by Boris Dolingo

It was a wonderful view of the gulf opened from the fifth floor of the hotel built at the coast. The ocean was stretching up to the horizon, rich shoots of trees vaguely similar to Mediterranean pines, approached the water, leaving a strip of purest white sand, on which small waves were unwillingly rolling up. Above these lazy waters local birds made circles – some resembling very much earthly seaguls, and some completely exotic in the way it should be on the other planet.

At the distance of about three kilometers the yacht slided over the water, but on the beach there were very few people, several guests only. The nature around was full of calmness and serenity. “One hardly could beleive,” Ivan Ziegler thought, “that only four years ago there were siver fights for Alla”. 

The media widely commented these battles those days. Fortunately, the fights have appeared to be quick, and the surface of a planet had suffered a little: almost at the beginning of the conflict the shock formation of Earth Federation had cut off the main forces of Prats, and the aliens could not arrange mass bomb raids.

Ivan looked at his watches. “Damned Shamil,” he thought. “Dragged me out to here and not even hasn’t meet me, but doesn’t appears himself for a second day!”

Trying to calm down, Ivan walked to and fro across the room and already not for the first time tried to clear up all that he heard and read about Alla.

Alla situated far enough from the nearest populated system of the Federation. And right here Shamil Gotye, his school-friend, served as a government officer. Shamil occupied not the least position in the committee of Security department of Planetary Diplomatic Mission or shortly PDM – the organization playing in the developed Space aproximately the same role, which the legendary Uited Nations played long ago on the Earth. The department was engaged in trusteeship of planets, where already somewhow or other, but civilizations came into existence. 

If one would think about it, not only Prats, but Earthlings themselves when they just started to develop the distant Space, acted against new opened worlds not as good Samaritans. Especially if the natives there hadn’t left caves yet. In this way a couple of cultures were radically changed – their representavitives had been dragging on unhappy, though well-fed, existence in quickly built reservations on their own planets, which became appendages in the interstellar structure of mining and tourist industry. 

But when Earthlings had faced the deeds of Prats, they were horrified so, that the rigid laws had been accepted. According to these laws now none of corporation could conduct autocratic business in new opened worlds, if there were any intelligent form of life there – whatever of natural resources had been found on that planet.

Three-hundred-year experience of flights into deep Space had revealed certain regularity of beginnings of the life in the Universe – contrary to many statements, the life turned out to be not very rare thing, although not met, naturally, at every step. Not everywhere mammals managed to climb up to the top, but forms of beings had considerable similarity. Probably it must be expected: the identity of physical laws in our Universe would give rise to the considerable indentity of life development, and, therefore, of types of this life in most cases.

Pratts, whose civilization was based on siver exploitation of natural resources of each planet they discovered in the Space, had begun to use meek Allanies as clever plough cattle. They imperturbably practised slavery even in their own society, and there was no reason to wait more humane attitude to representatives of other races. Earthlings hadn’t directly sunk to similar things even earlier, but having liberated Alla, they had adopted concrete laws protecting young cultures. 

  There had been a lot of persons who would have been keen on to make profit at wealthes of Alla – the planet had great deposits of rare earthes, uranium, gold, diamonds, and so on, and in addition the climate was like in paradise, because of the appropriate inclination of the planet axis. 

Recently, the resorts started to grow here actively, though lands for hotels were granted only on the rights of the rent from aborigens for ten years with possibility of subsequent prolongation. Protection of the aborigines from destroying influence of the technological civilization, until Alla’s population won’t be ready for this style of life, became the announeced state policy of the Earth Federation. 

Gold or those diamonds were allowed to export only as an official payment from aborigines for certain services, which Earthlings could provide to them. If any tourist was cought at the customs with a small pack of these valuables but without appropriate papers, the law appeared to be very severe: lawbreaker met at least the downturn in his Social Status for five points. For rather succesive person it meant the complete crash of the carrier. For a young man, who hadn’t mannaged to achieve an appropriate level of SS, this punishment turned into years of compulsory work, and on its end meant lifelong adjudication of only First SS, which held him at the bootom of the social life.

That was why – as Mass-Media informed – only businessmen who worked in the field of tourist business or trading consumer goods presented at Alla after the end of the war with Prats. Besides this, less than one year ago it was found out that Allanias simply went out of mind for pieces of Earth visual arts – paintings, sculptures and similar things, аnd it was significant that not for those brought from the Earth, but made, so to say, “at place” and “from life” – aborigens paied for such pieces of art generously. 

This was opening certain possibilities for that kind of business, however, not everyone could afford to fly to Alla – it was too distant and too expensive travel. But, nevetheless, as soon as Mass-Media stated to talk about demand on pieces of visual arts, a large number of art-creators rushed there. Often they reached Alla for last money, depending to make a fortune. Formally, there was nothing unlawful in it, but when at the customs the next “Vincent van Gogh” or “Jeff Koons” was arrested during illegall export of fifty kilo of diamonds, PDM reacted in appropriate way: the entry for those “painters” had been limited not less rigidly than the entry for other businessmen. Now if an art-creator wanted to get to Alla, he had to receive the exact order with the corresponding notirized certification. 

Shamil had called Ivan urgently and by very expensive trunk dispatch, in which he gave him to understand, that there was a brilliant order just exactly for him, Ivan Ziegler. Ivan realized pretty well that his friend risked greatly, having used his official position, and this meant that the order really worthed all this. 

And Ivan was really stranded after his divorce: Eigul had appeared to be really true bitch, and Terrestrial laws in similar questions, especial after Epoch of Great Reformation of Islam, in practice protected women rather than men. It’s necessary to say, that in many respects Ziegler had been the only person to blame here: he believed in “true love” and had not cared to register nuances how to share property after possible divorce.

The former wife, having proved in court, that she had no other sources of imcome, had completely fleeced the art-creator, who just only started to earn sufficiently enogh fro a living. Anyway, it was hardly worth to blame her more than existing laws.

So, overnight Ivan found himself without a new house in Nairobi – the place on the Earth, where advanced art-creators had been taking up their residence, and his bank account became so poor, that one would consider inappropriate to call it “the account”. Eigul and her lawer, having flew into passion, tried even to grab the ACAK – Art-Creator Apparatuses Kit, but Ivan had managed to uphold his “implements”, because it also was the only sourece of income for him.

