Chapter 3 The Astonishing Truth
“I am Marchioness Pauline Jansen. Married. I’m currently the Superintending District Prosecutor of Carew…”
As Pauline introduced herself, she lifted both feet from the back of the stool to allow the dog’s tongue to reach the backs of them as well. At the same time and in one graceful movement, she turned her upper body towards Clara.
Pauline held great pride in the Jansen Marquisate that she was to succeed in the future (to us she would be a marchioness rather than a marquis but in the matriarchal EHS society, there only existed the one term. There was no need to make the distinction between men and women because men could not hold titles).
The history of EHS began in the last stages of the prehistoric period when the light wave space ship Gloria – later to be renamed Noah’s Ark – took off from the Cape of Good Hope to conquer the fourth planet in the Centaurus Alpha system, Terra Nova. Queen Margaret of Great Britain – having already taken shelter in the Republic of South Africa – left Earth to escape the omega fever virus and was hailed on her new planet. Her arrival heralded the beginning of the Terra Nova Queendom. It’s said that a remote ancestor of the Jansen Family, William, was a politician in the Republic. He was awarded the title of viscount for his distinguished service aboard the Ark. In the fifth age, he became a count for meritorious service in the subjugation of the Sirius system; in the fifteenth age he was involved in the conquest of the Altair system where the Jansen family currently held territory and for this he was made a Marquis. After the women’s rights revolution, the hereditary title was changed to Marchioness and was passed down the female line. The first of the female Jansens even now stands level with Queen Anne in notoriety and was the brave woman who gave her name to the famous brand of negtar: Lady Jansen. She pitied the negroes of the time who were forbidden from the indulgences the whites enjoyed. By diluting whiskey with the urine of those of the Jansen family, she allowed her own negroes to drink these cocktails and bring some relaxation to their lives while also chipping away at their human dignity. Negtar became the material foundation of the emotional training of negroes and she became widely known as woman who pioneered it.
The current head of the Jansen family was Lady Adeline, Pauline’s mother. She was simultaneously an imperial deputy prime minister and the governor-general of the Altair system. There were people who criticised her for her private life, saying she kept several male paramours, but no one could doubt her abilities as far as being a leader of the Civilian Party or a politician. With great riches and the Queen’s favour, many said she was one of the most influential figures of the present age. She had many fans all over the country who worshipped her for her dignity and good looks. As the child of a noble family, her daughter Pauline was to accede her mother’s prominent position and had been studying and training for the day when she would take over as the governor-general. From a young age she was renowned for having inherited her mother’s beauty and was also chosen as Miss Universe.
Therefore it was with no small amount of pride that Pauline had introduced herself to her new acquaintance. She had expected that the woman would react with awe after discovering with whom she was speaking but she observed no particular reaction to her name or title and so – feeling unsatisfied – she continued speaking.
“…I brought my sister and brother here three weeks ago for a visit since our second holiday house on this planet had just finished construction. I don’t think I can ever fully express my thanks to you for what you’ve done for me today. I formally invite you to my villa as a token of my appreciation. Please say you’ll come. How should I contact you? If I’m not mistaken, we’ve never met before…”
Pauline had come into contact with almost all of the nobles living in her home planet Carew’s capital city Aberdeen; everyone in high society knew everyone else as playmates. From her clothes and demeanour, there was no doubt that the young woman before her was of a high social standing but at the same time, the rough fabric her clothes were made from and her lack of interest in Pauline’s self-introduction pointed to her being a noble from some backwater system. Pauline had phrased her question so as to get some hint of the girl’s background.
In response, Clara answered:
“My apologies… I’m Clara von Cotwick. Unmarried. I was born in Germany. Before the revolution my father was a Graf. I’m currently a student, and I live in…”
After hearing the unusual title of Marchioness, Clara brought up her own father’s position of Graf, a German earl. This shocked Pauline.
“Germany? Graf? What on earth are you talking about? Oh!” Pauline suddenly realised the truth of her situation and with a look of disbelief, asked, “Please answer me! What number sphere is this? I mean, what year are we in?”
“It’s 196X of course…”
Pauline kicked out just as her pet dog Pneuma was sucking on the big toe of her right foot. It took the blow to its face and fell back dazed as Pauline slipped on her sandals in a fluster and rushed over to the cockpit. She examined the gauges to check where the yacht’s technical malfunction had occurred and her face dropped. She had crash landed in the 20th century. This woman with her yapoo was from the prehistoric period. What a mistake she’d made! She rushed from the boat to survey the damage. It didn’t look like she’d be able to continue her drive.
She had to call for help, but would the signal get through? She hoped the telephone hadn’t been damaged in the crash…
She returned to the cockpit and tried turning the dial. Pneuma, being a faithful guard dog, followed Pauline as she went in and out of the ship, never leaving her side. Clara watched in astonishment as Pauline completely ignored her and walked about as if in a daze. She wondered why hearing the year had put her in such a state…
The sound of a buzzer reached Pauline’s ears. The intertemporal telephone connected different time periods of the spheres using cosmic rays as an intermediary and the buzzer meant it was still functional.
Thank God. She was saved…
Clara was surprised when the space in front of the telephone apparatus was suddenly illuminated.
The holiday house’s telephone boy’s upper half appeared in a three-dimensional projection. When he saw Pauline, he bowed.
“Call for Doris.”
“Yes, my lady… Let me see, it seems she’s currently in the triangular stable…”
“Transfer me to the stable!”
“Certainly, my lady.”
Just as suddenly as he’d appeared, the boy disappeared.
Clara was dumbfounded by the black man’s unexpected appearance, by the strangeness of his speech, his movements and his changing facial expressions – a sight she was not at all used to – and she forgot the plight of her beloved. After he disappeared, another black boy’s upper body materialised and he bowed to Pauline.
“She’s riding Avalon for polo practice…”
“Get her for me.”
“Yes, my lady.”
The negro disappeared and in the distance a large bird could be seen flying. A beautiful young man straddled its back… At least that’s how it appeared until it drew closer and was magnified. What Clara had thought was a bird was a strange four-legged beast with giant eagle wings. The figure she’d thought was a boy was revealed to be a beautiful young woman dressed in men’s clothes by the flowing blonde locks that escaped from her polo cap. This was Doris, riding the pegasus Avalon.
 “EHS politics is monopolised by the House of Lords which represents the most high ranking nobles, the Lower House which represents the lesser ranked nobles and the Privy Council, selected from among the royal family and the most elite nobles (those qualified to be in charge of the inner palace (chapter 29.2)), to represent the Imperial Family. The old notions of politics are not compatible with the system in EHS, however there are the big two parties – the Civilian Party and the Military Conservatives – which are commonly called the Whigs and the Tories respectively.
“Plebs don’t have a right to participate in politics. A small number of group representatives are recognised due to Freedom of Association and there are also groups that act in the interest of plebs but the members of parliament are taken from the noble classes, not the plebs. Plebs do, however, have the right to vote. It’s a popularity contest where noble candidates are the subjects and where personal appeal is more important than political views. The candidates don’t particularly go out of their way to drum up popularity but the upper classes do attract pleb fans and the outcome of the fan votes does in its own way reflect the power of speech of the most important nobles and have an indirect effect on politics.”
- From a Civics Textbook in use in EHS pleb schools