(23) No Common Language

The Misha Campaign (144-1121 to 150-1121)

144-1121 : Junction / Darrian / Spinward Marches

    The Nightshade holds station in stealth mode, having just come out of jump .  The intention was to land in this system for some long overdue R&R.

    Robert Morris has woken from his fish oil trance.  He returns to his room to find that everything is now labeled in the black ship's script, not the dumbed-down version it was previously.  As he approaches consoles on the ship, they re-label from galanglic to script for his convenience.

Robert's Klatrin Experience (1)
(Referee and Robert Morris' player only)

    Ed "Shark" Teeth points out that there are disadvantages to being the only ship from a planet, especially to anyone that has knowledge about that planet.  He repeats, "The only ship from that planet."  He's not sure that being from Digitis is a good idea.  He suggests that any self-respecting spy would register his ship as being from Dulu , the system that was destroyed during the Spinward War.  It's impossible to check up on the ship's background, as all the records would have been destroyed.
    Now Shark agrees that they should base themselves at  Digitis -- there's lots of information to be gained there, and they will go back there between voyages.  Of course it's not totally an independent world -- it was a member of Scorpionis, and is now technically an independent world allied with the Tail Nations.  Even so, the record confusion during the forming of the TradeMain Foundation should be enough to cover their tracks.
    Their captain, Misha Ravanos, agrees that Dulu makes the most sense at this point.
    They have also discuss what to say if they're asked for their last port of call before this system.  Helia Sarina suggests that Goose is definitely the best place to say they're from.  It's a jump-3 from here.
    As Shark points out, they've been to  Goose before, so they have information on it.
    Suddenly they realize that since they're that close to  Goose , why aren't they going there instead of here?  They can replenish air, get more klatrin, and they know that Vonish Kehnaan can fill the ship's pantry with fresh food there.  What is more, since they'll be floating in the sea (does the black ship float?), everyone will just assume that they're refueling and they won't have to do anything to pretend.

    So Helia works out a new route.  From here they'll go back to  Goose , and then to Digitis via Zorro , Mizan-fel , and Caloran .  She's fascinated by the entry for  Zorro about the possible under-ice biosphere.
    Shore leave is postponed until they reach  Goose .  At least there they know about the possible problems the crew could encounter ashore.

    Mich Saginaw takes his eight hours to check out the ship.  Everything tests as fine -- all diagnostics are red, with no blue anywhere.

    Helia drops the Nightshade into jump for  Goose .

    Shark contemplates changing the external appearance of the ship to something more normal.  Unfortunately he can't even figure out if it's possible, let alone actually change it to what he wants.
    Once they're safely in jump, Robert and Shark decide it's time for a fish oil party.  Helia moans that she can't take part -- she considers herself on duty whenever the ship is in flight.  Nevertheless she brings some alcohol to the party, and drinks that.  After his last bad trip, Shark decides to drink rather less of the klatrin -- he takes only half a shot, just 20 cc.  Robert has been drinking 2 cc daily, but treats himself to a full shot tonight.

145-1121 : Jumpspace (from Junction / Darrian / Spinward Marches )

    Shark wakes up the next morning.  Robert does not wake up -- he's in a full fish oil trance, as Shark finds out when he looks in Robert's stateroom.  Shark takes him to Sick Bay, where he tells Grand Admiral Baron Bridgehead that he too had some klatrin last night.
    Bridgehead says that Robert is just in his normal state, but tells Shark to check back frequently.  The doctor is not sure about Shark's condition yet; that gets the First Officer wondering aloud whether he can trust the Imperial noble .

    Mich has been studying the manual, and finds that the ship has an alternate color layout.  He knows how to engage it now, but nothing says what it is.  He reports this to Shark, who is about to join him in Engineering when he passes out.  Mich in turn reports it to the Doc, who complains bitterly about Shark's behavior.  Teri Cralla is dispatched to pick up Shark and take him to Sick Bay.

    Three hours later, Shark wakes up in Sick Bay.  He apparently has not had any sort of mind expanding experience.
    Bridgehead tells him that he's charging up heavily.   He says he'll pass out frequently, so he should avoid places where he could fall.  He adds that Robert's just having the usual brain chemistry changes.
    Shark can see that in the display -- the changes are quite extensive now.
    At Shark's request, the Doc shows him his own changes, and how his brain is charging up.  Bridgehead doesn't know how to clear out the charge yet; he suggests that Shark ask Robert about that.
    Shark reports to Misha about his medical condition.

146-1121 : Jumpspace (from Junction / Darrian / Spinward Marches )

    Shark passes out, but recovers consciousness almost immediately.

147-1121 : Jumpspace (from Junction / Darrian / Spinward Marches )

    It is late evening when Robert wakes up.  Shark has not yet passed out today when the Doctor tells calls him down to Sick Bay.  When he gets there, Bridgehead says he's going to get some sleep, and leaves Robert in the First Officer's care.

