AN Somebody else's. Welcome to part 2 of idiot author writes a 20k chapter and realizes he should probably break it up.
"Welcome back to the land of the living," James T said with a small smile.
"You know, Chickadee, when I set you up with an appointment today, it wasn't so you could go back on my operating table." Bones McCoy said, placing his hands on his hips, his words delivered in a flat tone.
Jaylah tried to piece the last moments together and drew a blank. "Where is Montgomery Scotty?"
"He's fine." James T said soothingly. "He's recovering in a private room."
"Recovering? Of what injury?" She sat up, priorities clicking into place. "We were attacked. In the hospital rock room. In the arch art. One of Krall's demaking weapons."
"Attacked? When?" Gramsci's voice sounded hard, but his eye fur were drawn up, not down, like Montgomery Scotty's did when he was annoyed.
"The stone room. The first room of entering."
"The atrium? Where you fired into the transporter alcove? Some one was attacking you?"
Jaylah shrugged about the "atrium" and "alcove" but she nodded her head in the Federation mode about the attack.
"Computer," First Contact Gramsci ordered, "play hospital charlie atrium transporter alcove time stamp 2265.35 mark 10.0583" A computer panel on the wall went momentarily blank before displaying an image of Montgomery Scotty stepping onto the circular pad in the art display immediately beginning to fade. "Rewind and rotate." The little Jaylah and engineer walked backwards until they were a few meters from the display and then the vantage point rotated around them, displaying the entire room. There were the table girls and one person in a teal vest and pants clearly not looking at them. Beyond that, there was no one else. James T even asked the computer to scan for hidden life signs but no new contacts were found.
"But, you can see." Jaylah said, pointing to the disintegration field around her engineer. "You see Montgomery Scotty unmaking. We were attacked."
"There was just no one around the transporter, Jaylah," the Doctor Bones McCoy said softly.
Wait. Transporter. With dawning horror creeping into her Khutut sending them toward the far ultraviolet she whispered, "Transporter. Like my house's people moving room."
James T nodded.
"So I..." she trailed off.
"Scattered your particles over several thousand square meters, nearly killing the both of you." Bones McCoy supplied helpfully.
Jaylah dropped her staff from nerveless fingers. Spirits take her, they had warned her. But, of course, she had known better. Known to protect her soft silly engineer, instead she had nearly killed him. It wasn't even like she hadn't seen a Federation transporter working before, she berated herself; she had seen James T shimmering before Krall's base had dissolved into her house. She had acted without thinking. She hadn't even considered breaking her word. She hadn't remembered giving it at all. She just... saw Montgomery Scotty being "attacked" and reacted.
Her khutut alwajh flashed deep blue in mute acknowledgment when James T said that he had to confiscate her weapon. There were conditions and stipulations placed on getting it back but she wasn't listening. She knew the next step was the Macos. She knew from her house that the Federations and the Macos didn't get along. Didn't agree. But that they would come all the same. She wasn't even entirely certain that they would be wrong to come for her. How sick was she? To say one thing and then do another? It was unthinkable.
But, she had seen it on her house. How the first officer argued against turning the Romulan over to the Macos how they had over ruled him with a millitree jurs diction. The video had just cut off. It took months for her to find the rest. Stuck on one of the memory crystals with numerous blocks of text she couldn't understand. But she had understood the video.
She broke, panicking, leaping off the table, tucking her feet in so she could soar over Bones McCoy's head. She landed in a crouch, springing herself for to slam her body, shoulder first, into the line between the sliding doors and then promptly bounced back. She bit back a yelp as the joint swelled, immobilizing the compressed bone and, rolling to her feet, jumped straight up against the weak force of gravity. Her body flew higher than she anticipated, arm flung up protectively it encountered a centimeter of soft foam and then hard metal beyond. Her momentum carried her forward, cracking her head painfully against her forearm. She sprawled against the floor breathing hard to try to gather herself but, before she could make another attempt, James T's boot came down against her chest. Unable to muster the energy to attempt to sit up against his added weight she writhed futilely until she felt a cool hiss against her neck. Abruptly, all her muscles went lax leaving her gasping for air.
