The Whisper of Damkina Part Thirty One

August 13th, 2014  |  Published in Whisper of Damkina  |  6 Comments

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By the time Kayla arrived, dinner was nearly ready and wonderful smells were floating into the house from the outdoor kitchen that Niobe’s family used at the hottest times of the year. Amanpreet was sitting at the terminal checking on the order for the bioforming supplies for Talis, so she twisted around in her seat to look at her.

“How did it go?” she asked.

“Without a hitch,” Kayla said. “I have new ID and the Dreamsong is now officially mine.” She flopped down on one of the sofas. “And no one attacked me, which is nice. But what happens now? I hope the wait soon will be over.”

“Well, now we wait for the bioforming supplies then head off to Talis to deliver them and pick up the scientists,” Amanpreet said. “And the bioforming supplies should be ready tomorrow.”

“Excellent,” Oni said. “We’ll be at Corona in plenty of time then.”

“You know the date?” Linda asked as she re-entered the house and waved them towards the dining table. She was carrying a large pot and Niobe was behind her with others. “This one’s fish stew and Niobe’s is similar but made with tofu.”

“Yes,” he said. “Several of the highland cultures have had radio for some time and we’ve been listening to them. Our linguists have decoded enough of their languages to understand their calendar and some of their technological terms. That’s how we know they are planning to send their first astronauts up.”

Niobe’s eyes lit up. “I want to talk to your linguists! I’ve always wanted to work on an unknown language. It must be challenging,”

“Sure!” One of the other members of Oni’s group – a young woman with dark olive skin and short black hair – said. “It’s always nice to have input from a colleague.” She extended her hand to Niobe across the table. “I’m Sierra by the way, the team’s chief linguist, and yes it’s very challenging – especially since we don’t have enough comparatives – but yes, it’s extremely rewarding. Speaking of unknown languages, I want to grab the lexicon the linguists are building for the Talis species while we’re there.” She rolled her eyes skywards. “I wish we had a helpful telepathic computer to help us at Corona.”

“It would be useful,” Nerrin said. “But we don’t even know if it’s fully safe yet, even if Am does seem unharmed. Though given the warning they had to give us and what we’ve now learned about Corona it seems reasonable.”

“That’s true,” Sierra said.

“What did you learn today?” Kayla asked.

“Oh!” Niobe said. “We haven’t told you that bit yet. The alien species that attacked Talis was also responsible for the destruction of Corona’s former Class Four species, as we feared. Am is thinking they target species that have or are close to having to hyperspace travel capability.”

“Really?” Kayla said. “Why would they… do you think that maybe their home is in hyperspace like the Fish’s home?”

Amanpreet blinked at that then shook her head. “No, rather the opposite. From what we know they can’t actually tolerate hyperspace at all.”

Kayla gave a whistle. “They must be immortal then. How would you hold an interstellar society together at sublight speeds otherwise?”

“Extremely long lived at the very least,” Amanpreet agreed. “But to hold a society together unchanged for hundreds of thousands of years they’d need to be, even without the hyperspace thing.” She chewed on her lip. “Two hundred thousand years… even if they have a generation period of one thousand years that’s two hundred generations. Look how much humans have changed in two hundred generations.”

Kayla nodded thoughtfully. “A lot of social inertia as well. I hope we never have to fight them.”

“Me too,” Amanpreet said. “But the Council needs to plan as if we will.”

“I’m sure they will,” Linda said. “That’s their job after all.” She turned to Oni. “So tell me more about Corona and your work.”

“Ah yes,” he said. “Corona is interesting because it has two closely related sophont species and the highland species is one of the technologically developed we study.”

“They are geographically discrete?” she asked.

“Yes, the highland species cannot tolerate the atmosphere at low levels. They developed powered flight very early on from what we can tell because of this. I’m writing a paper on them currently. I can send you a copy if you wish.”

“I’d like that,” she said. “So will you stay tonight before you go to Talis and Corona?”

“Sure!” Niobe said before Amanpreet could answer. “We have to wait for the stuff for the Ishtari anyway.”

Prompt Post 31 is here. Come and leave a prompt.

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6 Responses to “The Whisper of Damkina Part Thirty One”

  1. mjkj says:

    Nicely fit
    I am wondering though why the linguists are building the lexicon for the Talis species, when it is the Corona species they are going to contact???

    • Rebecca Sutton says:

      Oh no, they are building lexicons for both – after all once the eggs hatch they’ll need to be able to communicate with the Talis aliens. And they aren’t planning to contact the Coronans yet – just observing them (There are rules about when a sophont species can be contacted and Corona isn’t quite there yet).

      Thanks for the comment

  2. torvawk says:

    I don’t get it. There must be something about hyperspace technology that is causing leakage into realspace. Otherwise, why would they care about the technology? They just need to not use it.

    I see adding my comment was easy this week.

    • Rebecca Sutton says:

      Other reasons they might care: they’re just plain xenocidal but don’t really notice other sophont species until they start leaving their system, they fear hyperspace travel because it would allow other species to flank them, they’re jealous and determined no one can have a tech they can’t, I’m sure there are more.

      I’m not saying it’s any of these reasons but there are plenty of motives they might have.

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