The Countess of Waklau

I was walking on the street, when a white van was approaching me. In first instance I did not think much of the situation, as white vans are quite common and probably the driver needed to be there for some reason I could not care about. So I continued my walk, but the van followed me and still I was not worried.

When the van was next to me, the vehicle stopped instantly and four men wearing balaclavas and sunglasses stepped out of the van. Before I realized what happen the men pushed me into the van and when I was inside, they closed the door and at high-speed they drove away from the place I was kidnapped.

Meanwhile one of my abductors sprayed something in my was and subsequently I lost my consciousness.

*

When I regained my consciousness, I found myself laying in a warm and comfortable bed. It took a couple of moments before I realized I was not alone.

In the same room a woman stood beside the bed. I estimated her to be in her late twenties. Anyway she wore a white riding coat and black trousers and she had long blue hair. When she noticed that I was looking at her, she calmly said:

“I apologize for the fact that you have been abducted. But we had no choice.” I had no idea what she meant.

“Where am I and who are you?” I asked the lady.

“I am the Countess of Waklau and you are on Urando.”

I had never heard of the words “Waklau” or “Urando”, so I had still no idea where I was.

“Ms Waklau,” I asked, “what the hell is Urando?” “Urando is what you would call an exoplanet.”

I knew it was a yoke, there was no way I could be transported from Earth to some planet in another solar system.

“No, that’s impossible, young lady. Space technology isn’t that advanced, that man can travel through interstellar space.”

The woman who called herself the Countess of Waklau was not impressed by my arguments. Instead she calmly said:

“Wormholes, my dear, wormholes.”

“Man cannot make wormholes, scientists aren’t even sure they exist at all,” I rebutted her. But she shook her head and said:

“With wormholes it’s only a forty-eight-hour-journey from Earth to Urando.” I still did not buy her story as it was absolutely unbelievable.

“Okay, Ms Waklau, let for the sake of the argument accept that wormholes exist and man can travel between distant solar systems this way. Why should people go to a far away planet just to held someone hostage?”

“Well this planet is inhabited by seven point five billion people, and with people I am human being – homo sapiens, as you would call our species.”

“No, you are kidding me. You just made up this story in order to prevent me from learning my true location. How could seven point five billion people suddenly on an exoplanet?”

The so-called Countess did not seem to be convinced.

“Our ancestors came here about twenty-five thousands years ago…” “You can stop there, young lady,” I said. “That long ago humans did not have spaceships, let alone they could have travel to a distant solar system. No, please tell me the truth!”

“Dear, I am telling you the truth.”

Furiously I stood up and I want to slap the woman in her face, though she did not move. She grasped my pols and said:

“Please calm down, sir.” “You are a liar and you know it.”

The Countess let my arm go.

“I understand you have trouble to believe me. But I will show you that you are not on Earth.” “How?”

“Please follow me.”

She turned herself and left the room. Silently I followed her into what appeared to be a library.

“None of these books is written in a terrestrial language.” She took a book from the shelve and gave it to me.

It smelled and looked ancient. And its script was one I did not recognize. It was not Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese or Devanagari. The inscription resembled a little to the letters in the notorious Voynich manuscript.

“What is this book about?” “It is a copy of the Kaklalmam epic. But I could have given you any other of these books.”

I did not know what to think of the situation. Making an entire library full of unreadable books in a fake language, was simply too much effort for an abduction.

“Why did you kidnap me?” “I did not kidnap you, I am just providing my residence. However, there a few people who want to talk with you.”

“Why with me and why not on Earth?” “If you were on Earth, you won’t believe what they have to tell you. So had to come to our planet.”

“When will I see those people?” “You should first take dinner. Come, follow me.”

The woman lead me into a dining room.

“Please take a seat,” she said and then she left the room.

In her absence I took the opportunity to have a close look at the dining room. It was soberly decorated but it was clear that who ever owned this place, had to be very wealthy.

After some ten minutes the Countess returned with two plates with food.

“Don’t you have domestic servants to do such tasks?” I asked curiously. “Yes, I have but I have given them paid vacation for the time you are here. So I need to domestic stuff myself.”

The meal was quite simple: parsnips, vegetables and scrambled eggs.

Though I was still skeptical about this whole “Urando” story, I asked my hostess:

“What is Waklau?” “Waklau is one of the twenty-two counties that make up the Republic of Benya. And Benya is the second largest country, both in area and population, on Urando.

“The county of Waklau is about four hundred fifty thousand square kilometers in area and has about sixty milion inhabitants. I’ll show you on the map after dinner.”

“Does the Count or Countess of Waklau have any political role?” I asked. “No, not any more. Since your year 1918 it’s purely titular. Nevertheless my family has continued to be involved in politics but in elected offices.”

“What is your day job, if you have any?” “I am a friend of the president’s wife and I am also a member of his staff.” “So your president is involved in my abduction?”

The Countess did not answer my question.

“What do your parents do?” I asked. “My father died in your year 1999, during the war.”

“War? With whom were you in war?” “Our southern neighbor Gramatia, which is our ancient rival.”

“Urando is not ruled by a single government?” I asked. “No, it isn’t. And had never been, and unlikely it will happen in the near future.”

“How many countries are there on this planet?” “Forty, but I will show you the map after dinner.”

When we had finished our meal, the Countess cleaned up the table and thereafter we went back to the library. There she took a book from the shelve and put it on the table.

“This is an atlas of Urando,” the woman explained. “This is the world map of Urando.”

I saw a large continent around the equator and there were two smaller continents. Since the names were in a me unknown script I could not see where Benya or Gramatia were located.

