Dragan Nedeljković

THE ENGAR PAGES

 In the foreword's stead

 Thinking of how to compose a book on the Otrič Engar (pronounced Awtrich Anguar) mission, I have contemplated for long on whether to let Sujema Dioljanska (pr. Sooyemah Diolyanskah) speak for herself, or yet to follow her tracks. Eventually I gave up to my nature, and cut the matter in halves: she did leave many traces where she talks about herself, and what happened to her along the way. Here and there, for clarity's sake, I have inserted a random page created by my fingers, or gathered from others, which can't be avoided when such books get written and in them some special things are mentioned. I put her mind recordings only there where she left them as official notes; the others I had purposely made unavailable to myself.

Otrič Engar for long was a mystery to us. Whole constellation knew so little of it, one could carry it all in the ear, and have room for once more as much. Engarchans were thought of as rather strange fellows, and this mission has spread more various tales (this book should stop them); at least now they've found some understanding.

One more smoke for the road

?_ help

in order to help you, I must know what you want to know. I always say some little and give out a list of matters I know more about. choose one or none, and then we may resume previous issue,

what else do I know

/help /calculus /notes /search /Engar /constellation /laws /money /tradition /languages /art /trades /machines /libraries /skills

well

?_ notes

to make a note, think of the computer, then of writing; I will ask you if you want to write, add to writing, read, find or translate

?_ enough, syntax

for a while you will have to imagine commands, as if you have typed them; in time we will make it fast and we will be able to talk. hope I have been of help

?_write

When I was getting ready for this trip, Čiča (pr. Chichah - The Old Man) had taken me under his care. First he composed for me a list of courses I've managed to avoid so far. Then he held a long oratio, and sent me out to go through all of them. Few weeks later, when I was over with it, he inquired a lot on all of them. Then he gave me over to doctors, to examine me well, inoculate me against all the diseases they could think of, and to prepare my soul to various things - those that await me along the way and those they instilled into my body. Even my scalp is woven with thin wiring, so I don't radiate and yet I can transmit and receive at will. Why, I can't do any of that, but this bug in my ear can. That's good, this "at will", cause it's rather hard to listen to it all and pick out something, though we gave it a lot of exercise. Our air is pretty noisy. This is a funny place here - it's called Vukojebina (pr. Voockoyebinnah - literally, "where the wolves fuck") and it's so noisy.

?_ over

?_ help /vukojebina /name /origins

know nothing of that. let me connect to the central computer of local library

%%- open /connect /library

%% ?__ && - planet Vukojebina was named after an old custom which obliged that the first words uttered at the sight

** skip customary **

%% - Gvidoje (Guidoyeah) Ibn Memsudov saw it first and said "what a Vukojebina"

** enough **

?_ write /more

They created my false person. I hope my hiders are more skilled then their seekers. They used all their mind skills in a way that I can, if necessity arises, believe that I really am Sujema Dioljanska, of merchant's dynasty of Dioljanski, of Bendido, city of Sjudad ho Ocivigo (Sewdhad kho Otsiveego). I fluently speak the dialect of spatial, and pure hi-kheta epanjal (he-kkheta ehpahnyal). When I get really mad, I catch myself swearing in it.

Yesterday Čiča invited me into the park for the last inquiry. He pulled out a pipe made of cherry root (where does he find such things?) and a bag of čerker (cherquer) tobacco.

- Here, light one.

- Come on, spark it up with the stone.

- I wouldn't like to scare you, but I want to see if you can do it for yourself.

- Why would that scare me?

- Think. What should you get into to need such a skill?

We kept silent for the rest. It is said that some nations had a tradition of sitting a while before they go. Slowly I gain understanding for them.

- Listen, Sujema, I am old and will die before you come back. I would like to go instead of you, but you know...

- Who doesn't return, is as good as if never went. I know. I promise to come back.

- Did you study the past of ancient Otrič (Awtritch) well?

- All that could be found I have in my head.

- Or ear. Beware, they are dangerous. Their thinking doesn't walk our paths. I think you leave your bones there.

- May be but doesn't have to mean.

- Where did you dig that sentence out, and what does it mean at all?

- I picked it from books of ancient, while I was preparing for this mission. You know, there was a state similarly built. Long ago.

- And that was their greatest wisdom?

- No, but of those who nailed them. I've studied them even more seriously. And this was not the peak of their spirit; its more for a workday than for a celebration day. It's good to know these things when you go to such a place.

- But what does it really mean?

- Approximately: "that what you say is maybe right in some hand, but that is far away from enough for surely knowing it will come out the way you thought". This transposition will do no good, it's too short. They knew how to pour even more into a tiny glass.

- Old I'm gone, really. More there is in your head, gadgets aside, than in mine. Experience taught me one thing: lunatics are lucky. With all my experience, I'm worse candidate for the mission than you. Not only I don't comprehend all you say, but I'm also scared of any chance we may once stand one against another. Your youth, craziness and imagination are stronger than my two hundred years.

There he pulled another pipe to light for himself. Swallows where chirruping somewhere above our heads. I had the computer record complete image, smell and sound. Stinas in full blossom, gdoras past it, and čerker tobacco. And a šlepnić (shlapni'tch) leaping from twig to twig. Who knows how many times will I roll it.

Where are we heading to

?_help /Engar

Planet Otrič Engar, sun Vilem, year 412 old days, mostly desert. Many small states. Hiding and mostly unknown. Scarce knowledge, from rare surviving ingoes. What else I know: /planet /past /states /government /legend /science /art /trades well:

?_ planet

There are 12 planets circling Vilem, positioned rather close, though their gravities almost never scratch each other, so it makes no obstacle. Surface of Otrič Engar is stony and demolished in wars. Weather dry and windy. One tenth covered by sea. Population between 500,000 to 3,000,000,000 - no one knows for sure. What else I know: /weather /soil /water /motion /live_world well:

?_ states

There is no 'states' connected to 'planet'. There is connected to 'Engar'. That you need?

?_ yes

On Otrič Engar there are many states; data given for day 147288645; anyone who gets more news should report them to Libraries. What else do I know:

/Kejn_Kej/Šaguar_Šag /Meterška_Duževina /Helezijana_Empire /Demš_Kingdom /Free_city_of_Bidem /Ojner_Nousač

/dwarf_states: /Fener_Diht /Marka_Pušt /Eastern_Behalija /Western_Behalija well:

?_Fre

Free city of Bidem is kind of no man's land. Not warring itself, yet all the wars pass through it somehow. There's the spaceport, everyone's customs, and everyone's goins . Governmental forms unknown - some counsel is supposed to exist, yet ways of gaining membership are unknown.

/  Kejn_Kej /Šaguar_Šag /Meterška_Duževina /Helezijana_Empire /Demš_Kingdom /Free_city_of_Bidem /Ojner_Nousač

/dwarf_states: /Fener_Diht /Marka_Pušt /Eastern_Behalija /Western_Behalija well:

?_ Engar /past

Engar's past is quite stormy; it is counted among universe's miracle, since it endures fifteen centuries of continual warfare. War never ceases, but never burns high flames, either. Sometimes triggering of kernel and other weapon is seen. Name of Otrič Engar is given by first settlers - reportedly they were delighted with some mid-european empire, called Otrič Engar according to one tradition, Jesteraj Bungar (Yesterye B'unghar) by another; this sole difference in interpretation was sufficient to define two states who started fighting each other quite soon. There's no Bungar anymore for last two centuries, now it's the two Behalijas and Demš Kingdom.

** interrupt **

you interrupted me. yes?

?_ write

Čiča got me a bit scared. I really thought that wearing a computer install somewhere in the ear was a big headache. There, it is boring here and there, but does help a lot. It'll take me few days to get used. Other installs will be more trouble, just not to get uncovered. Maybe in all of their radiating my tiny short ray may pass unnoticed.

?_ record

Whatever you see, hear or think - I will record. You blank the parts you don't like later.

?_ replay Čiča's speech for the road

Čiča: once you get to Engar, surrender to first one you see; that way save your head you may. They will take you to interrogate and try to squeeze all from you. Don't know what may they want to know, but past teaches us that in a war all strangers are suspects and taken for goins until proven loyal, and even after that. Once they can be thought of as accepted, they are still suspected. Let them question you, we've prepared what they'll hear. You know who you really are, just you don't know when asked. What you know is what we prepared. What you know, or don't know, you know sincerely, by soul and body, or don't know the same way, for as much as our scientists skillful are. In a war they all ingo each other, they live spied on and spying, and have practised these skills for such a long time, that we have to be much more skillful lest we outwit them. Many of our arts we built into you, and taught you the best we thought you might well use on the road. Let's, as you said, have a sit before flight. Are you for tea?

Sujema: It's not easy to fly with bladder full. Rather give me a pipe, who knows where's the next.

Čiča: Nowhere. Their forlajs (forelye - Engarchan for "lady") are allowed just a short roll on a long čibuk (chibook - kind of pipe, filled not with tobacco, but has a receptacle for a cigarette). Their newer fashions, what to wear and what not to, will be in a book from our spectators, if ever they can know anything from watching the Engarchans at stations along the constellation. What if they send out the nonfits only? If they do find something new out, they'll write below. You manage yourself there, we taught you how to study messy scripts.

##there Sujema blew two long smokes from the pipe, as if she wanted to hide both her and the čiča from the world. She winked her eye, not known if it was for the smoke or pretending to look cunning, and:

Sujema: Did you paste my picture with the scar on all of my papers? Travel pass, inoculation confirms, language and regulation exams, and

Čiča: All of them. Even epanjal cooking knowledge. Pictures are aged properly.

Sujema: And the scar? On all the pictures?

Čiča: Not on all, girl!

Sujema: Only on those, which should seem newer?

Čiča: Now you are saying. Or are you testing me a little?

Sujema: You pre-flood čiča, you'll never know who taught me what. And who knows why it's good that way.

##so they walked slowly down the alley between the vines and brang. Checking mentally her luggage (oblivitas may seem nice - more often it fires back), she went through the road sack. There were some personal accessories and specimens for trading: face colours, mirrors, combs, some hidden gadgets here and there. Transceiver, jumbler, unjumbler, speaklive were together in inconspicuous little box. Ray shield woven under hairdo. Stream pipe. Strong shield in belt bucket. Memento stone on a pinhead, within it another, tiny deadly needle. Our advisors have prepared Sujema as if she enlisted a war. There, she is going into a war, but not to fight. Her duty was even more futile - to discover why is the war still going on there, after so many centuries. Well she knew that if one morning her speaklive fails to report when it should and does not tell home with its messy, unreckonable voice what did she eat those days, what she noted into her ear, how was her pulse beating, how was her blood circling, was she upset, did she sleep well and what did she think of before sleep. All of that in a short daily instant, or not as often as daily; at least once a year she was to hand the speaklive's notes to any transmitter, and it will find a way to send it all jumbled in a way that only čiča can unjumble it, as he did jumble it.

Measures and aršins in Otrič compared to world measures

The exact century when all the world had accepted ten's calculating and measuring is not remembered - some say it was twelveth, fifteenth and even nineteenth century. We are all grown up calculating in vrstas, megavrstas, paršans, gaons and nanotrens; it's only long time measures where we adhered to some ancient traditions, much to the horror of our kibernešes (kibernesh - any of the computer and info people), because 24 hours in a day and leap years permanently spoil the beauty of their calculations. Years have made it worse - fliers' years were introduced, much in a way of the mythical Alex the Macedon. He had, as the legend has it, solved an unsolvable knot with his sword, and thus got two equally unsolvable knots. Flier's year has hundred ancient Earth days a hundred hours each - little kids know that.