Well, and at present, Shamil by terribly expensive stellarcom had demanded for Ziegler to drop everything and come here at once.

“Move your ass to Alla, buddy! – declared Shamil.

Ivan explained without spirit that he was almost beggar now and he had to put in pledge his last pants to buy tickets to Alla.

“That means you have to pledge it!” insisted Shamil. “Pledge whatever you have, but arrive immediately!” “You will return everything hundred, no – thousand times! And if my bosses will learn about my protection to you, I’ll be fired in a second. That’s why I call you not from my office, but for my own expence, and loose fuckung lot of money every minute.”

“Well, at least in a few words – tell, what’s the order?” Ivan made last attempt to bleed more information out of his friend.

“Just AR-RI-VE!” Shamil uttered distinctly, as if cut. “I have told you: if you come here noew, then you’ll leave Alla being a rich man. And being rich officially! The hotel for you will be reserved and payed – for a couple of days I’ll pay myself, and don’t even think of standing me up! I have already sent an inquiry for your visa – through the Planetary Mission channel, by the way. And, look: if you stiff me with it, I”ll be in total shit, for sure. Find money where you want, but in two weeks maximum you must be here. Bye, see you soon!” 

Gotye disconnected.

About a minute Ivan looked directly in front of him at the point, where the image of his friend was shimmering before this. Then he cursed with relish and, like a tiger in the cage, started to go to and fro over the miserable room where he had to move in recently.

Nice advice – to take a ticket to Alla! There were no one-way tickets to Alla, so he should surely buy a return ticket, although with an open date. This pleasure would cost two thousand, not less. Add money for the time of the flight – and this is a week on the board of the liner-ship, where foods and drinks surely won’t be sold at reduced prices. 

And not a single order for art-creating for last three months, and no one who could lend him some money now…Total shit!

Ziegler sighed and via Space Information System transferred necessary sun to the company which ran flights to Alla. At his distrofic account there were only six thousand credits left – and he had still to live for this money somehow for absolutely uncertain period of time. But what if Shamil suggests playing fast and losing? Though… Anyway, Shamil never had a reputation for being windbag. Therefore? He had fished out really amazing order…

Somebody knocked at the door of the room, and Ivan hastily shouted “Come in!”

Appeared hotel attendant, dressed in certain similarity of arhaic earthly tailcoat, made specially for Allanians, but which all the same looked comically. Probably, it was simply necessary to get used to this.

Allanians also had racial differences, but in general they fall under certain specific “standard” as well as Earthlings. It was definitely possible to say that aborigines reminded people – they were huimanoids, but at the same time looked ridiculous painfully. By figure they reminded most of all a mixture of a man and penguine – almost the complete absence of neck, sloping shouders and very broad pelvis. 

The natives looked ridiculously in services of shuttles’ terminals or at hotel receptions. Squat-figured, short-legged and with rather flat faces they seemed to be characters from grotesque animation. But Allanians almost idolized Earthlings, and it strongly smoothed away not good sensations which Ivan began to experience immediately on having seen the first inhabitant of the planet. 

The attendant bowed Ziegler and offered a letter in nanoenvelope – art-creator wasn’t not doubting a second, that it was from Shamil. Sending the message in such a way meant that Gotye tried to keep deep conspiration.

Having shown the door to attendat and royally tipped him ten credit, Ziegler rubbed a special seam of the envelope by decoding slot of his personal communicator. In a second the material of the letter silently rustled, breaking up, and in air there appeared Shamil’s image.

“Old chap!”, Shamil pleadingly touched his heart by his right hand. “Am guilty for didn’t meet you, but I’m government officer, so I have certain duties! Hurry up to inform you, that everyting is all right with our order. I’ll be today in the evening, we’ll meet – and I shall tell you everything, and we’ll discuss all the things. Till that time, I pray you not to chat with anybody about anything. If there would be any questions – say that simplyyou have come on your vacation and you are looking for some orders, and that’s all. Not a sound more! I’ll be soon.”

The image disappeared, and there remained tiny pinch of dust from the envelope at the table. Ivan hemmed, puffed at the table and then dragged himself to the beach.


х х х


Gotye, as he promised, returned tonight.

Ivan had enough time to swim a lot, tan a lot, dine in the restaurant with more than acceptable prices and chat with one of the guests, who introduced himself as a representative of the MUC, Marshian Uranium Consortium. 

Ziegler was surprised – he assumed that if there were no development of minerals on Alla under earthly technologies, then businessmen of this kind had nothing to do here. In any case, Ivan told only that that Shamil recommended about himself.

“Well,” the businessman smiled, “judging from the fact that you’ve found money simply to come here “to look for an order”, you do not live in misery”.

Ivan shrugged.

“All in this world is rather relative” he said philosophically. “Scraped by halves. And how you plan to run your business here? You see, one surely couldn’t open an uranium mine on Alla!”

The businessman smiled readily:

“Certainly! But, you see, PDM considers different ways of inclusion of those deposits of uranium in the number of products on income from which the natives could develop their civilization faster.” He giggled and added: “To develop in the way how it’s necessary for the Federation, understand?.. And if gold and diamonds they still somehow pick out from the ground and bring to us, then uranium or niobium they won’t ever exnract themselves. In any case it would be necessary to find certain compromise. PDM has to think it over now, racks its brains over it – and here I am!” He laughed with obvious feeling of his own advantage. “Anyway, we are the oldest mining company outside the Earth!”

“I understand”, Ivan nodded thoughtfully.

He was going to ask one more question, but at this moment at the veranda of the restaurant entered Shamil. The diplomat looked over the hall, empty by two-thirds, and went directly to the table where Ziegler sat.

Shamil looked as a real government officer, and his status could be felt in everything. 

Decorative kufiya in colours of the Federation; light, almost transparent to the weather burnous, in the wide low neck of which emerged traditional white shirt with bow tie; at the middle finger of his left hand was impressive seal ring – the communicator with the emblem of PDM. Up to shine polished black sharp-nosed shoes looked out from under folds of clothers as beaks of two curious birds.

The friends hugged one another, Shamil expressly coldly nodded to the uranium businessman, and that, having felt he was one too many here, quickly said “goodbye”.

“Come on,” said Ziegler when after traditional questions “Well, how?..” they drank the first glass, “confess and give it to me straight: what is this dammned job you’ve found for me?”

