On Venusian Cloud Colony Number Nine: Chapter 6 Scene 2

Barney and Léana sat across from each other in the company’s private jet, both looking out across the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean.

Several calls had been made in the last week.  The company had been keeping an eye of the Irish lass and her current whereabouts, and they had been interested to speak with Barney regarding the current predicament.  They had already been in contact with Claudio back on Venusian Cloud Colony Number Nine, who had advised that nothing untoward had been experienced by anyone handling the newly found mineral reserve.  This did not surprise Barney, as all the laboratory staff he had known of back in the Venusian atmosphere were extremely finicky when it came to procedure.  They would have worn their gloves, and followed every safety procedure the company had laid down.

Barney had spoken to Liban Grisogno, who had also been in contact with his nephew Claudio.  The Genevan had noticed some type of residue when the Carbonado was cut, and that the shine he had initially expected had returned once it had seeped out of the mineral.  Once the final cuts had been made, Liban said that the shine and quality of the product would have dazzled even his grandfather Fagrazi.  He had shown the newly cut diamond to some trusted confidants, and it was said that customers would be willing to pay disgustingly exorbitant prices for any jewellery made from this material.

“Is the voice saying anything?”

Léana looked over to him, her fine black skin still a bewildering thing to behold.

“Not at the moment.  It is crying.”

Barney gave a confused look.  “Crying?”

“I have no idea what language it is speaking, so I have no idea what it is saying.”

“Do you remember when you started hearing it?”

Léana thought for a moment.  “It was around the time my skin started tanning.”

“So you think it is linked somehow?”

“It was as random and sudden as the skin tanning, so I would think the two are linked somehow.”

Barney gave her a slight smirk.  “You’ve never had voices in your head before?”

She returned the smile, with a look of mock indignation.  “Barnaby Puyngu, don’t you even think of classing me as a loony.”  She looked back out the window.  “You never told me where we are heading.  Are we going to meet Claudio’s uncle?”

He shook his head.  “The voice in your head gave me an idea of where we should go.”

“Well, it did need to be helpful for once, since it’s a nuisance more often than not.  Where are we going?”

“The Central African Republic.”

“Didn’t you say that Claudio had sent you there for your second drop-off of Carbonado?”

Barney nodded.  “That he did.  The bloke there is a very nice guy; goes by the name of Azubuike Olapa.  Though, we are not there to see him either.”

Léana looked confused.  “If not him, then who?”

“His wife.”

“Why her?”

“Because she acted weird when we met.  Something she said to Azu did not mean much at the time, but there is a chance it means something now.”

“What did she say?”

“Azu said that she was sensitive to things one can’t see.  I am hoping that she may be able to help you somehow.”

Léana arched an eyebrow.  “From the northern coast of Australia to Central Africa is quite the trip to make on a hunch.”

Barney cracked a wide grin.  “No more so than travelling from central Ireland to the Top End.”

The eyebrow lowered quickly.  “Touché, Barney.”

“In any case, your newly discovered skin tone will not stand out in Bangui.  Most of the people have very dark skin.  Put on one of those silky headgears they wear, and the only thing that will stand out about you is your eye colour.”

She sighed.  “I would appreciate not being looked at like a member of a freak show.”

“It got that bad, did it?”

“You have no idea.  Athlone is a fairly large city, but people still know each other.  I’m sure that any person in your town who works on Venus has some reputation.”

Barney nodded.  “Venus’ religious significance amongst the Yolngu is what gives me my reputation.  In a culture where we keep to the old ways and technology does not mean as much, that level of space travel actually has significance.  As Venus represents our Creator-goddess, my going there is tantamount to having a meal and chat with Barnumbirr herself. ”

Léana laughed.  “A tea and a chat with God.  I think the Pope would be jealous of you.”

Barney chuckled at the thought.  “He can visit Venus whenever he wishes, though I doubt it would be to his liking.”

“Everyone in Athlone knew me as the lady who worked on Venus, the descendant of the great Sheamus Stirling, creator of the AMRD suit that allowed people to actually walk the surface of the Earth’s inhospitable twin.”

Barney gave an understanding look.  “So you couldn’t have hid away, even if you wanted to?”

She nodded.  “Even if I had tried to hide in my home, the family’s reaction was enough to drive one to distraction.  They were little better than everyone else with their gawking and treating me like a contagious hospital patient.”

“You couldn’t have stayed home?”

“After being in confined quarters for so long, the whole reason we come back to Earth is so we can appreciate the wide open spaces we are deprived of.  We may walk Venus’ surface, but it is hardly a riskless thing.  Why come back if we mean to stay in our homes until it’s time to head back?”

Barney nodded.  “I knew we were alike in that regard.  We love our lands too much.”

She smiled.  “That we do.”  She looked out the window, where Madagascar was coming into view.  “You think this lady can help me?”

“I don’t know, but every other measure has been exhausted.”

– ♀ –

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4 responses

  1. I’m very interested to find out more about that voice. How bothersome that must be.

    1. It would indeed, especially when it’s talking in a foreign language. It would be like a voice in your head speaking Swahili; it wants to be heard and understood, but you can only do the former =S

  2. I’m so glad we finally got to this part: I’ve been waiting for the “sensitive” or the “medium” and Leana to meet up so that the Venusian comments could be translated. Also, another comment: writers in general obviously want to have a heart-to-heart with whatever they (really or only playfully) regard as a creator. You have mention of a tea and chat with God here, and back when I was an undergraduate, I won honorable mention in a contest in part for one of my poems in which a poet figure (seen as a Spider-like St. Thomas Aquinas stand-in) has tea with God. It’s among my poems on my site if you ever get a chance to look at them, though I know you are very busy with work and writing and family things. What is it about us writers, DJ, that makes us think that any creator figure would find us more worth talking to than perhaps a mechanical engineer, or a physicist, or a housewife, or a circus performer? I hesitate to say that perhaps we think too well of ourselves as spokespeople for the human race, but what do you think? Here in this section of your story, if the medium manages to translate the Venusian in any degree, then the Venusian is in a degree a spokesperson for all of Venus–what a position to be in!

    1. I would imagine a god would wish to speak to one who tries to consider the world form many different perspectives. Being able to do so would help one have a more rounded understanding of the world and its machinations. If the god was omniscient, I would imagine a writer or a philosopher would be of utmost interest, for the (hopefully) well-considered analysis of the world around them =)

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