2021.03.21 – 5. The Rkpoed offer

They permitted him a day of rest. A written message on a large screen in the living room told him that next morning some delegation will show up at 5 o'clock (their time) to “explain the Rkpoed offer” to him.

He took note to go to bed early, because the Rkpoed day only has 18 hours of our hours. Like us they count the hours since midnight. They divide a day revolution into 16 “hours”, so each of our hours is a bit shorter than theirs. That makes for interesting gymnastics. 5 o'clock of their time is their mid-morning, because 8 o'clock is mid-day to them.

In short, he wanted to be in bed well before midnight.

Within the building complex he found a large restaurant where he managed to obtain his meals correctly, using the translator unit as well as coloured images of what he would receive. He was reminded of his visits to Japan where they used similar helpful devices to communicate with their foreign guests in restaurants.

Their food turned out to be filling, but not very exciting to a person used to diversified European food. This sombre note for food was also shared with other “earthlings” later on. Curious, he thought. Why would a land reputed for peace and progress offer so little gustatory excitement to the palate? Or have their taste buds been oriented to different customs that we still need to discover?

He looked around in the restaurant, and he felt a bit like in Scandinavia. People conversed little. Everything seemed very “cool” and settled. Nice, correct and polite – but lacking a certain excitement that he had hoped for on a planet so far from home. Was this the general impression he would take home to earth?

He was curious to meet the “delegation”. He was wondering why he had been offered this exceptional opportunity to come to Rkpoed. A people so rational and laborious must have a good reason to select his double to visit Rkpoed.

The “delegation” arrived on time the following morning. They were well-attired and quite numerous: four women and one man, all of them serious-looking business-type persons. Most seemed in their sixties. It is a lucky thing that his conscience was clean; otherwise he would not have withstood a interrogatory from this serious comité!

They spoke in Rkpoidian, but the words came out in English from little loudspeakers that they had in their ears. They wondered about the trip and his first impressions. He answered in even tones and diplomatically. He avoided his initial reactions to Rkpoed food.

Then they wondered about his ambitions in life.

His ambitions? He told them that he was now retired and that his once lofty ambitions had been reduced to nothing much more than the shaping of a few melodies into presentable music pieces.

And what about your spiritual ambitions?

That stopped his flow. He wondered what Jinkpee had told them about our telepathic communication. And what about the fact that he was nothing more (or less) than a double of another person who had remained on earth?

They seemed to sense his unease. The senior spokeswoman spoke up and said that they knew all about our work with telepathy, and they knew about my double identity. In fact those were important reasons why they wished to make their offer. There were other reasons as well, and that became evident only later.

In fact, here was the offer: they would train my double in the art of diplomacy, all at their expense. He would be part of a small group – typically 6 or 7 students. There would be lots of practical exercises.

On top of that, my double would be privately tutored in “interplanetary telepathy”. That is, dealing with ETs from all the parts of the universe with whom they had diplomatic relations. They noted by the way that they did not yet have diplomatic relations with Earth, but that they hoped that “sometime soon” such relations could be established.

There were five levels of proficiency that would take typically 5 years to complete. Starting with level 4, candidates were permitted to accompany a senior instructor on real diplomatic missions. In fact, Jinkpee was such a diplomatic agent. He was at level 5, at the point of completing his diplomatic training.

This sounded attractive, but my double had two obvious problems. First my age. We were now well into our seventies. And second, he did not speak a word of Rkpoidian.

“Are you tempted?”

“Yes, but...”

“We have thought of that. First, you can follow the entire course with that little translator there, and with the more sophisticated systems we have in the course. In fact the whole course is available in English.”

“And don't worry about your age. We distant-tested you as you were talking with Jinkpee and on the flight. You should have lots of active years ahead of you. Let go of your worries, you have a good and healthy constitution.”

“Then, we also have a surprise sweetener.” With a nod to the only man in the round, a slim man in the fifties, she said: “He is a senior instructor in our conservatory. He has listened to your compositions and he thinks that you have some potential for composing. He is ready to offer you a private tutor course in composing.”

He was totally surprised. He thanked them profusely. What an offer!

My double told them that he would get in touch with me to talk things over. He would let them know rapidly what “my home office” thought about this offer.