“Ah!” Shamil smiled broadly and wagged his finger. “Such order is difficult to find, having not been the government officer, but to earn on it absolutely officially is simply. The main thing is to observe the proprieties, to say so… By my word, in certain time you will leave Alla as really rich man! And, by the way, your reputation as art-creator will rise seriously, you’ll acquire real glory. You see, for the time being, very few people managed to create here something comperatively monumental. All art-creators just dickered here by the present time… You, I hope, will donate to old friend ten percents for my efforts? Well, should I also earn something besides my salary, right?

“No worries, buddy,” agreed Ivan, “but what is it the order so brilliant, that one could become rich? Really large money there?”

Gotye slyly screw up his eyes, examined Ziegler for a second and then poured in glasses tequila, which, as Ivan had heard, was nearly to be locally produced from agave having perfectly striked roots here.

“I swear on Allah, on this supposedly not drinking god of ancestors, you will earn a lot,” assured Shamil.” For success of our common business!”

They licked salt, drank and snaked slices of lime, having sriked roots here too, as well as agave. 

“Just weigh it…” said Shamil. “How much, you say, your vixen has taken from you?”

“About three million, in total.”

“Good sum,” Gotye agreed respectfully and waved his hand: “But forget it! You will return everything here, and with addition. I do not know how many time will it take for you to make a statue of the man, height about five meters, but approximately you will receive ten million! Like this?”

Ziegler rounded off his eyes and whisled.

“Not bad, yeah?” continued Shamil. “Two million for a meter of the creation! The customers, though, complain, that they have turned their pockets inside out, but they will find money, they have no where to go.”

If somebody else sad that, Ivan won’t ever believed it, but Shamil always was very perfect in all things – and that was why he occupied his job in PDM.

“Creation?” asked Ivan in perplexity. “What a creation?”

  “Statue, usual statue. You can make a statue?”

“Statue of whom? Of a local native? Or their god?”

Shamil gigled:

“I tell you – of the human! It is one military spaceman. Though he’s almost a god for these locals.”

“No problem, I shall do! And who is it which has received such honor?”

“A pilot of an attack astrocraft from the first earthly force, which has appeared near Alla. They were first who was egaged in battle with Prats.”

“Whence aborigines know about such things?” Ivan was surprised. “And why they want the statue of this pilot?!”

Shamil grinned and poured more tequila.

“The creation!” he lifted his index finger upwards. “The natives terribly like this word. Try to speak “the cration” as often as possible – they will like your work much more.”

“OK, I’ll act this way,” promised Ziegler, already slightly having got tight.

Shamil grinned again and continued his explanatories.

“The pilot name was…” he rammaged a little in holographic windows, jumping out from his stamp-ring, “Hasim Yarantsev. His strike-fighter was shot down, and he made emmergency landing on Alla just at the area near one local village in the mountains. Prats sent a detachment to take him, but whether they have underestimated our pilot’s capabilities, or this Hasim proved to be very well trained commando, but he has managed to wipe out first squadron of Prats sent for him. The aborigines triumphed, you see: almost the god has felled from the sky and began to kill villaineous invaiders… By the way, let’s drink more for the victory over Prats – Alla is a place of paradise!”

“Yes, I have noticed,” Ivan vigorously noded. “It’s real paradise.”

“And very, very profitable one!” twinkled Shamil, lifting his finger again.

Ziegler made a smacking sound with his lips, sacking a slice of lime:

“And what has happened with the pilot then?”

“Actually, further has happened just that because of what you now have a real opportunity to earn good money. Prats, evidently, have sent next larger squadron. Our pilot understood, that on the following attack they simply smash by bombing everything around, and the village will be wiped off. And he went away from there to prevent the threat of bombing directly to this village. I read in the information report that several men from the village wanted to go with him to fight together, but the pilot said that by this they will give rise for retaliatory operation. Naturally, Prats in any case would destroy this village, but while all this was preparing, our shock troops, which were sent to search this lost strike-fighter, arrived. It happened so, therefore, that the first springboard for attack on Prats has apperead exactly in this region. And the pilot… he fell in battle. Recently the Eder from this village found out that the Earthlings raise monuments in memory of heros – possibly, he saw a our statues or something like this somewhere/ And they desided to immortalize this Yarantsev in their village. In one word – to make the creation. 

Ivan nodded his head and said thoughtfully:

“But damn it, it’s a beautiful heroic story!” 

“Certainly,” agreed Shamil. “The guy has deserved some glory, even after death. Our red-tapists still can’t find time to make his memorial for bidget money, and the aborigines have had these. They already even have organized something like the museum of the hero there, and they now want the statue…”

“The creation,” recalled Ivan grinning vaguely.

“Exactly!” laught Shamil shortly. “And, you know, it was a fortune that their Elder got the fisrt contact on this question just with me, when I was in their disctric on inspection. Of course, I immediately thought about you and described sir Ziegler as the greatest art-creator in this Universe and beyond it. But it is true, really, you great art-creator, and the work of the great Creator cost great money, isn’t it? I have made all efforts to talk up the price!” The diplomat winked to his friend. 

Ziegler grinned involuntarily: 

“The sum is absolutely fantastic. I can’t believe – do they really have this money?”

“Oh, don’t worry! There is a lot of gold and diamond on Alla everywhere. And this order will bring to you not only money, but also glory, as I’ve also already said. Indeed, you want to be really famous – and this is your greatest chance!”

“Sounds tempting…” murmured Ziegler. “And when we should meet with the customers?”

“Tomorrow. Now we’ll wind down a little and tomorrow get down to business.”


х х х


The delegation of four “penguins” had crowded at the room’s door. Shamil, towering above them, stood slightly aside and was grinning gladly. 

An elderly Allanian, the head of the village council, stepped forward.

“We are happy to welcome you, earthman,” he said in rather good united global language, though Ivan saw, that at his neck the small box of interlinguist hang, but not active at the moment. “We respect sir Gotye very much and we are sure that he has chosen so great master for us. We need very good creation to be made…”

Ziegler, as any artist felt unpleasant feeling having heard the word “master”, which in the perception of all creative persons of the Earth for many generations was rather acsociated with routine work than with the status of real “creator”. But he was strongly flattered at the epithet “so great”. 

“Our village owes your countryman a lot for saved lives of our children. If it was not him, malicious Prats would have killed all of us!” added the head of the village.