Robert's Klatrin Experience (2)
(Referee and Robert Morris' player only)

    Robert is no longer charged up.  Shark still is, and asks Robert what the secret is?  Drinking more juice, or what?
    Robert looks at him as if he's speaking Neanderthal.  He goes over to a terminal -- which converts to symbols as soon as he gets there -- and invokes the translation system.  A disembodied voice says, "What are you saying?  Type into the terminal."
    Shark walks over, and types, "Good morning, non-galanglic-speaking person."  A glyph appears on the terminal in front of Robert, and he enters something.
    The disembodied voice says, "Good morning to you."
    "Your brain chemistry has altered to the point where you have lost your knowledge of our language," types Shark.
    "It appears so," says the voice.
    "This may pose a difficulty."
    "Only for you."
    "And anyone you wish to communicate with.  What color is the alternate ship's color scheme?"
    Robert brings it up on a display.
    The alternate scheme is still black.  The windows, however, are transparent, and it's clear that the stateroom windows are either clear or black depending on how they've been set from inside.  On each maneuver drive pod is a large red maltese cross, taking up most of the pod.  Those are the only differences.
    "Black will have to do," says Shark.  He types, "What does the cross symbol mean?"
    Robert shrugs.  "It's a pleasing pattern.  I will say that a ship landing with obvious windows makes it much more normal.  The doors aren't obvious in either scheme, though."
    Shark continues typing, "So I can expect this sort of change?"
    "I assume so."
    "Have you completely forgotten galanglic, or is it your choice not to use it?"
    "It's incredibly... difficult.  It's so much easier to communicate using these glyphs."
    "Is there a spoken form?"
    "I don't know of one."
    Shark says it's late at night, and suggests they go to the lounge so Robert can have something to eat.

    Up in the lounge, Robert gets himself a sandwich.  This was part of Shark's experiment -- he wanted to see whether Robert would eat Imperial food or what came on the ship.
    They sit down in the lounge at a console.
    Robert asks Shark about the medical display he had tried to show him in Sick Bay.
    "I was trying to show you what was happening to your brain," types Shark.
    "How did your experience go?" asks the disembodied voice translating Robert's glyphs.
    "Similar but not as advanced.  You mean my experience this time, or the first time?"
    "This time."
    "As I said, similar but not as advanced.  So how are we going to communicate with you on a normal basis?  This written form of communication is awkward."
    "It's the best we have for now.  Give everybody fish oil?"
    "I don't believe the Doc will accept that.  Can you set up a verbal to glyph, to add to the glyph to verbal translator?"  At this point, Shark passes out.  He looks comfortable enough, but Robert takes him back to his stateroom anyway.

    Robert is not sleepy yet, and decides to investigate the ship further.  He works with the computer to try to find out where the ship was manufactured.  It doesn't say exactly, but it does give some sort of indication.  It was built a long way from here, more towards rimward .  It was then put in storage "just in case."  There is no indication of the age of the ship.  Robert muses that it could well be an artifact.
    The other thing he'd been working at was translating the engineering manuals.  This was pretty much done, except for concepts that are not translatable.  Nothing more to do there.

148-1121 : Jumpspace (from Junction / Darrian / Spinward Marches )

    At breakfast, both Robert and Shark turn up in the lounge with everyone else.
    Shark says to the engineer, "Good morning, Mich.  I like your helmet."  He continues, "I want to know, the brain chemistry, has it altered the frequencies the brain operates on?"
    The Baron answers, "It has changed a little."
    "Can you get me a new frequency map?"
    "You can come down and work one out for yourself."
    "I want to know if we can find out if there's a companion frequency, a harmonic frequency, emanating from the ship."
    Mich says, "You mean, the ship was sentient?"
    "I'm working on the hypothesis this morning that fish oil by itself does nothing.  The ship itself is not bad.  The combination of fish oil making the brain malleable and the ship having a frequency of whatever base that is, is causing Robert to be less communicative.  Good morning, Robert."
    "Good morning," says Robert.
    Shark is taken aback at the sound of Robert's voice.  "So you're... you're... that's interesting.  So what do you think of my theory?"
    "I was passing out before we found the ship."
    "He's right," says Helia.  "It has nothing to do with the ship.  I think his brain's changing in such a way that his brain's more receptive to the ship than we are."
    She starts a conversation on changing the color of the ship.  Robert shows her the alternate color scheme -- black with red maltese crosses on the maneuver pods, and window outside wherever there is a window inside.  Shark comments that this is probably what they'll be using.
    Shark still hasn't gained any understanding of the ship's symbols.  He wants consoles that he uses to show the symbol along with the galanglic, to check if he's picking up the script at all.  He then turns to Robert and says, "I've been passing out.  You haven't been recently, except when you go on a binge.  You'll have to tell me the secret."
    Robert (who has given up his daily tipple) replies, "You have to go on a binge."
    "Really?  And that will straighten you out for a period of time?"
    Helia asks, "Do you think I should take more?"
    "Yes, I think everyone should take more."
    "No," interjects the Baron, "Nobody should take any.  It could be dangerous.  Except I suppose he has to now."  He indicates Shark.  "I can't predict what the effect would be for anyone.  You might end up like him -- passing out all the time, or almost dying."  Shark is again his cautionary example.

    Shark eats breakfast, exercises, and takes a constitutional, wearing all his suits in turn.  He then puts on his zack with a cloth safety, and drinks a full shot of klatrin.  He goes down to Sick Bay and informs the doctor what he's done.
    Baron Bridgehead is disgusted at someone drinking the noxious stuff again, but delighted to be able to watch as it takes effect.
    They talk for a while until Shark passes into the fish oil trance.
    Shark has left instructions for Teri to shadow Mich if he leaves the ship at their next stop.  Robert, he says, will probably be OK by himself -- he probably fits in with the weirdoes on that planet now.  Misha can take care of himself, while the Admiral will not leave the ship in high gravity.  Helia will probably want to leave the ship, but probably would be going with a group.  Teri asks if she can take the FGMP-15 from the start this time.

150-1121 : Jumpspace (from Junction / Darrian / Spinward Marches )

    Unusually, the Nightshade is not out of jump.  Still, it's within the "normal" range of jumps, so no-one's worried.
    Mich has been examining the jump data with Helia.  They are getting a better feel for the ship's behavior, but clearly something was a little different this time.  Since the ship modulates the jump grid dynamically, this is not unreasonable.