Madame olatana warbut as.., p.8

Madame Olatana, Warbut Astrologer, page 8

 

Madame Olatana, Warbut Astrologer
 


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  “What language should we speak?” Shasian wanted to know.

  “It does not matter,” Wissy replied, rather testily. “The cubes will hear these natives and will translate whatever they say into whatever language you like. Warbutian? And I’ll speak Drintdian. And these small natives can talk in English or French or anything else. All Earthling languages, as far back as one thousand years ago, are able to be translated, almost instantly.”

  “What if they kill us?” Shasian wondered.

  “They are not going to kill us! Have you seen how they gawk at the craft? They are terrified and curious, all at the same time,” Wissy said. “The second officer wants us to fry a weed, and he pointed out several at the feet of the craft. After the weed disintegrates, these Earthlings will back off.”

  XXII

  At the top of the craft in the Captain’s catbird seat, the Captain and the second officer watched as the cargo elevator lowered Chef Wissy and Shasian to the ground.

  “They make an interesting pair,” the Captain remarked. “Shasian is so tall and black and Wissy is a bit shorter and quite stout.”

  “Mercy! The natives are bowing!” the second officer cried. “And there’s an old woman who is prostrate. Two others are dabbing their eyes with hankies!”

  “And Shasy has obliterated that weed, causing the natives to draw even further back!” the Captain commented.

  XXIII

  “Hello,” Shasian said. “We come in peace to buy whatever vegetables you can sell to us.”

  “Yes,” Wissy added, just to make sure everybody understood, “we come in peace.”

  A tallish male stepped forward. “Welcome, My Lords,” he said in a mid-Atlantic accent, with a twinge of flat vowels, as if his mother had been born in Pittsburgh.

  “We have come in peace to buy your produce,” Shasian repeated.

  “We have gold coins,” Wissy said as he produced one from his suit’s pocket.

  A great roar of awe went up from the crowd of Earthlings and many of them fell to their knees.

  “Thou hast come, My Lord, as the prophets told us,” the tallish male said, looking directly into Shasian’s eyes. “We will make Thou welcome, and we will not harm Thou.”

  “Let’s look at the fresh corn,” Wissy suggested as he pointed toward a row of ears on the display counter.

  “No, My Lords, that corn is for the travelers,” the tallish man advised. “The corn for Thou is back in the rear of the booth.”

  Two sturdy lads brought out six bushels of corn from behind the display counter, and Wissy leaned over to partially shuck an ear.

  “If you can sell us these bushels, we will take them,” Wissy said to the tallish man. “Do you have any peas?”

  “Yes, My Lord, but the peas are just about finished for the year. These are the last, and not as fresh as they might have been a month ago,” the tallish man replied.

  “We will buy what you can spare of those peas,” Wissy said.

  Shasian picked up the container of peas and walked over to the craft’s cargo door to stack it with the bushels of corn.

  “No, let the boys do the lifting, My Lord,” the tallish man quickly said. “We knew Thou was coming, but we were waiting for a babe.”

  “We have come from the planet of Drintde,” Shasy said.

  “Now ain’t that remarkable!” a woman cried. “We knowed you was not dead, but we thought you was in Heaven.”

  “Drintde is far from Earth, ma’am,” Shasian told her.

  “Would you be more comfortable in one of our homes, Lord?” the tallish man asked. “We could spare a room for Thy disciple, too.”

  XXIV

  The Captain and the second officer continued to stare out the top window at the scene below.

  “Now Wissy is loading that corn into the cargo elevator,” the second officer said. “Five younger Earthlings are assisting.”

  “That leader even refused Wissy’s gold coin!” the Captain cried.

  “Shasy is surrounded by dozens of Earthlings,” the second officer said, rather calmly. “He is talking to them, not even helping Wissy with the purchases or gifts.”

  “Maybe I’ll honk the return-to-craft horn,” the Captain suggested. “I’m getting worried.”

  “Now Shasy has his arm around the shoulder of the leader,” the second officer reported. “And now Shasy is escorting the leader to the cargo lift.”

  “This is entirely unauthorized!” the Captain screamed. “We can’t have natives boarding the craft!”

  “This may be the only way they may leave,” the second officer suggested.

  “Nonsense! Shasy could just stun them with that laser,” the Captain replied. “He’s bringing one of them up, and it’s his own idea.”

  XXV

  Shasian Shepcover entered the crew lounge through the air locked double doors. He had shed his spacesuit in the cargo area and wore only a long white cotton robe.

  The second officer greeted him. “The Captain sent me down here to tell you to send that Earthling back to his people,” he began.

  “Mercy! I have to have him meet the Captain. That fellow thinks I am the reincarnation of a holy prophet, somebody who was badly treated on Earth, and the crowd down there, especially the old women, are ready to do anything for me,” Shasian said.