Ziegler bowed politely:

“It’ll be an honor for me to make the creation of our congener, who has made a lot for people of Alla.”

“Dear Ir-Takki!” Gotye said besides, addressing the elderly Allanian, “I have told to art-creator Ivan what has happened those times. Ivan is very busy, he has a lot of orders, but he managed to find time to fly here and to create outstanding present to the glory of friendship between people of Alla and Earth!”

Ivan tried to hide a smil – he wasn’t just busy, and had no work at all, but Shamil was not only real diplomat, but real businessman. To say more exactly – real trader.

“I invite you to dine with us, then you’ll have a rest after your long way, and tomorrow in the morning you together will set forward to your village.”

At dinner the natives, whose methabolism was very close to that one of Earthlings, ate with pleasure delicacies from the hotel’s restaurant. Ivan inquiored how far is the place where they had to go. It turned out that they would have to drive five hundred kiloveters along the coast on a slider, and further, where the sliders route hadn’t been built yet, about two hundred kilometers more over foothills.

“Certainly it will take long time enough,” whispered Shamil in Ivan’s ear, “but there is no endividual hiring of long distant vehicles for non-officials here for the time being. And I can’t assign a diplomatic transport to you on understandable reasons: although you are here on diplomatic visa, but you are purely private person, therefore it shouldn’t be seen any pulling strings for you, Allah forbid! So you’ll have to get in place with aborigines, who would pick up you at the slider station.”

“But it is dashed interesting!” Ivan was very glad. “They will arrive on local draft animals?

“Aha, on huge stinking horned crocodiles!” Shamil laught shortly and poured more wine – they were drinking local dry one, very similar to earthly Riesling, but with more soft floral taste.

Ivan was perplexed and looked at his friend not knowing what to say.

“Well, just kidding!” laught again Shamil. “In this area there are almost no big predators, everything is absolutely safe. In many places, of course, aborigines use riding animals, but our friends,” he nodded to decorously eating Allanians, “already use simplified autocars. So you will get in place with relative comfort.”


х х х


The beginning of the trip did not differ from those on any other planet already made habitable by man. Slightly less than half an hour – and they arrived to the last station of being under construction slider-root. A standard platform with waiting hall and escalators was empty: the already assembled line stopped suddenly here, and further only bare induction line-bed was stretching. As Shamil told, robots which were assembling the prolongation of magnetic circuit, went forward somewhere about fourty kilometers. 

At the basis of the escalator, several aborigines were waitng. In this region lived vasso-takki, people to which Ziegler’s customers belonged.

Slightly aside were parked three autocar, very simple vehicles, actually, self-propelled carriages on wide wheels of low pressure, capable to run between indicated points on a definite rout in the automatic mode or under manual control of operator. On two carriages were mounted six seats, and on third, a cargo one, only two. On this carriage Ziegler’s tools were put and also some goods, bought by village dwellers in the trading station, situated near the hotel.

After several minutes of respectful bows and touching with forearms – aborigines of this region said “hello” in this manner – the cavalcade was ready for mooving.

Ir-Takki told to Ziegler that the way would take not less that one day and night: on these mountain paths even Earth machines couldn’t move faster. Although usage of narappes, local draft animals, would make the way cjosiderably longer.

The seat was slightly small for earthling, but there didn’t happened much inconvenience, so Ivan made himself rather comfortably for the journey, and the small caravan, rustling by tires on the stony ground, drove along the parth to the mountains. 

By this moment the sun hadn’t had much time to climde up the sky to warm up the air, which was still filled with fresh smells of local herbs. Distant tops of the mountain ridge, stretching in parallel to the sea-coast, loomed with dazzling caps of snow against bright blue sky of Alla. Along the parth, which had very smooth slope here, the wall of high bushes curled thickly. Despite of Shamil’s words about absence of dangerous predators, two vasso-takki, as Ivan noticed, had quite seriously looked crossbows.

While driving, the Elder told about his village. Its name was Ozohr and it stood on the shore of the lake between branches of the mountain ridge that now was srtretching in front of travellers. People of Ozohr raised cattle, spinned yarn, weaved beautiful carpets. Ivan wanted to ask about mining of diamonds or gold, but desided not to accent too often the theme of payment, entirely relaying in this question on Shamil’s words.

In one place on a slope of a stony hill rising at the left from the parth, a huge crater with melted edges yawned, glittered in the sun with caramelized excrescences of caked stone and ground – a scar from fights that happened here several years ago. Further appeared one more crater, then another one, and another. Vegetation around this terrible marks of war was burned out at the distance about hundred meter, and there still grew nothing. Though dezactivating troops no doubt cleaned all residual affected factors of zero-explosions so there could be no penetrating or field-radiation here, Ziegler shivered inside just having imagined what was happening here in the days of war.

The Elder noticed Ziegler’s eyes.

“Prats, because of them it was Hell here” confirmed Ir-Takki, pointing to the crater. “If it were not for Earthlings, they would have turned all our land into Hell. And if it was not for Hasim Yarantsev, the same big hole would have been at the place of our village.”

Ivan nodded and, having turned on the communicator, looked throug pictures of the hero pilot, which Shamil provided for him.

“Hasim Yarantsev…” reverently uttered Ir-Takki.

His younger companions, sitting in the same carriage also respectfully peered at the picture, stretching out their short necks. 

According to biometric data, the pilot Hasim Yarantsev didn’t look a hero very much. Only meter seventy-eight high, though of strong built. Dark blond crew-cut hair, slightly slanting eyes and protruding cheekbones, straight and even a little aquiline nose – in this person evidently mixed different Asian and European genes. The expression of his face seemed too kind – absolutely not match for a combat pilot, as Ivan imagined it. 

 “It is strange,” thought Ziegler, “that the idea to make the monument, came not to heads of Earthlings, but aborigines. However, it frequently happened in the Earth history: any hero or profet very often had been raised high not by his congeners, but by some other nation. Though, probably now it is good, otherwise it colud look as if Earthlings dictate their own heros to Allanians. And in this way it becomes that people of Alla order the monument – exactlier, the creation! – to glorify the hero of the Earth. Fine gesture and very nobble action from their side.”

And besides, very far-seeing, especially together with that museum, which Shamil mentioned: all this land evidently very soon will become Mekke for tourists, and the museum would be most welcomed here. Gold is good thing, but when tourists will be arriving here in good number, different hand-made articles would be sold quite allright near this museum, giving also good income.

