Tuesday, October 15, 2013

An Appreciation of “Xenia” of Ngarr -- Popcorn by the Colonel #66A

An editorial from the Galactic Times (reproduced with permission):

The three habitable planets orbiting Ngarr have local names, but the cultures of the planets have so intermingled that outsiders just call them Ngarr I, II, and III.

One reason for the intermingled tri-planetary homogeneity is the shape-shifting ability of the dominant species, which apparently arose on Ngarr II and spread to Ngarr I and III.

It turns out that when everyone can look like anyone, everyone wants to look like everyone else!

The Ngarrian language, however, is notoriously difficult for outsiders to learn, and the Ngarrians return the favor by seldom learning Marain or any other common galactic language.

When the time came to insert defensive bloodlines into the dominant species on Terra (Sol Thirdstone), which has not yet qualified for membership in -- or even been allowed to know of -- the Galactic Federation, an exceptional member of a distinguished Ngarrian leadership family was chosen to “play human” on Terra after First Wave Corps had spread enough prototype “feral hogs” on-planet as support staff.

The chosen volunteer’s birth name is unpronounceable by non-Ngarrians, so she was given the training name “Xenia.”

Despite every effort to make not only Xenia’s external appearance but her internal organs, larynx, and vocal cords indistinguishable from those of a human, she had great difficulty achieving perfect fluency in the several Terran languages necessary for her assignment, especially one called “English.”

When her instruction and drills in English were sufficiently advanced, it was decided to test her at a dance attended by, among others, the Terra-based galactic linguist Zoltan Karpathy, who was informed only that one of his dance partners would not be a native English speaker.

After oiling his way around the floor with every woman through the door, he unerringly picked out Xenia and announced, with a voice too eager and a smile too broad, that Xenia, for all her beauty, was a fraud, and that although she must have studied with an expert dialectician and grammarian, he could tell that she was born Ngarrian!

Not just Ngarrian, but of royal blood! A princess!

Her sponsors were crestfallen and sang the blues that night. They duly considered and rejected Ngarrian ritual suicide.

Xenia, however, did not give up. She kept at her training and at last achieved the necessary fluency. Now, no longer “Xenia,” she is a well-known person in a high position in Terran affairs.

Indeed, Xenia so “got the hang” of passing for Terran that she broadened her portfolio. She is now several highly-placed and influential persons of both of Terra’s two sexes, and impeccably impersonates still others at need.

Thanks to her talent and perseverance, and the talent and perseverance of thousands of other Ngarrians serving on Terra, experts estimate that the planet is, or soon will be, genetically impenetrable by the enemy.

If, Havohej forbid, Terra ever falls within the enemy’s sphere of control, the enemy will face the choice of destroying the planet or leaving it alone -- colonization will not be an option. In short, Terra will never be an enemy base planet.

Well done, “Xenia.” Well done, Ngarrians.

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