This section covers the commentary Josanne Milford provided for Undepoldus.
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The Josanne Commentary
Undepoldus reached Undepoldus House at 03:00. Nobody saw him arrive.
Undepoldus called George on the vidcom at 07:00
"I have arrived safely and I am feeling OK. I need a long rest to recover but I can get it by staying in Undepoldus House for a few days. You need a rest too. Come and see me on Thursday when you have acclimatised yourselves to the time zone change."
"I am glad that you made it back OK my old buddy. It will be good not to travel around for a few days."
"My travelling days are over. I am too big and heavy for most of the services available. I propose to continue to give concerts here in Regent's Park to entertain people and to make a few more recordings. I will talk to you about my plans a bit more on Thursday."
George, Marita and Kerstin rested as much as they normally did. Several vidcom companies invited them to give interviews and to tell their stories about the tours that Undepoldus had made around Europe and North America. They declined all of them. George felt that Josanne Milford should have first call because she had been a major participant in the effort to save Undepoldus.
George Marita and Kerstin went to Undepoldus House together on the Thursday morning. Undepoldus had already arranged for Josanne to visit him then. The crowds at Regent's Park had reached record levels. It now took the visitors four minutes to go past Undepoldus on the strip outside. Undepoldus was now 109 metres long so there was a lot of him to see. His girth had increased proportionately so there was no need for the curtain behind him to block out the view into Undepoldus House. From George's desk he looked like a five metre high wall of white whiskers.
When George greeted him Undepoldus displayed a new talent.
He created a smiling face in his whiskers where George faced him.
"It is good to see you all here today. I trust that you are rested and ready for my next project."
"You haven't told me what you plan to do yet my old buddy. What is your next project?"
Undepoldus replied using the face he had created with a pair of human shoulders and arms added. He said. "George, I have been trying to work out a feasible way to go back where I came from. I have earned a considerable amount of Earth money for my trust and I think that I will soon have enough to pay for a special ship to carry me. I have worked out a provisional design for a vehicle to carry me into orbit and I am now working on a design for an inter-stellar craft."
"When do you plan to leave us?"
"I think that it will take six months to build the launch vehicle and around the same time to build the inter-stellar ship. If work can start on the 23rd of November, I think that the job could be completed by the end of May."
"How can you calculate how heavy you will be?"
Undepoldus said. "I think that I am not growing as quickly as I was. I think that I will stop growing then. I have estimated my weight to be less than 1,200 tonnes when the launch vehicle has been built. I think that the accident I had has had an effect on my growth rate. I am not as hungry as I was. I can eat less without feeling weaker. I cannot predict precisely when I will stop growing but I feel that it will not be long before I reach my final length."
"I have wondered about your eventual size because you were putting on weight so quickly that it seemed that you would be too heavy to do anything except stay here. Even so, the rock transporter would be running flat out to supply you with 250 tonnes a day."
"I gained seven tonnes less yesterday than I did the day before. I think that the rock transporter will cope with my needs easily. I think that my final size will be less than 120 metres long. Even that length is too large. I would be happier if I had stopped growing when I was eighty metres long but I could not alter my rate of growth voluntarily."
"Well Undepoldus, we all have to accept our sizes. I am sure that Marita and Kerstin would like to be a little smaller and I would like to be as tall as they are. It is still a bit disconcerting for me to have to look up to them. On the other hand it is nice when they hug me gently, my face is cushioned by their breasts."
Marita joined in the conversation. She said. "I am very happy to be tall. I could not have achieved half the things I have done if I had been smaller. You George, are just the right size for me in every respect. If you were bigger, I could not pick you up so easily. If you were smaller, you would be too small. What do you think Kerstin?"
Kerstin said. "I agree. The only improvement I would make is to have two Georges so we could both have one each."
Marita said. "Kerstin, do you think that you could cope with having George all the time? I am sure that we both benefit from sharing him between us. He looks after both of us so well."
Undepoldus said. "Josanne Milford has arrived. I would like you all to assist her with her commentary. I know what you did but I don't know what made you act like you did. I was not very aware of what was happening for several hours. You can fill in a lot of the gaps for me."
The door opened for Josanne before she had time to wonder how to ask for it to be opened. George welcomed her as she came in.
"Josanne, Undepoldus will speak to us from where he is. He has asked us to assist you with a commentary on the recording you made when he was rescued."
Undepoldus produced a face for Josanne to look at.
"Josanne, I have studied the recording you made. I can listen to several people talking at once. George, Marita and Kerstin will add their commentaries at the same time. George can answer any questions that you may have about me. He knows me better than any other human. As you can see, I can now produce images in my hair. I will present images to you from your recording so that you can say what you saw and what you thought. I will synthesise a recording of the combined commentaries and images with occasional images of the four of you talking to me. You will then be able to make use of the recording for your vidcom network. Are you happy with that arrangement?"
