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´╗┐Title: Blueblood
Author: Harmon, Jim
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blueblood" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



                               BLUEBLOOD

                             By JIM HARMON

                          Illustrated by WOOD

           [Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from
                    Galaxy Magazine December 1960.
         Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that
         the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]



               There were two varieties of aliens--blue
              and bluer--but not as blue as the Earthmen!


Even if I'm only a space pilot, I'm not dumb. I mean I'm not _that_
dumb. I admit that Dr. Ellik and Dr. Chon outrank me, because that's
the way it's got to be. A pilot is only an expendable part. But I had
been the first one to see the natives on this planet, and I was the
first one to point out that they came in two attractive shades of blue,
light blue and dark blue.

Four Indigos were carrying an Azure. I called the others over to the
screen.

"A sedan chair," identified Lee Chon. "Think the light-skinned one is a
kind of a priest?"

Mike Ellik shook his head. "I doubt it. The chair isn't ornate enough.
I think that's probably the standard method of travel--at least for a
certain social elite."

"Do you notice anything unusual about those bully boys?"

"You tell me what you see," Ellik evaded.

"Three of them are mongoloid idiots," said Chon.

"I thought so," Ellik said, "but I wasn't quite sure--aliens and all."

"They're humanoids," Chon said, "and humanoids are my specialty. I
know."

"The fourth one doesn't look much better."

"His features are slack and his jaw is loose, all right, but they
aren't _made_ that way. It's an expression he could change. His head
isn't shaped like that."

"Um. The man in the chair is a striking specimen. No cerebral damage in
him."

"I don't think the answer is brain damage. If the 'noble' trusts those
four to carry him, their actions and reflexes must be pretty well
coordinated. They can't have anything like palsy or epilepsy."

"They must breed a special type of slave for the job," Ellik suggested.

"They aren't slaves, Mike," I told him.

"No?" Ellik said, like talking to a kid. "And what are they, Mike?"

       *       *       *       *       *

I breathed out hard, a little disgusted that big brains like Ellik and
Chon couldn't see the translucent truth. "They are just four dumb slobs
who can't get a better job, so they are hauling His Highness around
because they have to make a living the hard way."

"That doesn't quite cover it, Johnny," Chon said. "The carriers are a
completely different race."

"What's different about them?" I asked. "They've got hands to work
with, eyes to see with, noses to smell with. If you kick one of them, I
bet he'll hurt. It's just their bad luck to be dumb slobs."

Ellik grunted. "Unfortunately, Johnny, there are subtler differences.
The darker aliens, the indigo-colored ones, seem to be definitely down
further on the scale of local evolution. They must be an inferior race
to the lighter, azure species."

Chon had been looking at us and listening to everything. Finally he
said, "You can't be sure of that, Mike. You haven't seen all of the
Indigos. Some of them may not be as far down as the common carriers."

Ellik sighed. "Explorers have to make snap decisions on insufficient
data. We don't have time to see the whole damned planet before we write
up a report."

"Yes, explorers have to make snap decisions," Chon repeated to himself.
"Are you going to take a look at those buildings, see if it's a
village?"

"I thought I'd see if our blueblood friend out there wants to show it
to me," said Mike Ellik.

"He won't," I said.

They both looked at me.

"You don't have any chair and nobody to carry you," I went on. "He'll
think you're just a slob."

"Jonathan," Ellik said, "you show occasional flashes of genius."

I smiled and shrugged it off. "I know I'm not nearly as smart as you
boys. But that doesn't mean I can't think _at all_."

Ellik clapped me on the shoulder. "Of course it doesn't."

But his grip was too strong.

"Johnny," Ellik said gravely, "do you think _you_ could carry me?"

"Wait a minute. You want me to act like one of those slobs? That's
asking a lot."

"But could you?"

"Not all the way to those buildings. What was the gravity reading, Lee?"

       *       *       *       *       *

Chon closed his eyes a second. "Point nine seven three."

"There!" I said. "I couldn't tote you three or four miles piggy-back."

"Look," Chon said, "we can strip down a magnetic flyer and you can ride
the seat, Mike. Johnny can pretend to carry you, like on a platter.
It'll impress the yokels with the strength of our flunkies."

"_Mike_ could carry _me_," I pointed out.

Chon laid a delicate hand on my back. "But, buddy, Mike outranks you."

I shook my head. "Not that way, he doesn't."

"We may be going to a lot of trouble for nothing," Mike said. "That
gang may jump us as soon as we decant and try to have us for dinner."

