Saturday, 26 January 2013

Character Interview - Ronalda Bauxneitner from the Interplanetary Daily Gossip Talks With Druitt

Ronalda Bauxneitner reporting from the Interplanetary Daily Gossip

Modern Gurneh and the Ramesseum - own image
Modern Gurneh and the Ramesseum

“Stulfano, can you adjust the lighting over here?  I think we need to get a better angle, all that linen is just getting in the way?”

“Best we can do Ronalda.  Ready to roll in 3,2,1.....”

“Hi, this is Ronalda Bauxneitner from the Interplanetary Daily Gossip broadcasting from Planet Earth as part of our remote worlds and alien diversity programme. We have come here today as we have received a tip off that a member of the First Families is currently sojourning here.  Does this mean that after millennia in isolation and obscurity that Earth is finally to be opened up to inter dimensional tourism? Or is this an unauthorised visit that is, in fact, a breach of Galactic Protocols?”

“I am currently standing outside a charming rustic villa in Ancient Egypt, where I have been lucky enough to secure an interview with one of the entourage of First Family member Aten, who will hopefully be able to give us the inside scoop on why he is here, the purpose of his visit and whether or not he was given special authorization by his father’s High Council to visit a designated ‘primitive’ world.”

“Ah, here he is now.  Say hello to our millions of viewers Mr Montague.”

(Camera pans on to large bulky figure with its face and head covered by a linen shawl.)

“Druitt, my name is Druitt.”

“Oh, well welcome Mr Druitt Montague.”

“No, no Montague Druitt.”

“Mr Druitt, I am having trouble hearing you.  Do you think that you could take that linen shawl off your face?”

“I would prefer not to Miss Bauxneitner, as I would not like to alarm your viewers.”

“Come, come, I am sure that you are a very handsome man.”

“Well, mother always used to tell me that I had inherited all the looks in the family, but that was before.”

“Before what?”

“Before I met Aten!”

“You are intriguing me?  I have come across many different responses to having met Aten in my time, but having to cover their face afterwards was not one of them?”

“Well it was the spell that went wrong.....then not changing me back...Oh I’m not sure I should be telling you any of this!”

“You can tell me Mr Uittmon. Everything that you say on the Interplanetary Daily Gossip is totally confidential.”

“But I thought you said that you had millions of viewers?”

“Yes, but as they are all at least eighty six light years away they don’t really count do they?  So tell me some more about this spell that went wrong?”

“It’s all a bit embarrassing, so I would rather not.”

“Come, come Mr Montru, we are all friends here. It helps to talk you know.”

“Well, his intentions were good, you know.  He wanted to catch that murderer, but it just all went a bit wrong. Maybe the fog and the police whistles distracted him or something?”

“I am going to take a wild guess that you are not from this time frame?”

“Eer yes, I think. This was in London in 1888. You know London in England?”

“I have just been told through my ear piece that this was in a time period called ‘Victorian, is that correct ?”

“I think so, from things I have read from a later date.  Certainly Queen Victoria was ruling our mighty empire at that time.”

“So what was Aten doing there and how did you meet him?”

“Well we didn’t meet as such; it was just an unfortunate coincidence that I got in the path of that spell.  All very irregular of course, not having been formally introduced or anything. Deuced awkward in fact.  I have never forgiven myself for not being able to say farewell and explain to mother.”

“But you still haven’t told us what Aten was doing in Victorian England and why he is now here in Ancient Egypt?  Where is Aten, by the way?  We would really like to talk with him.”

“Aten is out, paying calls. And I really don’t feel that it my place to disclose his social arrangements to a complete stranger.”

“Well, I think you’ll find that Aten and I go back a long way Mr Montague. I’m sure that he remembers me fondly.”

“Mr Druitt.  My name is Druitt!  I can’t recall him ever having mentioned you. But it is all so strange here, that it might have slipped my memory.”

“But this looks like such a charming old villa. So very quaint!  How does living here differ from your lifestyle in Victorian London?”

“Oh it is dreadful!  You can get none of the little necessities that you need in order to live like a civilised gentleman.  There is no running water, the dust gets everywhere and don’t get me started on the food!  The food is nothing like what I used to enjoy at home.  Mother understood my delicate constitution so perfectly and would have cook prepare just the right kind of little delicacies that my poor stomach could tolerate.  Here all I get is bread, onions and that filthy cloudy stuff that they call beer. Can you imagine what it is like to have to start the day without even a decent cup of tea inside you?  At least when we lived on the ship, the computer would always have a pot of Earl Grey, a lightly coddled egg and two slices of white toast ready for me when I arose.”

