About Schmidt (Ballantine Readers Circle)
About Schmidt / | Santa Fe Public Library
Which was, Brother Edward thought with narrowed eyes, undoubtedly the desired effect of the day's activities. With voice control.
Download everything the Stella Maris party radioed back from Rakhat. Or Euskara--Basque, yes? And fluent in Latin or English or Spanish. I don't care which. Put a bed in the potting shed. Or the garage. I don't care. I'm not asking for the outside, Vince. Just someplace where I can be alone. No kids, no babies. All of it--everything we sent back.
The languages, no. Scanning the Campano archi-pelago, he watched Camorra "fishing" boats patrol the Bay of Naples, grateful for their protection against media predators who'd do almost anything to question the small, thin man slumped beside him: the priest and whore and child killer, Emilio Sandoz. The engineering that went into those braces was not cheap, Emilio.
We've paid out over a million six in hospital bills and medical fees alone.
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That's money we don't have anymore--the Society is all but bankrupt. I have tried to protect you from these concerns, but things have changed for the worse since you left. I told you from the start, I'm a dead loss, Vince--" "Nonsense," Giuliani snapped, eyes meeting Edward Behr's briefly in the rearview mirror.
And what are you buying with me? But while you reside with us, at our expense, under our protection--" "The Society has a monopoly on two Rakhati languages. You want me to train interpreters. This will help to recoup our expenses in underwriting the original mission to Rakhat and will allow us to continue the work begun there by your party, requiescant in pace. Pull over, please, Brother Edward.
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By then Giuliani was kneeling next to Sandoz at the edge of the pavement, steadying Emilio as he vomited into the scrubby roadside weeds. Edward pressed the canister against Sandoz's neck. One of them approached, but the Father General shook his head and the man returned to his post.
There was another bout of retching before Emilio sat back on his heels, disheveled and drained, eyes closed because the migraines distorted his vision. The drug always knocked him out when administered by injection. No one knew why; his physiological status was still not normal. Kids and babies. Don' do this to me again. He beckoned now to the Camorristi and stood back as one of them gathered up the limbs and lifted the light, limp body, carrying Sandoz back to the car.
There was a stretcher waiting for them when he pulled into the circular drive and parked at the front door of a large, sensible stone building, saved from austerity by the exuberant gardens that surrounded it. You're pushing him too hard. I'll hold them off as long as I can, but I want our people on that ship. The asthma was always worst in late summer. Then he straightened, outwardly calm, and regarded the fat, little man wheezing next to him in the dappled shade of an ancient olive tree.
See a Problem?
He plugged it in and locked up out of habit, although anyone who got past Camorra security would be interested in Emilio Sandoz, not in a car so outdated it needed recharging every night. One of the cats appeared, purring and stretching, as Edward stood in the driveway staring up at a bedroom window where a curtain had just been drawn shut. Edward admired the beauty of cats, but had learned to think of them as lithe and lethal dander-delivery systems.
Minutes later, vincenzo giuliani entered his office, and though he pulled the door closed with a quiet, controlled click, he did not so much sit in his chair as collapse onto it. Elbows on the vast walnut desk's faultless, gleaming surface, he rested his head in his hands and kept his eyes closed, unwilling to look into his own reflection. Trade with Rakhat is inevitable, he told himself. Carlo is going, whether we help him or not. This way, we may be able to provide some sort of mitigating influence-- He lifted his head and reached for his computer tablet.
Flipping it open with a snap of his wrist, he reread the letter he'd been trying to finish for the past three days. This letter would become part of the history of mankind's first contact with an intelligent alien species. During the year since returning to Earth from Rakhat in September , Father Sandoz has recovered from scurvy and anemia, but remains frail and emotionally volatile.
As you know from media reports leaked last year by personnel at the Salvator Mundi Hospital in Rome, the muscles between the bones of his palms were stripped away on Rakhat, doubling the length of his fingers and rendering them useless. Sandoz himself does not fully understand why he was deliberately maimed; it was not intended as torture, although that is certainly what it has amounted to. He believes that the procedure marked him as the dependent or, perhaps, the property of a man named Supaari VaGayjur, about whom more later.
