Page 2 of 9 FirstFirst 1234 ... LastLast
Results 21 to 40 of 172

Thread: S. Lukyanenko. The Dreamline . Proofreaders are welcome )))

  1. #21
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Other Universe
    Posts
    8,501
    Rep Power
    28
    6

    Kay slept well. The rooms in the suite he was provided with seemed infinite and he has neglected to look for a bedroom with a promised gravity bed. A sofa in the library was convenient enough and the fruits in a crystal vase served as a breakfast. For the second time in his life he tasted the whimsical terran fruit – an apple and judged they were quite edible.
    A silicoid, probably the same that had attended at his resurrection, brought a tray with a breakfast. Kay supplemented his fruity diet with a cup of coffee and asked:
    “I’ve been promised an instructor. Is it perchance you?”
    The grey stone pillar ignored the irony.
    “Follow me. The instructor is waiting for you.”
    Either Van Curtis liked walking or the silicoid thought it was unnecessary to use the communications. They walked along the long corridors, sometimes they walked out in the open air. They passed the night jungle where a sharp voice of some bird tried to break the silence and finally got to a beach that was bathing in sunset. The silicoid floated along the surf and splashes of water were sizzling when they hit its stone body. Kay took off his shoes and walked behind. A white haired boy that was playing with a ball near the water gazed after them.
    “Curtis the junior?” asked Kay the silicoid.
    “No.”
    The ocean ended with a live fence. The silicoid stopped by a wicket and said:
    “You’ll walk alone from here. I shouldn’t see your instructor. We are in the state of war.”
    Kay mentally recalled everything he had known about the Silicois and nodded:
    “Fine. I’ll walk alone. Are you allowed to answer my questions?”
    “Sometimes.”
    “Why do you serve Curtis?”
    “The Silicoids do not serve.”
    “My thought exactly. Why?”
    “I’m returning my debt.”
    “Aha, I see.”
    The grey pillar waited patiently.
    “What can you tell me about Curtis?”
    “What?”
    “Anything.”
    There were ripples on the grey stone surface. And invisible choir whispered:
    “He is like his house.”
    “Not very cheerful, eh?” Kay smirked opening the wicket, “Thank you, you boulder…”
    He stepped on sand. Yellow sand went to horizon where the night streets of Geneva could be seen through iridescent haze of the force field barrier. The sun was in zenith here and the drops of sweat appeared on Kay’s forehead. It was not due to the heat only, however. He saw the instructor.
    The Bulrathi were one of the most powerful and dangerous races of non-human space. They had an appearance of six feet high bears, yet no bear could boast with such agility, their fur was strong as if it was made out of steel wire, and they had balanced intelligence.
    This particular bulrathi was old. Dark brown fur had lost its luster and run in innocent curls. His teeth bared in greeting were grinded off by half.
    “Greetings, Kay. Put on the armor. Are you ready?”
    His voice was surprisingly melodious and mild which was an incidental peculiarity of evolution that tricked the humans in the age of First Contacts too often.
    The armor was lying on the sand nearby. The dark blue rough scales that folded in many strange forms were a light plastic armor designed for hand-to-hand combat only. Muscle enhancers were removed but a medicine unit flashed with a green light in readiness.
    “What is your name, old one?” asked Kay connecting the armor segments. The bulrathi snapped his teeth:
    “My name is not for you. I am your instructor. Human Kay, do you value your body?”
    “It has to live for another three days…”, Kay had connected the last segments of the armor and took a battle stance. “I am ready, bulrathi.”
    A blow in his belly threw him to the fence. The medical unit in his armor hummed dozing Kay with stimulants and anesthetics.
    “This blow doesn’t kill immediately” explained the bulrathi closing in, “In a week or two your liver stops working. An unpleasant surprise for captured humans we had been releasing during the Feud days.”
    Rising, Kay kicked the bulrathi in the groin. The fur had dampened the blow, the leg responded with pain, but the bulrathi reeled back.
    “We used to simply castrate the prisoners,” said Kay. “Or sterilized the planets. Right?”
    “I was on a planet which the “Reaper” had flown over.” told the instructor. “Your kick is painful, but ineffective.”
    Kay managed to dodge the next blow. Bulrathi whirled raising the sand in the air with his claws. Then suddenly he lowered on all fours and dashed to Kay.
    Kay jumped and flew over the gaping maw and having landed on the huge body he kicked its sides. The anatomy of the Bulrathi was very close to the humans and kidneys were the weak spot of all races. Then he tumbled to the sand.
    The bulrathi raised and passed his paws over his body. Then he asked calmly:
    “Usually, the humans assume that a sentient being wouldn’t attack on all fours. You’re looking young. Have you been at war with us?”
    “I like to watch chronicles.”
    “Your imperfect vision simplifies the storing of information.” the bulrathi made a grunting noise. “Why have you won that war? You’re weaker than we are and you’re less smart than the Psilonians. You are average…”
    “We are average in everything.”
    “Yes… It’s a pity that the galaxy is ruled by the middle…”
    The next attack caught Kay off guard. He was pressed against the sand by the four hundred and fifty pound carcass and couldn’t even move. The jaws of the bulrathi opened and as Kay felt a strange, surprisingly pleasant smell they reached out for his throat…”
    There was a thin sound right at the moment Kay sensed the touch of the fangs. The bulrath bellowed and moved his jaws away. He raised his right paw, there were an ordinary human watch on it gleaming through the fur.
    “You got lucky, human” he said relaxing his voice. “You have endured five minutes of fighting without rules. I’m not permitted to kill you now.”
    He rose with unearthly grace. Kay was lying and watching at his might-have-been executioner.
    “Get up, Kay. Now I’m going to teach you how a human can kill a bulrathi. And remember, this knowledge is for you only.”
    “Can I ask you a question?”
    “Speak.”
    “Why do you have such a pleasant smell from your mouth? Your kind prefers stale meat, don’t you?”
    “It’s deodorant, you half-wit. Any sentient race practices hygiene.”
    “Logical.” Kay stood up. The medical unit was still working but the whole body was aching, “All right, tell me how to kill you?”
    “The most vulnerable zone of our race is the area around the sigmoid gland,” the bulrathi begun in a hollow voice, “if you draw a line from my genitals to my right eye then in the middle of that line there will be a spot that is unprotected by the muscle layer…”
    Send me a PM if you need me.

  2. #22
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Other Universe
    Posts
    8,501
    Rep Power
    28
    7

