A new entry in the Omicron Matter – At Tau Ceti Station. The group made its way through the station hallways to arrive at the doctor’s office. Like many offices, it has a receptionist and a waiting area. As the details of the procedure come out, Simone faces having to relive old traumas.
For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the book home page is a good place to start.
In Science Fiction, how does one deal with language barriers? You can pretend they don’t exist (like Star Wars). You can have languages that are learned and living translators (like CJ Cherryh’s “Foreigner Series”). You can have language granted divinely (like the Mars series from Edgar Rice Burroughs). Or you can have a small translating device (like later versions of Star Trek – those communicator badges are awesome). I went for the later.
Simone clearly has problems related to her collaring experience. I will explore that a bit on another post. But post traumatic stress seems perfectly reasonable for someone who experienced what she did. (See “Smith Deals with Interference” for details – it is not for the squeamish). This operation is just too close to that for her to be comfortable.
Look for more on Monday,
Eleanor – Getting the Translator
The doctor’s office
The group walked through the busy corridors. Calling them corridors seemed odd as they were wide as any good size street in London. Millicent led. Liam brought up the rear. Eleanor and Simone were near the front and staying close together. The noise was overwhelming at times. They passed shops with beings shouting in front and pointing to windows. In that sense, it was little different from London or Prague. It was just the variety of sights and sounds that made the scene all so strange. Millicent guided them into a different corridor that was busy but had no barkers or shops. Others in the hallway were also quieter easing the cacophony.
The group stopped in front of a large set of doors. Eleanor could feel Simone tense. They had reviewed the Translator installation procedure. Its similarity with the collaring process experience by Simone was alarming. Millicent had tried to reassure Simone but little could be done to ease her fear. Eleanor simply promised to stay with her.
Millicent said something and the doors opened. The room had a long counter opposite the door and a large screen on one wall. Millicent went to the counter and was greeted by someone who was nearly as tall as Millicent, but very thin and grey. Its head was triangular and almost heart shaped. The eyes were large and almond shaped. Millicent and the greeter spoke at length, but in a quiet and calm fashion unlike exchanges at the dock.
Finally, Millicent turned to the group and explained, “We are at a doctor’s office. I have arranged for the installation of high quality translators for all of you. Once in place, you will be able to understand nearly everyone around you. You should know they already understand you.“ Eleanor smirked as Millicent glared at Liam. Liam became very interested in the big screen. “For those of you who have not checked in advance; this is an invasive procedure. There will be some connections made to the speech centers of your brains.” Simone’s hand tightened on Eleanor’s, but she faced forward and held a grimace. “They will need to work on you in two shifts…any volunteers?”
Eleanor asked, “If I go first, will I be able to be present for Simone?”
Millicent pursed her lips saying, “That is unusual.” She looked at Simone whose eyes were big and lips quivering. Eleanor’s expression hardened a bit. Millicent’s expression softened a bit saying, “There is a recovery and you need to stay immobile. It may be best if Simone went first if you are staying with her. I will arrange matters. I expect the doctor will understand.”
Eleanor felt Simone bury her head in her should saying, “I don’t know if I can do this.”
Eleanor whispered, “I’ll be there and I will smack him a good one if he hurts you.” Simone laughed and choked. John, Rachael and Felicity also chose to go first. Millicent said with a smirk, “I shall warn John’s doctor about his predilection for passing out.” There was laughter and the tension eased as the first group was led to the operation rooms. John looked at the ceiling saying, “I will never live that down.”