staying at home.”
“We ought to have deluxe accommodations on Farnoll,” Wizzent Gerbyal told its partner. “There are nothing but deluxe accommodations on Farnoll. We can’t get put into some inferior suite there.”
“And we are banned from looking around. You know how I like to see everything,” Yasg went on.
“Yes, we need to stay out of the top decks,” Wizzent Gerbyal agreed. “And these stewards don’t know my correct title or anything.”
“We should have stayed at home,” Yasg insisted.
“The craft will travel back in time for six weeks and then make a turn, just after the Initial Instant. You could go to the bottom deck’s observatory and wait there,” Wizzent Gerbyal suggested.
“Maybe I will meet somebody in the observatory who has an extra bed in its cabin,” Yasg said. “Somebody who would not drag its lifetime partner into an intolerable situation such as this!”
“I understand, Wizzent, the turn is essentially mud, gray mud everywhere. You can’t see anything but mud when you look outside. I would think our flight through this mud would change the course of history, but the Captain says Farnoll will be waiting for us, exactly as always.”
“It’s only a week through that mud, Yasg,” Wizzent Gerbyal told its partner. “Then the craft starts to go forward in time to get to Farnoll. I don’t know why we have to spend a week in the mud, but it is always done.”
“It is because we are traveling in space and not in time, Wizzent,” Yasg said. “We have to travel in space to get to the part of the Universe where Farnoll will form. We can’t go forward in time until we are properly situated in space.”
“A week seems too long,” Wizzent Gerbyal said.
“The actual length of the flight in space will depend on how far apart Farnoll is from Clarkl in the very young Universe,” Yasg told it. “All these calculations were made by the Universal Transport Agency, and they have stood the tests of time, for millennia before space travel was even imagined on Clarkl.”
“Welcome, Your Excellency, to the conference!” an energetic Earthling female said as she handed a packet of materials to Wizzent Gerbyal.
“Are there any sessions before the keynote address?” Wizzent Gerbyal asked.
“Just two, Your Excellency, both for professional farmers. Perhaps your partner or spouse would be interested in the tour of the King’s vineyards?” the Earthling suggested.
“Yes. Or a tour of the King’s communications room,” Wizzent Gerbyal answered.
“I will arrange for it, Your Excellency,” the Earthling agreed. “Is your partner at your hotel?”
“Yes. In the room just next to mine,” Wizzent Gerbyal answered.
“I’ll communicate directly with your partner, Your Excellency.”
Within a day Yasg had toured the vineyards and the communications room, and Yasg had made two friends who were happy to have another entity along on a tour of the casinos’ money-counting rooms.
“I’ve met your friend, that Danala,” Yasg told Wizzent Gerbyal. “She is coming along on the tour of the Queen’s gardens.”
“I don’t remember any Danala,” Wizzent Gerbyal insisted.
“She remembers you, Wizzent. She was very gracious to me, as all those Octulians tend to be. Smiled brightly, shook my hand, remembered the names of our children,” Yasg said.
“I don’t remember her,” Wizzent Gerbyal repeated.
“I’ll be having tea with her in her hotel suite tomorrow,” Yasg told her partner. “Should I wear a hat? Should I wear gloves?”
“Yasg, you should wear exactly what you always wear. Seekers always wear white coveralls on Clarkl, and there is no reason to change your clothes here on Farnoll,” Wizzent Gerbyal said.
“Perhaps the hotel’s gift shop has something more appropriate for a tea party,” Yasg wondered.
“Stay out of that gift shop!” Wizzent Gerbyal roared. “We just paid out nearly everything in the bank to the California Institute of Technology, and we can’t afford new clothes. We can’t afford any luxury of any kind right now. In fact, if that Danala wants you to return this tea party obligation, you can’t do that, either.”
Danala welcomed her only guest to an elaborate tea party in her suite at the most expensive hotel on the planet of Farnoll.
“It is so nice to meet Wizzent Gerbyal’s partner,” Danala said, without any trace of irony in her voice.