Otrič has gone quite to its own side. Fliers' hour, imaginary unit that is not applicable to any particular planet, is the only world's unit accepted here, along with, of course, price of gold. Their units of length are various thumbs, metars, foots; weight they measure by poods, funds and ferds (reportedly by weight one hoares was able to carry). The so-called metar is defined as integer multiple of average wavelength of Vilem/Blooey as seen through ordinary ship's blue shield window - which bears no substance in science nor art. Since the time it was introduced, the colour of windows was changed seven times, and the glass substance as well. Furthermore, some of the states keep world's names for the measures, but with local sizes, so the recalculations with neighbours are easier. Thus, one Kejn Kejchan vrsta equals 2.4683 world vrstas, but equals exactly 4.000 Behalijan or 6.000 Šaguar Šag vrstas. The worst of all is that in calculus itself they stick to sometimes octal, at times hexadekan and even dekan base. The chaos is so immense that there is literally one unit universal Engar wide: hundred fliers' hours in a day. That doesn't really fit with Otrič's rotation, but that's the way clocks are made there.

There was a famous case 137 fliers' ago, when the Leading of the kiberneš league tried to save their Engarchan brothers in art from disaster, and help to unify the calculus in some extentum. He wrote to certain world institutions, and won support everywhere, except from those whose skin was at stake. The answers from all the Otrič kibernešly people were equally scornful: "don't stick your nose where you understand none. If it's difficult for you to write recalc, tell us what you need so we will write it for you".

Until today no one got it quite clear. Not that it's not clear how do they make it - if they made it so far, must be it CAN be made somehow; it's not clear how can they like it.

Travellers are advised not to go there without a well-fed computer.

For 425. world's congregation of kiberneš, Ajderec Desku (Iderats Desqu), numerist

Otrič for beginners

Location: constellation of Hoaresman, two paršan left from leader. Star's name, by legend, used to be Blooey, reportedly according to its colour when rising. Real colour is more similar to a normal sun's, yet the first settlers, as legend has it, landed there on the night side with shield lids down, so it dawned in blue on them. Later it was called Vilem, by some famous ruler, supposedly Kysar Vilim; other sources quote Ćesar Bilijem (Cheesar Billiam), who is yet not confirmed to have been living or just attached to story.

Planet's name they changed, too; first it was Kuntka (Coontkah), then Udopeš (Oodopesh) and finally Otrič Engar. All the names aforementioned have source in their legends; they say, first generations on Engar searched ancient tales for paragon of life to build, and found it. Once upon a time there was, as it was called then, a czarship (probably empire) named Josterej Munguar or Otriš Ongar (Autrish Ungarzh), with capital in czar city of Vineršnic (Whinnershnits), which was said to have been rotten from inside, but beautiful from outside, and many a conqueror spared it for that.

Story goes further to tell how they leaned heavily on studying that empire at their and other stars' libraries, and really set their country into its image. The capital they wanted to call Šener Blau (Shanner Blow), for allegedly Vineršnic in ancient Otrič or Otriš was the river which flew through Šener Blau, but another party came up stating all should be the other way round and there the first quarrel arose. Even worse was the argument over the planet's name - ones were all for that that the czar's (or cheaser's) name was Pferdenant, which had to do something with caballary or other deadly weapon of the kind, while other were for the name Kunt Ka (Coont Kah). The first took for the constellation's name, the other for books, and the quarrel built up. The cause was the old and simple itch for power.

In the Otrič Engar of the old days (or whatever its name was) many a nation lived, just as in the new one, from the very beginning; now it's not known for certain how many of them could have been, and they are supposedly molten by now. Ones said that that was the source of immense power of the ancient Otrič, the others yet that that's what had killed it. Well, at least they all agreed that it's the kind of state arrangement they sure like to have, and had no will to invent a new kind of it. So they installed the one they found ready. Some parties opposed that, stating that ancient Otrič had nevertheless collapsed, and that even today it's unknown how, so "how can we lean on their pattern when it inclines to decline, decay and fall". This all happened some twelve hundred seventy five fliers' years ago, which amounts to year fifteen hundred seventy four worlds' years, or it's five - well, I may lie for a few months up or down.

Ever since Engar has seen a long procession of czars, kings, dodges, hardigs, onderzugfijers and voyevods, and, judging by the literals they littered the universe with, one worse than the other. The lands grew divided, the noble quarrelled, and sent vast armies each upon other. The sole thing, which was not devastated, was warfare itself. After all the long centuries of war, all the worlds are amazed they still exist. Šener Blau, Vineršnic, Udopeš, Nusats (Ojner Nousač, later) and other cities, built in first five generations, stand flattened ever since, not stone remained on stone for as much as a landmark. And the very Ojner Nousač was rebuilt nearby, and it was torn down, too.

At first it seemed they'll fight until they learn how to, and then unite and strike on the weaker neighbours. Engarchans, whatever, rarely take off into space, and even then it's two or three people of opposing sides, keenly watching at each other, behaving all too friendly when looked at. United they aren't until today, there they are, still fighting. To be honest, they don't touch the neighbours. Too far the neighbourhood is, and the war ports are torn down. No big battleships either - it's all crashed in battle.

Makarije Okranjski (Makary of Okra'n), telltale, in full mind recorded these words

Just halfway

##The Orgolat station is a strange place. Whatever it is that may lead one to Caballary stellation, Cheechuck, Mekhark (McHark) or Bengeš (Bangash), will not escape inevitable wait at Orgolat station. Station was built upon some vast boulder in backend; five paršan around there's nothing, except Orgolat Nugget and its sun. There's some planet rolling around, but it's too big to carry any construction on it - whatever gets built there, falls down within two or three fliers'. So everything one station may need found its place on the Nugget, precisely on one of its ends, which seemed welcoming to the builders. There are no other stations anywhere near, so all the travellers, take it or leave it, must go there, and rule has it that they must spend some days until they await the ship for their destination. There's no salvation from waiting, because, as it was proven in last century on Margalik, when one's getting dropped through "the thinned weaving of the space", as the poet expressed, every calculus bears its own error. There, with a bit of luck, error is up to half an hour per paršan. While the travel was scarce, the errors were few. Now it's going for fifty paršan per drop, and it is quite usual that the station master doesn't leave the mehanna for days, saying "what do they need me for, they come at will and leave as they gather enough passengers - let the apprentices just keep it all legal, and I'll sign wherever it takes. In the old days I knew by microhour when anyone should arrive, and so they always did. Since it's decay, it's decay." Rumor has it that, when it was first time he waited three days for a barge from Baržadin (Barzhadyne), he eventually sold The Time Table to some collector (who somehow happened to know it was the last Orgolat Time Table). That one became rich on that, but they say he gave an honest share to the Station Master.

There's also Orgolat Local Station, where there is a habitat, in reality a poor village at the other end of the nugget, where there's practically not a soul. Just an occasional outlaw's host and two or three skippers they ride to their caves in other nuggets. Those caves, story goes, are used for growing some mad mushrooms and other fancy plants, and the place is a good market for drunkoids and poisons, but that's another story.

In the Station there are only two important places: the port and the resort, both with their own mehannas. The first gathers workers and officials, the other the passengers.

?_ record /place /sound

place: orgolat station, port mehanna, reception

servant: you wish?

Sujema: anything arrived for me? Dioljanska.

servant: things and messages - none. But a book, fat and sealed. Here. Is it something dangerous when it's fastened so heavy?

Sujema: No, none. Boss plays mysterious, says it's a sign we take our business seriously. Any barge to Engar soon?

servant: When sufficient passengers gather.

Sujema: Well, did they?

servant: Now, one, I suppose.

Sujema: Me?

servant: Righto.

Sujema: Is one passenger sufficient?

Servant: Might well be, if paying well. Though, all Engar barges are military. Thus they don't like having passengers, but they do like money.

?_look /barge /expenses

distance 12 p, regular price 549 tl, exchange loss only 55, totals 604 tl, leaving you with only 1423 tl. estimated by regular no discount prices if you pay to be alone; it may go two or three times up or down; also watch the exchange. why, out of all the space, we must go one of the last ten worlds keeping their separate currencies?

?_look /orgolat /resort /food /expenses

affordable: resort in Resort, food in Port. Subscribe four days, total 67 tl 50 kr. It is better than paying a night at a time - the rate doubles then.

Later

?_ notes edit

Found two gold powder merchants from Eden Third. It was good to be half at port and half at resort, could have missed them. There is some Extraneous Missioner of His Greatness Režent Vikunt (Re Zhant Weecgunt), Overlord of the Lands of Eastern Behalija, Punska, Slimejska (Slimmayskah) and Selamlija (Selamlia), and Superlyattan of South Rughopska (Roogkhopskah) and here I stop the list - he's so keen to go back to his lord with fresh news. He'll pay half the fare, I suppose the officer's honour obliges him to. The merchants head to Margalik, really, but I told them some things about Engar, so they changed their mind and go with me. They have lots of cargo and are supposed to pay much of the fare. My share is hardly one tenth, which makes me especially glad. Though for missions like this money is not spared, little cash was given to me, so I don't look suspicious.

At paytime they let us into the barge. Miserable is its look, like a miner's wagon. Paint scratched, rust here and there, greasy doorknobs and spotty walls. Sailors scrub it daily, which is obvious, for many a thing is shining and sparkling, but junk remains junk. The spots get repainted only to reemerge on the same place, uglier than before.

The skipper has some funny divided beard of steel blue, and the headmaster even stranger moustache - one could bet they are growing from the lips up and to the sides. Every second sailor smokes some long, wound pipe with a lid. Never figured out how they keep it alive. They are dressed into some dolammas, which give theatrical impression, rather than one of a ship. Strange way they are picked up - every one of them has some hardly visible mishap: a finger less, a finger more, one with yellow eyes, other with no other beard but on back of his neck, and the headmaster himself has a single nostril. Like that, in one piece, as if he never had anything between. He saw us in his office. Lit a pipe, somewhat bigger and more ornamented, fit for a headmaster. He studied our IDs for long time, asked who we were, why go to Engar among all. With the missioner he talked in private, so I don't know what he asked him. It came up, after a long waste of time, that above all of their wars and goins, and all of their scars and abnormalities, most of all they are afraid we might pass some disease. There I took of my kaftan and shirt and showed them on my right hip the imprint of the Mokhorian (MocKhor) doctors, which in all the Space means I am inoculated against all the diseases except aging, which satisfied the headmaster. The moment we thought we were happy to be over with it, they put some contraption on my wrists. I had to block all the machinery within me in a millisecond - didn't want to arouse suspicion. He resumed:

-Why do you travel to Engar, among all the worlds?

-You are kind of not glad to have guests?

-There are passengers and passengers. What do you intend to do on Engar?

-I represent Interpeople Trade Apparata. We hope we can sell you our new computers of hundred fifty first generation and some built-in applications. We have missing people trackers and other cute gadgets. Add to it that our computers may be taught other clever things to do. There are no reports of you buying from anyone else before, especially not from those creatures from Nationwide Cashbox; therefore we hope we may be the first.

-With whom do you intend to trade?

-Whomever I find. I know no one your place, but I do hope to have chance to get to know your outstanding.

The gadget on my wrist ticked and murmured sometimes quicker, seems rather in order to confuse me than to get any real readout out of me.

-With which state?

-You have states? Really interesting. When do they elections?

-Why are you interested in elections?

-Oh, come on please, the elections are always a trade opportunity.

-There are no elections! We are an empire! Not in other empires, kingdoms, dodgeries and other greenery, there are no elections anywhere. So it is all the same to you which state you trade with?

-I know none of them. And why shouldn't an empire have elections? How else could people choose an emperor?

-No way. Emperor chooses the people.

-Did not know about that. That is an interesting way. I am curious to see how it looks.

-You will get a chance to understand. Here's "The life story of Her Highness czarice Metija Kanteza (Methiya Canthezza), mother of both Behalijas". Study it, tomorrow you are bound to be submitted to interrogation in order to show qualifying knowledge. If you apprehend, you may be allowed to join us the day after tomorrow. The same is to hold for the others, too. Obliged you are to return the book in valid condition. Forlaj, you are dismissed until tomorrow.

Was it he was trying to scare me with the last sentence? The gadget let out a silent hum, whistled briefly and died off. The ties loosened, I rose and went to the skipper to fill in the examination form. The form was full of many tricky questions, but čiča has taught me well - must be that lots of Engar papers, at least this kind which were shown to foreigners, already passed through his hands. There was a hidden purpose in almost every fourth question. Luckily, I didn't have to lie- taking the stand to defend the honourable merchant name of Dioljanski dynasty was quite enough. If this is the entry form, what will the exam be like?