Ziegler interested from where they in Ozohr could found ehibits for the Museum of Hasim Yarantsev.

Ir-Nakki looked at the earthling for several seconds, and then asked to repeat the question, having turned on his. The small box squeaked something and the Elder nodded, his face wreathing in funny smile:

“We still had some his things, and your kinsmen permitted us to take some parts of his broken flying machine.”

“Clear…” nodded Ivan. “I will visit your museum with great pleasure.”

The Elder bowed in gratitude, and the rest of vasso-takkies, to whom his interlinguist translated these words, had also nodded approvingly, whispering some phrases in low voices.

Tonight they stopped at the spring, flowing down the mountins, though the carrages with autodriving could move in complete darkness. It seemed that vasso-takkies didn’t trust such possiblities of the Earth equipment, and Ivan, in his turn, didn’t try to dissuade them. Everything around was so interesting for him, that he didn’t mind to spend more time in this wild nature at such a nice and friendly planet. He had admired for a long time at stars scattered over the night sky and at the local natural satellite, which looked slighltly smaller than the Moon and was called here Gutahr-anni. 

All Allanians already slept, and only Ir-Takki was sitting aside, not daring to break the silence. Greenish-grey Gutahr-anni was drifting over the peaks of the mountain ridge, highlighting its sharp outlines against the coal-black starry sky. Somewhere in the night cries of local night birds or beasts was occasionally heard.

At last the Eder coughed gently and asked:

“Tell me, please, respected Ivan, isn’t it terrible to fly among stars?”

Ziegler didn’t expect such a question. He slightly sheavered from light night wind and, trying to select words carefully, answered:

“Now it’s not terrible for us. The present day for earthlings to fly from the Earth to Alla, for example, looks like some distant but rather easy journey. But people of the Earth have mastered star-flying not at once. For a long time, we couldn’t fly so far and so fast. Now we manage this. We fly fast, afar and we didn’t afraid anything in the Space.”

The old vasso-takki sighed:

“How do you think, respected Ivan, could we ever learn this – to fly among stars?”

The question again slightly confused Ziegler – he wasn’t the diplomat and never had been deep in thoughts about the politics, conducted by authorities of Earth Federation on populated planets, where aborigines stayed at the low level of technical development. But judging on defferent examples, nobody strongly had impeded aborigined to receive knowledges of the Earth. Certainly, it was done cautiously and very gradually. It was reported that Earth was building schools, giving knowledges through special programs to most developed peoples on discovered planets, cultivating race tolerance there for these people could further educate their lower developed kinsmen without enslavering them.

“I’m sure you will,” he said. “But such knowledges can’t be obtained at once, you know. You’ll have to study a lot for a long time.”

Ir-Takki sighed again:

“I understand. We want to study very much. Every young vasso-taki in our village eagers to be like Hasim Yarantsev, to be as courageous as he was and to drive the starship as he did! We will build the school for our children by all means after we would save up gold and diamond again.”

In the twilight Ivan with surprise looked sideways at the Allanian:

“Save up again?! Hm…excuse me, what do you mean? You have to save much?”

“Well, for the moment we have to raise the creation of Hasim Yarantsev. Of course, you will creat it for us,” added he with a gentle smile. “We have almost collected the means for the school, but we desided to raise the creation beforehand. First of all, it is the memory for the earthling who has protected us at the expence of his life. Secondly, sir Shamil Gotye said that as we already have the museum of the Hero, we now obligatory have to raise the creation of him. You on the Earth call this a “monument”.”

Ivan scratched the bridge of his nose, suppressing a smile: evidently, Shamil had not badly conned aborigines out of money. 

Aloud he said:

“I’m sure you will manage to save up for the school again. The school also must be bult, isn’t it?”

The Elder threw up his hands:

“We will save up gold and diamonds by no means! It is very hard, but we will. We want to have a good school… But you possibly are tired, respected Ivan. Have a sleep – tomorrow we need to travel almost a half of the day.”

Ziegler nodded and went to sleep under the wheels of the autocar in the sleeping bag he took along with him according to Shamil’s advice.

“Of course, you will save,” he thought. “You have a lot of gold and diamonds here everywhere.”


х х х


They had arrived at place far past afternoon. The road went over the mountain pass, the passage narrowed, there were a lot of landslides, and in general, they moved slowly. The village slightly reminded ancient earthly settlements in Balcans – small houses of flagstones with roofs covered by plates of reddish terracotta were sinking in the greenery of gardens, surrounding almost round lake by picturesque semicircle.

In spite he didn’t go by feet and, moreover, ride on a horseback, Ivan, not accustomed to journeys in such Spartan conditions, really got tired. In Ozohr there turned out no facilities like shower or high-tech toilets – these earthly innovations hadn’t reached here yet, though if there were autocar Ziegler subconsciously had hoped to meet some welfares of civilization here. However, aborigines had something like terrestrial steam-bathes, and simple hot water and steam helped very much to a tired man even in twenty fifth century. So, Ivan firstly felt upset about the absence of earthly facilities, but after the “sauna”, having dipped into the cool water of the lake, he realized that sometimes it was quite possible to live without all rhese familiar things. At least, for certain period of time.

In the morning after the breakfast Ir-Takki took him to show the museum. In the center of the tidy stone shed, like the sanctuary dominated a piece of the strike-fighter’s hull. On it the havily damahed pilot’s uniform was attached. Beside it the unishooter lied – a hersonal weapon, also critically damaged, which earthly diplomats allowed to keep here. Along one of the walls were situated tables, where the locals had displayed other things, belonged to the killed pilot.

In surprise, Ivan noticed a real book here – a shabby small tome of selected poems of different poets from the Earth translated into Commonearth language. The book was printed on natural paper, but had been treated by preservative nanogel – the substance well-known to the art-creator. At one edge the book turned out to be burned a little, but in general it still stayed in rather good condition, taking into account through what it had come through, having survived its owner.

The pilot Hasim Yarntsev exactly had been a romantic, otherwise why would he take verses along with him to operation flights? 

“Think of it…” muttered Ziegler, automatically taking the exhibit in his hands: vasso-takki hadn’t guessed so far to settle the “Don’t touch!” table.