    Van Curtis invited Kay to a dinner. After receiving brief instructions on the code of conduct given by the silicoid, wincing, Kay rose from the armchair and undressed ignoring the still stone mass. He bleakly looked at his reflection in the mirror. The armor didn’t protect him from bruises. It didn’t protect against the blow in the liver also if the instructor was right.
    “Bulrathi are the best fighters in the galaxy” said the silicoid hollowly.
    “Even better than you are?” Kay touched his shoulder and made a quiet howling sound.
    “Probably. They have found a way to kill us in a hand-to-hand combat.”
    “Really? And what is it?” Kay was interested.
    “I wouldn’t have said that even if I knew.”
    “I’ll ask about it.”
    “Lie down on the floor.”
    Kay looked at the silicoid with surprise but chose not to argue. He stretched on the thin and somewhat dusty carpet and the silicoid slowly floated over him. A heavy wave passed over his body.
    “The gravity massage” the silicoid explained for some reason, swaying back and forth. “You will feel better. We can not only kill with that field of ours…”
    The bodyguard from the planet Altos usually didn’t suffer from any bad flashbacks, but for some reason he remembered the spaceport on Cailis and the bloody spot fifty yards away from his ship. These little bastards always creep under the nozzles…
    “Thank you, I feel better already.” Kay rolled from under the silicoid. “Will Curtis junior be present at dinner?”
    “Probably.”
    Kay put on a rich suit with a wide opalescent tie and hard leather shoes that were totally unsuitable for any action and then went after the silicoid. He was curios and vexed at the same time as it always has been before a meeting with a client whom it was impossible to say no. A professional should have a choice, damn it.
    “Do you have a desire to ask questions?”
    “What? Ah, well… yes, of course. Do you wear clothes?”
    “I am dressed now” replied the silicoid with dignity.
    Key chocked but held a laugh.
    “Now it’s my turn to ask questions.” the silicoid slowed down and waited for Kay “if the humans gain the power, what would they do?”
    “I don’t understand” answered Kay honestly. They went out of the spire house and walked towards a small round pavilion not far away. They had to cross a pine grove, to pass by some stupid stones that were installed in a circle and by a tiny corvette from the Feud War era that was melted into a granite pedestal.
    “Let’s rephrase it. If the might of the Human Empire grows beyond measure how would the policy of the mankind change?”
    “We would stop paying attention to other races. We will simply ignore them. Would you act differently?”
    Silicoid didn’t answer. Then he swayed towards the corvette and said:
    “During the Feud War Curtis Van Curtis served in the units of freelance hunters. They didn’t have any regulations, orders and strategic objectives. We never found out how to fight the unorganized enemy.”
    “Van Curtis is a courageous man!” said Kay aloud.
    “I agree. But many say that his ship survived the war in amazingly good shape. The drives are worn out but the armor is intact. The most surprising fact is that he returned from his last flight with a broken computer. We have arrived. I don’t consume organics but I wish you a good gustatory sense and successful digestion.”
    The silicoid spun graciously in half a circle and floated back. Kay stood staring at the Curtis’s ancient ship. Then he opened a door to the pavilion. He had an organic body that needed food and a perfect appetite stirred up by the training with the bulrathi.
    Send me a PM if you need me.

  3. #23
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Other Universe
    Posts
    8,501
    Rep Power
    28
    8

    The wooden pavilion turned out to be a stone castle from the inside. The huge hall reminded Kay of the churches of the One Will where he was taken to in his childhood and stirred some obscure sense of tremble and aversion. His legs were sinking in the dry thatch that covered the floor. The arched ceiling turned the rustle of thatches and the sound of his steps into a steady noise.
    Curtis Van Curtis was sitting by a round table aggressively hacking a slab of fried meat. Seeing Kay he rose up a little:
    “Have a seat, Kay! Out of respect for your morning deeds we have bear’s meat today.
    Kay smiled unintentionally and sat by the table. He had no doubt that Curtis had watched the training… he was only interested in whether it was indeed a timer on the bulrathi’s hand or it was Curtis’s signal that had averted the bloodshed.
    “Did you like your instructor?”
    “I’ve never thought the Bulrathi can die out of ecstasy.”
    “The sigmoid gland, isn’t it? Yes they die in ecstasy… if the blow is strong enough to penetrate the fell. It’s all about the hormones… The old bear didn’t tell you that he has an implanted steel plate that covers the sigmoid gland beside the fat. Otherwise some of his trainees would surely have him killed. And that blow in the liver that he likes so much! It is the invention of his and god only knows how many human prisoners had died before he polished his skill… Have a wine, Kay.”
    Kay looked at the bottle with a pale blue liquid in it and shook his head.
    “Let me have yours instead, Curtis. I do care about my liver now.”
    “Be my guest, Kay.”
    Kay sipped a yellow viscous liquid and nodded. Yes it was a good vintage…
    “Curtis, is my trainer really that old?”
    “The bulrathi? Yes, he did participate in the Feud War. He’s of my age. Their religion forbids the aThan… but this race lives long even without it.”
    “I know much about that war. They were allied with the Sakkra and were suppressing our planetary bases. If they weren’t there the Sakkra wouldn’t have lived till the Three Sisters conflict.”
    “Kay, don’t rake over the old grudges. Your world has been burnt by the big white frogs and not by the big brown bears. I don’t demand that you love your instructor but you need training. There will be one more day of training and starting from tomorrow you’re going to start rehearsing the legend with my son. Here he is, by the way…”
    Key turned. From the opened door with a sea and the sunlight beyond it, there was walking Arthur Van Curtis, his client.
    His fate.
    Arthur was about twelve… biologically, Kay corrected himself. He was a swarthy, dark haired adolescent and his face was so familiar that Kay remembered pain. A very strong pain caused by the algopistol.
    Kay was lucky that Van Curtis didn’t look at his face at that moment. He was smiling looking at his only heir although the immortals probably have no need for heirs. For a very long time Kay had been learning to survive so the grimace on his face held for no more than a second.
    “Hi, dad” said Curtis junior. “How do you do, Kay? I suppose you’re the toughest guard in the world. Will you be able to protect me?”
    Now when Arthur Curtis was nearby the similarity had dissolved. He was a bit younger that the boy that had killed him on Cailis. A little bit, but it was enough for his age. His clothing, a training suit made of green silk came from the best couturier and it had not been pressed out of the recycled plastics at factory. Despite he was younger he was noticeably sturdier and had more developed muscles because he had the money behind him and the money meant the best food, the best exercise equipment, trainers and masseurs. Moreover, his gaze bore no hollow hatred of the hunted animal but ironclad confidence and imperiousness instead.
    “I know that I’m not in my best shape, everything turned out not exactly as it had been planned,” Arthur continued, “I have drowned recently, I’m sorry. So, do you take the job?”
    Curtis senior made a wry smile. Kay stood and stepped towards Arthur. Yes, he was younger, yes, he was sturdier, and yes, he had another kind of gaze. But everything else didn’t change.
    “Do you know what bodyguard is?” praying that his voice remained steady and unemotional asked Kay.
    “Of course.”
    “Get down!”
    Arthur continued standing and looking at Kay. Kay knocked him down.
    “If I say get down then you must get down,” said Kay over the lying boy, “if I say jump – you jump because I would never say that for no particular reason except for today. Every time your life would depend on it. Jump!”
    Curtis junior jumped. Right from the floor and froze before Kay.
    “You shouldn’t beat my son,” said Van Curtis from behind his back. And Kay sensed very clearly that there was a gun pointed right between his blade bones.
    “Mister Van Curtis,” said Kay without turning around, “you need a real bodyguard. I am ready to work for you. But in a couple of days I might have no time to push Arthur aside from the line of fire. If I can I would shield him. But it would be better that he simply got down allowing me to shoot. Do you agree? By the way I didn’t beat him. I pushed him. These are the different things.”
    “Perhaps.” Van Curtis answered in a level voice. “Sit down, both of you.”
    “Dad, Kay is a good bodyguard.” said Arthur flopping onto a chair beside his father and starting to dangle his feet just as if nothing had happened. “He’s tough.”
    “Arthur!” said Curtis with a slight surprise. Kay sniffed and started on the bear’s meat.
    “I had a great hunt today,” Arthur continued with excitement, “killed that tiger.”
    “My congratulations,” Curtis answered sourly.
    “Dad, can one eat them?”
    “Whom, the tigers? Only liver… I think.”
    “Yuck! That’s disgusting. I won’t eat it. Make them bring another tiger, all right?”
    “I will, calm down Arthur.”
    Kay was drinking his wine and enjoying the situation. He liked this castle that was hidden within a wooden pavilion. He liked the nervousness of Curtis senior.
    “Do you know Kay that by the legend this castle belonged to the king Arthur.” said Curtis somewhat hastily, “And the table we’re sitting at is that very Round Table. I presented this castle to Arthur on birthday…”
    “I have heard neither of King Arthur nor of the Round Table” answered Kay.
    “An ancient legend,” Curtis seemed revived, “it was even before the first interstellar travel…”
    “Dad, it is pure nonsense, there isn’t enough room for one hundred and fifty fighters at this table. Not to mention their armor. But the story is quite beautiful, there were many characters. And there was even Kay as a secondary character.”
    For a moment he and Kay looked at each other. Then Arthur rose from the table and kissed Curtis in his cheek.
    “I’ll be going, dad…I don’t want to eat…”
    Kay waited until Arthur had left and only then allowed himself to burst into laughter looking at the appalled Curtis.
    “What’s the matter, Kay?” he asked wearily.
    “I liked your son, Curtis. He’s an ordinary twelve years old kid. We’ll work fine together.”
    “I hope you are joking,” Curtis allowed himself to relax a bit, “he is a smart young man but the shock from his first death has not yet worn out completely. Besides, you were right about the hormones. I have consulted with the doctors: a slight infantilism in behavior should have appeared.”
    Kay nodded. He was walking along the edge and he knew that. Arthur Van Curtis who, as his father believed, had been unaware of their conversations, simply mocked Kay. He mocked him by behaving like a child whom he wasn’t already.
    “We’ll make friends” said Kay emptying the bottle.
    Send me a PM if you need me.

