"Your Eminence, I'm fluent in Latin, German and Italian. My French is passable. My Greek is a little weak and I've forgotten most of the smattering of Hebrew the seminary inflicted on me." Father Scheiner knew he shouldn't be taking that tone with a prince of the church, but it was just so frustrating. So much knowledge locked away behind the wall of up-timer English. "And now I've got to learn English? Why can't you people speak a reasonable language? Or, at least write in a reasonable language?"

"I'm sorry, Father Scheiner," Cardinal Lawrence Mazzare replied. "If we'd known we were coming, we'd have been better prepared."

Christopher Scheiner noted the gentle reproof in the cardinal's tone, and the reminder that he probably failed to realize he had given. Cardinal Mazzare wasn't just a prince of the church. He was a prince of the church who had been put in his position by the hand of God. Yet none of that really penetrated Father Scheiner's frustration with the situation. He picked up a book and flipped through it. "This is supposed to be a basic astronomy text for the beginning student. I can't even understand most of these pictures. What is this Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram supposed to tell me? I can guess that luminosity, from the Latin lumen, is brightness, but what is a spectral class?"

"Don't ask me. There's nine planets and a bunch of stars and that's about all I know."

"Nine planets?" Scheiner shook his head in dismay. "What can you tell me about the extra three?"

"The seventh one is Uranus. The name causes some unfunny jokes you'll appreciate when your English is better. The others are Neptune and Pluto."

"Uranus. That's the Latin form of Ouranos, the Greek god of the sky. It's a reasonable name for a planet, I suppose." Scheiner paused. "But how do they know it's there? Diligent men have been looking at the sky for millennia, how was it missed?"

"Father, I can't answer that question," Mazzare said. "However, in the next week or so Johnnie Farrell will be coming from Grantville. He's been an amateur astronomer for years and has a really good, up-time telescope. Hopefully, he can answer all your questions."

****

"Father Scheiner, there's an up-time man with a large box who says he's supposed to see you."

"Thank you, Herr Reichter. Please ask him to come in."

A small, rather stout man in his early sixties walked into the room. "Hi, there. You must be Father Scheiner. I'm Johnnie Farrell and this here's my telescope. I'll be happy to tell you what I can about astronomy."

We're really sorry, but this is only available to up-to-date paid subscribers.

Our columns and editorials are free, along with a few other items, but almost all stories and all downloads are paid only.

If you want to read the entire gazette, you need to either subscribe here, or purchase a download of any single issue at the Baen Books e-book store  or at Amazon.com.

- The Grantville Gazette Staff