Father Sandoz has been fitted with external bioactive braces; he has worked very hard to achieve limited dexterity, and can now manage most self-care. Perhaps to that new refugee camp in Gambia, he thought. May as well put Ed's experience in dealing with the aftermath of gang rape to work. He sat up straighter and, shaking off distraction, returned to the letter. His extraordinary skill and stamina as an interpreter aided all the other members of the Stella Maris party in their research, and his personal charm won them many friends among the VaRakhati.
Moreover, the evident beauty of his spiritual state during the early years of the mission restored the faith of at least one lay member of the crew, and enriched that of his brother priests. As you know, our ship was followed into space three years later by the Magellan, a vessel owned and operated by the Contact Consortium, whose interests were primarily commercial.
can’t judge a cover by its book by Lucas Hanft
Scandal sells; sensationalizing allegations against our people and against Father Sandoz in particular was to the Consortium's economic advantage, since their lurid reports were radioed back from Rakhat for sale to a worldwide audience on Earth. In fairness, the crew of the Ma-gellan was utterly unfamiliar with Rakhat when they arrived, and there is reason to believe that they were misled by Supaari VaGayjur about many facts.
The subsequent unexplained disappearance of the Magellan party suggests that they, too, fell prey to the near impossibility of avoiding fatal mistakes on Rakhat. Father Sandoz has cooperated with us to the best of his ability during months of intense questioning, often at the cost of great personal distress.
I will provide Your Holiness with a complete set of the mission's scientific papers and supporting documents, as well as verbatim transcripts of the hearings; here, for your consideration, is a brief outline of salient points uncovered during the hearings just concluded. There are not one but two intelligent species on Rakhat.
The villagers identified themselves as Runa, which simply means 'People. Placid in disposition, they are intensely sociable and communitarian. Their material culture seemed too simple to account for the powerful transmissions first detected on Earth by radio telescope in Furthermore, the Runa were disturbed and frightened by music, which seemed anomalous, given that it was radio broadcasts of chorales that first alerted us to the existence of Rakhat. However, individual Runa seemed quite bright, and the tentative conclusion was that the village of Kashan was something of a backwater on the edge of a sophisticated civilization.
Since there was so much to be learned in Kashan, the decision was made to remain there for a time.
The Jana'ata bear a striking but superficial physical resemblance to the Runa. They are carnivorous, with prehensile feet and three-fingered hands that are clawed and rather bearlike. For the first two years of the mission, the Jana'ata were represented by a single individual: Supaari VaGayjur, a merchant based in the city of Gayjur who acted as a middleman for a number of isolated Runa villages in southern Inbrokar, a state that occupies the central third of the largest continent of Rakhat.
If anything, their relationship with the Runa villagers was improved by Supaari's intervention and aid, and Sandoz attributes much of his own understanding of Rakhat's civilization to Supaari's patient explanations. Supaari's gross betrayal of Sandoz's trust remains one of the great puzzles of the mission. Humans make tools; the Jana'ata breed theirs. But the differences in status between the Jana'ata and Runa are not merely those of class, as our people believed.
The Runa are essentially domesticated animals--the Jana'ata breed them, as we breed dogs. This biological fact has become the basis of the Rakhati economy. The Runa 'earn' the right to have children by cooperating economically with the Jana'ata. When a village corporate account has reached a target figure, the Jana'ata make a sufficiency of extra calories available to the villagers to allow for a controlled production of young, without risk of environmental degradation by overpopulation.
Strict lines of inheritance rule a largely ceremonial life, and only the first two children of any breeding Jana'ata couple may themselves marry and reproduce. If later-born adults decline to be neutered, they are permitted to have sex with Runa concubines, since cross-species sex carries no risk of unsanctioned reproduction.
Jana'ata thirds are most commonly involved in commerce, scholarship and, evidently, prostitution. In this context, it should be noted that Supaari VaGayjur was a third. We have paid in lives for this knowledge, Your Holiness. Five steps, pause; five steps, pause. At least when Emilio was pacing, one could be certain that he had not yet added his own life to the toll taken by the mission to Rakhat. Sighing, Giuliani now returned to his task.
The Jana'ata do not keep the Runa in stockyards. The situation was complex, and I urge you to read the transcripts of Sandoz's testimony, but the Stella Maris party perceived this incident as an unprovoked attack on the VaKashani Runa.