The Cardinal Raoul de Cajal, sometimes popularly known as Cardinal Crystalsong, sighed. Being the prime dignitary of the Community Cluster entials numerous duties. Being in charge of access to the one Lokiite in human-dominated space was perhaps his touchiest one.
"You don't want to do that," said the Cardinal. "You really don't want to do that. You may be one of the most famous artists in the Community...and may I mention that I have two of your pieces in my home, and value them highly. That still doesn't qualify you to make contact with a treacherous and potentially dangerous alien."
"Cardinal, I am one of the most popular artists now living with the money and fame that comes with it. Many of the Councilmen have an Alistair Tam original, and would like more. I can put a lot of pressure on you to agree. "And come...what is the danger? He's one lone alien light-years form his feollows, and despised as a traitor by his own kind. He is no more dangerous than a human."
The Cardinal said, "Misltu is more amoral than Judas' lawyer. He would rape his own grandmother if he saw any profit in it."
"But he is an alien. His aesthetic could liberate us, offer us new insights...as the European art scene was liberated by the influx of Japanese prints. Let me quiz him on Lokiite art forms. Let us get his opinion on our art forms.
"Please, Cardinal. A day. A week. Then he can return to his--captivity."
It was odd to try to talk to Alistair Tam, with the spectacles he wore. He donned multispectrum glasses with which he could look into the infra-red, the ultraviolet, and beyond, to get more of the spectrum than unaided eyes could see. It also totally obscured his eyes, and the Cardinal was not used to dealing with someone where he could not read their emotions in their eyes.
The Cardinal sighed again. "All right. But you will first sign a statement absolving the Community--and myself--of any harm or damage Misltu might cause you."
After the paper was signed, Tam was shown down a long hallway. They nodded at several guards and then entered a single door.
Inside a grey-skinned being sat, with flaming red leaf-like hair and eyebrows, and two long link-chains between the wrists and the ankles, which were obviously natural. The eyes showed no pupils, but strangely liquid facets, like an insect, save the facets moved and conentrated into one area, cascading into focus. Otherwise, the form was remarkably humanoid--including the smile, although it was as wide as a shark's.
"Ah, Cardinal. What a pleasure. Come in and relieve my loneliness. Who is your pudgy friend with the freakish eyewar?"
Tam flushed redly at the mocking description. The Cardinal sighed.
"Mind your manners. This is Alistair Tam, a famous and respected artist. he wants to--borrow--you for a week."
"As a model?"
"No," said Tam. "I want to find the Lokiite aesthetic--find our where Lokiite and humans agree, and where they differ."
"I'm hardly an artist."
"But you are an educated man in your culture. Just as an average man on the street knows of Da Vinci, of Picasso, or of Brian Schroeder, or..."
"Yourself?" The Cardinal suggested. Tam glared at him.
"In any case," Tam continued, "I want some insights into your standards of beauty--what your people like to create, to admire, to.."
"Pay outrageous prcies for because the artist is dead?" Misltu suggested. "I have no objection. It might be--enlightening--for both of us."
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART TWO.
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