"I might find it difficult if I have to talk while the others are describing the same scenes. I might want to use their descriptions instead of my own."
"You need not worry about that Josanne. You will not be able to hear what the others say to me. When I speak to you, only you will hear me. If you have any questions for the others about what you see, I will relay your questions and their answers. You will find it easy when you get started."
Josanne found it a bit strange to talk to Undepoldus while he was also having conversations with Marita, George and Kerstin. Although he was showing a face and the images she had obtained on the barge, she felt that it was a bit like talking to someone on a vidcom. She asked Undepoldus about the way Marita and Kerstin worked so hard in shovelling pebbles for him, dressed only in their formfits. Undepoldus explained that Spacers have to be very fit and a formfit to a Spacer was as normal as non-Spacers regard wearing underwear.
While the commentary was proceeding, a robowaiter from the restaurant arrived with drinks and refreshments. George had not expected Undepoldus to think of providing refreshments for human companions so quickly. Nevertheless, he was becoming used to the way Undepoldus did number of things at the same time.
George asked Undepoldus. "How do you communicate with
processors on floaters?"
Undepoldus said. "All floaters have cameras to observe the ground below them. When I took command of a floater when there was an attempt to kidnap you, I discovered how the processor used the camera to provide information about the terrain under the floater. The processor could detect places where floaters could not go or hover by interpreting signals from the ground. I found that I could produce similar signals that could be used to communicate other information to a floater's processor. I could direct it to contact the general vidcom network and use this processor here to provide the floater's processor with the code to interpret my verbal visual signals. Then I could talk to the floater's processor directly. Now I can use any floater's processor to access the vidcom network."
George said. "That explains a lot of things Undepoldus. You certainly know how to make use of human resources to help yourself. I presume that you were able to use trust funds to finance your guide floater."
"When I contacted a taxi company in Grays, asking for floaters for my helpers, I offered to pay. My offer was declined. I was asked if I would be able to provide tickets for one of my concerts in lieu of payment. I was happy to agree to the request. Something similar happened when I asked a local restaurant to provide refreshments for my helpers at Mucking Marshes. They originally wanted confirmation that I had made the call without vision. I said. "Look at your vidcom news service. There is a floater above me and a lot of people trying to help me. There is only one large white worm on Mucking Marshes as far as I know." They replied that they were not convinced that it was me calling. I said that I was using the processor on a floater belonging to the United News Network. Their reporter, Josanne Milford, was on the ground with me. They should check with the news network if they had any further doubts. They checked and then apologised to me. They then asked me what I wanted. I told them that my helpers needed food and drinks suitable for a cold evening. They should check with the vidcom news service to see how many to cater for. Apparently I was talking to a junior employee of the restaurant because another person started to talk to me. She had been watching the news of my rescue until she was told that I was making a call. She offered to supply everyone with anything that she had available. She would be proud to advertise that I was one of her clients. I said that she could charge the cost of the refreshments and the floaters to the Undepoldus Trust but she declined my offer. She was very impressed by the way I had been helped by volunteers. The refreshments would be her contribution. The floater company provided their floaters free when they heard what they were asked to do. When I got back here I authorised complimentary concert tickets for all who had helped with the refreshments, floaters, the dredger and the barge crew.. It was the least I could do."
George asked. "How will you organise concerts here in London in the cold weather?"
Undepoldus said. "I am negotiating for the use of Regent's Park as a concert venue. The concerts will be held in a large heated marquee. I need to be in a warm atmosphere to perform well and my audiences will be able to appreciate my music better if they do not have to worry about the cold weather. If I can get approval, I will perform every night until my transport has been built and tested. On Saturdays and Sundays I will organise afternoon concerts for children."
George said. "Wouldn't it be better to perform in Hyde Park or some other park near the centre of London?"
Undepoldus said. "I have thought of that but I have to consider my size and weight. There are very few routes that I can take to move around these days. I think that I could use the freight transporter moveway system to avoid crossing pedestrian moveways and strips but then I could only travel late at night when it is possible to stop parts of the freight moveway system for me to get on and off. If I perform here, I will not have the transport problem. I have considered tunnelling from here to Hyde Park but I think that I might undermine some of the existing tunnels and sewers if I did. If I cannot perform here in Regent's Park, I will then consider an alternative venue. I want the site to be semi-permanent so that the setting up and taking down work can be minimised."
George said. "I can see the logic in your plans but I do not know if the people who control Regent's Park would permit its use on a long term basis for concerts."