I stood awake over two books. One was the mentioned incredible and lunatic story of stupidities of their czarice (is it read "kzarike" or "kzariche" - the only news in the book is that there's still someone in the Galaxies using alphabet which is neither phonetic nor ideogrammatic), and the other the news from my pal. He didn't gather much, either, but will do some good - money rates, customs, who's who in war and such. Before morning the mehanna woke me up. Good - he didn't have to enter the room, since I fell asleep over the books. He couldn't read anything, yet no one is even to see our secret code. Just in case, I burned mine and mingled the ashes with a glass of their cracked vinum ("...well did the Latins respect them, though"). Anyway, now I know it all from both of them. I could resort to just recording the pages, being rather quick with the computer now, but my memory is still quicker, and I should not call it every time - who knows what is radiating here and what may be caught. I might be suspicious for sole computer radiation from my head.

Going, finally

?_ notes, write

The exam passed well. The merchants stumbled a bit over some years, but managed somehow. They said they counted days and years differently since childhood, so they had to recalculate quickly. I have, just in case, mumbled and occasionally stopped a little, just to hide the extent of my training. Emperor's missioner had most troubles. The headmaster specially bothered and pressed him. Finally, he passed too, so in half an hour the cargo was loaded and the barge took off.

About the third day Blooey / Vilem was yellow on the skyscape. Headmaster did not show until then, and exchanged our money. Rate was low, until we agreed to exchange tellers for Ojner rabošes; for them he gave more than my records said he should. Though, they might be false, and yet don't have to be.

All the way we saw none of the crew, which is understandable. In our quarters occasionally a speaker uttered a warning about this or other, and we spoke ours into some trumpet or wrote paper clips and thrown them into it. No one served us food, but it was already served in a little dining room. They should be understood - they are all cripples in some way, and ashamed. Don't know if they are ashamed for not having died in a battle and taking time so far from the front line, or are ashamed to meet the healthy, as the cripples in some nations tend to.

Fourth day Engar appeared on the horizon. We circled a bit around it, a part of its dayside showed, then Vilem set down, then the nightside. Clouds were little, and I saw no lights on the nightside. Are all the cities devastated, or just hide in the dark?

Frequent changes of planet's name seem to clear up. First name must have been really ugly. There is only one sea, and it's gray. Two spacious forests on dayside and three on nightside (three moons give weak light, the view had to be amplified to catch under-red, and rise that for at least three rainbow shades), but awfully thinned. Suppose that under-red light is enough for the skipper to land - there is no real light. Maybe he knows where to land by the sole ray.

We landed rather rudely to the flat bottom of an old volcano; as soon as engines stopped, the floor began to sink. We got that feeling from our stomach and bones rather than heads. On the windowing there some headline appeared in their dialect of spatial. I did not quite get it at first, but it meant that we've seen nothing of what we've seen - it was all a recording of the first settlers' ship landing, except the landing place which is seen as it is now. I don't know what to believe - were we maybe supposed not to see the city lights, or the war came too close, or the planet is even uglier than it used to be. The only real thing was the descending floor under the ship, and horrible, tearing squeak of the machinery. Eventually it ended, and the real windows' lids slid aside and then we saw.

We were in old volcano's neck, indeed. The dome above the ship, huge, of roughly cut and by light molten stone. The ship was dragged from the circular plate somewhere towards the light blue sector of the circle which went for three vrstas around, and the plate went up to the ceiling again. Every section had its flags. The colours and insignia on the flags led to conclusion that the people here are highly imaginative, or have their local, characteristic sense for colours. Shields and heraldry were equally multicoloured and covered with multitude of various symbols.

As soon as we stepped out of the barge, we were overrun by a wave of machinery and vapours stink, and of loud military music. Few officials in glamorous garments came out before us. Welcoming delegation? No, it's customs.

?_record, notes, write

/What was it forbidden to take along to Ojner,... no, by insignia this must be one of Behalijas, with the other czar's lands. Hope I carry nothing dangerous/

/The officer didn't think so. hey, He has no thumbs. Is there anyone healthy on this planet, or the state services accept cripples only? The suspecting looks he throws at me, certainly he holds me for a goin/

-Your name?

-Sujema Dioljanska.

-Address me as 'ger Beršt', or you get in trouble.

-I was not warned about your tradition, ger Brešt.

-Beršt.

-Sorry, Beršt.

-Ger Beršt.

-Understood, ger Beršt.

-Anything to declare?

-Lacking knowledge of your law, ger Beršt, I offer you this list of my belongings for you to judge. All I carry is written there.

-What list now? I examine things, and ger Banter the papers.

-The things I speak of. It is things written down, ger Beršt. To save your precious time...

-My time belongs to czar, Heaven lighten on him, and don't you even try to teach me my job, forlaj, for my job is entirely arranged by mercy of czar's regulation regarding customs and strangers' passthrough. Be so kind, and, in the name of Czar, open your cases.

/There was no way out. Czar's word is, they say, not denied. This four-thumbed Gershl wants, as it seems, to gain time. Blabbers much and stalls. There, he's rather skilled with his four fingers - how he picks up all the shining things and moves them closer to the lamp. Must be there's some machine picking my fingerprints and sending them to some central library over somewhere. I almost feel sorry for the poor guy there, who'll have lot of trouble to find me. I doubt them having anything on me yet, so he'll have to call interstellar library, which will cost a lot. My record is not available shorter than Bendid itself. The links there are the slowest and the worst - that's why čiča picked it up. Since Otrič countries pay nothing as prescription, this extraneous search will cost even more. When they get the story on me (and it's really touching, the way Čiča composed it) they'll just have to believe it./

/Ah, here's a tiny lamp lit in the corner of his desk. Too soon, it seems. They must have searched everything while we were travelling, and compare now. He's all stiffened now, must be receiving instructions. He's sobering up. What will the next question be?/

-There are two strange legends attached to your name?

## this came up as a weak spot in their mutual espionage: the customs officer gave out to know more than he should, which may be written off to miscooperation between embattled Behalijas
- Ah, that. You know, we are eternal traders, for thirteen generations now. My grandma sold sixteen spatial paršans of pure void, and my grandpa of the mother's branch...

- What is this?

- My travel log, ger Beršt.

- What secret writing is this?

- Merchants' abbreviations, ger Beršt. Should I acquaint you with it, or your computer can manage it itself? Would the Imperial Customs maybe wish to buy a computer reading out all the known secret writings and all the writings designed on known principles?

- And the unknown?

?_record, surrounding
Two advertising stickers an the wall; the green:
"New" - excluding cluster "Pavlov"! Kaftans to hold your breath at! Loan in 6-x and 10-n months!
and the violet with gray letters:
"Stomack Interpeople" salad - order at 3545/*661r
##...and in Sujema's head a silenced computer and a dilemma.
?_rewind, continue / Is this cretiot of the customs naturally stupid, or made it all of himself?
- No one knows if someone gifted sits somewhere and plots something. The same old thieves and guardians game, ger Beršt. The thieves buy computers now, so they keep a step ahead of the guardians, and the other way round.

He didn't hear the end of it. I was either more boring than he can bear, or he was told to let me pass. He didn't even look at the rest of my things. Probably the barge headmaster reported in all he knew, and some obscure clerk typed my data into some backend computer. Nice, and what now? And where did he send me to?

Some papers, submitting

##I got this later, by kindness of our deputy on Engar, through his personal acquaintances
--SECKRETOP -- mk. IBH-CSPOCPOSP/BIP-66900-601-6917

Report of the overseer of extruded Bidem station of Imperial Service for Duties of Execution of Customs and Passthru of Persons of Foreign Origin and Citizenship, to ger Febl in person, the commanding headmaster of the Service.

TODAY EXECUTED passthru of four (4) persons of questionable attitude and position. One gives out to be our emissary into the Constel - very suspicious, check and track, especially inquire with whom did have meetings. Compare with personality and characteristic signs of our real emissary who went off four years ago, and confirm whether he heroically died, as the matter is quoted in the files , or the information suffered certain exaggeration. Execute comparison with report of behaviour at adoption examination for passthru to the barge composed by the headmaster of the one. At the custom visibly upset, five (5) behaviour errors, scared. Execute payment of special attention.

Two merchants of Margalik, particularly suspected for executing on Orgolat a change of destination and took the same in direction towards here. Only two behaviour errors, and they never were here - I consider it a matter of characteristic importance, very pointing to - very foundable doubt that they have come prepared. Execute payment of special attention to the cargo they carry - suspected to be a fortune in question, danger of which is not yet sightable, or harmless load intended to draw attention, in which case no attention should be on the cargo but on the matter of their having meetings and talks and with whom. Suspectedly they were canvassed for Šaguar Šag, or do goins for both Šaguar and Hljezija (Khlyesya).

One pretty forlaj, and therefore possibly a dangerous one, computer trader. Unknown in libraries, was hard to find in the foreign. Origin well confirmed in library of Old Španj, presentus Bendido Footnote. Set our field crews on Bendido to check. 4 (four) behaviour errors - so average that it seems conspicuously set to look too valid. Asks political questions to Czar's Customs officer. Probably a dangerous challenger and provocator. Also attempted to confirm the power of our computers, under persona of a merchant's brag. To be inquired of her real aims. To be rid of.

ger Banter of h.h. the Czar's Customs

This is from newspapers: Armball League Tublic (Tewblits) Universal - Kgras 2 10:9 (3:2, 1:0, 3:4)

Yet before the match in Venir Tubl even got on, whereas the local Tublic Universal and Novovinerje (Newvineryahan) Kgras were to play, the big leaks filled half of the goona with water. When to it we add that the leak continued until the fourth fourth, than it is quite clear that it was more about waterball than armball. Under such conditions the more strong and experienced armballeresses of Tublic Universal managed better, and eventually got crowned with a minimal win of 10:9.

Next round on zuntah, starting at 68:50 the Kgras 2 will await in the Entertainment Hall the domestic Compatriots from Bargeville.

Official note

##In log of ger Febl, commanding official of the IBH-CSPOCPOSP service, note for the day:
Ger Banter of Customs supplied a foggy report. Tries to draw attention to few importanceless persons of foreign origin, to cover for his deals with our barge's crew which the aforesaid persons arrived with. The persons were not even charged a proper customs fee, and yet are the only subject of the report, while the crew is not mentioned.

Memento for tomorrow: Degrade ger Banter, send into a mine for reeducation of the Primitive.

Thin white line

?_ record, impressions
Really, what now?
?_ stop it /look body,condition,influence_outside
you are mildly upset, ger Beršt ailed you, he resembles the military - soul course trainer and his soul - scientific tricks; you are not rayed on; the air feels stinky but does not hurt much here, was worse on the barge; you'll be hungry in two hours; your skin is slightly burned, that's because of barges illumination - there was some above-violet, that's why your eyes teared when you wanted to read; no other characteristics
?_ record continue
what are they waiting here for? some transport?
- Excuse me, ger, when does it come?

- You forlaj, are not from here?

- Does it show?

- Seen and heard. You know, a ger I am indeed, but should not be addressed so when I wear no official dolamma. It is seen, for you do some of the Primitive grace have, if notice I may, but you better hiding them be - that thing here nobody likes. And as last, here nothing comes.

- And what is awaited then? And, er, thanks for your kindness.

- Listen, pleased be, we old Šenerchans are brought up that way. The opening of traverses is awaited so we can go over to West Behalija.

- Oh, so it is not the way it is told.

- And what is it, I'll nicely beg?

- Well, you know, war, spying, overseeing everything and all...

- Sincerely sorry I am, forlaj, for being obliged to do you the discomfort you with disappointment. There, unfortunately, right you were. We, you know, captives for exchange are.

Sudden streaming of air, noise, stronger stink. By the sound one could tell that somewhere ventilation switched on and blew out here.
- I am not a captive.

- Unsubstantial, you know, as soon as here you are.

- And no guard watching us.

