|The Ship Who Squealed
Author: vjs2259 PM
The White Star spills a secret. Marcus spends some time in the airlock.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor - S. Ivanova & M. Cole - Words: 971 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 1 - Published: 06-07-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6031707
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Ship Who Squealed
Set sometime in S3 or S4 or whenever you can imagine it. From an idea suggested by my husband.
Standard disclaimer applies; not my characters or settings or backgrounds. But they are my words.
Susan was walking quickly down a corridor on the White Star. She whistled happily as she pressed her palm on the door lock, then paused at the entrance to the tiny room, looking inside contentedly. After the last trip she'd designated a storage closet as Captain's Quarters, and had a comstation and a sleeping bag moved into it. She'd put the bag on a low, wide, level shelf, removing the ones above it. No one could possibly sleep on those tilted beds; at least she couldn't, or rather she wouldn't. If Captain Sheridan considered a good night's sleep a prerogative of command, who was she to argue?
The Minbari crew members had stared at her when Marcus translated her request, but she'd instructed him to tell them it was a human tradition. 'Sleeping in a closet?' he'd asked with an infuriating grin. 'First time I've heard of it!' But he had passed along her orders and now she had a private place to sleep, and her flat Earther tendencies wouldn't upset the crew. The comstation was fascinating, and a bit unnerving. It was actually part of the wall, with an extruded keyboard of lights jutting out from under a decent sized monitor screen embedded in the skin of the ship. The hybrid ship was alive in some basic ways, and had its own ways of rearranging the furniture. It was hard to adjust to, and easy to forget.
She unzipped her jacket and unbuttoned her collar. After hanging the jacket carefully on the wall rail next to the lovely flat bed, she went over to the keyboard to set an alarm for 0500. Then, snapping her fingers, she said aloud, "Damn, I forgot to leave instructions with Marcus for the next phase of testing the new adjustments to the navigation system."
"Did you wish to leave instructions for Anla'Shok Cole, or for the navigation officer, Commander Ivanova?"
She stared at the computer, which had issued the question in dulcet tones. It was a strangely familiar voice; soothing, female, and low-pitched. Examining the machine more closely, she saw the usual Minbari characters on the screen, and the pulsing blue and green crystals on the keyboard. As she stared, the characters resolved into a virtual keyboard showing Earth characters. Then they shifted into Old Cyrillic characters, then back to Minbari script. "What...?" she managed to say, before putting her hands back on the crystals to manipulate the controls, seeking an explanation.
"Your commands can be understood by the ship's computer, when verbalized in Minbari, Interlac, Earth standard English, or a variety of other languages."
"When did this happen?" Susan demanded. She'd been interacting directly with the computer physically, and using Marcus or Lennier to translate her spoken orders to the crew.
"The capability has been available for some time. Delenn had Lennier work with the engineers to adjust the programming of this prototype soon after it was commissioned. It did not take long; most languages are simplistic for a command and control system as complex as that of the White Star. The translator is based on a Vorlon design..."
"Stop." Something occurred to her. "Does Marcus Cole know about this capability?"
"Is there a need for me to have a translator along for each mission?" Her face flushed; the heat of embarrassed fury built as she realized she might have been played.
"No, Commander. This ship is capable of transmitting your command to the crew in whatever language you prefer, either visually or audibly. Of course, in the event of catastrophic computer failure this ability would be abridged."
"I imagine it would." Susan thought for a moment, only slightly mollified. "Locate Marcus and have him meet me by Loading Bay 2. Immediately."
She didn't wait to hear the result. Grabbing her jacket, she left as quickly as the door swished open and was out of sight down the corridor before it closed.
"Susan!" Marcus peered through the round window in the door. "Let me out of here! I enjoy a joke as well as the next person, but this is going a bit too far!"
Susan stood, arms crossed, in front of the airlock in Loading Bay 2. "Computer?" she said. "Is it possible to let out just a little of the air in there?"
"No, Commander. The airlock is designed to gradually allow small amounts of air to enter, but the removal of air is instant and total."
"Pity." Susan stood with her arms crossed, and tapped one foot as she considered her next move. "Computer, access literature files: source 'Vorlon', genre 'poetry'."
"Accessed. All Vorlon literature is classified as poetry. There are approximately 3000 individual files, some of which are subsets of each other. Many are quite short in length, and might be more accurately described as aphorisms."
"I'll bet." Susan though for a moment. "In two minutes, I want you to start piping the complete collection of files into the airlock. Alternate between translations in Adronato and Earth Standard English. Throw in any Minbari commentary you have. Continue until I give the order to stop. If you run out of material, start again at the beginning." She opened the intercom into the airlock. "I'll be back in a little while, Marcus. I want you to learn to appreciate the capabilities of this wonderful ship, as I have." Smiling, she left the bay, pausing at the entrance to enjoy the sound of muffled shouts, and of fists pounding at the crystal window.