“Here is Benya and there is Gramatia,” she said while she pointed to the locations on the map. Then she leafed through the atlas.

“This is a map of Benya. Here in the south is Waklau and here are the Omkatey mountains. My home is located at the foot of the Omkatey.

“Its remoteness is the reason why you are here. The people who want to speak you, do not want to become it publicly known that an Earthmen is on our planet. And that’s why I have sent my domestic servants with paid vacation.”

It was still unclear to me who wanted to speak with me and especially why. Though the Countess appeared to be a kind woman, I did not trust her completely. After all she was involved in my abduction, whatever her precise might have been.

“When will they come?” I asked. “Tomorrow morning,” she said.

*

The next morning I woke up, while the Countess was laying next to me. She had insisted that I would sleep in her bed.

It is not hard to imagine that I had serious trouble to fall asleep with her laying next to me. However, she felt almost immediately asleep.

“Should I serve you breakfast on bed?” she asked. “Why not,” said I a little bit cynically.

I suspected that my hostess was used to served breakfast on bed by her servants.

After breakfast we went a walk in her garden, which was quite large as one could have expected. It was a very beautiful and peace environment.

While we were outside, I took a close look at the building. Its style was unfamiliar to me and I could not easily figure out to which terrestrial culture it could belong. The only thing I could establish was that it was quite old.

“How old is your mansion?” I asked. “It has been in my family for the last seventeen hundred years, but is has been renovated several times since it was originally built.”

*

After lunch I saw two person approaching the Countess’s residence, a man and a woman. Both had blue hair, like the countess.

The female visitor wore garments which resembled a Benedict habit. The clothing which the man wore were less easy to describe, but it consisted of a pair of trousers and some kind of jacket.

“That are the people who want to speak with you,” the Countess explained. “Who are they?” “They’ll introduce themselves,” she said dryly.

When the visitors were close by, the Countess went outside to welcome the two strangers. They did not shake hands, instead they exchanged little bows. Then all three blue-haired came inside.

The woman in quasi-Benedict habit looked at me and bowed, while she said:

“I am Aleyseya, the Empress of Gramatia.”

Without waiting for my reply, the man introduced himself as:

“Zathin Djoven, the president of Benya. Nice to meet you”

“I thought your countries were enemies,” I said.

“No,” the president replied, “that was my predecessor Ben Callier, an extreme nationalist politician, who started the war. He was what you would call a dictator. However, he and his regime has been replaced by elected government.”

“Maybe we should take a seat,” the Empress said. “Let’s go to my living,” the Countess replied.

*

In the living all furniture was at least two centuries old and the newest item in the room was a gramophone player.

“Does anyone something to drink?” the Countess asked. She was clearly not used to live without having servants around.

“A glass of water would be fine,” the Empress replied and the president nodded.

“Me too,” I said.

Meanwhile the Empress said;

“I guess you are wonder I we want to speak you.” “Yes, of course,” I said agitated.

“A decade or two ago our scientists discovered a wormhole which connects our two solar systems, by accident. We had launched a space probe which suddenly encountered a wormhole, out of curiosity it was decided by mission control to abandon the original mission and to enter the wormhole.

“And subsequently we discovered Earth and we learned that it was populated by intelligent beings, who turned out to be the species as we. That was quite a shock.”

“How many people on your planet know about this?” I asked.

“We keep it secret, sir,” the president said. “Only the Gramatian and Benyan governments are aware of Earth’s existence. It would cause tremendous social unrest if this would become public.”

“Why?” I asked surprised.

“Wel,” the Empress said, “Urandan folklore is rife with legends about the Angels. Though each nation has its own distinctive tale, all have the same themes in common.

“According to our legends our ancestors have been brought to Urando with help of the Angels.”

“Who are those Angels.” “No one knows for sure. Anything we know about them we know from those ancient tales.”

“Do you really believe those Angels exist?” The president looked at me with a stern face.

“The believe in Angels is such deep-rooted in our culture that even atheists do not dare to deny their existence. And we have good reason to believe that the Angels are real.”

“Are there many atheists on this planet?” I asked. “I am an atheist,” the president said. “In fact Benya is formally an atheist country as it has been since 1895.”

“What evidence is there for the existence of the Angels?”

“Archeology,” the Empress explained. “For the last three centuries our archaeologists have been troubled by the fact that there is no physical evidence for human presence on Urando from before 25,000 years ago.

“Consequently humans has to come to this planet from somewhere else. The main question for our archaeologists has been from where and how? The discovery of Earth has solved the first mystery, but the second one is still open.”

“And you think that the Angels are responsible for this?” “Well,” the president said, “there’s no evidence that our ancestors could have traveled through interstellar space on their own accord. So they needed to have had help from an advanced civilization.

“But that raises even more questions. Where are they now? Do they even still exist? Why did they move some people from Earth to Urando? That are the questions which need to be answered.”

“All right, I got the story. But what have I to do with it?”

Then there was a long silence.

“You are not planning to invade Earth?” I asked.

“No, why should we?” the Empress replied. “The costs would exceed the benefits. And Earth is definitely no threat for us.

“However, we have sent a few of our own people to your planet for scientific research.”

It was still unclear to why I had to come to their planet. Suddenly the president said:

“We have chosen you of all Earthlings, because you are one of the most suitable persons. You are naturally skeptical, you won’t believe something simply because we tell you. On the other hand you are open-minded.”

“I am not the only one,” I objected.

“That’s true,” the Empress replied, “but you also have little terrestrial obligations such as work or family. And combination is why we need you.”

“For what?” “To held us in the search for the Angels,” the Empress replied.

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