"There's always that risk," Chon agreed solemnly, "but naturally I will
remain on duty at the controls of the stun cannon."

"Securely inside," Ellik added.

"Always on duty," Chon said.

"Always inside," Ellik said.

"It's in the records, Ellik. I took the last one." Lee said it a little
too sharp and it cut the kidding.

"Go soak your soft head in brine," Ellik said, disgruntled.

"Wait a minute," Chon called.

Ellik turned back. "Yeah?"

"Don't forget to take your communicator with you." Chon's voice was
choked. "You may get out of line of sight if you go off with that
troupe."

"I know this business," Ellik said, turning away.

"Mike, I'm sorry if I offended you. Shake, huh?"

Ellik smiled sourly. "Forget it."

"Come on, shake."

"Okay, we're buddies. Do I actually have to pump your clammy paw?"

"Please!"

"Oh, for Pete's sake!" Ellik turned around and kissed Chon on the
forehead.

Ellik was just sore, of course. But the manual warns against that sort
of horseplay when you've been out a long time.

"Satisfied now?" Ellik asked.

"No." Chon's voice was strained tight. "It should have been me to kiss
you." Chon turned to me. "Luck out there, Johnny."

I grabbed his hand and levered it fast, before he could decide I needed
kissing. "Sure thing, Lee. Thanks."

       *       *       *       *       *

The buildings weren't much to see, but they were a step above primitive
huts. They were adobe, or maybe plastic. The aliens understood the
stress principles of the dome, Ellik said, because all the buildings
had curved roofs. Unbaked pottery was what they looked like to me,
and they looked as if they would be brittle as coffee-colored chalk.
Actually, their ceramic surfaces were at least as hard as steel.

The Azure had welcomed Ellik with an outstretched hand. Mike wasn't one
to jump to conclusions, so he just held out his own hand. The native
grabbed and let it go after pulling it some.

The alien saw me apparently carrying Ellik on a seat cushion with one
hand, and he kicked me in the leg. To test my muscles, I guess. I
managed to keep from yelling or jumping. The Azure looked impressed and
the Indigos did a bad job of hiding a lot of envy and hate.

As the Indigos toted their man along on the litter and I guided Ellik's
seat cushion along the channel of magnetic feedback, the two riders
began talking. Ellik's translator collar broke the language barrier,
of course. It was a two-way communicator on a direct hook-up to our
cybernetic calculator on the ship. The brain analyzed the phonetic
structure of the alien language under various systems of logic or
anti-logic and fed the translation into Ellik's ear. Then it went
through its memory banks and played back the right sounds to translate
Ellik's talk into the alien language. I understand things like that.
I'm a pretty good mechanic.

I didn't have my translator turned on, but it seemed to me that somehow
I could understand what the plug-uglies, the Indigos, were saying.

Ellik told me that it was because all their speech was based on the
one universal humanoid sound, "mama." Everything good in the way of
nouns and verbs (there were no other particles of speech) was some
inflection of "m-m" and everything bad was "uh-m-m."

Ellik was pretty "uh-m-m."

I was _plenty_ "uh-m-m." I threatened their jobs, they thought.

They were a real miserable bunch of slobs, those Indigos.

We passed through the wide places between the houses--I wouldn't call
them streets--and saw a lot of Indigos crouched in doorways, watching
us, and Azures being toted around.

The clothing they wore was also pretty universal for sentient bipeds--a
tunic or sarong, kind of. For the Azures, it was smooth and colorful;
and for the Indigos, a loincloth of some rough, dun-colored stuff.

Ellik chinned off his translator switch and leaned down toward my ear.
"They are two distinct races, Johnny. Notice that _all_ the Indigos
are menials. There does not appear to be anything to correspond to a
freedman or even a higher-ranked house servant. The Azures treat the
Indigos only as animals."

"Slobs," I said. "Poor dumb slobs."

The nuclear flash washed over us, peppering us with a few excess
roentgens.

We couldn't look at the spaceship going up, but we knew it was going.
It was making a dawn.

The aliens were all frightened. They fell on the ground and started
praying to the ship, all of them, the Azures and the Indigos.

"What's wrong with that crazy Chinaman?" Ellik yelped.

"Lee knows what he's doing," I said.

Ellik unsnapped his communicator from his belt. "Johnny says you know
what you're doing, Chon. _Do you?_"

"I know." Chon's voice sounded right beside us, perfectly natural. Belt
communicators work just as well as those consoles. People only buy
consoles for prestige.

"Well?" Ellik demanded. "What _are_ you doing, Lee?"

