This time I’m lucky enough to  spend some time with his Excellency Orosin At’hali Benvolini  who holds some government position I haven[t quite figured out yet and had also been an ambassador to an alien planet that was in the news lately as they are making a bid to join  the Inter Planetary Alliance. Like many Merculians I have met, he is charming with a gentle sense of humour and a way of sliding away from questions he doesn’t want to answer that shows why he is a diplomat. He is the first person I have met and talked to who is married.

BB        Thanks for agreeing to talk to me, your Excellency.

OAB     Oh please, there’s no need for titles. It’s just Beny. 

BB        Really? I thought your first name was Orosin.

OAB     That’s’ true, but everybody calls me Beny, except my spouse.

BB        You’re the first Merculian I’ve interviewed who’s married.

OAB     I expect I’m the oldest, too. (He smiles engagingly.) 

BB        You seem to have led a very interesting life, even serving as a lieutenant on the IPA         warship, The Wellington. Can you tell me anything about that experience?

OAB     It wasn’t my finest hour, shall we say. This was at a time when there were few if any        Merculians in the service. It’s rarely fun being a pioneer. Besides, I’m really just a musician, so I was glad to put it all behind me when my tour was over

BB        You’re a musician, too! When did you manage to study music?

OAB     Before this whole IPA Academy thing came up, I had studied at the Merculian School of   Music and Epicantare Arts for several years. And then duty called and I answered.

BB        To be a pioneer. 

OAB     My family has been in diplomacy for generations. I guess it’s in my blood.

BB        So that’s why you left music.

OAB     Oh no! I never left music, just put it on hold from time to time.

BB        I see. But I understand that you hold an important government position of some kind.

OAB     Oh no. Not at all. (He holds out both hands as if pushing this idea far away.) I just sit on a             committee that gets consulted on certain issues now and then.  As I said, I am a musician.

BB        Well, there is one thing I heard that intrigues me even more ­­ about you––your liking for the Terran fortified wine sherry. How did you ever develop this taste?

OAK     Oh dear. You are finding out all my weaknesses! I first tried it when on a visit to a             friend’s parents on Terra many years ago. They served it and that was it for me. Now I order it by the case from the Terran Embassy here in Cap City.

BB        That’s not one of my favourite.

OAB     Have you tried any of our buzzers?  I understand that some Terrans find them interesting. (He pulls out a small case, opens it and holds out the round marble-shaped             drugs.)

BB        No thanks. I was warned about them. I think I’ll stick to beer. (Beny laughs and slips one in his own mouth.) Thanks so much for giving me some of your time for this interview, Beny.

OAB     I have enjoyed your company. (He bows.)

About Caro Soles

Writer in several genres, lover of dachshunds and opera, with some ballet thrown in for good measure. I founded the Bloody Words Mystery Conference, which ran for 14 years as well as the Bony Blithe Award for Canadian Light Mysteries, but that, too, has come to an end. My latest novel is The River District, a look at the seamy side of Merculian.
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