The Sea Gypsies of Ngoguyon
Jonathon was a light skinned brunette. He wore a grey and red plaid short sleeve shirt, blue jeans and tennis shoes.
He was waiting at the gate for the Launfrabeng shuttle. He stood at a window. The bottom was curved into the floor. He looked through it. A part of the planet was in view. It was largely blue with some blotches of green, brown and white. The curving horizon and edge of the blue atmosphere were visible. Beyond that was black space with some stars.
He spotted the white triangular shaped shuttle against a patch of blue. It came close to the station. It was big and airfoil shaped. One red light shone at each corner, top and bottom. A couple lines of white light spots ran along the side he could see. The lines only went about three quarters from the nose back. Further back was one of the engine nacelles. Spurts of what looked like steam came out of the nose and front of the nacelle occasionally.
The shuttle’s nose slid into a hole in the station’s side. A few minutes later, people came into the waiting area. Jonathon looked to his right. A voice came on. It said in multiple languages, “Launfrabeng Shuttle Two Three Five, now disembarking.”
Some of the people disembarking were greeted by the people waiting for them.
The voice came back. It said, “Shuttle Two Three Five to Launfrabeng, now boarding.”
Jonathon walked through a doorway into another room. The shuttle’s nose section was in the room. An opening in the shuttle’s side was further back. The door was on the shuttle’s side behind the opening.
He walked to the opening. Just inside was a female humanoid android. He had his ticket in hand. He gave it to the android. It checked the ticket. It gave the ticket back. It said in a female voice and English, “Have a nice flight, sir.”
“Thank you,” Jonathon said. He walked in and to his seat, next to a window. He looked out the window. A part of the station, planet and shuttle’s leading edge could be seen.
All the passengers were on board. A oice came over the intercom. It said in multiple languages, “Please, be seated and fasten your seat belts. We are about to separate from the station.”
Everybody sat and buckled. An android flight attendant checked them. The shuttle separated from the station. It dropped below the station. It went into orbit around the planet. It spun until it was upside down.
The voice came back. It said, “We are currently in orbit above Ngoguyon. We will orbit several times. Please, remain in your seats and buckled. It you look out your window, you can view the planet. If you have no window, there is a monitor in the back of the seat in front of you.
“The planet is eighty five percent covered with water. Land consists of islands. The largest ones are about two billion nine hundred sixty six thousand one hundred square miles. Population on the planet is about one billion people. The planet was colonized about five hundred years ago.”
After several orbits, the voice came back. It continued, “We are now getting ready to leave orbit. We will descend into the atmosphere. Please, remain seated and buckled during entry. If you see part of the shuttle glow and some glowing around the shuttle, do not be alarmed. This is normal on atmospheric entry. You are perfectly safe.
“We are rotating the shuttle in preparation for braking. You may feel yourself being pressed against your seats. This is due to our firing the engines. We will rotate the shuttle again in preparation for atmospheric entry. Please, remain in your seats and buckled during these maneuvers.”
The shuttle rotated until it was right side up. The shuttle flipped over. Jonathon felt himself being pressed against his seat. The sensation lasted for about one minute. The shuttle flipped over again. He looked out his window. The shuttle’s leading edge began to glow. An outward slanting wall of light rose from the edge. It lasted for about thirty minutes. The wall disappeared. The glow of the edge faded.
The voice came back. It said, “We are now in the atmosphere. We will circle the globe as we descend. We will descend at a rate of fifty feet per minute. You are now free to walk about the cabin.”
Jonathon remained in his seat. He pulled a book out of his right pants pocket. It was blue around the edges of a black screen. He turned the device on. The screen turned light grey with black letters. He thumbed the screen to the page he was reading last. He read the book. He ordered a drink when an android flight attendant asked.
Occasionally, he looked out the window. He watched the planet surface pass underneath. He saw the islands and clouds as they passed. They grew in size each pass. When it grew dark, he saw areas of light on the islands. When he looked up, he saw stars in the night sky. The shuttle circled the planet several times.
It was daylight. The voice came back again. It said, “We are approaching Launfrabeng. Please, everybody take your seats and buckle in. We will be landing at Launfrabeng Interstellar Spaceport shortly.”
Everybody up sat in their seats and buckled. Jonathon put his book back in his pants pocket. He looked out the window. He watched the city approach.
The shuttle settled on the tarmac. It rolled to the terminal. A tube extended out to the shuttle door. The door opened. Jonathon got out of his seat. He walked to the door.
He exited the shuttle into the tube. He heard music playing. The tube walls glowed in a changing variety of colors and patterns. Another voice came over the music. It said in multiple languages, “Welcome to Launfrabeng, capital city of the Makassarbugis Archipelago.”