  “The Captain is not in the mood for introductions,” the second officer reported. “The Captain is responsible for the safety of these passengers, and she is alarmed at this breach of protocol.”

  “She’ll need to forget protocol,” Shasian insisted. “This craft is about to become some kind of a shrine, and the Captain needs to hear this nonsense from the assumed leader of these Earthlings.”

  “Shrine?”

  Shasian was exhausted, and the second officer should have been able to understand. Every word the Warbutian had said to these unintelligent Earthlings had been recorded, and the second officer surely had reviewed the recording before confronting a fellow crew member in this hostile way.

  “They need to be assured I’m just a headwaiter, not a supreme, godlike entity,” Shasian said testily.

  “Where is Wissy?” the second officer asked, waiving away any idea of the godlike nature of the foxy Warbutian.

  “It takes him about twice as long to get out of his spacesuit,” Shasian answered. “He ought to be up in a minute. The trap door is quite a squeeze for him, too.”

  “Is he bringing that Earthling?”

  “Yes, and bushels of our purchases. That Earthling wouldn’t take the gold, so they may be arguing about how to pay for the produce,” Shasian told him.

  XXVI

  Within five minutes the rotund Wissy and the tallish Earthling were in the crew lounge.

  “Chef Wissy, this fellow will need to return,” the second officer said as soon as he had seen the Earthling. “I see you have trussed him in a spacesuit, but even with that precaution, the Captain does not want him in the craft.”

  “He demands to see the virgin,” Wissy replied.

  “If there is a virgin here, I am not aware of it. Certainly there is no virgin in the first class,” the second officer said, looking suspiciously toward Shasian.

  “Just a handshake,” the chef said. “To thank these Earthlings for all this corn. They wouldn’t take our gold, saying it was a gift to the baby and was for the virgin to give away.”

  “Huh? That gold was put in the craft’s safe to help with any interspecies commerce,” the second officer said. “For just an occasion like this, where we want a local product but have no local currency.”

  “He’s also talking about looking at the frankincense and myrrh. I don’t know anything about that,” Wissy explained. “I don’t have those herbs in the galley because they are so horribly expensive.”

  The Captain walked hurriedly into the crew lounge. “Well, Shasian, you have to get that Earthling out of here. We have passengers and crew who….”

  “Is that the virgin?” the Earthling cried.

 
; “I am not a virgin!” the Captain screamed. “I have been accused of that affront for a number of years, and I will not have that insult hurled at me here on my own craft!”

  “I think, Captain, the Earthling thinks this is a compliment, an indication of an honorable woman,” the second officer explained.

  “I will not be called a virgin on my own craft!”

  XXVII

  King Hutarfe looked up from his cluttered desk in the royal bedroom.

  “Well, Massy, Shasian’s craft has lifted off Earth. The Universal Transportation Authority believes it has solved the problem with the ship’s computer, and that it is headed toward Farnoll at last,” Hutarfe told his wife, Queen Mastila.

  “What was the problem, Hutty?” Mastila asked.

  “Doesn’t say. The engineer on the craft, a young Drinteian, swapped out one part, using the next to the last of the replacements on board,” Hutarfe said.

  “And Shasy is back to headwaitering?”

  “The news reports are indeed concentrating on Shasian,” Hutarfe said, nodding. “It seems the Earthling natives were anxious to keep him with them, in spite of the detailed explanations the crew gave them of the craft’s mistaken landing on Earth while traveling through time.”

  “Why would anybody want Shasy? We don’t want him here, and surely those Earthlings, no matter if they are always a bit backward, could see how superficial and self-absorbed he can be?” Mastila wondered.

  “They were convinced for some time he was the reincarnation of that great Earthling prophet, the one King Alfred is always trying to sell to our people who work on our island where we put all those Earthlings,” Hutarfe told her. “It took many hours of conversations to convince the Earthlings Shasian was just a distant relative of the Queen of Warbut and not anything holy.”

  “Actually, the latest physics theory is that everybody is everybody else and everybody is holy,” Mastila said.

  “Nonsense,” Hutarfe replied. “I’m me and you are you.”

  “Not according to the physicists,” Mastila went on. “They say while you are thinking you are you, you are really the Creator of the Universe. Then, when the Creator of the Universe wants to experience somebody else, that Creator moves onto another consciousness, maybe mine. While the Creator is you, I am dormant, not experiencing anything.”

  “Nonsense,” Hutarfe repeated. “It is this kind of flawed thinking that comes of continually giving these overpaid and overeducated scientists the upper hand.”

  XXVIII

  Madame Olatana cordially ushered the last client out the door and turned to Lialn.

