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whispering the answer to another does not  In what way? Edith said.  There are a
change the rules of the test. You have used up couple of restraints on me, you know.
your question to Number One.  I only meant that it s been hours and hours,
 I understand that, Sethaber, McAleer said. and you haven t yet asked me how I did it.
 May I continue?  I thought you made a lucky guess, and that
Sethaber motioned McAleer to proceed. you asked the questions to stall for time.
 Number Two, McAleer called out.  Tell  Nope, McAleer said, grinning.  I almost
me what Number One said, and whether you did something like that, but then I realized that,
think he was telling you the truth. within the rules, there was a way to figure out
Number Two squeaked loudly in outrage. who was who. So I used it.
 He tell me he yerega, but he not! He lie! He  With those questions? Edith looked
ilantha! I am yerega! I tell you truth! puzzled.  But how could you know who was
Number Three, unbidden, broke in.  Nah! telling the truth and who wasn t? You didn t
They both ilantha. They both lie to foul up test! even hear the answer that Number One gave 
I the only yerega here! Believe that! I not lie! unless you read his lips or something?
McAleer turned to Sethaber.  I have your  I didn t have to. McAleer sipped at his
answer, Sethaber. Number One is ilantha. second cup of coffee.  Figure it out for yourself.
Number Two is yerega. Number Three is If Number One were yerega, what would he
ilantha. have said in answer to my first question?
 You are correct, Sethaber said.  Welcome,  That he was yerega, of course. He would
yerega. have had to tell the truth.
The sincere happy squeaking of the yerega  And if he were ilantha?
Troof and the insincere and not-so-happy  He would have  he would have lied!
squeals of the ilantha Troof merged into a high- Edith grinned in surprise.  He would have had
pitched roar of mass approval. to say yerega! So you knew what Number One s
McAleer went over to Edith and hugged her. answer was, all along!
 I almost feel bar-mitzvahed, he said.  That s right, McAleer said.  Then I asked
Number Two the second question. Since
14
Copyright 1989, 2000 by Brad Ferguson. All rights reserved.
Duplication or redistribution of this file in any form whatsoever is strictly prohibited.
 To Tell the Troof by BRAD FERGUSON
Originally published in Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 1989
Number Two told the truth about what Number There was quite a crowd of Troof at the
One had whispered to him, I knew he was field. McAleer thought it was too bad that Edith
yerega right off, and anything else he d say wasn t in town for the landing, but she was a
would be the truth, too. Number Two told me few thousand miles away on a survey job; the
that Number One was ilantha, and I could Fed had hired her to correct previous reports and
believe it. Then Number Three burst out in come up with new data of her own. She led a
mock indignation and said both of the others skilled team of yerega Troof and was much too
were liars, which I knew wasn t true. That made happy at her work to leave Henderson. McAleer
Number Three ilantha. Actually, I think I scored was glad about that; he would miss her terribly
some extra points by having to ask only two if she left.
questions, but it s just a feeling.  Hey, Father! came a cry.  Welcome to
 Hmmm, Edith mused.  Well, field!
congratulations. I must admit that your solution McAleer spotted Klatho, the field
to the problem was pretty goddamn elegant, if superintendent, coming toward him. The priest
you ll pardon me. greeted him warmly.  Good to see you again,
 Forgiven. McAleer smiled broadly.  And he said.  Any word on who s aboard?
here s a little bonus to end the day. Now that  No VIPs, Klatho answered.  Charter
I m yerega, anything I say is the truth. Think of flight, though. No passenger list broadcast. My
what that means to a missionary on a planet full boys handle landing okay. I come to watch. This
of skeptics! first craft to land here since Edith crash, you
Edith stirred her coffee.  I m glad you re know. Very big deal.
pleased. I m not sure I am, though. Does that  I know, McAleer said.  I wonder who s
means the Troof are all going to become aboard?
Orthodox Catholics? The boat settled softly onto the field; its
McAleer shrugged, still smiling.  No, it engines died. Several Troof quickly rolled a
doesn t. It just means I m going to get a chance gangway up to the forward port airlock.
to make my pitch, that s all. Just because I only A tall, thin, unsmiling man in clerical garb
tell the truth doesn t mean I tell the only truth emerged.
there is.  Hey, that guy dressed like you, Klatho
 I think I followed that, Edith said. said.  Another priest?
 Seems to be, McAleer said.  In fact, he s
Several months later another ship arrived, a got  missionary written all over him.
landing boat from a much larger craft orbiting  Yeah? Where?
Henderson. McAleer gave himself an hour off  Just an expression. I d better meet him,
and left his busy, bustling mission to meet it. Klatho.
The gevster did its usual noisy job of McAleer walked to the foot of the gangway,
transporting him to the field; his new assistant, a extending his hand.  Welcome to Henderson.
yerega named Ghrosset, accompanied McAleer I m Mort McAleer.
and cursed at the machine as much as Zweebl The cleric frowned.  Oh. The competition.
ever had. He shook hands limply.  I m Harold Smith.
Lutheran, in case you were curious.
15
Copyright 1989, 2000 by Brad Ferguson. All rights reserved.
Duplication or redistribution of this file in any form whatsoever is strictly prohibited.
 To Tell the Troof by BRAD FERGUSON
Originally published in Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 1989
 Well, to tell you the truth, I was. I m  Depends, said Smith.  You know
Orthodox Catholic myself. anything about mission work?
 I know, Smith said unpleasantly.  I read  Could learn. I quick study.
our report, thank you. You ve been dealing with Smith considered it. To McAleer, he said,
these Troof for awhile, haven t you?  You know this Troof?
 Just about a year now. I think you ll find  I haven t seen him in some months,
them pleasant people. McAleer said carefully,  but his fellows speak
The two began walking toward the admin well of him. They say he s a hard worker.
building. Suddenly, McAleer spotted Zweebl  Hmmm. Smith scratched his chin.  At
emerging from the crowd. least it speaks decent Standard. Okay. Smith
 Here comes someone I know, McAleer stooped to address Zweebl.  You re hired, on a
said.  His name is Zweebl   temporary basis. I won t pay you much; the
  Zweebl ? What kind of name is that? main rewards of the job will be spiritual. You
Haven t you managed to persuade any of these understand?
aliens to adopt good, Christian names? Zweebl nodded.  Deal. Shake hands, Terran
 I suppose not. McAleer fell silent. fashion?
 Well, that ll change, Smith said firmly as  Why not? Smith returned. They shook.
Zweebl reached them. The crowd of Troof The crowd saw the handshake and melted
watched. away.
 Greetings, the little native said to the McAleer hid a shameful smile and headed
newcomer.  I am Zweebl, experienced in for the boat. There might be some mail aboard
serving all sorts of Terran needs. Have worked for him."
for Fed exploration party, Fed trade group. Can
I be of service?
16
Copyright 1989, 2000 by Brad Ferguson. All rights reserved.
Duplication or redistribution of this file in any form whatsoever is strictly prohibited. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]