- No need for that, the best at home it is. We will finely to the west go as well as they from there to the east will. Everywhere you go, to home you return. Not to walk off from the others I recommend, because from here only there you can go out. If back you start going, all the same push you back here they will. If now disappear you would, exchange spoil you would - mean one of theirs on our side it would, and of course, the most important one. Embarrass yourself do not, forlaj, it's all in the working hours included.

/This one is so sweet-talking I'd gladly show him some of fighter relaxation exercise. Is he just stupid or also cunning? Seems like one of those quiet dummies who carry cunning instead of mind./
-Couldn't know these things, I'm not from here.

- Neither am I, I'm from the West /now he think he's funny, too!/. Where from are you, when so uninformed you are? Allow me some guessing - you know, this waiting long may last, so let us make it short. Since on the outside rather Primitive you are, which, by the way, well you wear, then it must be inner development in your land appraised is. Then your land must be some tiny state of yonder, which does no visit here, maybe Marka Pušt? Or in this trade an absolute beginner you are?

- I am a merchant from Bendido, Sujema Dioljanska. I represent Interpeople Trade Apparata.

- Well, to set an old ur of western school ashame you succeeded. Not to introduce me first did you allow me. Ergard Šarnof, goodler.

- Was not my intention, ur Ergard. I am rather confused. What will happen to me?

- Ah, nothing terrible. They will inquire you just like all the others. All will clear out real soon. My people are not as wild as these of the east, torture they do not. Old school, to say so.

- Then you do have elections?

/Now I almost liked him, as all his coldbloodedness suddenly ran away out of him./
-Not so loud, forlaj, kindly beg you I do! For the Blooey yellow, nothing do you know?

-And how could I? I drove here by an East Behalijan barge, and they forced me to learn all about Metija Kanteza.

-Don't mention the name of that bitch before a westernchan, for Vilem's sake! The eastern dogs dare call her "the mother of both Behalijas"! In some hand, she deserves the credit for them being two - she came to power by setting discordia among the patricians and dividing the country. But a mother! Before any westernchan mention her do not, nor before anyone from the adjoint countries of Western Behalija - Miošpar, Sukohtar (Ssukokhtarr), Bengukir and Fungarn (Foongharn). Our illustrissimus czar, Ananir ('Annaneer) the Overwise, rules for good thirty and some years

- Fliers'?

-...which amounts to forty-five round. The events flow here so rapidly, that the time slowly copes up with them, as the saying goes. By the by, the bitch got badly beaten by our czar's grandfather, Ihnadir (Ikhnadeer) Overnoble, when he found her well two good hours before she could ever think something's setting up against her.

-What was in the well?

-What could be? The same as in all the wells on Engar. Kernel weapon. Their history makes no mention of that?

-It says she won all.

-Between us, forlaj, if of some power I were, all the historians I'd hang, roll their ears over and beat their hands for typing on the lieing keys, not in that order. They lie, you know, ours as theirs, and Tesarchan, and Džigarchans (Jigghar), and Linchans (Lynche), and Zranjchans (Zrah'n). The worst for me it was, while in the east I was, to keep tongue in cheek and sustain their bragging. Ask a question you wanted to?

-What is a goodler?

/he looked quite ridiculous this time. as if I told him the wall he leaned on was fresh painted./
- You don't know that, either? You must have had fallen off from somewhere or you have been to heavy teaching courses. /you are so right you have no idea./ I play a goodle. Show you one I would like to, but, sorry to say, they took it from me when they took me. All my recordowners were in it. Good pass, eh? I play, they drink, I liven it up, and they, forgive expression, they unshoe themselves. Then I go out, like, to refresh myself, and leave it down recording; later I return and step on tempo. They caught me when a string unhappily broke, you know, it was the outgiver. Give me out it did, indeed. When it broke, it switched to another frequency, since length it changed, why, on which, the frequency I mean, rather often some third goins work, Kejn Kejchans I think, and which regularly observed is. So they, erroneously to say, more at random, get me in the Kejchan's stead of, and here in the Interczar Circle, together with the other exchange sheep am I. And you how did they catch?

-They didn't. I left the barge, and the customs officer sent me here. Is it possible one of the sheep died so they dropped me in on the way to square the account?

-As you like, but recommend I wouldn't.

-What do I like?

-We call it 'Blooey's caves sale'. The story hold will not, and take long time to comb it it will.

-You don't believe me.

/if just once more he looks at me as if I was a stupid brat, I'll send him nausea right under his palate, just to see him rolling with pain in that greasy puddle./ -Yes or no, what my "yes or no" mean to you may? Who am I? A goin failure, so to say man of no profession, even if my masters refund me for the goodle, there's no one now to make such a good playpiece, all the builders are in the war. Do I believe you! Forlaj, suspect you I dare not when you look at me that way, but our secret hendarija has no eye for beauty. Of things that matter for our lives and state they care, and do not trust their own mothers. The pattern on your face congenital is?

-No. A fight in a mehanna. It's only a scar.

/look, all the rats are greenish/ -Say it's congenital, and word 'scar' mention do not, when asked. Check they need not, for so nice it looks.

-Pictures! On my travel pass and some other ids I have a picture without scar!

-Say it's your land where yet of late is not a shame to show those things, so just in case you made your older pictures not look conspicuous on foreign worlds.

-But why does it matter?

/did not hear why. Some disgusting march started blasting from the speakers, which made Ergard frown, and then another, no nicer than the first, along with a new wave of stink from the grid in the wall. This lit him up a little. Not the stink, the march./ -And home we go. The fence is lifted.

And we went over.

On Engarchan healing

Healers, doctors, druids and other healthers for body and soul across various universities all the space along, can't agree on the substance of Engarchan healing. On Engar, first of all, there are no hospitals. No healeries, grass healers, healing teas, warm baths, studied fasts, recovering gyms, nor any other handy healing utilities, and no word of any aids or implantums, at least not for the common people. On the other hand, various Engarchan states' spies have miracles implanted in their bodies, but those are rather alien to the body and would kill anyone within time. On sections of slain spies (let's make it understood, they slayed each other, honest world does it some other way) various things were found - sixth and seventh fingers and toes, extraneous brain segments and one tooth replacing two. Add to it that not two of them were found with the same anomaly, if these features may be called anomalies. For some of them it is unclear what they ate and what kept them alive, while for some others the blood type couldn't be found. Third group seemed regular and ordinary, but the statement would rather be that their special features could not be detected. The detected ones are unclear as well.

In circumstances given, it is no wonder that Engarchan healers scarcely publish any of their works. They obviously know more on the issue of body than any ordinary healers do, if we have in mind that "healers mend the same body for thousands of years, and the steerwrights have new type of steer every year". They really get new kinds of bodies every year. How could they heal them? But, if they can't heal them, how do they manage to implant as much equipment without killing them? And if they can, why don't they heal them?

Having learned this all, I grew sad for not becoming any wiser than I was before, and for having to expect very little money for this little of writing.

Milorautas Belosvetij, research reporter

No customs, it's a...

Such a junk of an underground train I haven't seen for long. We travelled for three good hours, all under a watchful eye of some armoured guys. They looked like any normal guard or police, but you can't hide armour. For some time, I remember, I used to wear a dress sewn of some harder cloth (the merchant convinced me that it will form after my body after a while), and this was exactly the way it didn't want to wrinkle on the places where all my other clothes do. What does this armour have to be able to resist?

When we finally disembarked (if switching into a police van could be called disembarkment - we weren't even allowed to see where we were) we were driven some half an hour more at random; my inner companion said we went three vrstas to get to the same place, just two floors beneath. Ur Šarnof said we were transferred to another city where the railroad doesn't reach yet.

From the "mary" (is the vehicle anywhere called "zulfikar" or at least "tom"?) we were unloaded into the middle of a police center reception office. Šarnof said it could well be West Behalijan customs, but it did not seem wise to be driven so far just for custom's sake, and the rooms' layout and other gave out its police soul: customs must have any kind of body check machinery, warehouse for confiscates and a quick ids checker receptacle hidden somewhere. Police hides none of that; they check manually, the bars everywhere where needed and where not... just like here. Really don't know what are the bars for, windows are a rarity here. To scare out, or to keep the rats from running away through the goonas? At the end of all ends, it's of no matter to me - whatever comes, comes.

They seated me in front of someone's desk. Šarnof was taken to somewhere.

-Your name and surname?

-Sujema Dioljanska, mer

-Only name and surname, I said!

-I understand, ger beršt.

-The very next time you, as if I was an eastern dog, address me, the interrogation I will stop and have you sent to two days learning of proper address, and that in a solitarium!

-How should I address you?

-Ger Ermešt (Oermesht).

-I understand, ger ermešt.

-Occupation.

-Computer equipment merchant, ger ermešt.

/if just once more I have to change host country, I'll go blabber all over because of these protocolary differences./

-Now that's better. Where are you from?

-From planet of Bendido, in some parts of galaxy known as Epanj. County of Škurja (Shkurya), city of Enklaho (Enklakho). Born in Sjudad do Ocivigo (Sewdhad do Awtsiveegho), living in Enklaho since age of three.

-Occupation?

-I have told you that already, ger ermešt.

-My job teach me you try? End well you won't! Occupation?

-Computer equipment merchant.

-Who are you working for?

-Interpeople Trade Apparata, ger ermešt.

-Intersimple?

/and he repeated it all over again for some twenty times, the wit of intersimple apparata included. Ger ermešt annoyed me five hours full, asking the same things in different order, inserting some news here and there, pretending not to listen at all or concentratedly scornfully watching at times. I grabbed an instant to come to words./ -If only you could take a peek at the planet's surface - a little ray transmitter is circling around the planet. It' s listening to me for two hundredths of a twink a day. It's about two pood heavy, which amounts to

-Three our poods exact to the seventh octal, or, easternly, fourteen. I believe not a word.

-Seek and you'll find it. I'll tell you what the orbit.

-Seek we shall not - drag the time is what you try.

/this was close - there's nothing I have up there, and they have no means of tracking such a tiny trinket. for a sure surprise you have to be rude and convincing./ -Excuse me, but being at it, what time is it, ger Ermešt?

-Ah, now it's me you'll excuse, completely carried I've got. Past seventy it is, already. Finished for today we are, forlaj, and well performed you have, to you admit I must.

-Performed well?

-Eh, if only our goins so stubbornly stick to their stories would. You are consequent, as they say, up to the toenails. Of course, tomorrow morning, about thirty-five, to me personally report you will.

-How do you count time?

-That's what before coming here questioned you should have. Almost hundred hours per day, missing a little, really. Not a bit like the flier's hour. One of the few official things I have to observe in my free hours, too. In the meantime, summon you to lunch free I feel.

-I am not imprisoned?

-Escape you can not, so no difference it makes. The rite is but three days long, and after that, anyway, free you will be, unless we canvass you. That may to not bad at all outcome, for us, I mean, for pretty good you are, and your appearance simply attracts events. Nice plot around you drawn can be, and something more serious, even. Forlaj, to say I like you am I allowed to?

-In office space?

-I live here, too, you know, duty demands it. What about the lunch?

-I'm dying of thirst, and curiosity. It's all so new for me. What will happen to ur Šarnof?

-Do you care about him?

-Not, really. He accompanied me for half an hour.

-Which amounts to two hours. What food do you avoid?

-Poisoned, radiated and tasteless. Does it seem strange to you?

-Not at all, truly reasonable I find it, if to stick to your story you intend. But, about work let us not start again - with that for today finished we are. A gurminč (ghurminch) under grenčl (granchle) does suit you?

-Why not, I don't know what it is anyway.

-A gurmling roast under a grenčl, of course.

/and what if it's the rat I saw this morning?/ -Remains unknown to me as it was, but I do trust your taste. /he was just half an iota less boring than that fiddler. Is there any country with a higher rate of wise cops?/

?_that should be Sureg, but they have quite local variant of intelligence tests; namely, they require before all that

/oh cut it. At least you dropped the ancient computing script. Where in the sky did you pick all those menus?/

?_Čiča took interest in ancient computers. Says they had good schemes without any good thing to play them on. He inserted the syntax to show respect to his ancestors. I've even swapped prompts, now ?_ is min. You can have your beloved slash.