He turned over pages and on one of them his eyes caught the lines written by the ancient poet Alexander Pushkin:

“…In hope of glory and good

Forward I look without fear…” 

Further followed reasonings about deeds of a certain earthly imperior, but not they had become interesting for Ziegler.

“Greatly said,” he thought. 

As if just exactly about this Hasim Yarantsev – that was he who had been protecting the aborigines without fear, though he could possibly silently sit out somewhere in mountains and wait until earthly forces would come. However – no, he feared, of course, but had overcome the fear. Heroes are heroes because nobody sees their fears. He scarcely had been thinking about glory at all, but now glory had found him, and Ivan Ziegler would make a worthy monument for the hero without fail.

“And would earn rather much on it,” the internal voice suggested to Ivan.

Actually, and what of it? He hadn’t flown here free of charge, had he? Threw away a hell of money for tickets, and all that… OK, he will try that the monument will be really worthy one. After all, he himself as the art-creator looks forward if not in any hope of “good”, but in certain hope of “glory”, that’s right. When this part of the continent becomes the tourist center, and it will certainly become, tourists from different planets will see the plate not only with the hero’s name, but also with the name of the sculpture’s author. More precisely – here Ivan smiled – of the creation’s author. Plus, this author will earn a perfect amount of money. In general, everything is getting as best as possible.

He had praised the museun to gladdened Ir-Takki, who after that was telling about the pilot and about the village and aborigines’ life for a long time. Watching this simple and primitive life, Ivan couldn’t help himself from amazing. 

“Why you don’t buy earthly machines?” asked he the Elder of the village. “I’ve just seen here only autocar and different small things.”

The Elder almost guiltily lowered his head. He had noticeably become nervous and even switch on his interlinguist not to confuse words.

“We can buy a lot of wonderful things from Earthlings, but initially we were saving up for the school and because of this we denyed ourselves in many things,” he answered. “When the sum has been already gathered, respected officer Gotye advices us to raise near the museum the creation of Hasim Yarantsev the Hero. It was very good idea, we haven’t guessed ourselves for this. We will pay off with you, respected Ivan, and then immediately would start saving up again for the school. And now we still live as we’ve been living for many years.”

“Well, you have bought autocars, anyway!” smiled Ziegler.

“We need your wonderfull carriages very much. We earn by weaving, and it takes very long time to deliver carpets and knitted things to the market place in the capital of our district by narappes.”

They have been just passing by a long building where in accordance to the Elder’s words the main carpet workshop of the village was situated.

Ivan stopped in perplexity:

“Wait, respected Ir-Takki, and what about the gold? Sir Gotye said, that you have a lot of gold and diamonds!”

The Elder sighed absolutely humanly:

“We have amassed this wealth. Changed our carpets and other things for it. Our women worked tirelessly, and they would work more. Because we need the school also very much.”

“So is it mean that you do not have gold here at all?!”

 Ir-Takki made a cross gesture with both hand in front of his breast, which, as Ivan already knew, meant approximately the same as the expression of helpless regret of Earthlings.

“No, respected Ivan. Gold and glittering stones, which your people call “diamonds”, can be found not everywhere. Our neighbourhood is poor of them, our mountains are of simple stones, and only snow glitters on them. But further to south both gold and diamonds present, unfortunately there are lands of another district. We have no right to mine something there.”

Ziegler scratched the back of his head. 

“Not really…” murmured he, and further they walked on in silence.

After dinner Ivan took a young vasso-takki named Belin as an assistant and went to juts of rocks to search for matching monolite. When the stone was discovered, Ivan cut a suitable piece of rock and, using autocar, minigravitator, included in his creatiting kit, and buckrake, dragged the material to the museum-shed.

Theoretically he could make a precise scale copy-model of Hasim Yarantsev’s figure and face, since all the biometry of that person was at his disposal, then to melt the stone and cast a new copy of any needed hight, but art-creators considered such method as hackwork. All the more, melting of the stone changed its structure considerably, but every creator-monumentalist was tring to preserve the material in natural kind.

 Therefore, Ziegler worked with a diluter – a force field generator, softening a stone layer of adjusted thickness. Diluting effect was lasting for ten seconds only, during which the art-creator had to remove deluted layer and form needed local shapes and lines. Actually it strongly reminded the work under technology of great Michelangelo: “to take a block of marble and to cut off all that is not necessary”. The only difference was that the creator should work not with a hammer and chiesel, but with field nozzle and automatically regulated scrapper. Statues, created so, valued even on the Earth as a nautral art-creator hand-work. And it really had been a natural hand-work, possibly more quickly than the work made by ancient chisel, but needed not less talent and corresponding skills.

During the work Shamil called several times and inquired if everything was all right. Ivan answered briefly that all is fine and continued to create. And all the time he felt sick in heart – he was sorry to rip such a high price for his work, which in the very best case could worth on the Erth not more that five thousand credits and that even under condition that somebody would be ready to pay it. And to not hear this sickness in heart, Ziegler had been working day after day, crawling around the piece of stone with self-forgetful inspiration.

“After all,” repeated he to himself, “it was not me who made natives to lay out these money. As a matter of fact, nobody forced them – they do it under their own will.”

When the creation was finished, he addtitionally cut the pedestal for it and mounted the statue where Ir-Takki asked him – directly opposite the museum entrance. 

At the moment when the large-tonnage former piece of stone soared over its base, the habitats of the village gasp with surprise quietly.

“Respected Ir-Takki, do you satisfied with my work?” Ivan asked the Elder stading close to him.

Ir-Takki answered patiently but at the same time slightly sadly:

“You have created a perfect creation, dear Ivan, we so much greatful to you. Now we should build the school by no means – and we will name it in honor of Hasim Yarantsev.”

“Long will it take to save up for the school?” gently inquired Ivan.

The Elder sighed:

“I think about five or six years. Not less…”

Ziegler was surprised:

“Why so long? You said that first time you have amassed money just in two years!”

The Elder crossed his hands on the breast:

“At present days people from lower valleys change gold and diamonds for our carpets and knitting not so willingly. They prefer to sell all that directly to Earthlings, and then to buy terrestrial goods for the obtained money. This time we will have to save up much longer…”

“Well, of course…” murmured Ivan, “it’s clear.”

Towards evening on the inner porch of the house, which was allocated for Ziegler, appeared several wooden boxes with golden nuggets and diamonds – the payment for his job. 