  4. #24
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    510
    Rep Power
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Watts
    After landing my son on/at any safe place then you can do whatever you want.
    Is 'then' required here?
    Russian is tough, let’s go shopping!

  5. #25
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    305
    Rep Power
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by vox05
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Watts
    After landing my son on/at any safe place then you can do whatever you want.
    Is 'then' required here?
    No, vox05 it is not required. I made a mistake to mark "then" in red. But remember these texts from Ramil are long, so at the time I was doing this it made more sense to me to insert "then", or you could place a comma after "place," or you could just leave that part the way it is. So I apologize for marking "then" in red. But Ramil is a very smart guy, and I think he knows that even natives are not perfect. So I think he can sort through my corrections and suggestions and choose what he thinks is good or not. I am not an English professor like paulb, am just a lawyer, so hopefully the way I make my corrections and suggestions is just another helpful way to look at it.

  6. #26
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    510
    Rep Power
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Watts
    Quote Originally Posted by vox05

    Is 'then' required here?
    No, vox05 it is not required. I made a mistake to mark "then" in red. But remember these texts from Ramil are long, so at the time I was doing this it made more sense to me to insert "then", or you could place a comma after "place," or you could just leave that part the way it is.
    Thank you, I just wanted to make sure - I just were checking all these read/blue corrections to check what were wrong originally.
    Russian is tough, let’s go shopping!

  7. #27
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    305
    Rep Power
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by vox05
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Watts
    Quote Originally Posted by vox05

    Is 'then' required here?
    No, vox05 it is not required. I made a mistake to mark "then" in red. But remember these texts from Ramil are long, so at the time I was doing this it made more sense to me to insert "then", or you could place a comma after "place," or you could just leave that part the way it is.
    Thank you, I just wanted to make sure - I just was checking all these read/blue corrections to check what was wrong originally.
    Yes, the red color means I think it is a correction. If you see red on the last letter of a word and the first letter of the next word, it means I deleted some text that was between these words. Usually you see the blue color after a / mark, so that means I think it is an alternative, another way of saying it that may or may not be better. If there is no / mark then blue means the word or text is optional, that is you can use it there or not use it. That is how I should have shown "then". The green color means I moved the word or some text within the sentence.

  8. #28
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    305
    Rep Power
    11
    [quote=Ramil]5

    “What is wrong with that, Kay?” said Curtis as he measured the study with paces/as he strode back and forth in the study in measured paces. Whether it was for the/Whether it was to contrast with “the study” on the roof, or for some other reason, this study was very small. It was five by five meters; there was a desk with an armchair and a sofa before/facing it. Kay lounged on the sofa, the owner though couldn’t sit. “A father with his little son doesn’t look suspicious. You’re going to Graal in search of new goods… drugs, ore, exotic animals. What’s the matter?”
    “Curtis, I repeat, I have never worked with children. I simply dislike them.”
    “I’m aware of that! And I know about the asylum on Altos… all that young crowd that had been evacuated from the Three Sisters before Sakkra troops landed. I know about their customs and your misfortunes. I may be unaware of who exactly among your classmates had forced you into a sexual intercourse and who simply dipped your head in a bowl. I know that you were physically the weakest and that you endured a lot. Then you cut the throats of a couple of your offenders and ran away. Then you tagged along with a travelling circus…”
    Kay got numb. These were only words for Van Curtis. For Kay, they were…
    “They say that you all/that all of you on the Second are…”
    “All you have there are two shoals and an ocean of foul water…”
    “Do you have gills? Hey, guys, let’s dip Kay in a little bit deeper…”
    He simply got unlucky. He ended up in a block where the boys from the Third planet of “]the Three Sisters", one of the three habitable planets of the Shedar star system, lived. It was a simple mistake in documents. Shedar’s Second and Third planets had been at odds for many years right until/right up to the day when the Sakkra in search of new living space made the humans close ranks. The adults made peace with each other. The adults were flying warships together, the adults were working at factories together, and they were dying in planetary landings together. The children were left with only one war – the one between themselves.
    “If you behave…”
    “Guys, who’s going to be the first?”
    “Kay, I’ve been told that you do a good…”
    He didn’t notice that he was standing and blocking the path of Curtis who was thinking aloud/thinking out loud.
    “Of course, after these sad years, a good attitude from the adults had influenced your mentality. A good psychiatrist could help/could have helped…”
    “Curtis,” Kay said as he took his employer by the sleeve of a suit. “You may be a god… or a devil… Even that damn aThan of yours that you have bought from the na

  9. #29
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Other Universe
    Posts
    8,501
    Rep Power
    28
    9

    The master of immortality met the sunrise in his study. It was neither the markedly humble study where he had reasoned Kay into working with Arthur nor it was the ostentatiously open one on the roof of the tower.
    This study, hidden under the surface, resembled a cockpit of a medium cruiser. Curtis indeed copied the austere style of military ships where he had spent his youth. There was a time when he was dreaming of commanding of such a ship. This was very long ago, almost two hundred years…
    His occupation at the moment could seem more than strange to anyone. He was sitting away in his armchair and leaning his head sideward. He was drawing. A light pen was sliding across the screen leaving thin varicolored strokes. Something started to emerge, something very familiar, resembling a human face, but from a very strange point of view. It was as if an ant was trying to discern a man through a varicolored prism.
    “Like this.” said Curtis and lowered his pen. He looked at the side screen. There, on the yellow sand, stood Kay and the bulrathi. They had been fighting in a sparring only a minute before. Now Key was taking off his armor and carefully putting a segment after a segment on the sand. A red dot was glowing near his image – a mental sensor indicated the intensity of emotions.
    “Enlarge, sound on!” commanded Curtis and moved his armchair closer. The cameras managed to process a freestyle command their owner gave and were already picking the Kay’s face. “What are you up to, lad?” murmured Curtis.

    “Why have you played us off with the Sakkra?” asked Kay while removing the last segment of his armor. The bulrathi closely watched his moves. His strange diamond shaped eye pupils narrowed into thin slots.
    “It’s tactics. We have adopted your own method: divide and conquer.”
    “You didn’t succeed.”
    “No, we didn’t.”
    Slowly, in the same manner he had been taking off his armor, Kay took off his white shirt. Then he stretched. His muscles rolled under his skin.
    “Bulrathi, you said that you had consulted the Sakkra during their war for the Three Planets. Perhaps you even participated in the landings?”
    “Perhaps.” the bulrathi spread his palms a little. The forefinger on his left hand was missing which made its size matching a human hand.
    “I am from the Three Planets, bulrathi. From the Three Sisters as they were called then. These were quarrelsome sisters… but they didn’t covet other worlds. We were on the border of the sector and we were the first to meet the Sakkra’s attack.”
    “That’s amusing.” said the bulrathi.
    “There were too many of them. They have crushed our defense. The cruisers from Terra didn’t make it in time. The children and some women were loaded on the freighters… we had a good freighter fleet. Most of us made it to Altos… Two hundred million of spongers, bulrathi! We were hated on Altos. The other worlds didn’t accept us. Our fathers died fighting the frogs – that wasn’t the best way a man can die. The Three Sisters have been burnt by meson bombs – there had been no other choice. Nobody needs them anymore.”
    “A buffer zone.”
    Kay went silent. He moved his palm over his chin as if he was checking his shaving.
    “You know, I wept when the last Sakkra world had died in flames. I wept because I had nobody left to revenge to. I was growing up for too long…”
    “I am forbidden to kill you,” said the bulrathi, “Curtis Van Curtis needs you.”
    “I know. Bulrathi, your mother ate the grass and washed in hot water. Your father reared the ranks. Your children dig ditches on the fields.”
    The fingers of the bulrathi sprouted claws. His voice became thin as a flute:
    “You’re taking risks, human. Even my debt doesn’t cancel my honor…”
    “Cuzuar buul-rathi, kh, haa! Kh, haa, buul!”
    “Hazr, khomo!” the bulrathi sooner sang it rather than spoke.