/His ancestors or yours? I wander, is there any difference betw... by the way, how do you switch off?/

?_no way. I just shut up if I feel questioning rays. So I had to a minute ago when he drew the torch above you. It came up as a plain torch, but one never knows. Speaking of rays, everything is rather active here. In three days you be ill.

/do something/

?_ I'm growing your new glands, and you keep drinking as much of anything, to flush your blood and other until I make them; I recommend water, strong drinks and wine; stay away of milk.

/you grow me a gland? čiča never mentioned arts of the kind!/

?_not a new one, really. I teach the ones you have to do new things. you'll be rather hungry, feel free to jump on it. and it's not much of an art - it's all written within me, just in case. now I shut up - until I see the if mehanna is safe.

/when I say mehanna, sometimes it sounds ridiculous, using the same word for those holes in the nuggets and luxury places like this. a bit too feathery for my taste, and the waiters' garments are funny. Food is quite tasty, meal plentiful and this dumb starts talking things I find interest in. I didn't quite get the way to here; I don't remember being out on a street at all/

?_I suppose there are no streets, not in our sense of the word. some passways must exist, wider and narrower, maybe steep and vertical too. pity we saw nothing during the ride. ah, yes - the mehanna is clean. I sense no poisons or more rays than elsewhere.

-You know, forlaj Sujema, West Behalija is an island of freedom in this sea of despoties around us.

-Then you do have elections? Šarnof did not get to tell me, and we just touched the subject.

-To ask him too time you've found? Well, we might really have them once. For the time being, we do the form of the late years of old Otriško (Awtrishko), what its name really was, follow. Then said it was that it is not the matter of the dog's race, as long as it guards the house well. Far less than the others by strict traditions we are enslaved, and many of them just formally we observe - as goes for this interrogatory rite, for one. Some thing crashed we should have had a long time ago, for not taking anything much of from the goins captured, and for setting them free, but bitterly they wrong: more we find out this way. Goins, when ran after, here do flock, and always we have some for exchange, big crowd here gathers and all the news this way or other through our yard pass. Profit big it is - trading the news, half of the state's treasury up we fill and among neighbours balance we keep.

-Isn't it too dangerous to tell me all that?

-For whom? The state, me or you?

-Yes.

-Right you are, so said it could be. But, to some extent I always lie, so trust me complete don't you; on the other hand, decided I have to, within my jurisdiction, for our service canvass you.

-But I am a foreigner!

-So what? Mind I do not, living of something make you must, offers from no one else you have none - choice do you have?

-Do I have not?

-None.

-Are you lieing now?

/where are you now, face reading courses? how do I read a face with purple eyes and equal upper and lower eyelids?/ -Yes. No, not quite. I'll have you followed anyway, but kind it may be that you get paid for it. Or do it for nothing you prefer?

In the meanwhile, on Vukojebina

-OK, Čiča, does she have a giveout or not?

-Alright, alright, she has one she knows not about. Works at times only, at random, when disturbed and - I'd better not tell you why she must not know.

-Of course that conscientally she doesn't, but in the layer beneath it?

-She knows no way.

-So did that screamlive speak up?

-The speakalive. It did, this morning.

-And no word from you? How's our girl?

-Seducing a cop and getting rayed.

-Rayed?

-Two hundred nanodžabr (nunnojubb'rh) a day. Not less, maybe more - this is a three days average.

-Where from - I mean - no shineouts, no... signs, activities

-You stupid hoareses! No signs! There were! Hundreds! It's just the gentlemen preferring to copy each others' scripts instead of taking a little look at what the machines keep recording! Eventually I found out practically everyone was rewriting from the Engarchans themselves - you bit both bait and the hook, rod included! Dump your books and write new ones. For sake... rays... who'd ever thought, after six long

-The last one fired six long and thirty-four standard ago

-Fired month and a half ago, on Otrič! Three weeks before she left. And still no one knows a thing, because no one wrote about it in the first edition... or seventh, either.

First night and nothing

##here Sujema is quite confused and can't decide where to start from /notes, write/

In the dormitory the room two hundred five. is rather loudly ventilated by some winder; the building's real size is uninteligible because the floors are of uneven sizes, there are some twenty of them, some go up and some below, not even exactly one above another; some of them probably belong to something else and not the dormitory. Record the buildings - the way they are built, rooms layout, measures, thicknesses and building materials. Who knows what for we may need it. It's easy to lose direction under ground. How heavily bound to the surface we are! I always keep expecting to see a street at the end. And with a blue sky overhead. These transport themselves in some carriages like miners', and end up disembarking in some larger chambers, like some atria of fair halls or launch ports, where kind of corridors branch out, staircases, elevators for up and down... and no streets and no squares - unless this is what is considered a square here. I see they sell real newspapers. Where's the paper from?

To sleep, to sleep.

They say there's nothing in the ocean here.

Where did I get that sentence? Maybe overheard somewhere in the crowd, or it's just from the stupid story of Metija the Great. What's really there in that ocean?

?_ probably various war sewage - wrecks, empty charges, slime. a museum. two crazy fishes. Crazy? ?_ who in his right mind could look for anything on the surface?  There's not the surface under wat... you think water is rayed too? ?_ why wouldn't it be? if any of the species has adapted to it, what could be known about it?  Looks quite like the old Niponsi tale of Ho Đila (Kho Gyilla). ?_ There are worse than that. Forget the ocean.

Some other file

The data flow in the knowledge pool of interczar restrict of the Free city of Bidem

There is a multitudo of data sources and estuaries here; news come from outer space, are created here, or come from countries present hereabout, and partly from the absent (those lacking a share in the restrict). All present countries keep several public and sealed data beams to their respective centers, and several secret ones too. Quite often one country's various services  maintain separate beams, not knowing of each other. The beam centers lay mainly in mission back rooms, but no one believes in that - the main computers are hidden somewhere (famous is the case of Kejn Kejchan cuckoo egg - they hid their main computer in the demonstratory computer of Western Behalija). Every service in a mission has its own part of the library, one public and several secret. The only law observed in all that is immediate delivery of abstracta of all the public data into the Central Interczar Library, which resides somewhere beneath the city, or is stashed into a goona of its own. In parallel, all data coming from the universe or are sent out are recorded there, though it's never known whether really everything gets gathered, and whether all the records are available to all who have it written to be granted access.

In detail, the data sources comprise of various recorders of images, numbers and dictowrites, brain terminals implanted to some very important officials and officers, and the survey monitors of all the city machinery which may matter. Here and there some clerk makes a random note.

Independent of that there are between twenty and thousand underground networks which are sometimes connected to some of the libraries, but for reading only most of the time; it is unknown whether they leave some data there (and is it intentional or not). Those belong to various sets of goins, black mart, all kinds of pickpockets and other scum. In the continuous duel between them and the libraries it is indecidable who's making it better - they all hide everything.

On every subject every czardom / duževy / kingdom keeps record of all kinds of things, or keeps him convinced it does, so it is a common attitude that everything is known about everyone, specially if one is important. Records are kept on who did what with whom, or talked about, accent being on personal signs, abilities, various bugs in the head, burst outs and above all contacts with foreigners.

The data on foreigners are treated in a somewhat strange way: things about them are found extra secret and therefore it is easier to get a file from one's native world, than from the library next goona. In addition, these data are both worst and best, because everyone is gathering them, and everyone most jealously treasures his own heap and so no one has them all.

I know more than this, but I think the numbers are not of your interest. You got the picture, and you'll sure manage without my sign. I have only one head.

Long is the night is for thinking

Why did they go underground? ?_there are a couple of possible reasons: spatial rays, bad air, rayed surface, permanent warfare, stupidity, superstitio, mindless leaders; I far less believe it is for who called you ?_čiča's records say I'll keep wake and can not help it. you better think quickly and I'll help you. you are a bit boring; how do we cope up with raying? ?_young and healthy you are - you'll be ok do they all have glands processed? ?_I know only what's written in I know that. call if you notice something. ?_them being all a bit strangely built - could it be from raying? yes, they are all a bit outcast. some places they throw the kind into a volcano. they let them go here. why? ?_enough dilemmas for one day. you sleep in twenty seconds. how do you know? they poured me something? ?_no. you must rest so I can save your body. I started your sleepgetting. how do I rest if you work always? ?_I consume less than your sense of smell. good night.

Another article from "Voice of goona"

 Special opportunity for hikers

On many a picnic place in the day of nineteenfercer holiday the hikers "will get it" quite "handy" from catering people, with valuable offer. On refreshment centrum in Brooks where the Goona will be fully accessible to the hikers, and on Resort on Mohar (Mokhar) next to the Guštar (Gooshtar) passway, where alongside with the existing refresharion there will be few personal stations (cottages with food and drink), a complete catering offer will be on other resorts as well.

So, let us say, in the Shroom Forest of the Czar Spas, in the "Shroom Perimeter" goona the hikers will be supplied exceptionally cheap drink (a brit just 3 teler 14 kr.). Affordable prices will be in Brooks at Lemur New, at Derbetov, where the most attractive will be the fish characteristics refresharion on the Brook bank. "Castle" han in Ekli prepares excludably affordable offer in grand and blooming park. (Fish stew two thirds cheaper than ordinal price, meat slam in a bun with juice - 19 tl 4 kr.) "Ekli" fishpond dispatches a boat with hikers down the brooks to the Czar's Pond every holiday's day. Departures are every 2.75 hours (as soon as 15-teen passengers gather), for which the "Castle" will prepare offer in the shelter as desired. Among the resorts in closer proximitas, surely Pferkov at New Vinerje will be interesting. The offer will be taken care off by the staff of the "Brook Perimeter" in Grenčliš surrounded by shroomery. For hikers, then, a real and full catering offer in a surrounding of a real cave, which we obviously so much and often miss.

Third day, work

They really let me go the third day. They say it's customary to interrogate every foreigner, or anyone who crossed the border, as a reminiscence to some elder times, or is just replanted from "ancient Otriško". Ger ermešt Monitlav Oisov (Aweesoff) composed a cute contract for me. I have to, as it goes, as necessitas occurs, die for the West, betray the West, deny it and confess all or confess none, seduce, sell or kill whomever necessary, just if I get the orders. If order they don't, I'm due to roughly guess what will please the bosses. Or just a little gossip and plot - I might disturb the waters even upstream and so cover for someone more important, or run some bigger fish to the surface. Since much experience I have not (or should at least appear as such), I'm as free as a šlepnić on a twig. That might mean I'll get shot with a stone, if I survive the rest.

What is new?

?_you called me Yes. How do I sense? ?_Strongly. You should wash sometimes. Send my best to čiča and tell him to hire some respectable court jester to invent amusement for me, and for himself to quit that job, since he performs lousy. Let me hear you now. ?_what you said to track the building ways - every building has lots and lots of secret passages. There, it might be that the space to which there's no visible access is just stone or support, but inside it there's always room enough for corridors, stairs and platforms we use to see. It's almost possible to place a city within a city indented into the visible one like gears, with inhabitants unaware of each others. Does that mean something to me? ?_It will when we see what is there. For now, you should just know that there is more than is given to the eye to see. In our minds a building means part of space enclosed in walls on a flat ground. No flat ground here - all underground is one building. From their way of notatio of elevators and trains, the groundgraphing units are not floors, but goonas, which are numbered from the eldest floor upwards and downwards. How do I feel? Be a healer for a while. ?_You recovered faster than I hoped. Tu lego timada! You hoped! Hope, suffer and other feelings leave to me, and speak like a real computer, if you are a computer. ?_How do I express "unreliable computatio based on scarce knowledge"? Scarce? I am amazed by čiča's letting you alone with half-empty head. ?_The head is yours. Of your body I do not learn enough to know exactly what will be. They dared not wire you head to toe, that couldn't be hidden. Oh, well, what else is new? ?_You are rayed more or less everywhere equally, only the ventilation shafts bear freshness clean air? ?_You bet. Less old particles, and more new ones. Where is it pumped from? ?_Find out. From surface, or it gets produced intentionally. They are not that crazy. Think - do they mind at all. How many generations they need to get used to raying? ?_Remember their healing. Everyone is born here a bit cripply. And they are all more or less healthy, though it could be expected they'd be extinct by now. What about the ocean? ?_It's just a bigger sea. There's nothing there. You already heard that. At forty-five you lunch with Oisov. Prepare, he takes you for affairleader of the military to kind of sell something. Suspected for treason. Who suspects whom? ?_Oisov suspects the affairleader and the other way round, and you suspect them both. If it's of some comfort - no one trusts you, either. That won't be an obstaculum to sell a computer. Where do you dig it all from? ?_From where you do. Think - and it will reveal itself to you. Čiča does love ancient poetry, I see. While we are at it, what's art like here? ?_here, hear this:

Engarchan works of art

When art on Otrič Engar is mentioned, it always crosses my mind how there was never any local art developed on Dunbah (Doonbarkh); it's a planet for "lay before me,. bread, so I eat you" and "all we need the sky will drop". Newcomers and runaways from all kinds of desolatios and carsts do all the local works of art. Consequentially, Engar would be swarming with unseen painters, musikeans, compositors, builders and what do I know what other kinds of artisans.