"What the hell was that?" James T hissed, in a clearly threatening voice.
"Please. I will keep going."
"Not damn likely. Now. Explain."
"The Macos!" Jaylah insisted, trying to will her khutut to display the urgency of the situation but they felt completely numb—as reluctant to respond as the rest of her body.
"The who? Look. There is no where to go." James T brought his fingers up to the bridge of his nose and squeezed.
Jaylah changed tactics faster than she could keep up with herself. Her mind was screaming at her but her body and mouth were on autopilot. She reached up caressing the inside of James T's leg, her body going entirely blank while she placed a smile on her face. "Please," she plead in a soft whisper.
Confusingly, a look of unmistakable panic crossed James T's face lips pulling back eyes widening eye fur rising. He took a large step backwards raising his hands; looking up, Jaylah saw Bones McCoy's own eye fur was also located in the middle of his forehead. First Contact Gramsci knelt near her but definitely out of touching range. "What is it that you are so afraid of?"
"The Macos" Jaylah insisted. "I know my problem is bad."
Gramsci thought that over. "You are probably in some trouble, yes. But Starfleet isn't going to hurt you, Jaylah. Has anyone shown any interest in hurting you so far?"
Well, no. So far, everyone had been varying degrees between aloof and affable but no one had been really hostile. She shook her head, khutut double flickering in abject disagreement. "I know. Not Starfleet. The milli-trees. The Macos. Please, James T." She worried her fang into her lip, hating the begging tone in her voice, hating surrendering that much power but she never wanted to be tortured again.
Everyone was staring at her. They were all giving her lots of space, which would have meant more if she could freely move and, moreover, no one was moving toward the door to let her out. James T very slowly sat down cross legged on the floor. He picked up her weapon and, in the same moment when she flinched, tossed it, letting it roll over to the wall. Jaylah heard a hissing sound, then Bones McCoy joined him with one of those spray things in his lap. "The only MACOs I can think of." James T said slowly and evenly, "were the marines on the old proto-starfleet Terran craft. You must have learned about them on the Franklin but I am not sure if we are talking about the same MACOs or is "maco" a word in your language?"
Jaylah stared at him. She had no idea what a marine was but they were soldiers in the video on her house. "The ones who spoke jurs milli-tree."
That was met with another round of silence. "But... from the Franklin? Yes or no?"
Jaylah flickered her khutut, nodding her head in afterthought.
"Right. I'm... not sure why you would be so afraid of them. But. Look, they're gone. They no longer exist. The Vulcan's insisted no extralegal, um, outside the chain of command, free to act on their own, organizations could exist outside of Starfleet within Federation space." He, carefully, didn't add anything about all of the extralegal organizations that apparently could exist within Starfleet. "The MACOs were disbanded, one hundred and four years ago. I promise. No one is coming. And anyone who does will have to go through me."
"But... you said I could have killed Montgomery Scotty."
"Yeah, don't do that again." James T looked at her seriously for a long moment, then the muscles in his face relaxed a little. He crept a little closer. "What was the first thing you asked about when you came around... woke up again."
Jaylah paused, her fangs pressed hard into her lips—the one on the left bringing up a bead of blood. She couldn't remember. Her mind was lost in an emotional whirlpool, dread, guilt, relief, suspicion, and remorse each chasing another into the depths. She rested her hands on her face hiding her wildly flailing khutut, slowly pulling herself into a small ball. She drew in a shuddering breath which, in turn, forced her to cough; her lungs aching with the oxygen burn. James T settled closer to her while First Contact Gramsci and Bones McCoy slowly moved to their feet. She heard the snap of the door sliding open and the hiss of, she thought, a hypospray, but none of it was really registering.
James T reached out slowly but firmly touching her face. She blinked in startlement and would have stiffened if she could have. Instead, inexorably, James T pulled her head up until his pure blue eyes stared into her multihued golden and black eyes. "The first thing you asked about was Scotty, and your first real action was to inform me of an attack on him. That was the right thing to do. The fact that you were wrong doesn't make your intention wrong. Just uninformed. You weren't trying to be a killer, you are just untaught. Thank you for trying to save my crew member and shame on you for breaking your promise to," here his voice became a little louder and he separated the words out strangely "actually go and check with somebody to see if there was really any danger."