In the waiting room, a voice announced in multiple languages, “Launfrabeng Shuttle Two Three Five is now disembarking.”
Kiribourey stood up with the card. He held it up to his chest with both hands. He waited. His children stood with him. His wife remained seated.
Jonathon walked out of the tube into the waiting area. He looked around. He spied a man standing with a sign with his name on it. He walked up to him. He said in English, “You must be ‘Ki re bow ray Te ka’. I hope I pronounced it right.”
He noticed the three children standing with the man. One was almost as tall as the man. They were looking at him seemingly out of curiosity. He wondered if they had ever heard English spoken before.
Kiribourey said in English, “You were close. The actual pronounciation is ‘Ke re boo ray Tak a’ i’. You can call me ‘Kiri’. You must be Jonathon Seville.”
Jonathon said, “That is correct; but, you can call me, ‘Jon’. Is this your family here?”
Their mother stood up. She joined her family. Kiribourey said, “Yes, they are. This is my wife, ‘Sopheary’.”
Sopheary bowed to Jonathon.
“This is my oldest son, ‘Quenan’.”
Sopheary told him in Sarginese to bow. Quenan did.
“This is my daughter ‘Boupha-Kannitha’.”
She bowed in imitation of her brother.
“This is my youngest son, ‘An-Toan Kim’.”
He bowed as well. Kiribourey switched to Sarginese for the children. He said, “Analin, kedang, ‘Hi, Jon’.”
Quenan was the first one to try it. He only managed a squeak. Jonathon thought that the boy was a little nervous.
His father said, “Sorry, about that, Jon. My children have never spoken English before. They only speak our language, Sarginese. They have had no need for any other language before.”
He spoke Sarginese, “Try again, ‘Hi, Jon’.”
Quenan tried again.
“Hi,” was all he managed. The other two managed about the same.
Jonathon said, “That is alright. I don’t know Sarginese, either. I would like to learn it, though. I will need to talk to some Sarginese only speaking people during my research.”
Kiribourey said, “My children will need to learn English, eventually. While you’re here is as good a time as any. Again, what is your field of research?”
Jonathon said, “It is for my doctorate thesis in anthropology (sociology?). We can teach each other.”
“Sopheary does know English. In my job, I have a need for multiple languages including English,” Kiribourey said.
“What is your job,” Jonathon asked.
“I work for the federal government in environmental protection. We need to get your luggage.” Kiribourey said.
They left the gate. They turned right. They walked to luggage claim. They waited at the carousal where they were expecting the luggage. Jonathon said, “I have two suitcases and a computer case.”
The items showed up. Jonathon grabbed the computer case and a suitcase. Kiribourey grabbed the other suitcase. They set the suitcases on the floor. Jonathon slung the computer case’s strap over his left shoulder. The suitcases had wheels. They extended the handles. They pulled the suitcases as they walked. Jonathon followed the Tekais.
Kiribourey said, “Now, to customs. Got your passport, visa and immunization records ready?”
“Got them in my computer case,” Jonathon said. When they got to the customs office, he got them out.
They entered the office. Two officers stood behind the counter. Two long lines of people waited. Shortly, a third customs officer came out of a door behind the counter. He recognized Kiribourey. He spoke Sarginese, “Kiri, come up here. What are you up to?”
Kiribourey and Jonathon walked up. The officer, like the other two, had brown skin and short, naturally straight black hair. He wore a white short sleeve uniform shirt. On each sleeve was the seal of the Makassarbugis Archipelago. On the left shirt pocket was his badge. Over the pocket was his name. Kiribourey spoke English, “I have someone who just arrived from Earth with me.”
The officer spoke English, “Let’s see what we got. Passport and visa, please.”
Jonathon handed them over. The officer looked at them. He said, “I see you’re an American. You will be with us for sometime. Immunization records, please.”
Jonathon handed them over. The officer looked at them. “Everything seems to be in order. Do you have anything to declare?”
“No,” Jonathon said.
“Let’s see what you have in your bags,” the officer said. Jonathon handed him the computer case. The officer opened it. He looked through it. He closed it. He came out from behind the counter. He wore black pants and leather shoes. He inspected the suitcases.
When he was done, he walked back behind the counter. He opened the passport. He stamped it with the national seal. He handed the passport, visa and immunization papers back. He said, “Welcome to Makassarbugis Archipelago. I hope you enjoy your stay.”
Jonathon put them back in the computer case. He said, “Thank you. I intend to do so.”
A third line had formed behind them. They walked beside it. The next person stepped up. They exited the office.