х х х


The next day on Ziegler’s official inquiry the district’s lawyer had flown by transmobile. Together with the Elder he signed the execution of the contract and gave out to Ivan an official document on jewelry allowing exchanging them to corresponding sums in federal credits at any passenger customs terminal of Alla. The lawyer was ready to provide all the necessary assiatnce in this question immediately.

“All right, come on,” agreed Ivan.

The officer wrote the receipt and with the help of servo-robots shipped boxes on the machine.

“I’ll be glad to present your interests on Alla henceforth, sir Ziegler! We cover any questions of the right, reception of visas, rent and building lease. We have created a full-scale legal servises already.”

He offered his business card, very convenient representation element of business communication, continued during hundred years.

“Thanks!” said Ivan and put the card into the pocket.

The lawer flew away and Ziegler had been hanging around the village and its vicinity for a long time yet. All vasso-takkies whom he met, bowed him and said “Vaes booula, Ake-na!”

Ivan had enough time to learn several words on local dialect and understood that it meant “Thank you very much, Sir!”

He nodded in return and smiled: he was the well-to-do man again, bright prospects ahead – obviously he’d had a good run for the money, thanks to Shamil! Although he felt sick in heart a little, but every time Ivan proved himself that he isn’t by no means guity before vasso-takki. After all, he had performed their order – so is he guilty of something?

Ziegler glanced at the statue created by him – the creation at the postament looked excellently against the background of mirrior-like surface of the lake and rocky mountains, at the tops of which somewhere snows lied richly.

“No doubt, tourists will pour in here,” thought Ivan, “just after traffic infrastructure will be developed more. A year or two at least – and one of tourist spots will be settled in this place. In the mountains they will arrange ski resorts – the money for this will be found. Then vasso-takki possibly could save up faster for their school?..”

Though just this is of great doubt if it happens – the village’s dwellers will hardly have time to think of their school: all of then will become cogs in the machine of tourist business. Of course, Earthlings will build certain educational institutions on money of tourist companies aiming to train personel for hotels, guides, differents service specialists and so on, but it will be scanty education to enter even any third-rate university in the Earth Federation…

“Prats occupy and destroy, and we are much more himane – we simply forge under ourselves all and sundry,” thought Ivan.

Nobody will prevent young vasso-takki and other peoples of Alla to become spaceship pilotes – if they would have corresponding education and training. And though formally nobody prohibits opening here full-fledged schools and even universities, it is absolutely clear that nobody will do this in reality. Exept perhapse some communities manage to save up money for that. But when the machine of entrance tourism start work on a full scale, most of Allanians won’t have time to think of such things – they will shortsightedly swallow all glittering earthly toys, and then it will be too late. Additionally, there are very few Allanians in comparison with billions of Earthlings – the business machine will easily pulverize the population of Alla, made simply repleted servants of them at their own planet. A perfect system and, above all, very humane one. 

It is interesting, had Hasim Yarantsev been defending this village for such future? What he had seen ahead – which “hope of glory and good”? 

“I wonder,” thought Ivan, “if somewhere on the planet Alla aborigines, living hardly at the level of Middle Ages, dream about the school? Most likely – nowhere. As to these people – they had been inspired for such dreams by the admiration of the earthly pilot, died for the sake of their salvation. But it’s possibly the only event on the whole planet scale, similar cases hadn’t take places nowhere.

But vasso-takki, having got in touch with the earthly hero, had seen that there are stars, among which it is possible to fly, and gained the Dream. And they had understood that for the realization of the dream the Knowledge was needed. All other people of this planet behind the tinsels of civilization’s material welfares had seen just the tinsel itself, but this unique village understood that it was something more in the whole world than a beautiful house, self-propelled carriage and live without starvation: there was the whole Space above their heads, and there was the Knowledge. And they began to dream, possibly, for the first time having learnt how to do this. And he just had pressed down this dream with the heavy creation of the earthly hero.

But after all has he to cover the expences for his travelling here?

Ivan took communicator and output the financial information to the virtual screen – his account increased by ten billion credits. The lawer had been acting expeditiously.


х х х

Closer to evening one more trasmobile flew to the village – to Ivan’s great surprise it was Shamil as he was.

“Well,” said Ivan smiling croockedly, when his friend got out of the vehicle, “I just owe you ten percents. Where to transfer?”

The diplomat pulled a face, looking sideway at aborigines, who began to gather around the machine:

“Hush you there! Let’s go aside…”

Shamil looked very worried. He took Ivan aside and asked in low voice:

“You haven’t wagged with anybody at the hotel about the order, have you?”

“I’m not an idiot!” Ziegler felt offended. “Just was doing everything as you told. But what’s the matter?”

“Oh, well, I haven’t expected that I work with such bastards…” Shamil waved his hand. 

Ziegler felt a foreboding of evil:

“Why, what is it?” mumbled he.

Gotye waved his hand again:

“Somebody has ratted to the higher-ups, that I have made your visa through a speeded up procedure, and of course, immediately came to light that it was just you who received the order. They are going to start the investigation officially through PDM.”

“And how it can end up?” 

Shamil hemed:

“How… If we wouldn’t proof that we act in best motivation, I’ll be fired with decreasing of Social Status. You no doubt will be barred for entry to Alla, and all the money you received through this order will be confiscated in favor of PDM. Don’t want to intimidate you, but additionally they can fine you and also decrease the SS.”

“Wow, nice things…” grunted Ivan.

Shamik sweared and shook his head:

“Fuck them!” grumbled he, meaning those who informed against him. “They, son-of-a-bitchs, feel good when somebody else feels bad. What a scum!”

Ziegler nodded sadly. Such a bad fortune the whole last year! Fistly he was fleeced by that skunk, his former wife, and now it turnes out that he had earned more than nothing, having lost certain sums for tickets with possible fine. That with his almost empy account will mean forced labour and also possible decreasing of the SS! Terrible!

“But we have one real way now out of this situation,” informed Shamil. “We could try to arrange everything as a charity.”

“What you mean?..”

“Well, now it is not too late and the investigation hasn’t started yet. So you can donate this money to certain needs of the aborigines. You will completely clean your name, and I maximally receive something like reprimand and warning for that I haven’t informed people at the top in advance.”

Ziegler deeply breathed in the air through the nose and had sadly stared at mountains peakes covered with snow that turned pink in the light of sunset.