She tried to communicate her understanding, as well as the depth of her gratitude, that he didn't seem to be turning his back on her, but the words collapsed into a sob which, in turn, set her off into a sneezing fit. She felt completely emotionally exhausted. It felt like her khutut were sliding around on ice, unable to find any purchase as they careered from happiness to terror to contentment to misery. None of the rules by which she had lived her life on Altamid seemed to apply here and the consequences for each infraction appeared to range from the deeply embarrassing to the potentially lethal.
"All right, Chickadee," Bones McCoy said "It sounds like its past time for your next dose." She felt him brush her disheveled hair away from her neck followed by a cool, wet, sensation on the side of her skin. It wasn't unpleasant but it did feel a little odd, the nearest of the main arteries to her brain fluttering in psychosomatic response. The pain in her lungs eased almost immediately, but it took a few minutes for her itchy eyes and stuffed up nose to relax; although, those latter symptoms had been complicated by an emotional response as much as the chemical reaction.
Bones McCoy helped her to her feet, asking her to sit on the raised floor section while he ran a few more tests. Jaylah sat quietly, focusing on not getting into any more trouble. After a few minutes, First Contact Gramsci walked back in, leading a very sore looking Montgomery Scotty. His skin, normally a soft hectorite appeared stretched tight and deeply reddened. His hands appeared too big and he was eager to sit in one of the chairs in the hospital room.
"Montgomery Scotty!" She began, then faltered. What could she say? "I'm so sorry. You look like pain. I might have killed you." Her voice grew smaller and smaller as she went on.
"Aye. Well." He paused, clearly looking for something to say. "Bloody automated subroutines couldn't transport a gnat through a barn door. Any human transporter chief would have held us in the buffer until...issues were resolved. Rather than dropping us in an emergency response ward. How are you feeling, Lassie. I was mostly dematerialized, but you..."
He broke off, giving Bones McCoy a serious look. "It was touch and go for a while there" the human doctor said softly, laying his hand on Jaylah's shoulder. "You went code white on us, twice. I don't know if it would have gone as well if you had a centralized cardiovascular system."
"I don't understand." Jaylah said a little listlessly. She was tired of not understanding what Bones McCoy was saying, but she lacked the energy to muster up any real indignation.
The doctor brought over one of his hand held electronics and placed it on her thigh. He flipped through a couple of screens before bringing up an image of one of her aortic vessels. It seemed to be a live image, the valves of her ostia working, drawing blood into the five successive chambers: pressurizing it and propelling it out into the artery. "You know how your blood is pumped throughout your body from many places?"
Jaylah nodded a little dubiously. She knew as much as was taught to any young child. That there were places in her body, inside her: neck, arms, legs, and the bottom of her back that made her blood work and that if she got cut there she must go get help quickly.
"Well, humans only really have one place that pumps our blood, in our chest." He flipped the PADD over, placing it over his chest. Jaylah could see a complicated tangle of veins all surrounding a large lumpy pulsing organ. It was...really kind of creepy. That was inside of him? Jaylah reached out slowly, tentatively placing her hands on Bones McCoy's chest, feeling the deep heavy thud of the pulse shown on the screen. It was nothing like the light thrum that you could feel if you pressed on someone's neck or arm or something.
"In the transporter...accident" Bones McCoy went on, "You were partially pattern degraded... bits of you were lost and we had to regrow them. There was a lot of internal bleeding. If you had just had one heart," he tapped on the display in clarification, "we would have had a lot of trouble keeping your blood circulating, but the distributed system meant that the load on any one point was reduced. It helped, a lot."
Jaylah nodded slowly, although her khutut dimmed to a confused double flicker. "What is code white?"
Bones McCoy and James T looked at each other, each appearing vaguely unwell. "It's when we cannot detect any organized neural activity. It's how we define the line between life and death."
"I died?" She yelped, her voice shooting up through an octave. "Twice?"