I thought maybe something had gone wrong with the communicator.

Chon's voice finally reached us.

"I'm leaving you and Johnny on this planet, Mike," he said.

       *       *       *       *       *

An Indigo brought us in our morning supply of fruit.

Ellik kicked the Indigo. "It's overripe, blockhead. _Amum, amum._"

The Indigo backed out, bowing, eyes very round.

Ellik felt me looking at him.

"Well, I don't _like_ kicking the oaf, but that's all he's been
conditioned to understand as a sign of disapproval."

"Sure," I said.

Ellik passed through the scimitar of gray shadow into the sunlight that
washed lines and years out of his face. He braced a hand against the
doorframe and craned his head back. It stopped and steadied.

"He's still there," Ellik said. "Sometimes I wish his orbit would decay
enough to burn him up in this damned sour air." He coughed into his
fist.

"He could probably correct," I suggested.

Ellik sneered. "He hasn't got the brains."

"Pretty hard for one man to manage a takeoff. He was lucky to make it
into orbit."

"I just wish he would come down. Somehow, someway, I'd get to him, no
matter where he went on this planet."

"I suppose that's why he stays up."

Ellik slammed his fist into his palm. "I'm going to call him again. He
can't get away without us. If he fouled up a takeoff that badly, he's
not going to try to solo into hyperspace."

"I don't think anyone would solo into hyperspace. I don't think he
would be able to come back."

"Oh, what do you know about it?" Ellik said shortly. "He's just
building up his courage to try the big jump. He's yellow, sure, but
sooner or later he'll get desperate enough, or scared enough, to
actually go. Then we'll be stranded for fair. This planet may not be
colonized for centuries!"

"Probably never," I said. "Not after Lee's reports."

"You think he would falsify reports?" Ellik asked, blinking at me.

"I suppose he'll have to."

Ellik held his head with his hands. "Of course, of course. There's no
limit to the depths to which he would plummet." He ran over to the
corner and snatched a communicator off the pile of our gear. "I'm going
to call him and tell him what I think of him and his wild obsession."

I didn't remind Ellik that he had been telling Chon just that at least
once a day for a month. I knew his nerves got tighter and tighter and
cussing out Chon helped release them and make him feel better.

"Come down, Lee!" Ellik called. "The three of us can make the jump
together. You're martyring yourself for a crazy reason!"

"We've talked this over before," Chon answered. "This is the last time
I'm going to respond to your call. I've made it clear to you that I
think knowledge of this world will cause great suffering, a lot of
death, among the majority of Earth's people."

"You're talking prejudice, Lee! _Your_ prejudice. People aren't like
that any more."

"We haven't gone _that_ far, Mike. The bigots, the hatemongers, the
pettiness and xenophobia lurking in everybody haven't been asleep
that long. Just look at it from _my_ side, Mike. What will the white
people of Earth think about the Orientals, Negroes and Indians of
Earth when they find out the dark-skinned humanoids of another
planet are--measurably, unquestionably, vastly--_inferior_ to the
light-skinned race of the same world? I ask you, Mike!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Mike Ellik said, "It's an inept analogy, Lee, and you know it."

"But most people reason by analogy," said Lee Chon. "No, Mike. I have
to leave you and Johnny to prevent a recurrence of racial hatred,
intolerance and all the ugly consequences on both sides. This is the
last time I'll answer you, Mike. I'm getting lonesome. In a few years,
I'll get hungry for human companionship. I don't want to be tempted
down. Good-by, Johnny. So long, Mike."

Ellik screamed. "Wait! Answer one more call, Lee. It's the least you
can do for me. I don't know when I'll make it. It may be in a few weeks
or a few years. It won't be just argument, Lee. I'll have something
you'll _want_ to tell Earth about this place and these people."

"I'm still here. Tell it to me now," Chon's voice said.

"No. I want to get proof. Let me rig up some kind of video circuit for
you. I can use parts out of our tape camera and the translators. I want
to get it all across to you."

I could hear Chon breathing. "Very well. I'll answer your next call."

"Lee," I called out, "Mike and me will be expecting you to answer."

Chon laughed. "I'm not going anywhere, Johnny. Only around this world
every couple of hours."

"You couldn't make the jump through hyperspace without us, Lee," Ellik
said.

"That's right, Mike. I'm--I'm sorry to quarantine you two down there."

"_Quarantine!_" Ellik stormed. "_We're_ not sick, Lee. _You_ are the
sick one!"

There wasn't any sound, not even of breathing.

"You have an idea to change Lee's mind, Mike?" I asked.