“Moreover,” continued Shamil, “you can even earn a little. Leave a million for you and donate the rest to the department of development in PDM. It will happen so that you at least have flown here not for nothing. Well, and you will still make nice advertising for yourself, of course.”

Ziegler smiled crookedly.

“Shamil,” asked he suddenly, “but have you known that village there is no gold here in the? And they have been saving this money for the school?”

The official looked at his pal, squinting from the beams of low sun.

“Buddy, does it really matter – is there gold or isn’t? They had it, and they had payed you. Haven’t had my colleagues been such a scums, everything would had ended up better than perfectly.” 

“But I mean another thing. The locals have been saving money for the school, the real scholl, with modern educating systems!”

“But istead they receive a monument to their hero and now they have a sightseens that doesn’t exist anywhere in the neighbourhood. They will save up money again, never mind!”

“They will hardly save – they have nothing to trade exept their woollen things, but as it is said, prices on these products fell down critically these days.”

“Well, and if they won’t – then what? When the tourist center will be opened here, we build for them absolutely suitable educational institution.”

“Don’t you understand that it will be nothing of the kind? They will be trained only as managers or cooks for hotels.” 

Shamil stared at Ivan with real surprise.

“And why they need something else?” said he with the stress on “they”.

The art-creator shook his head. 

“And what about the dream? “…In hope of glory and good I look forward without fear…” repeated he the words, imprinted in his mind from the book that was lieing at the stand in the museum of the pilot Hasim Yarantsev. “You see – they dream, they hope…”

 Shamil raised his eyebrow:

“What is it?! You poetize, baddy?! Good God – you are lyric, you have always been lyric!” 

Ivan sneered:

“It’s not my poetry – this has been written by one ancient poet. And I’m not such a lyric, don’t exaggerate. I also needed money terribly, and I wouldn’t refuse some glory… But it turnes out that we have killed the dream of these people…”

Gotye shrugged and carefully looked around.

“First of all, they aren’t humans,” said he quietly, but with the pressure. “And, secondly, who has said that we must pull up all savages to the level of Earthlings?”

“Then ain’t we much better than Prats? Those kill the dream together with the body, and we immediately sign up for servants and add-job workers all who stand lower than we on the ladder of the progress. Finally, it turns out that we also kill the souls, because we kill the dream. Why we struggle for Alla? What for Hasim Yarantsev fall in battle?..”

“Hasim Yarantsev?” repeated Shamil and nodede to the monument: “Oh, this pilot… Why we struggle? In order to the Federation could have more resources, in order the Earthlings could have vacations on new good resorts. And so on! Why we move further and further in Space? The law of any development is expansion. Our expansion, exapansion of the Earth! Of Humans!”

“And in order to turn all others into our property to please our convenience? Shamil, what is it – such confidential politics? We are humanists, bringing the happiness all over the Space, aren’t we? But in practice it happens that we do it only for ourselves! Very strange understanding of happiness and freedom! In reality it’s a veiled slavery – that is we consider ourselves deservig these happiness and freedon, but somebody at the same time must remain our slaves, yeah? You know, long ago I’ve read one ancient utopia where one character tells to another about social order of the wonderful country the citizen of which he is. All people there were happy, free from any problems and even most poor ploughman had not less than three slaves. You, federal officials, also think so?”

Gotye looked coldly at Ziegler.

“Yes, we follow a politic that is advantageous for the Earth Federation,” said he, pronouncing every word very clear. “And I would advise you not to reason like this. We both now have to get our asses out of this situation besides all that…”

Silence regained for several seconds.

“Well, okay, it’s time for me to leave,” Shamil said at last. “Need to work out our problem. So, are you ready to make a donation?”

Ivan lifted his hands:

“It’s a proposal which can’t be denyed – is there another choice? Deside where it’s possible to donate – I will write any papers… Listen, and have I to pay ten percents for you from the million that could be left?” 

Gotey curled his lips and waved a hand:

“Damn it! At the moment I can’t receive any money at all! By the way, your order was formalized through the district lawyer – he visited you today. Get in touch with him right now and make a donation yourself. Hurry up, time presses. The lawer will give any prompts to you. Act and pray to that we get away with it.”

Without saying “goodbye” the diplomat went to his trasmobile.

We get,” quietly murmured to his back the art-creator.

Of course, in general, it’s better to earn something and find a way out of this trouble than to get reduced SS…

He put his hand into the pocket and touched elastic rectangle of the business card. Ziegler took the card out and once again read the name and other regalia of the lawyer, switching on the commucator simultaneously.

Towards his, slightly limping, walked the Elder. He bowed to the art-creator and told that in the center house of the village they were setting the festive table in honor of the creation’s finishing, and they would like to entertain their guest. Ziegler bowed in return and said that he would accept the invitation with pleasure and join the party in half an hour.

“Respected Ivan,” asked Ir-Takki, “there is one more thing I’d like to discuss with you…”

“Yes, certainly,” nodded Ziegler, thinking only about how to start the conversation with the lawyer in a proper way.

“We were visited by guests from other villages,” informed the Elder. “They also want you to make creations for them.”

Ziegler turned his eyes away from the image on the communicator’s panel, glowing in front of him in the air.

“Oh,” said he, smiling involuntarily, “they also have earthly heros?” 

The Elder had crossed his hadnd on the breast and answered with noticeable pride:

“Oh, they haven’t. But their Elders want to make creations of themselves. Of course, they wouldn’t pay so much as for the creation of real earthly hero, but Artukka and Tahrns are rich villages, they mine gold and diamonds. They said that they pay you by three billion for each creation, if you agree.”

“Great!” thought Ivan. “With that state of things I even shouldn’t think of where to send these ill-fated ten billion. I have to know could this lawyer help me to prolong the visa?”

“Respectable Ir-Takki,” asked he, “can you rent me a plot of your village’s land somewhere around here? I hope I’ll receive an assistance to get all the necessary papers.” 

“You want to create something else for us, dear Ivan?! It would be great, but I’m afraid we won’t be able to find money to pay to you immediately…”

“No-no-no, you shouldn’t think of money, and I’m not going to create anything here, at least for the time being… But…” 

It-Takki was looking at him with surprise, waiting for continuation.

The art-creator suddenly smiled broadly:

“But, anyway… You know, let’s possibly say like this: for you I want to create the school!”

The end

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