But, when we browse the various collections files, Engarchans are nowhere to be found. As if they are not interested in art at all, or they are not curious to know whether there's anyone else interested. They give hard time to those who beg them to write an occasional essay, which does get quite noticed every time, to send some political convincery critic or a flaming speech to star parliament - it's always composed really nice, a bit old-fashioned, and that almost every time becomes famous.

Several scientists tried to interpret this, every one his own way; starting with the statement that hard life gives birth to a poet but may kill him, up to the thesis that without sunlight there's no look towards the sky - life below surface cuts the man off the stars.

Why, there is the other side, which says that in so quarrelling lands as Engar is some historical analogon with similar lands of ancient past may have validity; by the kind of those it always happened that one waring side was more powerful in army, or at least louder in world's fame, and the other had better artists - things usually laid themselves that way. Such planets usually spoke out very seldom; ones have nothing to show, and the others can't be heard of because of them.

I would incline to something tenth: Engarchans are such a special kind, that their art form is unreadable for the others. To what extent might fan Betofen had understood a vudu artisan, had he ever met one? How could a computer tutor possibly understand the greatness of speaking to the clouds? I declare that the Engarchans are artisans in something we don't notice at all, and therefore fail to see art in it.

Maybe the children of our children will understand.

Minjali Muargu (Minyalee Mooarghu), interpreter of the poem

Continue

How do they bring up their children, where do they get the heat from, the light, water? What do they punish, what do they reward? Do they have beggars? Do they bargain while they war? ?_you ask too much. sleep, give me time And you give me a free head. I dream of spectres and hunger while you work so much. ?_why didn't you get born with a larger head? either assign me less work, or stop complaining. Plot's plot's plot

?_space/check

This is a mehanna like the one where you first went to lunch. Bit more style, judging more by the silent waiters than by better food. Eavesdroppers are everywhere - don't seek any particular table, let him lead you. Turn your back against the wall. Chatter, let it appear as you made up what you want to do. This place is rayed some less, and it's more because of stale air than protection - they don't protect much.

?_record/classify

-Nice mehannas you have, ger ermešt. Your builders must have a high rating.

-The style we observe, confess one must. One of the few things of the old Otriško we keep. Many Engarchan states on the subject misbehave - they find sufficient all clean and neat to keep, and yet eat at theirs' pleases you not, not even when the goonas do beautiful seem. There, artists of merit they have, when some hall to be decorated is, or any other job when comes to, but it reach their heads it did not that the whole goona is one hall and that it must make with the whole... and talking I keep, the afairleader to be late announced has, so without him a dinner to start I suggest. What after are you, forlaj?

-Since I find it most unpolite to spread one's own customs along the universe, I will not demand anything I'm used to at home - surprise me again.

-Then it a steamboil vekšmajzl (whackshmyzle) with shroom salad it will be, and cakes after, of course. Before all an ajber jupa (yber yuppah), one pušta (pushtah) and what would you drink?

-The drinks get on me to easy...

-They say one gets it where one's hollow.

-Now I'd say I get it in my head, eh? No, my intestina get off before my head. A vinum of your choice will do.

-No, choice yours is - no vines grow here, we import it all from outside.

-Then a Marino Nave, crop forty seven, nine, fifty one...

-Why only the odd years?

-It grows every other fliers' year, because it grows on a planet which rolls once in two fliers'.

-The vine fruits there?

-It's more resistans than you think, ger ermešt. Do you want me to connect you with the enologos of Bendido?

-Why? You think grow here it might?

-Why not, and you could take the business over. It's not bad to be rich sometimes, eh?

-None of such is feasible ever - all the goonas are strictly filed, there is no space to sell, furthermore it is all property of the Czar and... you have my deepest respect, forlaj. The healers of Kejn Kej couldn't extract this much from me, when some year ago they caught me. You are a goin next to no one. Waiter!

?_overview/summary

May be not lieing - he's relaxed. It makes sense to be all czar's property. He gives the money to dig the goonas, he has the goonas. Vines don't grow because of too rapid genetic change. I think they grow the shrooms somewhere aside, because if everything is so rayed here, they might soon end up with too many incompatible sorts. How do they manage to keep the human species (accent the singular) - if they keep allowing for so much differences, within fifty generations there'll hardly be anyone to make children with anyone else.

-I didn't intend to be inquisitive, ger ermešt; just wondered, because - I travel a lot and this is the first planet with no vines! And, if you import vinum, what do you export?

-Shrooms, of course. They grow well here, and there are several dry worlds around.

?_you spoke up?

Yes. He lies. Remember newspapers - they export radioisotopos, genetic samples and deuterion. -Ah, here the vinum is, and the affairleader too. Beware, the old gentleman there he is. Do not wonder at anything. Good evening, your enlightenedness.

-Good evening, ger Oisov. Do I know the forlaj?

-Not, as far as I know, but - the Affairleader of Military, ger Kleni Erpetei (Klehnie Oerpetehee), forlaj Sujema Dioljanska.

-Handkiss, forlaj. This hender is not too much boring you, hope I dare?

-Most pleased, your belightedness. Ger Oisov? He's just golden.

-Ah, the breath of distance, one feels it right on.

-You already heard about me?

-Know it all, and more than that, that is my title. These dumbheads of the customs, hendary and knowledge system for three weeks long now try to find out who you goin for, and who composed the plot, that one, that you be of another planet, and do not see it in front of their nose. I read your files, or the files about you, it is, if you find it more convenient that way.

-I find it no way convenient to have so much written about me. And what is it they fail to se?

-That you from this world are not - you try to trick them they think.

-And what makes you see?

-Gold! "He's just golden" - that's what exists in no language here, at least not as a compliment. Gold is very ill-famed among people here. No goin school would ever remember a think like that, to install cold-blooded break of an old taboo. You find gold a nice thing?

-Jewelry is made of it. And is praised as money.

-Pure foreigner! Where are their eyes! Oisov, tomorrow line up all the file composers and have them volunteer for the new north goona. I know you are hendars and I am a soldier, but

-I know your forlaj is a daughter to the minister of inner affairs. Refuse you I will not - much of an opinion on them I neither have.

-Very good - to work now. What did you order?

?_analysis

They act. This one should appear to believe you. Beware the food - keep in your mouth for a while and don't swallow right on. -Since, at last, finally someone thinks me a foreigner, I don't have to explain anything. They say that politeness obliges to eat minja romana on Romano, and then on Otrič you eat...

-Vinteršnit!

-Mochard kulj (Motskhard kully)!

##they spoke both at the same time -Geren might reach a deal, might they not?

-No, whatsoever this fits. Ger affairleader has the main dish to propose wished, not knowing we haven't yet come to the vinum, and my insignificance stopped for the foredish; whatever, they both go well with each other?

-Are there any exceptions to that?

-What do you mean, forlaj?

-Well, that one goes fine with another, but the other with the first does not.

-I fail to understand, how could it be?

Nothing much - they are stupid for things like that. In bureaucracies a sentence means what the regulations proscribe and nothing else - hurry up, get out of it quick. -Ah, just a word game, a tiny turn within a sentence, mui geren - we use it to amuse the present people. As analogon to an old translation error goes, when it was written that the "two things were both different", and an idle criticist concluded from it that it could have happened that they were both the same, or one the same and the other different, and finally both different. Or, crazier than that, a graphical display of two identical pictures, then one of them upside down, then both upside down.

-Ah, forlaj, real jewel you are. This breath of freshness from outer worlds has really made my day beautiful. If you as successful in your affairs as nice conversed with us you have, the czar treasury will lose much of its weight.

-You won't regret it. What I sell is a product of witty mind, and we traditionally exercise it from early age. You will benefit from it. Those things are useful, especially for state affairs. You can't beat up someone whose computer is better than yours.

-On matters of business talk to over empty guts is not good - and here the vinteršnit comes. As our tradition obliges, you will allow me to spread a šustihl (schusstikhle) for you. What do you make of our vinum?

-Ger ermešt said a minute ago

-Just Monitlav for you, forlaj.

-...said you import the vinum?

?_if looks could kill, poor Monitlav would already be under the ground

aren't they all under ground already? ?_I mean the other one - if affairtaker is bluffing this shooting spectacle, he might do a Pitar on pyre act as well. He's too stupid for that - the thing about vinum was really not for your ears. Oisov seems to be on thin ice and if you are not the spoil of battle he can show his boss, I don't believe this place will see him again. -You know that, too? Since when are the cutoff worlds so curious?

-They are not, but I am a merchant, therefore an exceptio to many reguli. I can find you a better vinum for less money, if you find transport.

-Do the merchants never stop working?

-Sorry, but you asked me - well, let's say I drank better than this, but those better vini count not more than ten. This really has a special taste.

Sure, it comes from diafanosporos they spread over the glass bottom. Go to the toiled, I must launch a cleanup for you. -Forlaj, you are much of a good negotiator to be just plain merchant.

?_can you tell me what all those rings of his contain?

nothing special - a teller. if you'll have to kill him, gives you up your head ten minutes to escape. the sash around his neck is more danger, in the buckle there's poison enough to kill whole mehanna, with a different death for everyone. diafanosporos, by the by, is one of mild hypno ?_stop I don't want to miss something

-Ger... Monitlav told me that he hired me as his goin, or bait at least.

-That's better, but why into hendary, you too good for them are. Think about army.

-By our traditio, army is male job. All the same, our tradition forbids a forlaj to be blushed like me now - you will allow me to leave you for a moment to work a while on my outlook.

-With utmost pleasure, forlaj, I will accompany you - no sacrifitium is too much if for beauty it goes. Though admit I must - you wear it well this way, too.

?_these are the dangerous hoodlums of Engar? what are their bums like?

Don't fall for the look - they are soul and butt in service of czar; on the other hand, we should keep everything and everyone under bit of suspicio. Is this really the military affair boss, or there is someone bigger above him, or it's all play and act... just, keep on firmly. Now go to the mirror. Powder, take the greeny one, third on the left in the pink box, and the brush with copper handle. Play as if the light is at bad angle so turn your back to the mirror, direct your mirror through your head to it, so, bend top and right closer to you, alright, keep... enough ?_what was this exercise for? Counterrays, my dear. To anull the diafanosporos. Of course, anullment must pass unnoticed, so you'll act half-drunk, serene, not now but in half an hour, that will be around eighty seven fifty their time, you be talking much and clumsy - say spill the second glass, or third ?_is it dangerous? Don't worry for your body, watch your look. Keep needle handy, stash it somewhere ?_into the collar? Too conspicuous - yes, but will not be suspected. They do expect some visible change on you. Čiča told me women dramatically change after only five minutes at the mirror ?_čiča talked to you? Don't waste my time with rubbish. Ok, let's go.

Later

?_notes/to_edit

You led me well - I could devote myself completely to my act and not think of how do I look. You saw me well. How do you see me so well from the outside when you have only my senses?