    Curtis Van Curtis bolted from his armchair. In two leaps he reached the center of the study where opalescent flickers were dancing in the air.
    “Arabia, the range!” he shouted while taking a small gun that resembled a toy from the pocket of his trousers. Curtis knew that he would not arrive in time.
    He indeed had arrived when it was too late.

    Kay was sitting beside the corpse of the bulrathi. He lost all his strength and might in his death. From five yards it could be mistaken with a dead cow of northern breeds. The body crooked having taken the form of quadruped creature. The muzzle was pushed into the sand its bared fangs first. Only two deep furrows under the still legs didn’t tally with the peaceful look.
    “What happened here?” asked Curtis putting away his gun. Kay turned slightly to face him. Until that very moment he looked totally unharmed yet Curtis saw a long but shallow wound on his stomach.
    “I think he had a spontaneous heart failure,” said Kay mildly. “Fortunately, he had the time to teach me everything he thought would be necessary… and everything he knew.”
    Curtis leaned and lifted the head of the bulrathi looking into the dead face. Its look was somewhat surprised.
    “Spontaneous, you say? Poor Aggash, he sincerely believed that an unarmed human can kill a bulrathi using the only one way. I haven’t got around to dispelling his illusion. Take it, Kay.”
    He threw his light grey coat to Kay. Kay pressed it to his stomach without a word.
    “Where did you learn about the reflex spots?”
    “I had a friend who had fought through the Feud War.”
    “I see. Aggash was a valuable employee.”
    “Then he deserves a ceremonial funeral.”
    “A bulrathi that died from the human hand? You’re kidding, Kay.”
    “Was there anybody who said something about the hand? Or about murder?”
    “I suppose, there wasn’t. You don’t know what you have said to him, do you?
    Kay shook his head.
    “You permitted him to lick your excrements.”
    “And that’s all?!” said Kay rising from the sand. He cast the Curtis’s coat onto the body and accidentally it fell onto the Aggash’s face. Without even knowing it, Kay managed to humiliate the bulrathi even after his death.
    Send me a PM if you need me.

  10. #30
    Завсегдатай
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    My Time & Space
    Posts
    6,559
    Rep Power
    17
    Рамиль, ты собрался всю книжку переводить «на радость» нашим англоязычным друзьям?
    «И всё, что сейчас происходит внутре — тоже является частью вселенной».

  11. #31
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Other Universe
    Posts
    8,501
    Rep Power
    28
    Quote Originally Posted by Rtyom
    Рамиль, ты собрался всю книжку переводить «на радость» нашим англоязычным друзьям?
    пока не надоест
    Send me a PM if you need me.

  12. #32
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    305
    Rep Power
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    6

    Kay slept well. The rooms in the suite he was provided with seemed infinite and/so he had neglected to look for a bedroom with a promised gravity bed. A sofa in the library was convenient enough and the fruits/fruit in a crystal vase served as a breakfast. For the second time in his life he had tasted the whimsical terran fruit – an apple and judged they were/it was quite edible.
    A silicoid, probably the same that had attended at his resurrection, brought in a tray with a breakfast/with breakfast. Kay supplemented his fruity diet/his diet of fruit with a cup of coffee and asked:
    “I’ve been promised an instructor. Is it perchance you?”
    The grey stone pillar ignored the irony.
    “Follow me. The instructor is waiting for you.”
    Either Van Curtis liked walking or the silicoid thought it was unnecessary to use the communications (transport ?). They walked along the long corridors, sometimes they walked out in the open air. They passed the night/dark jungle where a sharp voice of some bird tried to break the silence and finally got to a beach that was bathing in sunset/was bathed by the sunset. The silicoid floated along the surf and splashes of water were sizzling when they hit its stone body. Kay took off his shoes and walked behind. A white haired boy that was playing with a ball near the water gazed after them.
    “Curtis the junior/Curtis junior?” Kay asked the silicoid.
    “No.”
    The ocean ended with a live fence. The silicoid stopped by a wicket and said:
    “You’ll walk alone from here. I shouldn’t see your instructor. We are in a state of war.”
    Kay mentally recalled everything he had known about the Silicois and nodded:
    “Fine. I’ll walk alone. Are you allowed to answer my questions?”
    “Sometimes.”
    “Why do you serve Curtis?”
    “The Silicoids do not serve.”
    “My thought exactly. Why?”
    “I’m repaying my debt.”
    “Aha, I see.”
    The grey pillar waited patiently.
    “What can you tell me about Curtis?”
    “What?”
    “Anything.”
    There were ripples on the grey stone surface. An invisible choir whispered:
    “He is like his house.”
    “Not very cheerful, eh?” Kay smirked opening the wicket, “Thank you, you boulder…”
    He stepped on sand. Yellow sand went to the horizon where the night streets of Geneva could be seen through iridescent haze of the force field barrier. The sun was at its zenith here and drops of sweat appeared on Kay’s forehead. It was not due to the heat only, however. He saw the instructor.
    The Bulrathi were one of the most powerful and dangerous races of non-humans in space. They had an appearance of six foot high bears, yet no bear could boast (run ?) with such agility, their fur was strong as if it was made out of steel wire, and they had a balanced intelligence.
    This particular bulrathi was old. His dark brown fur had lost its luster and ra/felln in innocent curls. His teeth bared in greeting were grinded off by half/were half ground off.
    “Greetings, Kay. Put on the armor. Are you ready?”
    His voice was surprisingly melodious and mild which was an incidental peculiarity of evolution that tricked the humans in the age of First Contacts too often/that too often tricked humans in the time of First Contacts.
    The armor was lying on the sand nearby. The dark blue rough scales that folded in many strange forms were a light plastic armor designed for hand-to-hand combat only. Muscle enhancers were removed but a medicine unit flashed with a green light in readiness.
    “What is your name, old one?” asked Kay while connecting the armor segments. The bulrathi snapped his teeth:
    “My name is not for you. I am your instructor. Human Kay, do you value your body?”
    “It has to live for another three days…”, Kay had connected the last segments of the armor and took a battle stance. “I am ready, bulrathi.”
    A blow in his belly threw him to the fence. The medical unit in his armor hummed dosing Kay with stimulants and anesthetics.
    “This blow doesn’t kill immediately” explained the bulrathi closing/as he closed in, “In a week or two your liver stops working. An unpleasant surprise for captured humans we had been releasing during the Feud days.”
    Rising, Kay kicked the bulrathi in the groin. The fur had dampened the blow, the leg responded with pain, but the bulrathi reeled back.
    “We used to simply castrate the prisoners,” said Kay. “Or sterilized the planets. Right?”
    “I was on a planet which the “Reaper” had flown over.” said the instructor. “Your kick is painful, but ineffective.”
    Kay managed to dodge the next blow. The bulrathi whirled raising/kicking the sand in the air with his claws. Then suddenly he lowered himself on all fours and dashed to/at Kay.
    Kay jumped and flew over the gaping maw and having landed/and landing on the huge body he kicked its sides. The anatomy of the bulrathi was very close to the humans/close to humans and kidneys were the weakest spot of/in all races. Then he tumbled to the sand.
    The bulrathi raised and passed his paws over his body. Then he asked calmly:
    “Usually, the humans/Usually humans assume that a sentient being wouldn’t attack on all fours. You’re looking young. Have you been at war with us?”
    “I like to watch chronicles/documentaries.”
    “Your imperfect vision simplifies the storing of information.” The bulrathi made a grunting noise. “Why have you won that war? You’re weaker than we are and you’re less smart than/you're not as smart as the Psilonians. You are average…”
    “We are average in everything.”
    “Yes… It’s a pity that the galaxy is ruled by those in the middle…”
    The next attack caught Kay off guard. He was pressed against the sand by the four hundred and fifty pound carcass/body and couldn’t even move. The jaws of the bulrathi opened and as Kay felt a strange, surprisingly pleasant smell they reached out for his throat…”
    There was a thin sound right at the moment Kay sensed the touch of the fangs. The bulrath bellowed and moved his jaws away. He raised his right paw, there was an ordinary human watch on it gleaming through the fur.
    “You got lucky, human” he said relaxing his voice. “You have endured five minutes of fighting without rules. I’m not permitted to kill you now.”
    He rose with unearthly grace. Kay was lying and watching at his might-have-been executioner.
    “Get up, Kay. Now I’m going to teach you how a human can kill a bulrathi. And remember, this knowledge is for you only.”
    “Can I ask you a question?”
    “Speak.”
    “Why do you have such a pleasant smell from your mouth? Your kind prefers stale meat, don’t you?”
    “It’s deodorant/mouth wash, you half-wit. Any sentient race practices hygiene.”
    “Logical.” Kay stood up. The medical unit was still working but his whole body was aching, “All right, tell me how to kill you?”
    “The most vulnerable zone of our race is the area around the sigmoid gland,” the bulrathi began in a hollow voice, “if you draw a line from my genitals to my right eye then in the middle of that line there will be a spot that is unprotected by the muscle layer…”