“So Mr Montuitt, why has Aten moved you here into the villa and away from the home comforts of the ship? After all, it can’t be particularly comfortable for him either?”

“Druitt, woman!  My name is Montague Druitt. Well he lives in a completely different style to the rest of us you know.  Waited on hand and foot by that Tuy woman, servants to pour water for his baths, all the best foods and wine.”

“You sound a bit bitter there Mr Dr.... oh never mind.  Do you feel that Aten is not treating you well?  Would you like to give us a full exposé?”

“Well, no, I mean, I wouldn’t go that far!”

“So why are you living in the villa exactly?”

“Oh it is all too embarrassing and I don’t think that Aten would be best pleased if I told you anything?”

“Well Mr....., whatever your name is, we have millions of viewers here who are just dying to hear the full story about what Aten is doing on this planet.  Did he get a special dispensation to visit do you know?  Can you show us the certificate?  And why is he staying so long?  Is he putting together a plan to open up Earth to inter dimensional tourism?”

“I don’t know what you are talking about.  It’s nothing like that.  But I don’t feel that it is my place to discuss Aten’s circumstances.”

“Are you scared of him Mr Drumont?”

“No, no of course not.  But he can get very tetchy, you know.”

“Well you seem to be very tense.  Are you feeling tense? You are scared of him aren’t you?”

“Look I don’t have to tell you anything. Please go away.”

“Oh but you do.  When we arrived you signed a full disclosure contract, which includes full access to seeing your face.  Failure to comply can lead to prosecution and nine years hard labour in the titanium mines of Sthundalor. So who are you most frightened of now?”

“You can’t do that?  You never said that all those funny alien squiggles meant that?  You said that it was just a formality, something to satisfy your producers?”

“You should never sign anything without reading it and having it checked out by your own lawyers Mr Monty.  If you had read down a few pages you will have seen that The Interplanetary Daily Gossip is legally obliged to provide you with a translator and a lawyer, but by signing you have waived any rights that you had.  We have translators in over twenty six million languages and dialects you know, quite the most comprehensive translating service in this quadrant of the universe.”

“Does nobody speak English anymore?”

“Quite frankly Mr Monuitt, you are exceedingly lucky that we have a translator that does speak English and who was able to programme my earpiece.  It is not designated a ‘rare, obscure archaic language’ for nothing you know.  Only a handful of scholars in any given millennium choose to major in it.”

“Druitt, the name is Druitt.  If you are going to prosecute me, you can at least get my name right.”

“Come, come Mr Druitt did you say?  Things have taken an unpleasant turn. All you have to do is tell us why Aten is here on planet Earth and show us your face.  Then we will go away and leave you in peace. Promise!”

“You really mean that?”

“Sure and would it help you make your mind if I told you a little secret?  Bread and onions would be regarded as luxury gourmet cuisine in the titanium mines. You would also never see sunlight for nine years and would be working back to back, non-stop shifts.  I hear that they find the whip to be very useful in encouraging lazy workers.  Why you are trembling, are you feeling alright?”

“If I tell you will you promise not to let Aten know that I told?”

“Of course, as I said before, everything you tell us is just between us and my millions of viewers.  But first, let us have a look at your face?  Stulfano, take that cloth away with the long tongs.  You don’t want to be touching it, it looks filthy and in this backwater could even be lousy.”

“I say, that’s a bit rude.  Owww, you’ve got my ear with those things. Please let it go, you are hurting me. I’m going to howl.”

My, my you really don’t look much like a Victorian gentleman, do you?  More like some kind of dog?”

“A basset hound, there I said it, I now have the features of a basset hound.  Good solid breed.  Could have been much worse.”

“So to all our viewers who are just tuning in, we are here on planet Earth interviewing a member of First Family Aten’s entourage, who has just very kindly just exposed his face to us.  Shockingly, this human has the features, fur and claws of some kind of dog.  Should this kind a thing be allowed in a modern galaxy?  Please vote now on the poll that you will see flashing up on your screen.”