He cupped his hand on the back of my neck. "Affirmative, Jonathan. A
pretty damned good one, too."

Ellik stood staring out the door, gnawing on one of his knuckles,
letting the sun turn the front of him into gold, so he looked like half
a statue, and half a man.

"I suppose it had to come out in him sooner or later," he said.

"What, Mike?"

"What could we expect? It's the basic quality of treachery in the
Oriental mind."

       *       *       *       *       *

When the shadows were at their longest and the alien sun was down the
closest to the horizon without actually going under, Ellik marched up
the path shoving a new Indigo. The Azures supplied Mike with all the
flunkies he wanted to gather food and the like for him, as his natural
right. But I thought we had enough of them hanging around our quarters.
I couldn't imagine what he would want with another one.

The alien hovered at the door. Ellik kicked him in the calf to make him
understand he was to go inside.

"Look at him, Johnny," Ellik said, pushing the fellow forward. "Not a
mongoloid, would you say?"

"No."

The alien looked stupid--blue and stupid. His face was hanging there,
but it wasn't pushed out of shape any more than the faces of the
Azures. The Indigo blinked back at me. What he also looked was not
friendly.

Ellik took the Indigo's cheeks in his hand and angled the face toward
the light. "He's a half-breed, Johnny, or otherwise the gene was
recessive. He wasn't damaged before birth, only after--when he started
to breathe."

"What do you mean, Mike?"

"You ever hear of cyanosis, Johnny?"

"No."

"Well, these creatures have something like it. The Indigos don't get
enough oxygen in their blood cells. It makes them sluggish; it turns
them blue like the pictures of 'blue babies' in the old books."

"I never saw a picture like that in an old book," I said.

"Did you ever _see_ a book? Sorry, Johnny. Just kidding." Ellik
rubbed his hands together. "Well! I theorized that there is no basic
difference in the Azures and the Indigos except improper aeration of
their blood. So, you see, an Indigo is only a _sick_ Azure, and I am
going to make this Indigo _well_."

"How can you do that?"

"It's simple," Mike said irritably. "The Indigos must have a
malformation of the heart causing an abnormal communication between
the venous and arterial side of the circulation system. A little
surgery and I adjust a valve in the heart. No more communication.
Proper aeration. Enough oxygen. The deep blue color goes, leaving only
the lighter blue of the natural pigmentation. The patient feels better,
acts better, thinks better, looks better. In short, he is no longer an
Indigo but an Azure."

"Is--is this what you're going to show Lee?" I ventured.

"Of course! It proves the Indigos _aren't_ an inferior race. They are
the same as the Azures except that they are sick. Their being sick
can't reflect unfavourably on any terrestrial colored race. There is no
analogy. But I have to prove it to Chon. We're going to tape the whole
process and feed it to him."

"I think," I said, "that that might get to him."

"Sure it will." Ellik's jaw muscles flexed. "I should ruin Lee with
this thing, but I won't. I'm not a vindictive man. Lee and I will
probably be working together for years. But whenever he gets out of
line--has some stubborn idea about doing something his way--don't think
I won't remind him of this!"

Suddenly, he was smiling again. He turned to the gawking Indigo. He
pointed two fingers at him.

"_Mmr?_" Ellik asked.

The alien tapped himself on his chest cavity twice. "_Mhaw_," he gave
his name.

"_Mhaw M'i uh M'i m M'm'-uh?_" Ellik asked him, without even using the
translators.

"_M-m-M-m-M_," the alien went, slapping himself on the chest with his
opened palms.

Ellik turned to me, grinning. "I asked him if he wanted to stop being
an Indigo and become an Azure. He thinks I can do anything and he's all
for it."

       *       *       *       *       *

After we fed Mhaw a dose of null-shock from our packs, Doc Ellik
started to slice him open with a ceramic knife he had borrowed from the
Azures.

But Ellik had forgotten that the alien might get frightened seeing
himself cut open, even if he couldn't feel any pain. It had never
happened to him before.

The alien lumbered to his feet, his chest hanging open, showing his
heart beating like some animal caught inside a blueberry pudding.

I drove a right cross into his jaw, and felt the jar all the way up to
my shoulder.

He melted back down onto the pallet.

"Good work, Johnny," Ellik said, stooping and starting his work.

Right away, Mhaw started to lose that Indigo color and get real
light--lighter than the Azures, in fact. None of the blue of the race
was actually in the pigmentation, Mike found out. Even the Azures
suffered some degree of improper aeration of the blood.