  13. #33
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    305
    Rep Power
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    7

    Van Curtis invited Kay to dinner. After receiving brief instructions on the code of conduct given by the silicoid, wincing, Kay rose from the armchair and undressed ignoring the still stone mass. He bleakly looked at his reflection in the mirror. The armor didn’t protect him from bruises. It didn’t protect against the blow to the liver also if the instructor was right.
    The bulrathi are the best fighters in the galaxy” said the silicoid hollowly.
    “Even better than you are?” Kay touched his shoulder and made a quiet howling sound.
    “Probably. They have found a way to kill us in a hand-to-hand combat.”
    “Really? And what is it?” Kay was interested.
    “I wouldn’t tell you that even if I knew.”
    “I’ll ask about it.”
    “Lie down on the floor.”
    Kay looked at the silicoid with surprise but chose not to argue. He stretched out on the thin and somewhat dusty carpet and the silicoid slowly floated over him. A heavy wave passed over his body.
    “The gravity massage” the silicoid explained for some reason, swaying back and forth. “You will feel better. We can not/We don't only kill with that field of ours…”
    The bodyguard from the planet Altos usually didn’t suffer from any bad flashbacks, but for some reason he remembered the spaceport on Cailis and the bloody spot fifty yards away from his ship. Those little bastards always creep under the nozzles…
    “Thank you, I feel better already.” Kay rolled from under the silicoid. “Will Curtis junior be present at dinner?”
    “Probably.”
    Kay put on a rich/richly colored suit with a wide opalescent tie and hard leather shoes that were totally unsuitable for any action (occasion ?) and then went after the silicoid. He was curious and vexed at the same time as he always was before a meeting with a client to whom it was impossible to say no. A professional should have a choice, damn it.
    “Do you have a desire to ask questions?”
    “What? Ah, well… yes, of course. Do you wear clothes?”
    “I am dressed now” replied the silicoid with dignity.
    Key choked up but held a laugh.
    “Now it’s my turn to ask questions.” The silicoid slowed down and waited for Kay, “if the humans gain the power, what would they do?”
    “I don’t understand” answered Kay honestly. They went out of the spire house and walked towards a small round pavilion not far away. They had to cross a pine grove, to pass by some stupid stones that were installed in a circle and by a tiny corvette from the Feud War era that was melted into a granite pedestal.
    “Let’s rephrase it. If the might of the Human Empire grows beyond measure how would the policy of mankind change?”
    “We would stop paying attention to other races. We will/would simply ignore them. Would you act differently?”
    The silicoid didn’t answer. Then he swayed towards the corvette and said:
    “During the Feud War Curtis Van Curtis served in the units of freelance hunters. They didn’t have any regulations, orders and strategic objectives. We never found out/We never learned how to fight this unorganized enemy.”
    “Van Curtis is a courageous man!” said Kay aloud.
    “I agree. But many say that his ship survived the war in amazingly good shape. The drives are worn out but the armor is intact. The most surprising fact is that he returned from his last flight with a broken computer. We have arrived. I don’t consume organics but I wish you a good gustatory sense and successful digestion.”
    The silicoid spun graciously in half a circle and floated back. Kay stood staring at Curtis’s ancient ship. Then he opened a door to the pavilion. He had an organic body that needed food and a perfect appetite stirred up by the/his training session with the bulrathi.

  14. #34
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    305
    Rep Power
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    8

