"Banichi, stars move. Everything's moving. So is our observation point. We've put this forth time and time again. It doesn't mean the astronomers are wrong."
"I don't say it makes clear sense," Banichi said, "not to me."
"The earth goes around the sun. In winter it's at one point of its orbit and in the summer it's the opposite. If you're looking at a star and want to know its real numbers, you can measure by taking the numbers from the earth at opposite extremes of the earth's orbit. But the margin of error rapidly gets larger than the measurement itself. We're dealing in very great distances, Banichi, very big numbers, and they have nothing to do with forecast or philosophy: stars have to do with burning hydrogen, that's all."
"Then what use are they?"
"The sun's rather useful."
"What's the sun to do with anything?"
He was perplexed, now, and flung out the obvious. "The sun's a star, Banichi-ji. Close up, the stars look like the sun."
"I believe you," Banichi said after a moment, "I can see your point, I think. But do you wish to add philosophical extremes to the debate? I counsel you, nadi, surely you can come up with something else."
"The ship up there has been to other stars, Banichi, almost certainly. We came from another star very much like the sun."
"This may be true, nadi, and I surely wouldn't dispute the paidhi's word."
He'd gone beyond impatience. He was arriving at curiosity himself, on topics the paidhiin didn't often ask atevi. "Well, where did you think we came from?"
"From another star, nadi."
"Like one of those little points of light up there."
"Actually--" Banichi siad, "one had rarely wondered."
"Did you think we lived on a star?|
"Well ..." Banichi said with a shrug. "People just don't ask such questions on the streets, nadi-ma. I think if you want such explanations for lord Geigi, you're only going to confuse him."
"I've got to do better than that, Banichi. Geigi at least has a scientific background. He understands the solar system."
"Better than I do," Banichi said. "But still, in public, I wouldn't make a great issue about the sun, nadi. I don't think many people will understand you."