Literary Challenge #19 : Perplexing Complexities
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Join Date: Dec 2007
05-19-2012, 12:37 AM
The doors to the captain’s quarters slid open as Captain Goshen An’nar stepped inside and tossed the padd he held in his hand against the far wall. It disintegrated into a dozen of pieces and marred the standard issue wall panel. A junior officer passed by the open door, paused, cautiously looked into the room, and asked, “Everything alright Captain?”
Goshen’s antennae turned toward the voice as Goshen looked over his shoulder, glared at the lieutenant, and stepped further inside, allowing the doors to close behind him. He hadn’t intended anyone to see his little outburst. His head and shoulders slumped and his antennae drooped in disappointment with himself.
He looked around the room, making sure that he truly was alone. The room was just as they had left it with the morning’s meals was still on the table, half eaten and long forgotten. His mates must still be on duty he assumed, as he walked over to the table to finally clear the table. He could see the alien craft just outside his window. “Computer, close the drapes,” he sighed as he stacked the three plates on top of each other. The computer chimed in response and the dark heavy curtains began to slide over the windows obscuring the unknown vessel from view. Goshen carried the stack of plates and silverware over to the replicator and punched up the recycle protocol. As the dishes dematerialized, he turned and scanned the room once again.
Discarded articles of clothing remained scattered all over the quarters that his familial unit shared. It was the result of having their normal morning routine disrupted by the sudden appearance of the foreign vessel. Goshen swooped up a night shirt, a pair of pants, three uniform tunics, and kicked a lonely boot towards the bedroom, where he hoped its companion resided. At the couch, he picked up an assortment of socks, under garments, and a couple more pairs of pants. He carried them over to the laundry and relieved himself of the load.
Their quarters were starting to come together. He approached the ruined remains of the padd, and began to collect various bits and pieces, when the door behind him opened up. As he glanced over his shoulder to see which of his mates had come home, a jagged piece of glass sunk its teeth into his thumb. He grunted as blue blood began to seep from the gash. He brought it to his mouth.
“It’s good to see you too, Goshen,” Chartreese replied as she stepped into the room and untucked her gold uniform tunic. “Did we really need to go to red alert so many times? You know that I was planning to run a diagnostic on one of the port warp coils today.”
Goshen removed his thumb from his mouth and stared at it. It was superficial. “It wasn’t my choice, Chartreese,” Goshen replied with a hint of irritation in his voice that made her stop unbuttoning her tunic.
“What’s wrong?” she replied as she approached him. She saw the destroyed padd in his hand. “I think I can fix it,” she said hoping to lift his mood.
A smile curled the corners of his mouth. He got the joke. Under normal conditions, she could fix anything, even his mood; but he knew that the padd was beyond repair. He watched her carry the pieces past her cluttered work bench to the disposal and put the whole mess out of its misery. “I do not understand these people.”
Chartreese strolled to the couch and folded her legs beneath her as she sat down. She patted the seat beside her. “Tell me about them.”
Goshen collapsed onto the couch beside her with a heavy sigh. He kicked his feet onto the coffee table and crossed them. With forefinger and thumb, he rubbed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. “When’s Tyrsa coming home?” he asked, wanting to avoid having to repeat the story.
“She came by Engineering a few hours ago to tell me that her department will be working over time tonight. It’ll be a few more hours at least.
With his hopes dashed once again, his voice dropped an octave in disappointment and exhaustion when he said, “Great.” He titled his head back and rested it against the wall behind him.
“Well? Are you going to tell me or not?”
“From what I can tell, they’re deaf mutes.”
“How do they communicate, then?”
“Beats me,” Goshen replied. “I think they’re trying to communicate with us, but we don’t even know how to begin. We’ve tried sign language and several gestural languages. It only seemed to upset them, but that was nothing compared to when we had the Deltan and the Betazoids try to communicate with them telepathically.”
“Were those the red alerts?
“Yes, Chartreese,” he replied, “at least some of them.”
“Did you try to send them text messages?” she asked; her antennae focused on him.
“Of course,” Goshen replied. “It’s quite aggravating, because there’s nothing for the universal translator to lock on to in order to help us communicate with them. They don’t seem to be telepathic either. They just stand there making faces at us.”
“Making faces? What do you mean?”
“Well, it’s a lot of lip smacking, face contorting and twitching. It’s the strangest thing I’ve ever seen.”
“Do you think that is how they’re doing it?”
Goshen thought about it for a moment. All attempts to communicate with the aliens resulted in a visual reply of lip-smacking, nostril flaring, eye brow-raising, and face contorting. They became even more upset whenever he turned away from the view screen. The last had resulted in them raising shields and powering up their weapons. If it was communication, it was subtle. But, the more he thought about it, the more it made sense.
He brought his feet down from the coffee table, sat straight up, and jumped to his feet in a swift fluid motion. He turned on his heels and began making his way for the door. He stopped in mid-step, turned to towards Chartreese, and said, “You’re a genius, you know.” Goshen kissed her on the head before setting a course towards the door again.
Chartreese smiled as she said, “I know, but that’s why you love me.” She watched her mate tap his combadge and hail the bridge, before the door closed behind him.
Alone in their quarters, she sighed and as she said to the empty room, “I guess I’m having dinner alone tonight.”
She got up, removed her tunic, laid it across the arm of the couch and walked over to the replicator. “Cabbage Soup. Serving for one.”