Scrubbers back in their compartments, I sat up in bed.
"Missy? Are you feeling all right?" asked Gagnon already, dressed and seated at the stateroom desk. "I have medication if you're seasick."
"I'm fine. Just resting."
I went into the water closet and returned. "Do we have to stay in our rooms?" I asked. Okay, I complained.
"We'll wait for Colonel Davis to give the all clear." She continued with her work, her stylus scratching.
I picked up a comset and called him. "Hello, Colonel? I don't think the Fenrians are dangerous anymore. Can't we move around? I want to go exploring."
"Politkofsky!" he blasted. "You should be grounded for that stunt you pulled this morning."
"But the crew isn't drunk anymore. Anyway, not all of them were drunk," I kept my tone calm and sweet. As royalty I was above his accusations.
"Those are the dangerous men, the sober ones," he said.
"Can't I please go exploring? I'm sick of being stuck in here."
Gagnon snatched my comset. "Colonel, she's right. We can't do our job while isolated in our rooms. Even if there is some danger, our team must be able to move around the ship and interact with the natives. I'd like to follow up on our plan of team members being given tours of the ship."
The Colonel harrumphed. It's your decision as leader of inquiry. I'll provide as much protection as we are able. But we cannot do much. Our hands are tied."
"I'm well aware of the danger," said Gagnon. "I was when I signed on, as were all the expedition members. With the possible exception of Politkofsky."
"She's the one who should be more aware."
"But I do know," I objected. I was in greater danger than any of them knew, but not from the drunk crewmembers.
Gagnon gave me a withering look.
"Very well," said the Colonel. "I'll contact Captain Alop. Ms. Politkofsky, please stand by to interpret. Your services are needed."
I hailed Captain Alop and spoke in Fenrian. "I have a message from Davis. He wants to talk to you."
"Go ahead," I said to the Colonel.
Using a comset he spoke in Terranglic. "Captain. This is Davis. What is your assessment of our situation?"
I started to work out a translation. Tyee, Davis here... but realize it would be confusing. So I sent, Tyee Alop, Commandant Davis here. What did you observe of the morning tide?
I mouthed the words to make it look like I was speaking as I sent the interpretation. I hoped I'd gotten it right.
The response came. "Alop here. Tests for malfunctions were negative."
I stumbled over the word negative. He meant that no malfunctions had been found, not that the results were bad.
Alop responded, "All systems are operating properly. We'll be underway shortly."
"Pardon?" said the Colonel. "My questions are in regard to the restlessness of your crew. In your opinion, are they a threat to our safety?" He waited as I translated, the whole process cumbersome and frustrating, especially since it could have been automated. It was not, and I knew why: all translation and interpretation had to go through me. I controlled everything. I ground my teeth. It was too much responsibility.
YOU ARE READING
The Return of the Cybernaut PrincessScience Fiction
A long-lost princess, a mariner, and a sentient ship battle intergalactic intrigue in a quest for love, identity, and to save their planet from a deadly cyber-virus. The Princess- Having fled her planet as a small child, the princess has little kno...