"Technically." He said softly, watching her eyes, "but only one, the first time, was really serious and both times we were able to revive you without major com- any big problems." He stopped, waiting to see how she would absorb this.
Jaylah turned to study the expanded Montgomery Scotty. "I killed you too?" she breathed.
"Nae. Like I said I was most of the way through. You're the one that caught it bad. Nothing a bit of time under a tissue regenerator couldn't fix. I've got a bit of reassembly swelling" he tried to flex his obviously painfully enlarged fingers, "but it'll go down soon enough." He stood up slowly, moving his way over to the white haired alien and, sitting gingerly on the raised floor with her, wrapped an arm around both of her shoulders. He smiled softly, "although, if you don't want to go out with me again, there are easier ways of letting a loon down easy."
"Why would you be staying inside?" The humans all chuckled, confusing her farther but at least Montgomery Scotty seemed to be working to suppress his anger with her. "I promise," she said softly, unable to meet anybody's eye, khutut almost entirely extinguished, "I promise, not to think I am knowing what is happening again."
"Good," was all James T had to respond with. His body language, even without any bioluminescent cues, was straight and intense but not overtly aggressive. He nodded his head at her to acknowledge her commitment.
First Contact Gramsci, who had been hovering in one of the corners, manipulating his multiple hand held electronics, cleared his throat. "I have been in contact with commodore Paris and commander Sunak. Since lieutenant commander Scott has agreed not to file assault charges and since Sunak is willing to entertain," he swung his first two fingers on each hand through the air as he said this, "issuing an excessive force complaint, commodore Paris has agreed to a private interview as opposed to a public hearing. Uh. How long until you can release her Doctor McCoy?"
"Well, I was able to get the rest of her blood work panels run but I still need to run a strength and reaction time panel and an inoculation suite... but I guess good practice needs to bow to bureaucratic needs?"
"It would be, um, helpful, if you could temporarily postpone those procedures, yes. Having the meeting at say fifteen hundred hours, thus ending before the first sitting of dinner, should help improve the commodore's mood." First Contact Gramsci said with a very small smile.
Bones McCoy just blew air out through his nose, and, picking up his wheetlebeeping probe, he passed it slowly over her body. Jaylah watched the two of them, head turning to each as they spoke having no idea what was going on but not liking the sound of any of it. When he was done waving his probe at her, Bones McCoy sighed. "Fine. As of 13.3094 Jaylah of um"
"Bariq" First Contact Gramsci supplied and then chuckled when Jaylah's head whipped toward him fast enough to fan out her hair, "you said you had been on Altamid so long you had forgotten how long the days on Bariq were. I, uh, am sorry. I dug through every database I could find but I couldn't locate any mentions of a planet or a moon called Bariq."
Jaylah sighed khutut slowly cooling from the hot glow of panic. She had been certain, at first, that mentioning her home had been a subtle threat but maybe that was more Altamidian thinking. If someone had come across her home, then maybe they would know how to get back to it. She sighed, slowly nodding. "Planet," she added as a peace offering. "My home."
"You want to go back." Montgomery Scotty said it like it was a statement, not a question, but she nodded anyway khutut aljism glittering in fond longing.
"I cannot promise we will find it," First Contact Gramsci added, "we have only mapped a tiny portion of the beta and alpha quadrants but if you tell me something about the system we may be able to narrow it down a little."
Before she could decide whether or not to elaborate, however, James T broke in, "What can you tell me about this meeting, Gramsci?"
First Contact Gramsci sighed, turning to Jaylah. "The commodore's job is to make sure that everyone on this station is safe. Now, please trust me, no one is going to hurt you. The commodore cannot order anyone to hurt to you, ever, and, because this is an informal meeting, the worst that can happen, if she is convinced that you are an immediate danger to the people of Yorktown, is that she can restrict you to your room." His words sped up at Jaylah's gasped breath and tensing muscles. "But you aren't a threat, and she doesn't really think you are. We just have to show her that you are willing to follow the rules and she will come up with a way to help you do that. And," he flicked his eyes toward James T, "this meeting, provided nobody tries anything, will be off the record." He emphasized the word anything, holding James T's eyes until the captain nodded.
