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   Chapter 14 The Harmony Clan

The Story of the Mimosa By Paul Kater Characters: 11266

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:04

It took the six new arrivals quite a long time to reappear from their cabins. Each of them had occupied a separate one, and from each came a strange (and at times almost frightening) clump of sounds for a while. Barthomeu, who had offered to wait for them, stood in the corridor and shivered at the next volley of noises. The odd long corridor didn't make it any better as it amplified the noise and also kept an echo going for a long time.

He pondered the name that they had called themselves. Harmony Clan. Harmony. For the man from the tiny planet that had quite a distinct meaning, and this cacophony was the exact opposite. When Nilsie appeared (he was the first to do so) Barthomeu looked the man over. Amazingly little was different about him. Barthomeu wondered if he had actually touched water. "Can you explain the noise that came from your cabin?"

"Noois?" Nilsie looked puzzled. "I dun make noois. I drom."

"Excuse me? You what?"

"I drom. On droms."

"We seem to have a gap in our communication, " Barthomeu shrugged. "We'll get to the bottom of this once the others are ready."

"Sure, " said Nilsie and then yelled something that scared Barthomeu. It would even be scary if the man had not screamed it so loud as he did. Immediately five doors opened as if on cue, and the other members of the Clan stepped out. They all looked hardly changed, except that Ninnie's hair was pointing in not so many directions as before. "Wa're riddy, " Nilsie declared and looked smug.

Barthomeu led the group to the kitchen where Zopierama was already waiting, occasionally looking back as the sound of bare feet was new for him. When they arrived in the shiny, clean kitchen, the six frowned at the gleaming surfaces and inspected the cupboards and drawers extensively, while conversing in their incomprehensible, rapid-fire speech. In the end they turned and looked at Carmolo. "War's the foowd?" Mikkie asked when no one had said a word for a while. "Ya said thar's foowd 'ere."

Zopierama laughed, partly to release the nerves she was building up around these strange tall people, partly because of their ignorance. She pointed to the food replicators. "Look, this is the part that makes the food. You take a plate from there, put it in the replicator and close the door. Press this button, tell it what you want when the yellow light blinks and it will make it for you." She doubted that the replicator would be able to cook something that these people were used to but that was another issue.

Dimmie, the man with the broadest shoulders of the group, went to fetch three plates and tossed those into the replicator.

"No, wait! You can do one plate per turn, not three!" Zopierama exclaimed.

Dimmie stared at her. "Tha's dahm."

"Shot yar mouth, " Ninnie warned him, slapping the man on the shoulder. "These wee peeps save yar hyde an'all ya do is whine. Noo say yar sahrry."

"'m Sahrry, " Dimmie mumbled as he looked at his feet, verifying the presence of all his twelve toes. Then he took two plates from the replicator and carefully put them on the counter next to the machine. "Can ah push da bahton noo?"

It was his hovering finger in front of the button that told Zopierama his intentions and she nodded. "Yes. You can push the button now. And speak clearly." As she spoke she feared for the sanity of the artificial intelligence tha

space-port had proven very easy. All kinds of bombing and other forms of destruction had taken down most of the walls and fences around the place, and somehow they had then found their way to a still functioning spacecraft, boarded it and taken off.

"How did you find out how to fly that thing?" Barthomeu asked them. "Making music is something entirely different, isn't it?" He was careful in asking, because he wasn't really certain. He had never made music nor flown an official rocket. The ship they were on now was something entirely special.

"Someone left da manual on a chair, " Dimmie grinned. "War na all daft, ya know, we can read."

The more the group talked, and they did that for a long, long time, the easier it became to understand each other, much to everyone's relief. There was just one burning question on Zopierama's mind that she had to ask. "May I know why the men are wearing skirts?"

"Skirts?" The five clansmen looked puzzled and down at their skirts. "War na wearing skirts. Now Ninnie - she wears a skirt. She's a cailin. Cailins wear skirts."

"Ahh Mikkie, ya're flatterin' me, " Ninnie said, "I'm na cailin no more." She turned to Zopierama. "I'm a si, ya know, but he keeps seein' me as a young'un."

"Cailin? Si?" This was not getting much easier despite getting used to the Clan's way of talking.

Nilsie came to the rescue. "A cailin is a young girl, ya know. And a si is a proper woman, like Ninnie. Mikkie just has his eyes on her since he was a wee one himself, and he never grew up."

Mikkie did not like what he heard. He jumped up. His chair tipped over backwards as he paced to Nilsie and grabbed him by the arm. "I'm na a wee one no more!"

Nilsie also got up and threatened to punch some sense into Mikkie and before the others knew it, the two men were rolling on the floor, tipping over more chairs. Vinnie and Carmolo quickly intervened and pulled the fighters apart. The two were not so easily convinced to stop their brawl and tried to kick each other until Ninnie got up and told them off as if they were children. That had the desired effect, and promptly peace was restored. The fighters even picked up the fallen-down chairs and apologised for interrupting the talk. In a way.

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