**now you force me to intrude into your notes, I had to invent this double asterisk to distinguish authors. As it goes, I can access your unconscious moves, I know the width of your smile, for one. You could do it yourself, if you keep your mind on it, but it would stiffen you. Let me track that, and you keep soaking. Well did I soak - I have either convinced myself into drunkness, or you didn't anull all the vinum's actions. What happened when I went with the affairleader to his place? ** another "**", oh, well, if you blacked out a bit, that's why I am here Didn't black out, but I fear some details might escape me. Well then? ** After the cakes Oisov argued with affairleader on the issue of rights over you, they fought a little and hendary came in, but didn't dare touch the affairleader. He threatened that he'll summon the military secret service for attacking an army headmaster, so they spread off. Afterwards they ordered beer in glasses of quart akov of ours, which amounts to Skip ** Well then, the beer didn't really lay nice, after which they kind of groaned at each other. When the second time you slipped out "for beauty's sake", Oisov accompanied you, and let on that the affairleader really works for Kejn Kej, which is really a make believe for other goins to hide his origins and devotedness to Fener Diht That might justify ** yes, no one will believe you killed the affairleader in defence, especially in his rooms where everything gets recorded. Your defence was too good for a drunken forlaj, and lucky he was not in good health. Where did you gather that from? ** while you paralysed him, I recorded his pulse, and it had strange rhythm; maybe he had a giver Of rhythm? ** yes, like the one we used to use, for really ill. By the way, the poison on the needle is similar by the signs of death to some of diseases, which were aided with givers of a kind. Might pass unnoticed - maybe. He fought berserk - how did it come to attacking in the primary place? ** while you were signing the contract, you said Contract - to join the army, or sell computers? ** Yes, as you would say. Selling computers, but you remain in the army until they bring prevalence to Fener Diht. You said you stay here until the computers start working as specified, but you have no intent to take sides in someone else's war. Then he called you a Marka Pušt cheater, the last primitive trash with not a bit of patriotism, and kept on until we noticed he's pulling out a weapon from some secret drawer. You signed the contract before that, but I don't know if it will be valid. More, more. ** You jumped to the floor all of a sudden, and thrown something to his legs. When he started to get up, you were already on his back, pressing his ticker and strangling him with one hand, until you took the needle from the collar with the other and found the spot between the spinal segments of his neck where to stick it into. The last he said: "and what if you really are from the damn Španj?" And what do you make out of all this? **he's just a kamikaze, if you know what it is. The one who watched the whole show through secret eyes must now be weighing the pros and contras... Could be. I remember that all during negotiatios he kept mentioning that "such computers were mentioned in some reports from Marka", that the computers right now are the sensitive goods for the advantage gained by those who keep better ray surveillance, and... all in all, the one who flies off ahead of the others, just like any other war. You calculated where their secret passway might be, so we pulled through quite well, and his buddies from Fener Diht have thought I was the double they should have imposted to Oisov, so they finely let me pass. Should I change the mehanna? **why run away from the events? After all, Oisov promised you a reward and a promotion, since one awaits hem too after this. Sit and wait for the rays of imperial mercy shine on your fair features. No shit - and while we are at it, how are we with the rays today? At the moment, as I said, the imperial mercy shines on you. Look what came in while you slept.

Audientia at the Czar's

how should I behave as čiča taught you. what do I know. that's more of a human matter, and on czars my data are scarce. rely on movies, fairy tales, books... invent something. improvize, you know, jazzers' way. stick to protocol for as long you think it makes sense, and perform some surprise. if you blow it, pretend the thing was an act of deepest respect in our culture. it is, not in the Alliance, but the last time there was an emperor on your planet, the etiquette obliged... manage somehow. -Forlaj Sujema Dioljanska may into the chambers of the Czar approach! The Archienlightened Czar Ananir the Overwise will endignify her with an audientia.

This one looks normal! What's he missing?

pancreas, liberty, teeth of wisdom. record the doors well equipped with apparata... obsolete, or it's just pretense? it opens - the czar is alone? chamber is modest, but details show richness. isotopes stale, less rays than outside. czar's about 70 fliers' old, less outborn than the others. strange cranium form - probably an extra brain segment. what the abilities he disposes of? excess oxygen in the air - I readjust your breath. -Your greatness ordered me to appear in front of him.

-Yes, my child, sit a little by my side. Where are you from, really?

-From Bendido, city of Sjudad Enklaho.

-So you stick to your story, then.

-You, sire, surely already know it all already.

-I know, and I don't. I know all that could be known, but... what are you hiding?

-A scar on my forehead under a curl of hair.

-Everybody is used to such things here, everyone has characteristics.

-Eh, it is not looked at like that back home. The eccentrics are tolerated, but not worshipped. They must deserve kindness.

-Here the eccentric is who has no characteristic, and we really don't tolerate the kind. In all lands of Engar so it is.

quick analysis

the old man craves for unofficial talk. czar in search of amusement - beware! who knows what amuses him, and this attitude may cover for some game as well. -And I hear you are in my service and you have performed well. beware! he dropped the traditional line of speech. -You mean the case with the affairleader?

-Yes, yes. Who could tell that about him. It's every ruler's nightmare. You must trust at least someone, and everyone knows that. Then they all work to gain your trust, and are true for years... and then they betray you. And you never know what turns those people around - is it to harsh a word, or vanity, or they had the intent when they enlisted the service in the primary place. Everyone is welcome who discovers one, yet...

-...you'd better not trust me, either, isn't it so?

-Yes, of course. Too much unknown about you.

-About you too, sire. Not just you personally, but the whole planet.

-It scares you?

-Not too much. The Alliance is powerful enough to resist any force, and to invent necessary weapons. A story about you frightens me.

-I like to collect such stories, do me a pleasure of hearing it, until the tea arrives.

this is confusing! he has no apparata turned on to call servants, no eavesdropping gear - yes there is the simplest solutio remaining. holes in the wall. pipelines. ear at the door. ancient elegance. this doesn't fit well with decorated halls and makeup empire - is the czar himself a show, and isn't he himself its author?

-Well, there is not much to tell. They claim that you've found a way to survive raying and that is easiest to do to, if you feel like conquering a planet, throw some kernel ammunitio on it, slay everything and ray it from pole to pole. Than it's no use for anyone else but you. I wonder, is there an underlying truth.

-There is, and there isn't. We are more resistans, that we are, but why artificially ray the worlds which may do for others? There are many of naturally rayed ones, good only for us.

this may be true. we heard enough - further on just dribble -Does that mean we have nothing to be afraid of?

-Nothing, my child, really nothing... unless being here is bad for your health.

-I am doing alright, so far.

-Glad to hear that, because I intend to give you a higher rank.

-Your highness is really generous.

-No generosity is that, that's what reason orders. You can do much good to this empire, even if you do nothing.

-Reason orders?

-Er, I do speak cryptically, eh? Wanted to say, the battle computer analysi, especially on the goin subject, say that you are potentially useful for our course of war.

-I have better computers than yours. Would the empire be needing some?

-Always on duty, eh? And the profit is not the last priority? Maybe, maybe. And the computer, whatsoever, does not matter too much.

-I beg your pardon?

-Just like that. If new computers came up, we'll buy them, and so will they. They will read a situation the same was on both sides - they will tell us what are we to do, and tell the others all the same. And we all know all. The key matter is: when to ignore the computer, when to surprise them. Eventually it comes to computers being used for them to think that we use them, and that we have thoroughly calculated every our move. I get the best with the stupidities I commit for sheer czar's caprice. The enemy sits and tortures his machines to find the advantage I gain with such a move. The first seventy checks show the move is utterly stupid, which they won't believe, and keep on checking. I use the time to strike and sweep something from them. The approach is limited to rare use, lest they might recognise the pattern.

-I never quite got it against whom the war is fought, and why.

-First you have to understand why the question is stupid.

wow! the old man is wiser than he looks. beware a little more. good you stayed long enough. sorry for the joke - I know you can't leave until dismissed we'll go home some day, and I'll take a whole week off to pick what I want - and then will erase the other half of you! and you won't be able to live without the other half, eh? you'd like to be able to switch me off? we'll see. we'll discuss that later. " we'll discuss that later." - what a lovely phrase. primary it means "we never will". -When I came here, we were in war against the other Behalija, and now we are allies with them against Ojner Nousač.

-Ojner is not big enough to be worthy of a warfare, but it is an ally of Kejn Key, which certainly is.

-But why?

-Because it's big enough, of course.

-Why fight at all?

-That's the stupid part of the question. Why war? Why not? For one, we always war. For two, we never lived in peace. For three, if we made peace with them all, then who knows what else we'd have to change tomorrow. Traditio, productio, professio.

-But the devastatio, damages...

-Neither big, nor significans. No one can conquer an underground fortress but the one who lives in it. What do you think to how many corridor systems does this room have exit to? How many secret doors? How many people know how to go from one pattern into another? How many of them are able to notice there are other corridors? Which conqueror would accept living next door to enemy army?

-That means you too don't conquer?

-I don't, unless I get married, and get some land as a dowry. That's the only border change we can have here.

-And what is the purpose of war, then?

-Wise questions... quite a goin you are, no complaint. Pretending to be stupid, and it works until you stumble upon one wiser than yourself. The purpose of war is warfare. I've heard enough. You receive a rank of first class veber, and now go to your assignment. Forget about the tea.

And when the seventh day came

Seventh day the ermešt seduced me, or allowed himself to think that's the way it was. As a seducer he's clumsy and transparent, as a spy a bit better, as a lover - there were worse, and better. The music his place was nice, but living in a hendary station... brrrrr! even that music, a bit sweetish and too solemn, sounds somewhat colder when listened in a police office. From what we said, I recorded some parts, as a reminder that males are the same everywhere, and some of them samer than the others.

-Would forlaj like something else, apart from grumel on lava, wish?

-Like what?

-A phornicatio, perhaps?

-Well, buddy, let me see how good you are.

-I mind not in the given sense myself to express, but your attitudo might here, you know, as an insult be understood. The virilitas is beyond doubt. I thought you said you will keep the local customs.

-While on your land, sure. This is where we enter my land...

Till morning I learned all kinds of things. Now, whether he lies, or is a bad goin leader, or he thinks holds me for a pet or a fool - I can hardly know. That way or other, I've heard a lot of it, and I wish I knew what might I get out of it. I stopped asking myself do I need it all. I gather stories like šlepnić does flies, and yet I see no purpose in it. Some kind of pattern emerges, but... I either know too little, or there is too much wrong in what I know, too much drawing attentio off.

And I miss a sunset. Any sun set.

Fifteenth day. Lousy.

My knitting seems to confuse them. They mention it nowhere Maybe they think that's how I pray.

The ray you give out from your needles is adjusted to mimic the noise of their apparata, though I strongly doubt it reaches home. Maybe they sent a satellite after us eventually, to circle around a bit?

Let's drop guesswork, what news did you come up with?