"You going to call Lee Chon now?" I asked Mike. "You going to show him
the tape we had running during the operation and all?"

"Not quite yet, Johnny," he said. "First I want to educate Mhaw a bit,
up to the Azure level or better. That should convince Lee."

Mhaw learned fast, probably faster than the Azures, even. Almost the
first thing he wanted was for us to stop calling him Mhaw and start
using an Azure name, Aedo.

Once a day, Ellik left our hut to take some exercise--a walk along
the alien esplanade, he called it. I used to stay with the doctored
alien, now Aedo, but we finally learned we could trust him to follow
our orders--which were to stay inside, away from the others, since we
didn't know how they would take him. So I got to walking along with
Ellik.

As dusk lengthened, we could see the spark that was our ship in its
orbit along the retreating horizon.

Ellik twisted back his head and the side of his mouth. "Look at him up
there--_look!_"

The spark burned brighter and danced in another direction.

"He's gone! He left us!" Ellik said.

"It's okay. He's still there. Just corrected the orbit a little, I
guess."

"No, no, no," Ellik said. "He started to make another try. But he got
afraid to try to go into hyperspace alone."

"He was just correcting for orbital decay."

"You don't understand, Johnny. He's a coward. That makes him dangerous.
He's getting desperate. That desperation will burst the dam of his own
weakness and wash away our hope, _our lives_."

His voice hushed. He stood staring starkly ahead, his palms
outstretched at his sides.

"Maybe he isn't _that_ cowardly," I said hopefully.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Finished," Ellik announced. He meant he had finished editing the tape
showing the operation on the alien and his recovery from his blue
disease, from being an Indigo to better than an Azure.

"The transmitter is finished too," I said.

Ellik had suggested a way of switching the tape camera to a video
converter for one of the audio communicators, and I had been able to
do it easy. It took parts from both our communicators and translators
too.

Ellik fitted the coiled snake of tape into place. "This will be a great
day for your people, Aedo. After our friend from heaven lands, we will
be able to teach you a way to cure all of your sick, to make all the
Indigos like you."

"Like me? Make like me?" Aedo said in the pidgin terrestrial that Mike
Ellik had taught him.

"Yes. We'll show them how we cured you and how all can be cured."

"You make show fellow like me? Make tell make that fellow like fellow
like me?"

"Everything's ready, Mike," I called.

"That's right, Aedo," Mike said. "You'll show your people the way to
equality."

"Make all fellow like this fellow?" Aedo asked.

"Shall I call in Lee?" I asked Mike.

"Yes, that's right, Aedo. Just right."

"No," Aedo said.

The alien stomped the tape camera and the communicator to bits before I
could get a hammerlock on him.

Ellik just stared at the complete wreck of our only means of
communication with the spaceship.

"I be much man now. I much smart. Much smart than Azure hicks and
Indigo slobs. I much smart all. I much man! Not to be all same now.
_No._" The snarl hung on in Aedo's throat.

Ellik lifted his head and sort of smiled. But not quite.

"Well," he said slowly and sadly, "what could you expect in the way of
gratitude from a dirty alien?"

       *       *       *       *       *

The Azures did accept Aedo all right. They seem to think he must have
come from some other tribe. They don't associate him with the Indigo
that disappeared. No Indigo ever became an Azure before.

Of course, Azures sometimes become Indigos, we found out.

It seems there's a virus of what Ellik called pseudo-cyanosis in the
air. The Azures have become a pretty resistant breed to it, while the
Indigos are all easy victims. But once in a while an Azure will come
down with it and turn Indigo.

Mike Ellik caught it too.

It happened pretty fast. By the time we realized what it was, he was
already too stupid to finish the operation he started on himself. I had
to sew him up, not very neatly.

Ellik is treated pretty much like the rest of the Indigos. So am I. He
takes it all pretty calm. He can still talk a little Earth. Whenever
anybody kicks him, Ellik just mutters something about, "What can fellow
expect bunch lousy creeps like those fellow?"

I guess I'll get it too. I think I am getting it.

It won't be so bad for me. Just like maybe going around drunk all the
time, not being able to think or coordinate very well.

It will be kind of bad being a member of an inferior race, but the
thing I'll hate about it the most isn't that, or even leaving old Lee
up there, circling around and waiting for our call forever.

No, the thing I hate is having it happen _now_, just when I'm beginning
to _learn_ something.

I'm not dead sure I know just exactly what I learned, but I think maybe
I do:

You get just what you damned well expected all along from a bunch of
blue-blooded mongrels!





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