Chapter Sixty-Four

Far out to sea, a screen lit up.

Bent over that screen was a man, a man whose whole job was to monitor that screen.  At this point, there was a thin thread of drool poised to drop on the monitor, but he was still barely awake.  If he hadn’t been, he might have dismissed the foreign voice as a dream.

When he looked at the screen, an older Japannic man was speaking to him in Englic.  Heavily accented Englic, but still recognizable.  He didn’t understand a word of it.

“Переводчик!”

Translator!

The man quickly yielded his seat, and his replacement asked the Japannic man to repeat the message.   Before he had completed the message, tears began to fall on the console.   The translator stayed and listened though, no matter how hard it was personally.  When the man had finished his message, the translator bowed deeply to the display, so that the sender could see, and then added as a closing, “Arigatou gozaimasu, Musashi-sensei.”

The thanks offered was far more formal than required, but the message was one of such import that the translator thought it necessary.   The Japannic man bowed to the translator, and replied, “Anata wa watashi no fukai aitō no i o motte.”  The screen went dark again.

“You have my deepest condolences.”  These words rang in the head of the translator as they climbed the ladders to the captain’s quarters.  There’s no such thing as the right thing to say, but at least he tried.  The wording was constructed as to show deepest personal sorrow.  Even so, the weight of the message slowed them down as they ascended to the door to the chamber they sought.

There was a sharp rap on the door.  The captain had been poring over sea charts, trying to predict the next major upset.  He looked up.  He had given directions that he was not to be disturbed, and so this was an unwelcome distraction.  He was not in the mood to deal with petty squabbles.

“Vvoditʹ!”  Enter.  His tone was short, clipped, terse.  The translator knew what this meant.  There would be trouble.   There have been thrown bottles before, but normally with enough warning to duck.

“Dzhyeĭms, prints umer.”  The anger fell from his face.  The Prince, dead?

” Vy uvereny, chto perevod li eto?”

Are you sure the translation is correct?

“Namereny li Vy menya obidetʹ?”

Do you seek to offend me?

“Net, no vy sluchaĭno mogu oshibatʹsya, vy ponimaete, chto, bezuslovno, …”

No, but any chance you could be wrong-you understand that, surely…

“YA delayu, no ne bylo nikakih shansov na oshibku. Musasi poslal sam.”

I do, but there was no chance of mistake.  Musashi sent it himself.

“V etom sluchae, eto moi zhelaniya. Zakazatʹ traura dlya ekipazha. V nizhnyeĭ korpusa, vospityvatʹ ssylka, kotoraya nahodit·sya v troĭnoĭ zakryvaet·sya okno. A vy byli osvobozhdeny ot poshliny na kolichestvo vremeni, vy sudite vam nuzhno. On byl vashim bratom, pravilʹno?”

In that case, these are my wishes.  Order mourning for the crew.  In the lower hull, bring up the Link that is in the triple-locked box.  And you are relieved of duty for the amount of time you judge you need.  He was your brother, correct?

“Da.”

Yes.  A word that carried such import.  Brother was dead, struck down by an aether-poisoned meta.  What words would suffice?  He had always had these grand schemes, trying to help the metas understand what aether brought.  But didn’t he know they weren’t like us?  They weren’t born to aether, they were warped by it, and if they survived, you couldn’t call them human anymore.  Not that they were “human,” either.  But these metas were something else entirely.  Quick-healing, insane, and prone to mutating into odd forms, the metas were just not suited to the task.

But he was still Brother, even so.  And he would be missed.

“Ilʹya, pozhaluĭsta, eto priemlemo, chtoby oplakatʹ tvoĭ brat. On byl velikim chelovekom.”

Ilya, please, it’s acceptable to mourn your brother.  He was a great man.

“A kto budet perevoditʹ? Kto pridet na moe mesto?”

And who will translate?  Who will take my place?

“Pochemu, ya, konechno.”

Why, I will, of course.

Ilya thanked the captain, and made it out of his quarters before she broke down.

On deck, there was a hum of activity.  Word travels fast on a ship.  Below decks, his orders were being carried out.  And in the communication center, a tall man strode to a console, put on a headset, and sat down.

“Kapitan, chto vy zdesʹ delaete?”

Captain, what are you doing here?  The com was full of whispers.  Everybody was on edge.

“Kapitan dolzhen bytʹ v sostoyanii sdelatʹ rabotu lyubogo iz chlenov ekipazha. YA syeĭchas perevodchik Ilʹya, kogda my skorbim.”

“A captain should be able to do the work of any crew member.  I’m now translator for Ilya while we mourn.”

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Published in: on July 29, 2010 at 9:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

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