    The wooden pavilion turned out to be a stone castle on the inside. The huge hall reminded Kay of the churches of the One Will where he was taken to in his childhood and stirred some obscure sense of trembling and aversion in him. His legs were sinking in the dry thatch that covered the floor. The arched ceiling turned the rustle of thatches and the sound of his steps into a steady noise.
    Curtis Van Curtis was sitting by a round table aggressively hacking/cutting a slab of fried meat. Seeing Kay he rose up a little:
    “Have a seat, Kay! Out of respect for your morning deeds we have bear’s meat today.
    Kay smiled unintentionally and sat by the table. He had no doubt that Curtis had watched the training… he was only interested in whether it was indeed a timer/the watch on the bulrathi’s hand or it was Curtis’s signal that had averted the bloodshed.
    “Did you like your instructor?”
    “I’ve never thought the Bulrathi could die out of/die from ecstasy.”
    “The sigmoid gland, isn’t it? Yes they die in ecstasy… if the blow is strong enough to penetrate the fell (fur ? hair ?). It’s all about the hormones… The old bear didn’t tell you that he has an implanted steel plate that covers the sigmoid gland beside (behind ?) the fat. Otherwise some of his trainees would surely have him killed. And that blow in the liver that he likes so much! It is an invention of his and god only knows how many human prisoners had died/prisoners were killed before he polished his skill… Have a wine, Kay.”
    Kay looked at the bottle with a pale blue liquid in it and shook his head.
    “Let me have yours instead, Curtis. I do care about my liver now.”
    “Be my guest, Kay.”
    Kay sipped a yellow viscous liquid and nodded. Yes it was a good vintage…
    “Curtis, is my trainer really that old?”
    “The bulrathi? Yes, he did participate in the Feud War. He’s of my age. Their religion forbids the aThan… but this race lives long even without it.”
    “I know much about that war. They were allied with the Sakkra and were suppressing our planetary bases. If they weren’t there the Sakkra wouldn’t have lived till the Three Sisters' conflict.”
    “Kay, don’t rake over old grudges. Your world has been burnt by the big white frogs and not by the big brown bears. I don’t demand that you love your instructor but you need training. There will be one more day of training and starting from tomorrow you’re going to start rehearsing the legend with my son. Here he is, by the way…”
    Kay turned. From the opened door with the sea and the sunlight beyond it, there was walking/in walked Arthur Van Curtis, his client.
    His fate.
    Arthur was about twelve… biologically, Kay corrected himself. He was a swarthy, dark haired adolescent and his face was so familiar that Kay remembered pain. A very strong pain caused by the algopistol.
    Kay was lucky that Van Curtis didn’t look at his face at that moment. He was smiling looking at his only heir although the immortals probably have no need for heirs. For a very long time Kay had been learning to survive so the grimace on his face held for no more than a second.
    “Hi, dad” said Curtis junior. “How do you do, Kay? I suppose you’re the toughest guard in the world. Will you be able to protect me?”
    Now when Arthur Curtis was nearby the similarity had dissolved. He was a bit younger than the boy that had killed him on Cailis. A little bit, but it was enough for his age. His clothing, a training suit made of green silk came from the best couturier/fashion designer and it had not been pressed out of the recycled plastics at a factory. Despite the fact that he was younger he was noticeably sturdier and had more developed muscles because he had the money behind him and the money meant the best food, the best exercise equipment, trainers and masseurs. Moreover, his gaze bore no hollow hatred of the hunted animal but ironclad confidence and imperiousness instead.
    “I know that I’m not in my best shape, everything turned out not exactly as it had been planned,” Arthur continued, “I have drowned recently, I’m sorry. So, will you take the job?”
    Curtis senior made a wry smile. Kay stood and stepped towards Arthur. Yes, he was younger, yes, he was sturdier, and yes, he had another kind of gaze. But everything else didn’t change.
    “Do you know what a bodyguard is?” asked Kay praying that his voice remained steady and unemotional.
    “Of course.”
    “Get down!”
    Arthur continued standing and looking at Kay. Kay knocked him down.
    “If I say get down then you must get down,” said Kay over the lying boy, “if I say jump – you jump because I would never say that for no particular reason except for today. Every time your life will depend on it. Jump!”
    Curtis junior jumped. Right from the floor and froze before Kay.
    “You shouldn’t beat my son,” said Van Curtis from behind his back. And Kay sensed very clearly that there was a gun pointed right between his blade bones.
    “Mister Van Curtis,” said Kay without turning around, “you need a real bodyguard. I am ready to work for you. But in a couple of days I might have no time to push Arthur aside from the line of fire. If I can I would shield him. But it would be better that he simply got down allowing me to shoot. Do you agree? By the way I didn’t beat him. I pushed him. These are the different things.”
    “Perhaps.” Van Curtis answered in a level voice. “Sit down, both of you.”
    “Dad, Kay is a good bodyguard.” said Arthur flopping onto a chair beside his father and starting to dangle his feet just as if nothing had happened. “He’s tough.”
    “Arthur!” said Curtis with a slight surprise. Kay sniffed and started on the bear’s meat.
    “I had a great hunt today,” Arthur continued with excitement, “killed that tiger.”
    “My congratulations,” Curtis answered sourly.
    “Dad, can one eat them?”
    “Whom, the tigers? Only liver… I think.”
    “Yuck! That’s disgusting. I won’t eat it. Make them bring another tiger, all right?”
    “I will, calm down Arthur.”
    Kay was drinking his wine and enjoying the situation. He liked this castle that was hidden within a wooden pavilion. He liked the nervousness of Curtis senior.
    “Do you know Kay that by legend this castle belonged to King Arthur.” said Curtis somewhat hastily, “And the table we’re sitting at is that very Round Table. I presented this castle to Arthur on his birthday…”
    “I have heard neither of King Arthur nor of the Round Table” answered Kay.
    “An ancient legend,” Curtis seemed revived, “it was even before the first interstellar travel…”
    “Dad, it is pure nonsense, there isn’t enough room for one hundred and fifty fighters at this table. Not to mention their armor. But the story is quite beautiful, there were many characters. And there was even Kay as a secondary character.”
    For a moment he and Kay looked at each other. Then Arthur rose from the table and kissed Curtis in his cheek.
    “I’ll be going, dad…I don’t want to eat…”
    Kay waited until Arthur had left and only then allowed himself to burst into laughter looking at the appalled Curtis.
    “What’s the matter, Kay?” he asked wearily.
    “I liked your son, Curtis. He’s an ordinary twelve year old kid. We’ll work fine together.”
    “I hope you are joking,” Curtis allowed himself to relax a bit, “he is a smart young man but the shock from his first death has not yet worn out completely. Besides, you were right about the hormones. I have consulted with the doctors: a slight infantilism in behavior should have appeared.”
    Kay nodded. He was walking along the edge and he knew that. Arthur Van Curtis who, as his father believed, had been unaware of their conversations, simply mocked Kay. He mocked him by behaving like a child whom he wasn’t already.
    “We’ll make friends” said Kay emptying the bottle.

  15. #35
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    305
    Rep Power
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    9

    The master of immortality met the sunrise in his study. It was neither the markedly humble study where he had reasoned Kay into working with Arthur nor it was the ostentatiously open one on the roof of the tower.
    This study, hidden under the surface, resembled the cockpit of a medium cruiser. Curtis indeed copied the austere style of military ships where he had spent his youth. There was a time when he was dreaming of commanding of such a ship. This was very long ago, almost two hundred years…
    His occupation at the moment would seem more than strange to anyone. He was sitting away in his armchair and leaning his head sideward. He was drawing. A light pen was sliding across the screen leaving thin varicolored strokes. Something started to emerge, something very familiar, resembling a human face, but from a very strange point of view. It was as if an ant was trying to discern a man through a varicolored prism.
    “Like this.” said Curtis and lowered his pen. He looked at the side screen. There, on the yellow sand, stood Kay and the bulrathi. They had been fighting in a sparring only a minute before. Now Key was taking off his armor and carefully putting segment after segment on the sand. A red dot was glowing near his image – a mental sensor indicated the intensity of emotions.
    “Enlarge, sound on!” commanded Curtis and moved his armchair closer. The cameras managed to process a freestyle command their owner gave/had given and were already picking out Kay’s face. “What are you up to, lad?” murmured Curtis.

    “Why have you played us off with the Sakkra?” asked Kay while removing the last segment of his armor. The bulrathi closely watched his moves. His strange diamond shaped eye pupils narrowed into thin slots.
    “It’s tactics. We have adopted your own method: divide and conquer.”
    “You didn’t succeed.”
    “No, we didn’t.”
    Slowly, in the same manner as he had been taking off his armor, Kay took off his white shirt. Then he stretched. His muscles rolled under his skin.
    “Bulrathi, you said that you had consulted the Sakkra during their war for the Three Planets. Perhaps you even participated in the landings?”
    “Perhaps.” the bulrathi spread his palms a little. The forefinger on his left hand was missing which made its size matching a human hand.
    “I am from the Three Planets, bulrathi. From the Three Sisters as they were called then. These were quarrelsome sisters… but they didn’t covet other worlds. We were on the border of the sector and we were the first to meet the Sakkra’s attack.”
    “That’s amusing.” said the bulrathi.
    “There were too many of them. They crushed our defense. The cruisers from Terra didn’t make it in time. The children and some women were loaded onto the freighters… we had a good freighter fleet. Most of us made it to Altos… Two hundred million spongers/refugees, bulrathi! We were hated on Altos. The other worlds didn’t accept us. Our fathers died fighting the frogs – that wasn’t the best way a man can die. The Three Sisters have been burnt by meson bombs – there had been no other choice. Nobody needs them anymore.”
    “A buffer zone.”
    Kay went silent. He moved his palm over his chin as if he was checking his shaving.
    “You know, I wept when the last Sakkra world had died in flames. I wept because I had nobody left to take revenge upon. I was growing up for too long…”
    “I am forbidden to kill you,” said the bulrathi, “Curtis Van Curtis needs you.”
    “I know. Bulrathi, your mother ate grass and washed in hot water. Your father reared/was the lowest in the ranks. Your children dug ditches in the fields.”
    The fingers of the bulrathi sprouted claws. His voice became thin as a flute:
    “You’re taking risks, human. Even my debt doesn’t cancel my honor…”
    “Cuzuar buul-rathi, kh, haa! Kh, haa, buul!”
    “Hazr, khomo!” the bulrathi sooner sang it rather than spoke.