“Yes, we have been partners for nearly twenty-five years,” Yasg Gerbyal replied as it sat at the place Danala had indicated in the suite’s gathering room. “I have two children, and they are on their own now.”
“So you are free to travel?” Danala wondered.
“Yes, very free. The children are on Earth at graduate school, and Wizzent is almost always away from home at one palace or another, attending to its duties,” Yasg confided.
“This may be a little forward, Yasg Gerbyal, but I hope you will consider returning to Octula with me so we can get to know each other,” Danala said.
“Octula? Is that in the same galaxy as Farnoll?” Yasg asked.
“No, our planet sent an exploratory mission to Farnoll from our own galaxy, so many eons ago, to attempt to save our civilization from certain demise when our star started to fade. Our star is still active, but we estimate we have less than eighty thousand days left before the star will not emit enough light to grow plants on Octula. Its core will collapse at that time,” Danala stated.
“So all the entities on Farnoll are descended from Octulians?” Yasg wondered.
“As are all the intelligent entities on a number of other planets, including Earth, Warbut, and
“And how would I get home to Clarkl?” Yasg asked.
“My company will pay all the expenses, and you will stay in my home on Octula,” Danala explained. “I have reserved for you a first-class cabin on the spacecraft that leaves at the end of this conference, with the assumption you would like to visit Octula.”
“First class! A real bed to myself?”
“And good food, too. The Drintde company that runs the craft between Octula and Farnoll has its best crew on that flight,” Danala went on.
“And I may return to Clarkl at my will?”
“Yes, and I have a notarized promise saying that. I’ll give the original to you to carry when you discuss this trip with Wizzent Gerbyal,” Danala said.
“And Wizzent is not part of this invitation? I can leave it here on Farnoll?” Yasg gasped.
“Just you, yourself. I have been drawn to you, and I want to see if we have the makings of a great relationship. I like Farnoll males very much, and I want to see if I can like Clarkl androgynous entities as well,” Danala said, looking the Seeker directly in the eyes.
Within a few days of returning to Octula, Danala again resumed her regular weekly lunch with Brazart.
“You mean you snatched this Seeker right out from under Wizzent Gerbyal?” Brazart asked incredulously.
“Not exactly out from under,” Danala admitted. “Yasg was anxious to leave Wizzent. It is a terrible tyrant and quite snooty. Very self-important, according to Yasg.”
“So you and this androgynous genius are lovers?” Brazart asked, directly and with no shame.
“We have been lovers ever since Yasg saw its suite on the spacecraft, Brazart,” Danala said. “There is nothing that opens hearts like comfort and luxury, and my income has allowed me to provide all of that.”
“And how does this androgynous entity compare with the males on Farnoll?” Brazart wanted to know.
“It catches on quite quickly,” Danala admitted. “Remember that it has all the female fixtures itself. It knows where they are and what they need for pleasure.”
“And is this Seeker as well endowed as the males on Farnoll?”
“No, not quite like that. However, the feminine side of Yasg allows it to be much more sympathetic. A male on Farnoll usually tires of a physical relationship within a few weeks, but Yasg stays constant. We have some sexual activity every day, but we have a long lovemaking session only once every nine or ten days. I think this is a good pace for us, so nobody is bored with intercourse,” Danala answered.
“So are you going to make it permanent?”
“Nothing is ever permanent, Brazart. It will last as long as we are both satisfied, and then it will end and Yasg may decide to return to Clarkl,” Danala said.
“Back to Wizzent Gerbyal?” Brazart asked.
“I can’t imagine it. Not after what we have had together.”
Madame Olatana looked into her Universal Message Service terminal and saw the face of her longtime client, Wizzent Gerbyal.
“Welcome, Your Excellency. I hope your health is better than it was the last time we spoke,” the astrologer said as she adjusted one of her very ordinary hats.
“It is just the same, Madame. When will Yasg return? I asked you that two years ago, and you said the aspects were not yet right,” Wizzent Gerbyal complained.
“What have you done, Your Excellency, to make your partner feel as if its situation will improve if it returns to Clarkl?” Madame Olatana asked.
