The Whisper of Damkina Part Sixty Five

April 22nd, 2018  |  Published in Whisper of Damkina  |  6 Comments

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A/N: Sorry about the delay on the last couple of chapters of Lord of the Wolves. Have a chapter of Whisper to make up for it.

 

When Mark finished his stint in the dome Prima immediately ambushed him with her request for navigation training. Amanpreet smothered a grin with her hand as the small Talosian actually bounced around him while making her request. Mark watched Prima’s antics for a moment with a bemused expression.

“You want to learn to navigate?” he asked. “That’s not a quick thing to learn, Queen Prima.”

“Just Prima is fine,” she said. “And I imagine it takes a long time, but I still want to learn.”

“Well, I haven’t had an apprentice for a few years but my instruction license is current, so once you’re formally accepted by the Council of Planets I’ll book us into a simulator on Alethea.”

“Yes please!” Prima said. “But how do you make the simulators when you can’t upload the memories?”

“I’m sure they do it the long way,” Merit said. “Coding the maps from memory and hand recorded data.”

“That’s right,” Kayla had paused at the bottom of the ladder on her way to her own shift to watch Prima’s antics. “Hyperspace cartography and accurately measuring and recording the data needed for the simulators is an important part of qualifying as an exploration navigator.”

“Ah! Okay. I look forward to being your student, Mark!” Prima said.

“For now I’ll get you some of the basic student documentation so you can begin the mental part of your studies,” he said.

“Yes!”

Amanpreet burst out laughing at Prima’s excitement and shook her head. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone so happy about mental drills. Be warned, they are really boring, Prima.”

“Humans are strange,” Prima said. “How can learning ever be boring?”

?You’ll see,? Kayla said in an ominous tone before also grinning. ?Really boring doesn’t do credit to level of tedium that is mental drills. And that’s no accident. Someone really had to work hard to make then quite so unbearable. I never met a navigator who didn’t hate them.?

?Why would they do that?? Prima asked.

?A lot of actual navigation is really boring,? Amanpreet said. ?You’re alone in the dome with nothing to do until the next course correction. It’s easy to get distracted. The point of mental drill is to ensure you can cope with extreme tedium and learn to work around it without failing at the task in hand.?

?Oh! Yes, now I understand.? Prima said. ?But our neurologies are different. I’m not sure this will be a problem for us. We can get bored but repetitive tasks aren’t something that triggers it. We just assign the task to a sub-brain and do something else… unless sub-brains don’t class as level four consciousnesses? That might be an issue.?

?That’s actually a fair comment,? Mark said. ?It would mean the Talisians are a bit like the Kska with multiple sub-brains that can do a lot of the most boring work. They can do that in hyperspace too so I imagine the Talisians can.?

?The Mez too,? Niobe said. ?It’s a shame that neither species can tolerate hyperspace as well as humans because they are otherwise better suited to navigating.?

?Are humans really that much tougher?? Merit asked. ?The Talis Computer said you are but it seems bizarre.?

?Apparently so,? Amanpreet said. ?We tend to think of ourselves as fragile so it puzzles us as well. But apparently we survive injuries that would kill most species.?

?It’s a quirk of evolution like the Mez ability to regrow lost limbs or how incredibly fast the Kska can move,? Mark said. ?We evolved from a pursuit predator so our ancestors needed to be tough.?

?And yet the enemy are so fragile,? Prima said. ?Someone really wanted to control them.?

“Yes,” Mark said. “I’ve been thinking about that. It’s no wonder they are paranoid.”

“I know,” Prima said. “I wish we’d realised. We could have helped them and maybe it wouldn’t have come to this.”

“I doubt they would have listened,” Merit said. “They are too afraid as a species. I wonder if they are aware that humans are hyperspace resilient and how they will react if they realise.”

“They at least know that humans are not as fragile as them,” Prima said. “Since they were trying to fix themselves by crossbreeding with humans. I wonder why they stopped.”