    Curtis Van Curtis bolted from his armchair. In two leaps he reached the center of the study where opalescent flickers were dancing in the air.
    “Arabia, the range!” he shouted while taking a small gun that resembled a toy from the pocket of his trousers. Curtis knew that he would not arrive in time.
    He indeed had arrived when it was too late.

    Kay was sitting beside the corpse of the bulrathi. He lost all his strength and might in his death. From five yards it could be mistaken for a dead cow of northern breeds. The body was crooked having taken the form of a quadruped creature. The muzzle was pushed into the sand its bared fangs first. Only two deep furrows under the still legs didn’t tally with the peaceful look.
    “What happened here?” asked Curtis putting away his gun. Kay turned slightly to face him. Until that very moment he looked totally unharmed yet Curtis saw a long but shallow wound on his stomach.
    “I think he had a spontaneous heart failure,” said Kay mildly. “Fortunately, he had the time to teach me everything he thought would be necessary… and everything he knew.”
    Curtis leaned and lifted the head of the bulrathi looking into the dead face. Its look was somewhat surprised.
    “Spontaneous, you say? Poor Aggash, he sincerely believed that an unarmed human can kill a bulrathi using only one way. I hadn’t got around/got round to dispelling his illusion. Take it, Kay.”
    He threw his light grey coat to Kay. Kay pressed it to his stomach without a word.
    “Where did you learn about the reflex spots?”
    “I had a friend who had fought through the Feud War.”
    “I see. Aggash was a valuable employee.”
    “Then he deserves a ceremonial funeral.”
    “A bulrathi that died from the human hand? You’re kidding, Kay.”
    “Was there anybody who said something about the hand? Or about murder?”
    “I suppose, there wasn’t. You don’t know what you said to him, do you?
    Kay shook his head.
    “You permitted him to lick your excrements.”
    “And that’s all?!” said Kay rising from the sand. He cast Curtis’s coat onto the body and accidentally it fell onto the Aggash’s face. Without even knowing it, Kay managed to humiliate the bulrathi even after his death.

  16. #36
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Other Universe
    Posts
    8,501
    Rep Power
    28
    Your help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    Here's the next part

    10

    Whatever were the Curtis’s thoughts about what had happened he never talked of it ever since. Two medics that were working too well for the ones looking so young had glued the Key’s wound and administered several ampoules of unknown preparations then applied a thin film of aerosol as a finishing touch.
    “Will it hold for two days?” inquired Kay.
    “Even for two years if you like.” one of them shrugged his shoulders. The familiarity of the tone only strengthened the suspicion that these two “young guys” had undergone the aThan not long before.
    Key was relaxing in his room. It was twilight outside; the rhythm of life in the estate was bound to the local time of the tower.
    The silicoid appeared when Kay was starting to doze off.
    “In the fights with organic lifeforms the bulrathi sometimes used poisoned claws” he informed instead of saying some words of greeting.
    “He didn’t have time to apply poison and the medics administered some anti-toxin, but thank you anyway.”
    “May I?” the silicoid had floated to the sofa and even before Kay could surprise he bent his body and sat beside Kay. Kay moved farther away – the stone body poured heat. “Let’s have a moment of silence in memory of life gone.” solemnly said the silicoid.
    Kay went silent for two minutes. Then he asked:
    “Is it difficult for you to set a screen?”
    “It’s easier at closer distances. Unfortunately you cannot move closer. It’s done. We’re shielded from any listening.”
    “Even from the Curtis’s?”
    “Yes.”
    “Are you so sure that I have some words for you?”
    “Yes, speak.”
    “The Bulrati have found your weak spot, boulder. The structures that generate your force field are unstable. Isn’t it amusing for a race that is obsessed about power balance, is it? A sound of specific frequency and intensity resonates with them… so even a slight push would be enough to turn you into a motionless, helpless albeit still thinking stone.”
    “What is the sound?”
    “I cannot emit it. You would need a throat of a bulrathi.”
    “You could be lying.”
    “Perhaps, perhaps not.”
    “Why have you disclosed this to me?”
    “The humans fought with you only episodically. You live on the planets we wouldn’t willingly go to. The Human Empire may have its interests; the Basis of Silicoids may have its own. They don’t cross. And even if war happens we wouldn’t send a bunch of castrate singers against you. A laser pistol would even our chances, a fusion blaster would give me ten out of ten an advantage. One has to be a bulrathi to seek the advantage in a hand-to-hand fight with a silicoid.”
    “We were worried about that, Kay” sounded or murmured the silicoid. “We don’t like unclear situations.”
    “I thought so myself… What can you tell me, silicoid?”
    “Curtis Van Curtis bought the aThan prototype from the Psilonians for twenty five hundred credits.”
    “Well, at that time this price was…”
    “… as surprisingly low as it is now. A year and a half later the Psilonians had encapsulated their space. That’s all. I said everything I could. My debt before Curtis will last for quite a long time.”
    The air quivered as the protection screen had disappeared. The silicoid took the air. The sofa was emanating a faint smell of burnt leather.”
    “We have honored the late with silence. As clear a silence as he deserved. And now, Kay, Arthur Van Curtis is waiting for you. You have work to do.”

    When Kay entered the premises of Arthur Van Curtis he remembered his asylum. Any of the rooms of Curtis junior could easily house its whole “G” block with its multilevel dormitory, learning and recreational modules. This one, for example, was an oval hall ornamented with tapestries painted in dark colors. Kay didn’t have any complex on inferiority about that; Altos gave him the only thing it could give – life. It was just a childhood flashback.
    “Hi, daddy.” said Arthur. He was sitting on the floor in the Lotus pose with his eyes closed and his hands resting on his knees.
    “You’re wrong, it’s me.” said Kay and sat nearby.
    “I know it’s you. But we should be getting used to our legend, shouldn’t we?”
    “That’s right, hi sonny.”
    Arthur winced without opening his eyes.
    “No, I don’t think you call me ‘sonny’. It would sooner be ‘kiddo’.”
    “No way.”
    “All right, let’s think about it… You are tedious, boring and very pleased with yourself; you save every credit, and you try very hard to bring up a decent merchant out of me… You call me ‘son’ or simply by name.”
    “Ok, son. Can your name be shortened somehow?”
    “What?” Arthur opened one eye.
    “When we are revived I will have to express a lot of emotions. According to the legend this will be our first aThan. No matter how cold-hearted and stiff I should be I shouldn’t just say “my son Arthur”. How did your father call you when you…”
    “Son.” Arthur smiled and closed his eyes again.
    “Well, we’ll decide it once there then. Where do we live?”
    “Endoria. We’ve got a house near the ocean…”
    “…two storey high, a vineyard, a landing pad for flyers…”
    “…you leave your ship at the government port. It’s farther than Endoria-Plus but far much cheaper…”
    “…you’ve graduated the compulsory course at the average private college then I’ve decided to educate you myself…”
    “…my mother runs the financial affairs of the “Ovald & son” company and never flies with us. Sometimes you cheat on her, and you have a lasting affair on Ruch. I pretend I don’t know about it.”
    “It’s all right.” Kay nodded. “Now we know the official part. Let’s speak about things that weren’t in the instructions.”
    “Are you the one of those who always try to play safe?”
    “Of course, I have to be. What food do you like?”
    “Tasian jelly.”
    “A son of minor trader couldn’t have ever tasted it.”
    “Why? We were freighting the jelly from Tasia to Terra. For Curtis Van Curtis himself. And we ate these two percent that are written off for the transportation losses.”
    “Well, all right, I suppose. What is it you don’t like?”
    “Cheese sandwiches.”
    “Why?” Kay was at a loss.
    “I really don’t like them!”
    Kay nodded and rose up with difficulty stretching the numb legs. Arthur continued sitting as if he had turned into a stone.
    “A couple of questions outside the legend. What is this room?”
    “It is the hall for meditation. Why?”
    “Just interesting. Have you got any brothers?”
    “None that I know of.”
    “Have you ever been off Terra?”
    “This is the third question already.”
    “All right, let’s continue…”
    Kay walked around Arthur.
    “Are you afraid of the dark?”
    “No.”
    “Height?”
    “No.”
    “Death?”
    Arthur turned his head and their eyes met.
    “Of course not, daddy.” said the boy with icy voice.
    “And are you afraid of me?”
    “Only when you had been smoking trab.”
    “Never had it.”
    “All the traders smoke trab. There is the package in the bone casket behind the drapes. Take it.”
    There were many interesting things behind the drapes. A casket with trab, several other caskets, an opened though turned off communicator’s control panel, an activated sentry droid whose cameras were steadily watching Kay’s every move… Kay put the plump package into the pocked and returned to Arthur.
    “Do I smoke it often?”
    “When the business if bad. Seldom.”
    “Do I like to preach morale?”
    “Of course.”
    “Have I told you about the differences between stamens and pistils?”
    Arthur began to smile.
    “Yes, when I had turned ten, you summoned me to your study… to the cockpit and said ‘Arthur, you’re growing up and you have to learn about some aspects of adult life. When a man and a woman are in love and they want to have a little baby they do some things…’.”
    “Do I have to be such an idiot?” asked Kay.
    “Yes, every time, everywhere. You do want me to act natural?”
    “Ok, now it’s your turn.”
    “Do you shave?”
    “Every day except for the days I’ve been smoking trab.”
    “Do you snore?”
    “Sometimes”
    “Are you unkempt sometimes when you think nobody sees you?”
    “Of course.”
    Arthur mad a back roll and easily straightened.
    “You’re not bad, Kay. Would you like juice? Or wine?”
    “A glass of yellow Mrshhan”
    “A glass of yellow Mrshhan and a glass of orange juice” repeated Arthur in the air. “Damn, I whish we had more time. We would have pulled together then.”
    “We will. We don’t have any other choice. Let’s continue…”
    Send me a PM if you need me.