“Done? Me? I have assured Yasg’s father I will not press for a repayment of all those tuition bills, that’s what I have done, Madame,” Wizzent Gerbyal answered.
“And are the tuition bills still outstanding, Your Excellency?”
“That Octulian woman, Danala, has been paying them. Both children transferred to Ivy League colleges for their doctorates, Madame, and those schools are far beyond my means,” Wizzent Gerbyal said.
“So it appears to me, Your Excellency, that your partner is serving its children better by staying on Octula with this female. Does it appear that way to you?”
“But what about our contract, Madame? Will that contract ever be breached?”
“I cannot say, Your Excellency, what a breach might mean. Your partner has left Clarkl, and that may be a condition for breach. Is there a penalty for breach?” Madame Olatana asked.
“Yes, Madame, if I claim breach, I must repay all the monies Yasg’s family paid me over the years. If I do not claim breach, I cannot enter into a similar contract with another Clarklian. I wrote this contract myself, not having the cash at the time to pay for legal representation,” Wizzent Gerbyal said.
“I understand, Your Excellency. You seem to be in a difficult position. The aspects for the resolution of contractual matters will be favorable in three years. Right now, I would not advise you to enter into any litigation until Massi has stopped making a square to your natal star. As I say, this will take about three years,” the astrologer said.
“The planet in Clarkl’s star system that rules both legal matters and the home life, Your Excellency,” Madame Olatana explained. “It is in a very unfavorable position for you now.”
10 Carls Wunwak
On the date the Earthlings on Warbut called March 12, 2244, Eaner leaned into the consulting room and nodded to Madame Olatana.
“Carls Wunwak is here, Madame,” he said, rolling his eyes. “A few minutes early.”
“I am almost ready for Carls Wunwak, Eaner. Have him come into me in three minutes,” the astrologer said.
“Very good, Madame.”
It was with mixed feelings that Madame Olatana brought up Carls Wunwak’s birth data onto her computers. The man had been coming for a consultation every three months for over twenty years, and it was now time to tell him to abandon his life’s work and take up something new. A prostitute, even on Warbut, could not work forever.
The tall and very black Carls Wunwak approached Madame Olatana with uncommon courtesy. He was used to treating women with politeness and even affection, and he did not turn off his civility when he was the client and not the service provider.
“Ah, Carls Wunwak, how good it is to see you looking so well,” Madame Olatana began as she showed her client to the best chair. “I see the favorable transit of Angelto is working its usual magic.”
“Yes, Madame, and to see your own smiling face looking healthy and happy, it is a great pleasure for me,” Carls Wunwak said as he folded his lanky frame into the chair.
“I know you follow your chart and your planetary positions, Carls Wunwak, so we never have to discuss the details,” Madame Olatana said.
“But, Madame, I am always interested in the interpretations of the professional. I see one thing and assume either the best or the worst, but you can see all the mitigating factors and present a more balanced picture,” Carls Wunwak admitted.
“Yes, things are rarely as bright or as dark as one planet’s transits make them. And, since you were here last, several new stars have been added to my programs, stars that have some small gravitational pull on Warbutians. We astrologers are still figuring out how they will affect us, and your experiences will help me see the aspects of those stars in a fuller light,” Madame Olatana disclosed.
“My experiences? Every day is much like the last, Madame,” Carls Wunwak said.
“But trends can be seen, can’t they? Your children, for example, are nearly finished with graduate school, and that is a very important transition for everyone,” Madame Olatana explained.
“Yes, all three children are in graduate school now, and we expect to attend a ceremony in three weeks, one where my only daughter will become an engineer and will be eligible for a job on a spacecraft,” Carls Wunwak told the astrologer.
“So this is a very important month!” Madame Ola
“And my most important regular client has gone off to Farnoll, perhaps never to return,” Carls Wunwak added.
“Another transition! A reason to reach out to other opportunities!” Madame Olatana cried.
Carls Wunwak nodded. “You don’t need to tell me it is time to look for another means of livelihood, Madame. I can see that in my total receipts, quarter after quarter. My clients are getting older, new clients are few and far between, and those new clients are no longer the younger professionals.”