Through the eyes of the wolf woman—I'd now located the right cameras—I saw the enquiry consultants, a drab cluster of figures in the atrium. Except for me, each of them clutched a noteboard. A silver bag with a recording volume jutted from below my human arm.
I mentally tallied the consultants and their area of expertise. Ms. Gagnon—art, religion, and social satisfaction. Ms. Sanchez—communications and collectivity. Mr. Lubeck—health. Ms. Abao—education. Mr. Khalid—peace and justice. Mr. Takachika—economics and sustainability. And me, the interpreter.
Hawthorn joined us. "Security reporting."
The door opened. Alop escorted our host, Remar Setako, into the atrium.
Gagnon greeted her: "We are delighted that you've allowed us a tour of your shipyard and elementary school,"
I struggled with the translation. Fenrian lacked exact words for elementary school and shipyard. I went with: "We are happy that you've given us access to one of your shipwrights' studios, and to a children's studio."
Remar and Gagnon lead from the atrium, seven of us strung out behind like gaggle of geese. We tramped down the gangway into Setako Village. We clattered along the boardwalk, then through a wide yard with boats on cradles or turned upside down while men worked. Music blared.
"Is this the shipyard?" asked Hawthorn, and I relayed the question to Remar.
"No, it's the careening yard where boats are repaired. The shipwright's studio is just a bit further."
I didn't have the right words for careening. Upside down yard? Keel yard?
"May we speak with one of the workmen?" asked Gagnon.
Remar agreed and stopped beside a man who was slathering goo over an upside-down boat. She said, "Nephew, these strangers are from off-world. They'd like to ask some questions."
"Aye. Sure." The man set his applicator aside and turned down the music.
The expedition party produced noteboards and stood with styluses poised. I shifted the bag on my shoulder.
Lubeck, the health expert, stepped forward, and the others craned their necks.
"What are you doing?" he asked and I interpreted.
"Cleaning this here boat." The man wiped his hands. "What does it look like I'm doing?"
"Are you being paid for this work?" I relayed Lübeck's' question.
"She's my boat."
Takachika, the economics expert, tapped his stylus "Are you a member of a labor union?"
"A what?" asked the man.
"The interpreter—That's me—" I raised my hand "—says that on Fenria, clans act as labor unions. Do you wish union to be interpreted as clan? Possibly mariner's clan?"
To my relief, Takachika agreed.
"'Course I'm a member of a clan. Setako." The man snapped his suspenders. "I'm a Setako fisherman. As was my uncle before me, and his uncle before that."
"What are your work hours?" asked Takachika.
The man raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean by that?"
Depths my translation must have been wrong.
Takachika continued: "How much do you work in a day? Do you have breaks? Are you paid for overtime?" I muddle through.
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...