  17. #37
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Other Universe
    Posts
    8,501
    Rep Power
    28
    11

    They woke Kay up shortly before dawn. He went to bed at three o’clock and his awakening was far from being pleasant.
    “Curtis Van Curtis is waiting for you” simply said the man that came. He was wearing a powered armor with activated protection and the holster of his “Bumblebee” was unfastened. Kay preferred not to argue with this kind of people. He dressed up in silence and went out of the room. The man in armor followed Kay and directed him with slight touches of his hand. His helmet was closed so Kay didn’t see his face. There were two corridors and three local hypertunnels. As they walked and passed the tunnels more armored guards were joining them and finally they’ve brought Kay to a study that was unfamiliar to him. The room resembled the cockpit of a medium cruiser judging both the design and the number of instruments. Curtis walked out to meet them.
    “The situation has changed, Kay.”
    “And so I became unnecessary?”
    Curtis frowned.
    “Why do you say so? Nick I didn’t order you to bring Kay under escort!”
    “I’m sorry, Van Curtis. We’ve been providing protection.”
    Curtis took Kay by the shoulder and nodded releasing the guards.
    “Everybody is high-strung at the moment, Kay. A spy has been caught, one of my employees. It’s possible that he had managed to transmit something, I don’t know. We had to kill him.”
    “Interrogate him…”
    “He’s dead.”
    “I though all your men had the aThan.”
    “Of course, but he was not human.”
    “Pity.” Kay agreed.
    “The operation must begin immediately. Have you checked your legends?”
    “Don’t tell me you don’t know, Curtis.” Kay fumed.
    “Be quiet, mister…” Curtis’s gaze immediately stopped being friendly.
    “I hired you for a very important mission… and I expect a good work. You will deliver my son to Graal safe and sound. Not a single hair should fall from his head. If worst comes to worst you will kill him yourself. And remember, Kay. Immortality! Eternal pleasure or eternal torment. Remember that!”
    “Dad?”
    They both turned over. Kay had started to live by the legend.”
    Arthur Van Curtis was no son of god anymore. They saw a boy wearing shabby jeans, a checkered oversized shirt and battered shoes. There were a dozen lapel pins with planetary coats of arms on his shirt: an undying fashion among the young. Kay remembered that when he had treated himself into a cruise onboard the “Southern Star” a year before, the boy steward attached such lapel pins after visiting each new planet.
    “Are you sure in Kay, son?”
    “Well, yes.” Arthur went silent. “Yes, father. He will try hard.”
    Kay thought ‘What a filthy son of a bitch.’ then stepped towards Arthur and patted his head. “It’s time, son.”
    “It’s time dad.”
    “You’re doing well.” said Curtis sourly. “It sounds convincing.”
    “Everything will be all right, Mister Van Curtis” Arthur promised while taking Kay’s hand.
    “Me, Arthur and Kay to the imitation room.” Van Curtis commanded without bothering to hide the irritation in his voice.
    The world around them flickered and changed. They disappeared from a hall filled with control panels and appeared in a tiny empty room. The walls were tiled with pale blue stones and there was a single door there.
    “Go now.” Curtis pushed Kay to the door. “I don’t know how much time you will have but everything will happen quite real.”
    The door opened as soon as Kay had touched it. He entered the airlock – a tiny cylindrical cabin with two more hatches in it. So… the right one leads to the cargo hold and to the engine bay, the left one leads to the living module. It was a small freighter, one hundred maybe one hundred and fifty tons of working load, one of several thousands that scurry across the galaxy. There were a couple of space suits in the protective cases, a photograph attached with a sticky tape on the wall – a pretty woman was wagging a finger and the sprawling words ‘See if there is a planet before getting out!’.
    Yes, it was a greeting from caring Mrs. Ovald to her scampish husband and naughty son. The buzzard Van Curtis worked thoroughly.
    Kay looked at the opened ‘external’ hatch. Curtis Van Curtis put his hand on his son’s shoulder and was telling him something. The only words Kay heard were “… remember, I am always with you. Return immediately if the situation goes out of control. I love you Arthur and I believe in you. Don’t hurry; we have an eternity at out disposal…”
    An eternity of pain…
    Kay turned away and checked the space suits. The small one was nearly new while the bigger one was well worn but still in a rather good condition.
    There was a noise of the closing hatch.
    “I’m thinking about buying a new spacesuit. What do you think son?” asked Kay without turning around “If this flight proves profitable.”
    “Of course, dad.”
    Arthur’s eyes were dry, but Kay had seen a lot of tears that are wept somewhere inside.
    “You look sad, Arthur. What are we going to do?”
    “Let’s go to sleep. We’ve already checked the cargo, so…”
    Kay nodded. Many novices think that the death in a sleep is the easiest one. They’re wrong. Usually you wake up anyway…
    Send me a PM if you need me.

  18. #38
    Завсегдатай
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Ukraine
    Posts
    5,076
    Rep Power
    23
    Рамиль, когда ты успел научиться так шпарить по-английски?

  19. #39
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Other Universe
    Posts
    8,501
    Rep Power
    28
    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka
    Рамиль, когда ты успел научиться так шпарить по-английски?
    Ну, это заняло около 20 лет )))
    Send me a PM if you need me.

  20. #40
    Завсегдатай Crocodile's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    село Торонтовка Онтарийской губернии
    Posts
    3,059
    Rep Power
    17
    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka
    Рамиль, когда ты успел научиться так шпарить по-английски?
    Ну, это заняло около 20 лет )))
    Nice! And, by the way, good choice of the book! The next one should be The Knights of Forty Islands. That might be more challenging.

Page 2 of 9 FirstFirst 1234 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


Russian Lessons                           

Russian Tests and Quizzes            

Russian Vocabulary