32. Earther, You Don’t Understand History
I had thought she looked familiar.
Johnny Abilene was astounded to discover that Nora was also a Sandulean agent. More accurately, she was an Earther recruited by Sanduleans for the purpose of returning Abu al-Hawl to the Magellanic Clouds. The Magellanic Emperor, the same entity who, with his United Diet of the Small and Large Clouds, maneuvered the Magellanics into orbit around the Milky Way, the same who caused Sanduleak to go supernova in order to convey Johnny Abilene to Earth, this same Emperor also found Nora, via epoche, and installed her as a backup and secret watchdog over Abilene.
"In this business, you can’t trust nobody," the Emperor told me much later. Only Izzy was in a position to know all the details at that time, but now, on Sandy, it’s immortalized in the song, "Marriage is Just Two Alien Agents Hiding from Each Other, Anyway," Number 423 on the list, last I heard, about a billionth of a second ago.
By inseminating the Earther, effecting the commingling of the Magellanic and Milky Way branches of Abu’s great family, the Emperor and my father (and, unknown to him, Nora) had planned to produce the Sphinx’s Messiah. "Yeah, every time we tried to get through to Abu, it was ‘ADDRESSEE UNKNOWN,’ the Emperor told me once, over neutron latte. "It’s enough to make a guy agnostic. So we figured we’d try a little psychology."
But then they didn’t know how to use me to get through to Abu. Undercover as "Johnny Abilene," world-traveling musical goodwill ambassador, my father left Nora and me to look for a clue. Everywhere Johnny gigged, he buttonholed Egyptologists, astrophysicists, and Edgar Cayce fans.
Neither the Emperor, Nora, nor Johnny actually understood how to get to Abu via Mel until Shaman inadvertently showed them the way. Then it was a race to avert disaster; the Earther Shaman, after his own selfish ends, threatened to thwart the entire proceeding. The Magellanic Emperor sent Gypsy in the cafe ship, to help out Nora. The Emperor had, of course, first prepared the way by lining the North American throughway system with rest stop cafes that resembled the Magellanic craft, so Gypsy’s cafe could land undetected.
And if you think that any of this is less reliable information than the Battle of Hastings or the invention of the cotton gin?which may change any moment due to epoche or political revisionism?then, Earther, you don’t understand history.
Johnny Abilene was astounded. Just imagine how I felt. And now she was pregnant again?my mother, with my child. Whatever in hell "my" had come to mean!