Log in

No account? Create an account
25 March 2016 @ 05:27 am
_Surveillance Camp_ part 4  

Paer grabbed another drink—something with actual flavor, this time—and joined them.

Amsi frowned at her. "You're the Med Tech."

"She's a trained Exploration Teamer. We've worked with her before." Ajha tapped at his comp. "Now, the Disco people didn't have recorders with them, so we have no examples of their speech. Written language, yes. Dr. Quicksilver will be here tomorrow, and I think we'll see if we can get the two of them to converse in the Helios language. That will give us a starting point for your analyses of the radio intercepts."

"The what?"

"Radio intercepts. We set up a receiver on the far side and a laser relay through the gate." Ajha steepled his hands. "Then we'll compare your translation to Disco's. It'll keep you busy while we get some bugs into some more interesting spots."

Stiff backs.

Paer snorted. "They're the only people around who've heard the language. That makes them a valuable resource. Use them. They did teach the parts about using every resource in your school, didn't they?"

Hioz looked indignant. "Hey! I'm Directorate School too, you know! Well, Off and Tayc went to Daiki, but they've got a good rep."

Snob school, but yes, good rep on academics.

"Yeah, so why the attitude about Disco? Prejudice? I'd recommend you lose it. You're going to spend the rest of your life dealing with Non-Oners. Might as well start out right as obnoxious."

Offe gawped at her. "That's not how the game is played! You of all people should know that!"

Ajha cleared his throat. "This is not politics, and it is not a game. Our world is under threat, and we are all going to work our asses off, work together, and find out just how serious the threat is. Save the politics for the office assignments. You do it out here, I'll kick you out of here with a black mark."

Amsi bristled. "You are not our boss."

"I am the senior Intel man here, and you were ordered to report to me. Get over it." Ajha dropped his gaze to his comp. He tapped a couple of keys. "I've sent you half an hour of radio transmissions on six channels. Go have fun with them. And think."

Paer winced as the five analysts marched off. "Oh. Dear. How did you get them?"

"Greek speakers, with study time on the Helios books." Ajha sighed. "All the older experts are so busy playing games, they haven't been doing a lot of hands on translations themselves. And may I say Paer, that until you have patients, I'm going to keep luring you into this side of things."

Paer beamed. "Excellent. But I have to admit I barely know any Greek at all."

"Study their numbers, those seems to have survived the millennia. And I sent you the recordings, too. Have fun!"

"Thanks!" Paer bounced off to the medical crawler. Peace and quiet. I'd better figure out where I'm sleeping before too long though. She grabbed her luggage and head for the second crawler.

"Why are you sleeping here?" Tayc looked irritated.

"Because this is where I'll be once the doctors show up. Might as well stake a claim right from the first." Paer tried to stay cheerful.

"Yay! The girls outnumber the boys." Hioz pointed. "Girls on this side. The top bunk there is open."

"Right oh." Paer pulled out the minimum kit and slung her luggage into the rack at the head of the bunk. Or where it would be when the bunk was deployed. She glanced out the windows. "See you in a few hours. I'm going to go study too."

Tayc sighed. "Oh, don't mind me. I'm just out of sorts over this field assignment being so . . . out in the field. Bunking with a bunch of guys."

Paer snickered. "I know. What would the High Oner society mavens say? I expect though that as the camp grows we'll be able to grab a women-only crawler, or squishy."

Tayc nudged a chair her direction and Paer sat. Brought up the radio transmissions and stuck a phone I her ear and listened to incomprehensible gibberish.

Pulled up a list of Greek numbers and read through it. Played a file to hear the proper pronunciation. Then she restarted the recordings and tried to pick out numbers. Every conversation started with a string of numbers. She wrote them down . . . yes, they were getting larger with time . . . "I'd guess they were naming themselves, naming the person or place they were calling and giving a time. Or at least saying numbers that are getting larger all the time."

They all looked at her list of numbers.

"Just the first track?" Offe turned back to his own comp, frowning.

"Yeah. Dang. I'd better note the recording times so I can compare the tracks. That'll settle my hash . . . Umm, we could each take a track?" Paer watched the competitive expressions, the thoughts, the final nods.

Whoa! Signs of teamwork!

It worked.

Then they compiled a list of the "call signs" Names, places, whatever.

Then they trooped over to Ajha's and asked nicely for more data.

"It sounds like eighteen—so far—people calling into four places or people." Offe showed his their notes.

"Very nice." Ajha approved. "We'll see tomorrow what Xen and Q think."

Paer blinked. "Xen didn't stay?"

"Nope. He's busier than all get out, trying to survey the most likely target and locate tribes that Disco will have to try to evacuate." Ajha grinned. "I have no idea when or if he's planning on sleeping. But here's the next three hours of recordings."

They all nodded, and departed. Paer trailing, picked up Fean's voice. "Did they actually cooperate? I'm going to wind up impressed if I'm not careful."

"Yeah. I was getting a little worried."

Paer let the door close and trotted off to listen to more incomprehensible chatter. I really hope those guys are picking up enough words to get the gist of these messages. Because I'm not much of a linguist.

In the end, they resorted to paper. Five parallel tracts, with time marks, call signs, and a scattering of recognized words.

They gave up at sundown, when Ajha suggested dinner. He glanced at their chart and smiled. "You lot are good. As advertised."

Paer tried hard to not taste the fabbed food, and washed it down with a commercial drink from the vendo.

"You guys are off to a good start. We'll get translations tomorrow, and start broadening our spoken vocabularies. Get a good night's sleep, Disco time is ahead of us by about five hours."

It was odd, sleeping with five other people, three masculine breathers who were all the wrong guy, two strange women . . . At least Fean is familiar, but somehow I don't think we're going to talk like we did when we had a crawler to ourselves.

But I'm across. And I hope Ebsa's new assignment goes smoothly. He's wasted behind a desk. Just thinking of Ebsa relaxed all her muscles and put a smile on her face. Love. Strangest thing in the Multiverse.