?_Yet not quite clear of what the Primitives are and what do they have against them Why such a respect for life that they have no capital punishment except for hard murder, and yet they always fare the war. And what is the war for. On the other hand, who gets ill - is not cured. Sounds as if they are trying the skills of the čiča Darvil or Pičurin or whatever was the name of that Pablov. How did it say, "what ever is growing on you should really be growing on you". There might be a purpose - they want to become something, and with a capital TH. Couldn't you, as a smart apparatum, invent that when you vent? ?_I really use your head to do the thinking You were a bad child and did not get one for yourself? Čiča ran out of funds? Apprentices steal from him? Ran out of spare parts? We have much of anything, just have driven into narrow when it comes to heads... ?_I don't think literally with your head And I don't feel like a litter ?_was this the answer to čiča's inserious line implanted into me? Understand that I'm just your organon auxiliarium to make you a think quick, search through what you know, and what you don't we read from čiča's records or catch from the environment. All the other implants are unimportant accessories - ray catcher, for one. And those do make extensive use of your body. The fewer the wires, the harder to find. That has some good of its own. Čiča is somewhat selfhanded, that's why he's so good. Why do these keep fighting? ?_a pretext is always found, though the ones you hear here are almost ridiculi. Czars, vikunts and others insult each other, then wage a war. But nowhere I see much of armed army, though many wear military garments. We never heard shooting anywhere, nor saw wearing any things against poisoning or disease. And everywhere there are goins. What we heard of wells and kernel weapons might explain how they fight. I listen. ?_ at times, some state manages to find out where the enemy keeps his kernel weapon - the well that is. From his own well he fires a kernel arrow into that place and blows it all up. Things like that are seldom to happen, else the air would contain much more fresh particles. The excess particles would kill every living thing on the planet, given enough time. Maybe on surface only - you said the "fresh" air seems to come from the surface. ?_There's no one on the surface, except maybe the Blue Brethren. They are some cheats, some mysteric fantasti. They claim their power comes from regular exposure to the surface. I know the initial rite requires a candidate member to sleep a night in the open before being accepted. But this has nothing to do with the war - they are there on both sides, and in neutral countries as well. Is it possible to be neutral in these wars of theirs? ?_Ask some easier question. Did you remain neutral? Alright, I won't play your conscience, I'll play an obedient machine, just as designed I am. You didn't say this for no reason. I know you for as much, and you're right. You had some more on the war? ?_germešt mentioned the holy deal. That's the interstate war codex. They strictly obey it. Whichever country breaks it becomes licensed to be attacked and robbed by anyone. ?_But how? If they all go destroying her wells, there will be to many particles, and they'll all die in a line. If they go by infanterium, they have no way of attack, for they all know how to defend their pits; the states are sealed on the surface and unconnected under the rocks. And the goonas are interwoven, there twice more secret passways than the public ones, whole nets are doubled and tripled. I had an impression we were twice driven for two hours long just to come to the other side of the same wall. Impression? Alright, approximately reliable calculus, can't estimate whether we were above or next to the first room, but there was just a little rock between. They know the ways excellent, the enemy would have to have a machine far better than me to start figuring out what is where, far from being able to force and mass attack conquer it. Reliable? ?_partly; if there are secret passages for the enemies, why not, they can't be big enough to let the reprisal army - just minor squads. I want to tell you that the reprisals don't exist. History mentions none. It never happened. Something greater guards the holy deal. like what? ?_first we should know in detail what the deal's about. What were the sacred words: "you strike him once and he had enough, next year you shut up and of him beware" Resembles chess. Game of moves. What does the "next year" mean? Weren't they adhering to the customs of summer warriors? Summer warriors had to pause when the surface gets cold. We're in deep here. And what religion's sacred words are these? We didn't take much account on religion, did we? Neither do they; there are a couple of official and another fifty accepted, with no real influence. As my calculi gather in, it comes to their only creed being, or is at least literally observed: one attack a year. And so they made sure that they never push the particle density too far. That's it. The Holy deal keeps the planet from too much rays. Couldn't they make a deal at the level of no rays at all? ?_In the times of Old Otrič there was intense talking on balance of fear. Everyone can destroy anyone else ten times in a row, but gets himself destroyed at it. Maybe they copied that, too. Too many maybies for one day. Think it over while I sleep. ?_don't sleep now, you are not tired, but hear this:

The ray control bill

1. Surveillance over the enforcement of the bills, regulations and czar's orders, and measurements provided for the area of ray control of people and space (further on: ray control) is executed by Czar Ray Controlors. Their duty is therefore declared as highly important for the Empire.

2. To ray control all the people, places and actions which may in any way influence the ray development of the people, are subject. This includes control of enforcement and legislature of other bills and regulations on:

2.1. building, repartitioning and renewal of buildings (further on: ray precaution in building)

2.2. preventing and extinction of reversal development

2.3. ray development of people who may influence other people's development

2.4. production and turnover of edibles and other controlled goods

2.5. drinking water, wells, aquaducti

2.6. certain sources of other raying

2.7. buildings, plants and apparata for decantatio of dirty waters

2.8. regulations on air puritas on loci publicae and state buildings

2.9. special regulations for places of characteristic importance

Ray control relates not to military buildings and buildings, people and other in army use, and in the same way not to Czar's special services (customs, murija, secret murija, goins and other Czar's services which are by force of specific orders excluded from the range of this bill).

3. All the Houses, other Standalone houses and communities, and the citizens who do business, and where the businesses, apparata or tools are subject to ray control, have a duty to display all to the Czar Ray Controlor, let him into any place and allow him to witness everything asked, whenever asked in the cause of control on the matter of ray surveillance.

?_need some more?
Where did you get this from? ?_this morning, when you posed as reading the papers, and really watched who's coming in or going out, I'd really read the papers. what's it all for? Did you make anything clearer to yourself? ?_How should I understand this? Are you sliding down towards stupidity, or you prefer me to rearrange the tiles for you? Getting lazy between the ears? No oratio, please. I'm filling these forms and reading the regulations all day, and now you play the most unimportant decorative regulation and you expect I'd be so surprised to pass out. I can do it, if necesse est, I'm tired enough. ?_Appologium, I accept you be tired. This was the solution. The ray surveillance is the key. And development. No excess talk, then. Compose a summary and record it. ?_here it is:

WHAT IS THE MATTER

The ray control does oversee the ray protection, but opposite from what you think. Their goal is to have everyone get some ray, never too much, yet permanently. They achieve, during last twenty generatios, immunitas one'd envy. Possible gain is that they could ray some planet just enough that nothing alive remains on it - run away the unresisting and inhabit the place. They are not that rayproof yet, since they dare not stay long on their surface, but within some twenty generatios more… Second, they cultivate diversity. While we cultivate apparata to best of support for imaginatio hominis, much the way I was built, they cultivate all the possible abilitates hominis that may be born. By raying they achieve giving birth to many a thing. But, wasn't it so that rays make you ill, yet you grow healthy children? Depends on rays. These here have some spectral anomalies - couldn't firmly state, but there may be some gene changing rays. Anything changed in me? No; the first thing I'd done in your body - sorry, without asking - was to enable your immune system to kill off such cells. Maybe you'd noticed you are sweating a bit more, your appetite has grown… But, they don't cure anything, don't prevent birth of anything. Whatever sustains, might be of some good or may give birth to something worthy. They treat primitivitas, if not as a mortal sin, then as a shame. Here it means being born as a simple homo, without characteristics, even without personalitas ("how can two identic bodies be inhabited by two different souls - bodies better be different, too", as one of the court sages in the times of reign of Urgakhir (Urgakkheer) the Overcarried). I suspect that neither the barge captain nor Oisov need no apparata to read us. We were put some gadgets on just to throw dust into our eyes - we believe in things like that and we think we know what are they for. They had, probably, read me in some completely different way, with no radiatio at all. The way I hear them now, they announce:

"Forlaj Dioljanska, be so kind to open the door. It is not in our way of conductio to finish the game by slamming the door."

What does that mean? "The game is over, but we hold no grudge at you. Let us in, so we don't play heroes against a better one than we are. You are surrounded, but believe me we are ashamed for having to resort to that." -What game? "You know already, your so called missio mercantilis on Engar, so called arrest, doing a goin job for us… we played hide and seek for long enough now, it's time to shine some light to it all." -Set my computer free for awhile, I need counsel. "Be my guest, but don't take long. We dare not trust you for a long time." What are they doing to you? ?_they have a door open into me, but can't get in, just shout through it. Of course, they hear it all, too. I don't know how dangerous they are, but it's their planet, anyway. They are at home. They can kill us, but I reckon they need us. Open up, so be it, whatever it is. -Good evening, ger ermešt.

-Good evening, forlaj. I am very pleased that we can conclude the accident this way.

-Was there anything accidental in it?

-You and I are accidental actors in this show. The play is being written, as you said, for twenty or more generations. We were just lucky enough an odd chapter to write. What ever you want, you are free to question.

-What's in the ocean?

-Simply nothing, just water.

-And crazy fish.

-Them we had invented. That ocean story is a fog to stall the curious - all the rest is so overmysterious, so anyone's head is bound to fill the ocean with monsters to its taste. We achieved the immediate interrupt of any talk about the ocean - "there's nothing". That lights up imaginatio and diverts from the path. And some had drowned.

-My computer warned me it could be set up that way. Furthermore, that among goins there's more lies than realitas. And then the lies live a life of their own and flow over into the reality.

-Your apparatum was right, or it was you, all the same. In all details but one. We have no intention of raying any planet - a ready and suitable one will be found, when the time comes. As a good goin, you are left free to report it home at will.

-Since when do you know I'm a goin? And, did we resume formal addressing?

-Excuse me, I feel so officially. We tracked you from the beginning, from within.

-You had a goin in me?

-Multiple. You goined for us, us for yourself and someone else, and eavesdropped to your computer. At first we thought you managed to tame a domestic.

-Ghost?

-Yes, in recent centuries everyone digs down along the legend line - it could be someone might find something, and we'd be glad to recognise such a thing when it comes up. The syntax offed it, it's long known that the computers stick to it quite stubbornly. Then we started studying your conversatio.

-Didn't report any eavesdropping.

-We made it blind for our colour in the office of ger banter of the customs.

-But you listened before that, and yet did not report.

-That's what you will not learn how. We must have one more up our sleeve. We estimated we'd hear important things.

-And you let me go just like that? I could have done something sudden, that you couldn't prevent. You didn't even try to stop me?

-We are disappointed you didn't. How can we realise how dangerous you are unless we see you in combat? That's why we set up two or three fights for you, to try ours. If you were good, we'd know how and why. Maybe your cultivation of computer in the head is better than our cultivation.

-Sorry for the victims, they were good fighters. And what do you cultivate? More fighters of the kind, so you can test the arrivals?

-We cultivate whatever the heaven makes a gift of.

-Only particles fall from the sky.

-And goins. Thank you for the bit off skin from your right hand - we'll use it well.

-Unless it's false. Think for a while why you managed to get only that.

-See how good you are, one could make out a complete goin schola from you and your computer.

-But what's that all for? What's goins for, if the war is just for particles' sake?

-Eh, war is madness. One never knows whether some state, or just the ruler, take it seriously. That's the madness we have to live with. One question for the end - how much better is your computer than the one your grandgrandfather had in his head?
 
 

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***********************************************

"?_" is a mark which will be used to denote what was recorded in Sujema's ear computer; other computers and other sources will be distinctly denoted where it will seem appropriate; the syntax is changing according to occasion and time. It is said that syntax changes are a fashion just like any other and they reflect the age well.
 
 

Sujema's computer obviously calculates in old days; chances are the other data in it are old. Difference between old and new days is that World's day is taken to as many digits as reliable, the rest is unwritten zeroes.
 
 

Pronounced as Cayne Quay, Shaagwar Shhag, Metershky Doozhevy, Heleziyana Empire, Damsh Kingdom, Oyner Knowsaach, Fenner Dikht, Marca Pusht
 
 

GoIn - localism, denoting agent going in behind enemy's lines, mostly for spying
 
 

Those so-called hoareses are often mentioned in context of Engar, but remained unclear whether it was some weapon, transport vehicle or a primitive computer with a hint of artificial mind - rem. rtq
 
 

In some books it's quoted as Vinter Šnit (Finter Shneet), Vider Šmid (Fidhere Shmede) and, though rather rarely, Vider Šit (Weeder Sheath). The other branch mentions also Vijana (Vyyannah), Bijna (Biynah), Buča (Butcha), Boč (Botch) and Bač (Buch), all of whose, chances are, were located in the same place, and possibly at the same times. Few are the cities with so many names.
 
 

The Last Orgolat Time Table is kept in Universe Treasury, open every day except global holidays. The final price was ten times the Station Master's cut.
 
 

Čiča has found that the Dioljanski dynasty disappeared, because the only heiress burned in some accident. He forged her death only, and slipped me in, instead. I received replacements for all the recognition signs of a human - fingerprints, ear shells, cardial curve, even the retinal pattern: it's easier than to forge all the traces a living person leaves
 
 

No person experienced in hi-kheta epanjal was willing to give us a proper transcription of this; the descriptions of meaning are dirty enough.
 
 

the words used for "accident" and "case" is the same in the source language (intrpt. rem.)