Undepoldus said. "I have already contacted Mrs. Abubeka, the Mayoress, about my suggestion. She has said that it might be a matter for the government but if the London Council has jurisdiction, she will propose that a referendum is held so that the people of London can make the final decision. She would like my project to go ahead because I would add another attraction to London for people from all round the world when tourism was slackest."
George said. "I like the idea Undepoldus. I hope that your plan is approved. There are millions of people who would like to hear you perform in a concert. When you were touring, we had to turn thousands away at every venue except at the College. I am sure that if you planned to stay here in London for a few years, a special concert house could be built for you."
Undepoldus said. "I have thought about that George. It boils down to the fact that I do not come from Earth. I feel that I ought to return to where I came from as soon as it is feasible. When I get there I can act as an unofficial ambassador for Earth. I would also like to meet my creators to find out why they created me and what my purpose was. Another factor is my lifespan. As far as I can tell I have existed for just about one Earth year if the time it took for me to get here is discounted. I therefore think that my lifespan may relate to my rapid growth. It is impossible to predict how long I will live. As you know, I am part an animal and part vegetable. The vegetable part of me could be like a garden plant or like a tree that lasts for hundreds of years. The animal part of me is quite unlike anything that exists on Earth as far as I know. I am equipped with what I think of as multiple brains. They enable me to deal with a lot of things at once but I sense that they are almost independent entities that have a special purpose. I cannot imagine what they could be used for apart from the way I am using them now."
George said. "We have discussed this before and I have thought about it too. As always you find something new to puzzle me with. This time I have no easy answers. Maybe you will find out when you return to your own world and meet your creators."
Marita and Kerstin joined forces to talk to Undepoldus. They were dressed and looked alike. They had agreed that they both had done almost identical work to try to save Undepoldus so their stories would be similar anyway.
Undepoldus said. "Marita and Kerstin, the recording shows both of you working hard to provide me with rocks in the form of pebbles. When I looked carefully at what you two had done, I could see that you two had provided me with more rocks than all the other helpers. I had not appreciated that you were both so strong and capable. I know that you had only just completed a sub-orbital flight from San Francisco and were probably tired. Your efforts were shown around the world on the night that I was rescued. Since then I have had hundreds of reports of how you two have shown how well Spacers can do heavy work. One of the people who called me said that you two had moved nearly 30 tonnes of pebbles to feed me.
The Spacers League has been overwhelmed with calls asking where formfits can be obtained. Many of those who saw you thought that you were not wearing anything. They also saw that you were working harder than the men who helped you. They have jumped to the erroneous conclusion that women can work better than men if they are naked.
I have also heard from the construction company that provided the earth movers and some of their men to help you. You have been invited to visit their head office to show the rest of their employees that the men you were working with were not weaklings. I don't think that they realise how big you are compared to most men and women.
I think that you, Kerstin, deserve special praise because you have not had the athletic training that Marita has had. In the recording I could see that you worked just as hard as Marita. I am sure that your efforts will have been noted by the admirals who run the League. I wish that I was human so that I could give you both a hug to show how much I am indebted to you."
Marita said. "Undepoldus, you are our friend. We were just helping you as we would any of our friends in trouble. Your needs were and are different to anything that our human friends might need. Your size and shape make you look different to us but we know that your personality makes you a very special friend. I wish that I could hug you too. Maybe some day we will find a way to express our love and respect for you that is better than mere words."
Kerstin said. "Undepoldus. I thank you for your very kind sentiments but you are very special to me too. When Marita and I started shovelling pebbles for you, we did it for love. I know that my body is almost the same as Marita's so I know that I ought to be able to do most of the things that Marita can do. When I tried, I found that I could. I know that it was the hardest physical work that I have ever done but I did it willingly because I did not want to lose you as one of my closest friends.
I think that it would be good fun to go to the construction company. I have been practising with Marita's juggling balls as an exercise. When we get to the company we will find a nice man to carry our bags for us."
Undepoldus laughed. At least, he made a sound like human laughter. He said. "I am sure that you must have heard that Marita used to play that trick on students. I suggest that George goes with you to get some images of your visit."
To George, Marita and Kerstin he said. "Josanne has finished her commentary. If you like, I will tell her that you plan to teach some construction workers how to juggle."
By the time Josanne had finished her commentary, she had forgotten that she was talking to Undepoldus. She had gradually begun to treat him as an intelligent and friendly personality in the same way as she would treat a friend or a close colleague.
Afterwards Undepoldus used part of himself as a giant vidcom screen and showed excerpts from the recording with Josanne's commentary added. Josanne was delighted with the result.
The next section covers the visit to Mr. Robinson's Company.
Viewers familiar with this subject may pass on to the following section.
Please select PASS or CONTINUE.