  “Shasian Shepcover’s craft lands on Warbut tomorrow,” she said. “Are you ready with your decision?”

  Lialn stretched her long frame and got up from her desk. “I’ll stay with Novston, Madame,” she said.

  “What will you say to Shasian?” Madame Olatana wanted to know.

  “I’ll have to think of something. He’s abandoned any idea of that title,” Lialn answered. “He was treated so obsequiously on Earth while the natives thought he was their reborn savior that he decided he couldn’t stomach having to be so good all the time.”

  “What is he going to do?” Madame Olatana asked.

  “He’s going to collect his household items from my garage and sign on with the Drintde people for another four voyages,” Lialn replied. “He has made some progress with paying the tailor, but you and Queen Mastila still have to wait.”

  “So he owes the Queen money, too?”

  “And the antique dealer, and the jeweler, and a restaurant on Farnoll, and an appliance seller on Drintde, and me.”

  3 Evela Trodais

  I

  On the date the Earthlings on Warbut called October 11, 2234, Rondo quickly entered the birth information for the following day’s clients into Madame Olatana’s computer. He had been on the job just one week, and he was already several days behind with posting charges and receipts. Charts, however, had to be finished first because the clients were always in a panic when they came.

  Nobody ever was interested in paying Madame Olatana her usual rates for ordinary information. Everybody had a problem, one that needed some light shed upon it and, after Madame had given her best interpretation, the client was able to more adroitly select from the options available for the solution to that problem.

  “Rondo, please bring in Evela Trodias,” Madame Olatana said through the selective intercom, a device that sent a scrambled signal that only Rondo’s custom earpiece was able to unscramble.

  “Not here yet, Madame,” Rondo replied. “Called a minute ago, though, and will be arriving about fifteen minutes late.”

  “I’ll spend that time looking at her information,” Madame Olatana said. “I can’t let her run into the next appointment, the one for Queen Mastila’s niece.”

  “I’ll bring Evela Trodias into you as soon as I see her,” Rondo agreed.

  Flustered, the young Evela arrived twenty minutes late. Rondo, not unused to ladies’ estimates, greeted her warmly and took her into the consultation room.

  “Ah, Evela Trodias, I am so happy, at last, to meet you,” Madame Olatana said as she adjusted her newest hat and closed the door behind Rondo.

  “Everybody says you can work wonders, Madame,” Evela gushed as she lowered her large frame into the best client chair. “I’m ready for a miracle.”

  “Is it a problem with a man?” Madame Olatana asked.

  “Too many men,” Evela confided. “They want to get married, something nobody in my family has ever done. Marriage was unknown, except in the highest circles, until the Earthlings came in their year 2207 and made it impossible to get a job on that northern island unless you stopped at the alter on the way to the bedroom.”

  “Yes, indeed,” Madame Olatana agreed, nodding her massive head.

  “And now my parents have lined up seven men of various personalities, and they want me to pick one of them,” Evela went on.

  “And you have an eighth man in mind, yourself?” Madame guessed.

  “How did you know?”

  “The planet that rules hidden love affairs is prominent in your natal chart right now,” Madame Olatana explained. “These seven men your parents have lined up certainly would not be involved in a hidden love affair.”

  “I see. And is there a way to make this hidden love affair more acceptable to my parents?” Evela asked.

  “Are you expecting a child? The aspects for a birth are very strong right now,” Madame Olatana asked.

  “No, not now,” Evela answered.

  “I ask because parents often are willing to entertain a proposal from a man when he is identified by the required genetic tests as the likely father of an expected child,” Madame Olatana said.

  “You are saying I should become pregnant to facilitate the marriage?” Evela wondered.

  “It is one option, but certainly not the best,” Madame Olatana replied. “I would recommend finding someone who would formally introduce this man to your parents, a person of substance.”

  “Like a relative?”

  “Or a work colleague. Do you have a birth date for this hidden man?”

  “Yes, it is in 2210, in Earthling years. I have the exact day here,” Evela answered as she pawed through her briefcase.

  Madame Olatana nodded and quickly entered the date into the computer to compare that birth information with her client’s.

  “I see a lot of strife with this man,” Madame Olatana began. “Is he a prizefighter?”

  “No, he is a schoolteacher,” Evela answered. “He teaches six different subjects, and boxing is one of them.”

  “That would explain how he is working out this energy,” Madame Olatana said. “He would not be a good choice for you otherwise because your aspects for coming to harm through fisticuffs are very strong in your chart.”

  “You can see that? My former boyfriend was quite violent when he was contradicted,” Evela said.

  “You need to stay awa
y from such confrontations,” Madame Olatana advised, wagging her index finger. “You are not able to handle such people, and the best course for you is to avoid them.”

 
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