“I’m not sure it was allowed exactly.”

“So have you always looked like that Mr Drumont?”

“Of course not, I told you before; people used to think me rather handsome, especially the young ladies I have been told.  Can I please cover up again, this is rather too embarrassing.”

“So Aten got a change spell wrong again?”

“No, yes, I mean....  I mean I’m sure he never meant it to happen. Please give me my shawl back?

“Not until you tell us what Aten is doing here?”

“Oh give me that, stop dangling it just within reach and then jerking it back.  I’m sure that your viewers are not enjoying the sight of my face or my obvious discomfort.”

“I think that you will find that our viewers are a broad-minded crowd. Just tell us what he is doing here and it will all be over.”

“He’s stuck.  There, I told you. He’s stuck!”

“Stuck?  How very curious.  And how exactly did such a prominent member of galaxy society get stuck on a rock like this?”

“I have already told you too much.  Please go away?”

“Just answer this question and I promise that we will leave you in peace.”

“And never come back?”

“Never. We promise.”

“Well if you promise.  He ran out of fuel.  He forgot to fill up at the last inter galactic filling station and so he is stuck here until he can get more fuel.”

“For our viewers just tuning in, this is possibly the scoop of the century.  First Family member Aten has fluffed yet another change spell, leaving this poor human looking like a dog.  Will he finally be censured this time by the High Council?  But most shockingly, he is here on Earth because he is stuck.  That’s right folks, you heard it here first.  The great Aten is stuck on Earth.”

“Oh I say, that’s a bit harsh.”

“We now have to be moving on  to our next segment, bringing you the interplanetary gossip that you crave every minute of every day. But before I go I would like to thank Mr Drutly for his kind co-operation and for giving us this amazing scoop.  How will the news that Aten is stuck go down on his home planet?  Stay tuned as I try and track down a family member to interview. And as a gesture of our appreciation Mr Truitgue, I would like to give you this complimentary flask of fuel.  I think that you will find that it is just enough to get you some hot water to bathe in and make yourself a cup of tea.  You will really have to improve hygiene around here if you want to pull the tourists in you know, people expect decent amenities these days.  You can’t just rely on the back to primitive crowd to turn a profit.  Stulfano, get us out of here.

(Low sobs coming from Druitt can be heard and then the rattle of chariot wheels turning into the courtyard.)

“Druitt, why are you standing out in the sun like an idiot?  Are you crying?  And what’s that you’re holding?”

“It’s a complimentary flask of ship’s fuel.”

“Where the devil did you get that?”

“Some reporter, Ronalda something or other from the Interplanetary Daily Gossip gave it to me.”

“Ronalda Bauxneitner was here?  What did you tell her?  How did she know I was here?”

“I told here as little as I could, but she threatened me.”

“She beat you or hold your paws over hot coals?”

“No, no she threatened to prosecute me and send me to some titanium mines where they wouldn’t feed me for years.”

“And you believed her?”

“Well she said it was in the thing she made me sign.”

“Give me strength. Druitt what did you say?”

“Only that you were stuck and she guessed about the change spell when she saw my face.”

“You told Ronalda Bauxneitner that I was stuck?  You told Ronalda Bauxneitner that I got the change spell wrong?  So the whole universe including Uncle Lucie and my father now know I’m stuck on this sorry planet with a loser like you? How do you think that makes me look? And did another teensy little thing not occur to you?”

“Like what?”

“Like that to get here she would have had to have come in a ship that had fuel in it? Those roving reporter vessels never carry less than five spare canisters. If you had had the sense to keep her here until I got back, we could all be on our way home by now?”

“But I thought that you just would have wanted her to be gone as soon as possible.”

“Please don’t think Druitt, just do as you are told occasionally.  Give me that flask before you do something stupid with it.  Do I have to do everything around here?  What have I done to deserve being stuck here with a bunch of losers like you?”

“But she said that I could use the fuel to heat water for a bath.”

“In your dreams, Druitt I have much better uses for this!”

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You can follow Aten and Druitt’s adventures in Pharaoh's Gold - Aten Sequence 1.  You can get it on Amazon: or from the itunes bookstore, Sony, Kobo, Barnes&Noble, Copia, eBookPie, Gardener’s and eSentral. You don't even need a Kindle because you can download an app for free from Amazon.

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