James T breathed heavily, but he held out his hand to help her off the raised floor. As soon as she was upright, Montgomery Scotty flopped down, saying something about feeling like he had fallen asleep on a beach in the Sirius system. First Contact Gramsci and James T stepped out of the room and Jaylah, after making sure her engineer was really okay, followed them.
As they turned, heading down the long narrow room Jaylah was quickly coming to associate with federation spaces, First Contact Gramsci sighed. "I am sorry. I should have been there to meet you at the hospital entrance, or maybe your room. A good part of my job, besides teaching you about life in the Federation and learning about life on Bariq, is to prevent misunderstandings like this." He paused and bowed, "I am deeply relieved that you, and lieutenant commander Scott, of course, are unharmed. You have every right to request a new first contact representative... and maybe you should. This is my first time doing this, but there are many more experienced ambassadors on hand."
Jaylah looked down at the floor, khutut alwajh double flickering a soft denial. "I was the puller of the trigger."
"Perhaps. But I should have been there to let you know there was no danger. I just... didn't think. Transporters are so common I just... overlooked them."
James T turned around, pressing his finger into the hollow under First Contact Gramsci's clavicle. "So, what? You fucked up and now you are going to dump her off on someone else? You started developing this relationship and now you are going to see it through. You know you messed up, bad? Good. Now you can do something about it. Better still, everyone is still alive for you to actually do anything about." He stared into the federation liaison officer's eyes until First Contact Gramsci looked at the floor. James T turned his eyes on Jaylah and she swore that she could feel actual heat from his gaze. "I know that you have been fighting long enough to know the consequences of violence. You are skilled, obviously, but that is worthless if you don't think before you act. You both messed up but all this moping isn't helping anyone. Learn from this. Be better from this."
He snorted and went stomping off down the hallway. "I assume we are going to the universal translator suite," he called over his shoulder.
Gramsci and Jaylah exchanged a long look before following after the angry captain. "Er, yes." the younger human confirmed. Jaylah felt strange. She was bristling after her dressing down, but she was having a hard time directing her ire at James T. It was just that... it had been so long since anybody had expected anything from her. She wanted to show him that she could be better. It was one thing to live reacting only for herself. But to be there for other people? That was going to take something new. She wasn't entirely sure she wanted the responsibility.
James T lead them through a more distant smaller narrow room into a very small circular room that vaguely resembled the lifting room in the sleeping building. "Universal Translator Suite" James T said to the air. Immediately the room began to lower, like the lifting room had, but then it swung around to the side. There were no windows but Jaylah's inner ear said that they were accelerating and changing directions rapidly, like they were flying through the hospital. In spite of herself she couldn't keep the excited glow from creeping into her khutut aljism as her body moved with the shifting room.
They stepped out into a large space with many computer panels. There were even stacks of humming electronics that vaguely resembled the hidden computer core on her house. Better still, there were stands lined with lights that shown in a true white, not the cool blue federation mix. "What is this place?" She wanted to know.
"This is primary universal translator room three. It's a computer system designed to rapidly learn any language and translate between any series of languages. This is the state of the art model," he said with obvious pride, "it is how we all speak with each other when we aren't speaking Federation standard." He paused, keying in a few commands while turning to look at her, "not that we aren't all impressed with how well you can speak Common. It took me forever to pick up the helpful Vulcan additions to the grammar after growing up speaking Terran and Italian. But when we meet with the Commodore, well, it'll be best to avoid any miscommunications."
"If you can be doing this, why aren't you always?"
"There are limitations," James T said, his lips turning down slightly, "and not everyone likes the system. Its easy to assume that the computer is right all of the time, mostly because it almost always is, but those exceptions can cause real problems. And well, it can be distracting to listen to."
When Jaylah looked even more confused First Contact Gramsci stepped up onto the panel. Immediately, lights surrounded him. Jaylah smiled, khutut flickering in excitement. An actual hologram. It was really primitive but it was still the first three dimensional image she had seen Federation technology produce. First Contact Gramsci opened his mouth and Jaylah heard, "Do what you love and you do not work a day in your life"... only she hadn't really. She wasn't too good at reading the lips of Federation speakers but she was sure the sound had continued to play after the human had stopped speaking, and, moreover, the sound was overlayed on another sound "Fai quello che ami e non lavorerai un giorno della tua vita".
