Sunday, July 19, 2015

Today's #flashfiction Universal Translator

 “Women are delicate creatures.”
King Kong* #quote

Today I went to a family gathering. Fun was all abound! Anyway onto the flash fiction!

Universal Translator

         “Fahron vessel approaching captain.” The navigator of the ship told his captain in a plain tone while sweat showed through his red shirt. Meeting a Fahron ship either meant aid or violence, all depending upon what faction of their people you happened across in space and how you reacted. “They are sending a transmission Sir.”
          Captain Starswing knew of the possible peril. He leaned forward while rubbing his hand on his chiseled jaw. He thought deeply while the brown hair of his eyebrows furled. “Does anyone speak Fahronese?”
          None of the crew responded.
         “Navigator! Put the transmission through the universal translator!” The captain ordered with a charismatic supportive boom in his voice. He didn't yell at his crew like some angry middle management boss, but rather like a rallying commander meaning to raise moral.
         The navigator pushed buttons and then told the commander in a confused voice, “The message says 'We want people who love boat.'”
         Captain Starswing looked at the navigator, unable to process the phrase. “We want people to who love boat? What does that even mean?” He then clenched the arms of his chair. “Universal translator my ass. This is what you get when you trust a machine to translate.”
          The navigator then asked the captain, “What should I send in response Sir? If we remain silent then the Fahron will think we're an abandoned vessel and attempt to salvage us. Our shields couldn't handle any of their breaching any equipment. You know we're a shipping vessel.”
         The Captain thought to himself. The Fahron's must have a universal translator themselves. Nearly every ship in the Galaxy Union does. That's why he assumed it would be useful. He needed something even a machine couldn't misunderstand that could possibly get them out of this situation.
         “Respond with 'yes'.”
         The navigator turned away from his console to his captain and then said, “Just send yes? I don't even think they were really asking a question.”
          Captain Starswing then explained, “I've dealt with a lot of people while being captain. Politicians, military, tradesmen. And one thing I've learned is that the best way to get along with someone is just smiling and nodding. So that's what we're going to do. Just say yes and that'll probably be what they want to hear.”

         And so Captain Starswing and his crew did survive, because we want people who love boat meant “We want people who can repair our ship.” Among the grammatical differences and other strangeness in Fahronese loving also shared a meaning with mending, which was what the Fahrons called repairing, mending. In the end Starswing helped the Fahronese with their ship's internal coffee machine instead of looking like an enemy vessel and being shot up in an act of war.

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