Manomar and Kirsten came in immediately.
“Will you really teach me the letters, my master?” Kirsten asked. The girl seemed excited by the idea.
“Yes, if you like.” Ali Pasha answered, but his mind was elsewhere.
“You said print.” Manomar pointed out the gaff.
“I said imprint, didn’t I?” Ali Pasha countered, but Manomar shook his head. “Perhaps he did not notice,” Ali Pasha suggested. Manomar shook his head again, and Ali Pasha shared the last sentence the Examiner said as he left. Manomar nodded at that as if to say that he was not surprised.
“I don’t understand,” Kirsten interrupted. “Are you examining the Examiner?”
“Yes, he is not from our world, and my chit has analyzed his language. He is Sorvee, and that is not a good thing.”
Kirsten looked very confused. “Not of this world, you said.” Manomar took her gently to a seat while he and Ali Pasha did their best to explain. She had a most curious comment when they were done. “So that really was my father by the docks, only it was my father from another world.”
“And is there another Kirsten there?”
Kirsten smiled, and it was a lovely young smile on the big girl’s face. “I am twins and I don’t even know it.” She made a joke before she turned serious. “And you know my father and mother on that other Earth,” she said. When they confirmed her intuition, she understood. “But I may be a very different person in this world,” she said in her honest way. “How do you know I can be trusted?” Ali Pasha and Manomar looked at each other while Kirsten put her finger to the edge of her lips, looked up, and said, “I think we need to catch him in the act, admitting that he is a fraud from another world.”
Manomar and Ali Pasha agreed, and they spent a large part of that evening planning their moves.
Jill, Ethan, Peter Alexander and Colonel deMartin spent the evening discussing the matter as well, and Jill was as up front as she could be.
“The Sorvee appeared in the worlds about four hundred years ago. They were the descendants of the Assyrians or Akkadians if you prefer. They spoke of their home as eternal Ninevah. The Sargon was what they called their ruler. They spoke of peace and claimed that they only wanted to explore and settle peacefully where they could. They told us of the terrible war on their world, and we checked and found most of their world uninhabitable, worse than Doctor Augustus’ world, far worse.”
“That was back in the days when the Gaian began to realize that not everyone finding their way into the Worlds was sweetness and light,” Ethan added out of his own store of knowledge, which he was beginning to read more and more easily.
“Let me see if I can do this.” Ethan interrupted, and Jill quieted to give him the chance. “The ancient Assyrians in the Sorvee world took Elam, Media and Persia, so there was no one to be allied with Babylon and rebel. The Assyrians conquered Egypt, even in my world, and then, unlike the Persians who came after them in my world, they turned the Greeks against each other and picked up the pieces. They did much the same in China during the period of the warring states. In fact, their history suggests that they got very good at fomenting trouble between peoples so they could step in after those peoples knocked each other silly.”
Jill interrupted. “You are still comparing too much to your own world,” she said, but she smiled. “Let us say that in time, the whole world came under Assyrian domination, and they were not a nice and kind people even from the beginning. That made for Akkadian overlords who progressed over the centuries in luxury and in technological wonders, while everyone else lived in abject slavery, kept ignorant, uneducated, diseased and starving. You get the picture. The day came when the people finally rebelled, and the Sorvee destroyed their own planet rather than allow the people to be free.”
“So then they found their way into the worlds and claimed to be refugees from a sad but terrible war,” Ethan said.
“And everyone felt sorry for them, but just when people started asking questions, we had to deal with the Nelkorians. That took a hundred years while the Sorvee had a relatively free hand to establish a presence in many worlds. Do not misunderstand. Most terrible things are homegrown. The salvation for the worlds, as far as the Sorvee go, is the fact that there are not many of them. Very few of them survived their rebellion-war. But wherever you see drug pushers or suicide bombers or Nazi or Communist Parties with their Auschwitz and gulags, or book burners, or those who ridicule education or reading, or Societies of the Mahdi, look carefully. If they can drive a civilization into the ground, into ignorance and desperation for a savior, their chances of taking over and ruling that world, as they once did in their home world, are greatly enhanced, and they are not above every dirty trick in the book.”
“How can anyone even think that way?” Peter Alexander asked. “We may believe our way is best, but when we say this and try to convince others it is because we care about people and we want everyone to have the best. We do not support any thinking that diminishes people. No right-thinking person does.”
“Even Ali Pasha’s world of slaves and Eunuchs believes that their Prophet is the best way for all people and they wish all people would to come to the light so there would no longer be the need for slaves and eunuchs,” Ethan added.
“There will always be criminals,” deMartin jumped in. “But I have never imagined the criminals running the world.”
“But you don’t fully understand,” Jill said, and she turned to Ethan. “There were well meaning people in your own world not that many years ago that justified slavery based on the idea that black people were somehow inferior or less human than others. A hundred years later, many Germans honestly believed that the true, pure Arians should rule everyone else.” She looked at them all. “Over the centuries, where no one has been there to tell them otherwise, the Sorvee convinced themselves that their entire world was full of wild, half-humans who needed to be conquered and kept in their place, almost like caged animals, or maybe domesticated animals. They treated their own fellow humans like cattle, and never thought twice about it. It was no stretch for them to consider the people in the worlds in the same way. It may be more difficult to simply conquer the worlds as they once did their own world. They know there are those who will try to stop them, but that has not stopped them from using all of their old tricks. The same rules apply. If they can destroy the local civilization and get people to beat each other senseless, they can step in and take over.”
“But to behave so.” Peter Alexander wanted to argue.
“Listen, they think nothing of lying, cheating, stealing, even mass murder of your people because they do not consider your people to be real people. I know it is a hard concept to grasp, but only the Sorvee are real full-fledged people to other Sorvee. You must understand that to them you are no more than sophisticated animals, maybe slightly above dogs.” Jill finished.
“Maybe,” Ethan said the last word and realized that Ali Pasha was going to have his hands full for years to come.