"Amazing," Jaylah breathed, khutut flickering hot in embarrassment over the gross understatement. "That was your Italian. The fai knuelloing? This machine can be learning Alkitan Prerisë?"
"Yes. To a certain extent. There are limitations. The more different the two languages are, the more artificial sounding the system becomes, and the more the sound delays add up. Also, idioms, expressions, um things that don't mean exactly what they say but require understanding the culture to understand?"
Jaylah nodded, understanding what First Contact Gramsci was getting at.
"Right, the computer has a hard time making those sound natural. The machine does scan your brainwaves for 'universal iconographs, whatever those are, which is supposed to fill in some of the holes, but I don't think it will ever replace a good linguist. Still, it is quick and efficient and should make our meeting with commodore Paris go more smoothly."
Jaylah nodded, khutut aljism cooling in mild apprehension. She stepped onto the platform and was surrounded by the primitive hologram. Her hair roots itched. Not that anything hurt, at all really, but the idea of a machine reaching into her brain made her nerves crawl.
James T leaned against one of the walls, arms crossed, watching while First Contact Gramsci manipulated some last minute screens, before looking up at her, "are you ready?"
"Okay. Say something in um Alkitten Prayer Se?"
Jaylah laughed softly. "Alkitan Prerisë" she corrected, emphasizing the stressed syllables and then paused, watching the lights fly across across the dozens of computer control panels lining the room.
"Good. But the sample needs to be much larger. Just keep talking. Do you know any stories or songs?"
Jaylah nodded slowly. Her education had been rather dramatically cut short but there had been a few artifacts saved on her baei alththulai besides the combat holograms she had been using them for. "Is it needing to be spoken by me. Can it be a record speaking?"
"Do you know what all the words mean?" Gramsci asked.
"Yes," Jaylah said very softly. She fished the small spherical holographic emitters from her belt pouch, running her thumb over the displays until she found the right one. She placed it on the ground and reduced the image amplification by a factor of ten in order to avoid any misunderstandings. A moment later a projection of a small 48 month old Jaylah strode out onto a wooden stage. Her khutut alwajh were flaring wildly with stage fright but her khutut aljism, under a startlingly feminine winged insect lace overlay dress, were bright with childhood poise. Her black hair was cropped very short in the academy style, there was a deep brown bark stain, complete with the inevitable ultraviolet sheen of chlorine scalding, on her cheek, evidence that she had been out roughhousing with the boys again. The tiny Jaylah squeaked out the ode to the yanbue alqaryat në Brys. The tone of the lyrics were off but she timed the rhythmic dance of her lights with the down beat of the drums driving home the meaning and the magnitude of the gratitude the people of alqaryat në Brys had for the life giving fountain, a massive artesian well that supplied pure water to their village in the foothills. Archaeological digs had found evidence of Babëreshë inhabiting the region for over a millennium.
"Was that little redheaded girl you?" James T asked with a soft smile while First Contact Gramsci bent down to examine the details of the repeating hologram more closely.
"Which me? The me in the picture? I wasn't having. I was having black hair at that then."
"Oh." He looked a little confused. "So who is the girl in the hologram?"
"Me" Jaylah repeated herself equally confused.
"But her hair is red."
Red, Jaylah thought. Right. One of the Federation words for infrared frequencies. "Oh. No. My hair is not giving off much heat. It is not much alive."
"You...color correct to bring in infrared light?" James T guessed.
"No... I am being recorded in true light."
"But I can see that your hair is red."
"You can see red?" Jaylah said drawing the words out. James T and Montgomery Scotty had been saying it but it had just clicked. "You can be seeing infrared! How useful would that be! Are you seeing where I was being?" She waved her hands back and forth slowly wondering if she was giving off streamers of light as she heated the air around her palm.
"I, um, no? I can only see the normal 7 colors."
"None of what you can see is normal." She teased. "Montgomery Scotty said you aren't seeing any of the warm colors. Half of them you are not seeing."