“Because they are nomadic and it was time to move I suspect,” Merit said. “Even long lived as they are nomadism is the only way they could control such a large region of space without hyperspace. They sweep through each region in turn and it was time to move on.”

“I thought there was a core to their space,” Amanpreet said.

“There seems to be but I am not convinced. Yes they always come from the same region of space but they would if they were following a traditional route. More importantly they don’t leave for the same region of space. My surmise is we missed it because we’re used to having a home planet. May I use your computer?”

“Of course,” Amanpreet said.

“Thank you.” He tapped the centre of the table to bring up the holographic screen and keyboard, using all four arms to type quickly. A three dimensional image of normal space appeared. Merit gestured at the hologram.

“Spinward, counter-spinward, galactic north, galactic south.” A few more taps and the region of space that the Council of Planets covered was highlighted yellow and the region they thought the enemy came from red. “The Talis computer has been monitoring their path every time they’ve swept through the region of space and it never deviates. They aren’t spreading out and it travels through council space like this.” Another tap and part of the yellow turned orange it was an obvious arc nearly a hundred light years wide but only a few light years deep. I’ve calculated their route using the size of arc and their apparent speed and I predict they effectively control all this space.” A larger red area appeared, a donut of space with a hole at its centre. “But are only in each region for a century or so. I’m not sure if they control this region or not.” He pointed to the hole.

“And they never spread out beyond the border?” Niobe asked.

“No… well once but that was after they encountered a species from outside encroaching into this region about five thousand years ago. They broke to annihilate them but only that time.”

“If this is the case – and you make a pretty good argument, we’re watching in the wrong direction for them,” Niobe said. “I think we should send a report ahead for the council to consider.”

“I will formulate a message so we can?send when we next drop into normal space,” he said.

“Good,” Niobe said.

“Did they manage to annihilate the species that they went after outside the border?” Amanpreet asked. “This is the only time we have information on them fighting a race where hyperspace travel was already established.”

“We don’t know, we assume so because the other species stopped coming and the enemy returned to their route but most of the war was beyond the range of our sensors. It’s possible that they were fought to a standstill, I guess.”

“But they’ve never shown any tendency to talk and I’d hate to meet the species that could defeat them,” Prima said.

“I wouldn’t mind as long as they were friendly,” Niobe said.

“True enough,” Prima said. “Maybe we’re a little paranoid as well. I’ll have to keep an eye on that.”

“No one would blame you for being paranoid,” Amanpreet said. “Being targeted for genocide will do that to you.”

“Yes, but we mustn’t let it sour us to people who haven’t done anything to us,” she said. She turned to Niobe. “Can we do the language lessons next? I want to learn Umi’s language. You know it don’t you?”

“I do,” Niobe said. “I know both the main languages spoken on Tinia since they are neighbours.” She held out her hands to Prima and Merit. “Shall we go to my cabin?”

“Prima can go,” Merit said. “I’ll share the lesson later. I need to work on this message.”

“Of course,” Niobe said as Prima grabbed her hand. “See you later.” She headed off with the little Talisian.

 

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6 Responses to “The Whisper of Damkina Part Sixty Five”

  1. targetdrone says:

    oooh, another part of whispers….
    i really love that story, and somehow i have to smile when picturing prima with all her energy 😉

    • Rebecca Sutton says:

      Hi! Yeah Whisper will be returning regularly once I finish LoTW. (And Prima has sooo much energy)

  2. Shade says:

    I think that you need to go back and check your punctuation, it seems to have been mostly replaced.

    • Shade Argost says:

      Also part 61 doesn’t have the next link

    • Rebecca Sutton says:

      Yeah, there’s an encoding problem on the site that afflicts older posts. I’m slowly working through and fixing it but there’s a lot of them.

      There are solutions that will apparently fix it sitewide but they involve messing with backend things I don’t feel competent to mess with. When I get some spare time I’ll pull the backup into a sandbox where it doesn’t matter if I break stuff and experiment.

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