"You can see into the ultraviolet" First Contact Gramsci asked calmly as if he was just looking for confirmation.
"Yes." Her khutut flickered in agreement "or at least, a good bit of it. Some of the light that is being really warm goes to black, but light that warm shines badly in air."
"Interesting. That would explain the excimer carrying proteins you have in the cells that line your markings. You can see the light released when they are depolarized?"
"Of course" Jaylah responded. Explaining what she and Montgomery Scotty had already worked out about Federation visual deficits.
"Very good. I will talk with him and grab those findings of his PADD thank you. Well. In that case, I guess you might say that we see a very little bit of the infrared spectrum. From your perspective at least. An object has to be very hot indeed to glow at a frequency we can see, far hotter than it would take to injure us by touching, so we generally do not consider these wavelengths as infrared. But you can make an argument for expanding the frequencies to the edge of what ever the local visible colors are... er never mind, sorry. You can take the academic out of academia but... So. You can't see red...that might be useful. You couldn't have seen the red warning text. Can we go through a series of colors that most member species can see?"
Jaylah blinked at him trying to work through the torrent of words that the excitable human was want to give off occasionally. Ultimately, she decided that "Yes" was a sufficient catch all response. First Contact Gramsci showed her a blank hand held electronic, which was, well, a little baffling, but after a couple of very awkward minutes the screen began to warm to a very dark cold green. "I am seeing the screen a little. It is hard to be seeing still" Jaylah told him.
"Hmm. 580 nanometers. Got it. I'll make sure to put a note in your file to blue shift all colors above that threshold whenever you are logged into a panel."
After that they went back to working with the universal translator system. Jaylah had played most of her recordings and babbled a little bit in awkward rusty alkhitab prerisë before the computer overroad her words with a very crude approximation of what she had just said. After that it was "just a matter of working out the details" as First Contact Gramsci said. Those details, however, took three hours to work out and after Jaylah had run through all the exceptions she could remember about her language, nouns used as verbs under certain circumstances non standard loan words from different alkwitab from different countries and bizare tenses she couldn't imagine coming up in a real life conversation that small electronics filled room had grown close indeed and Jaylah was litterally vibrating with nerves.
The end result was not all that Jaylah had hoped for. It was common for alkhitab prerisë to drop and combine assumable syllables meaning that she often would finish speaking a second or two before the superimposed voice completed its translation, and if she jumped into the next sentence too quickly the system would become confused and double layer the translations resulting in a hopeless mess. However, her language used a smaller number of base nouns, instead reliying on serialized adjectives to provide context. Consequently, whenever she was trying to explain something in technical detail or to give specific instructions the translating voice would frequently finish before she was done speaking resulting in choppy distorted sentences. And, of course, the problems were inverted when translating from Federation Standard to Alkhitab prerisë.
Further problems arose when it became apparent that Jaylah's vocabulary was fairly limited in her native tongue. She had been a very young child still when she undertook her flight on the doomed Përpjekje, worse, her fluency had only degraded durring her long exile on Altamid. The recordings on Jaylah's bawei alththulai, particularly the captured messages her father had left her, helped flesh out some of the vocabulary, but the system, because it was based on interpreting universal brainwaves, could only translate with as much fidelity as Jaylah's memory provided. The computer tried valiently, breaking down words in the standard federation into longer phrases of simpler al'Bariqat words. With enough patience that was reasonablly effective, but patience was required when a couple of sentences were converted into a minute long diatribe.
Still, Jaylah reflected, it was mostly better than nothing. She rubbed at the spot on her ear where the subdermal speaker had been implanted. She had also been issued with her own commbadge which had the alkhitab prerisë – standard translation matrix preinstalled. She could turn the translation feature on or off by stroking the side of badge. Beyond that, she couldn't help playing with the small pin, tapping it with her fingers to make it chirp back at her. She had contacted Montgomery Scotty with it and had been relieved to hear that her was feeling better and that Bones McCoy had releasaed him from the medical room.
"Okay," First Contact Gramsci decided eventually. "That's about as good as it is going to get. Let's grab a sandwhich real fast before we catch our flight to command for our...interview."