EXT – Day – Landing Pad D9
Tajemnica is on the pad, aft ramp down toward the building across the street. Helton sits on the ramp, a long piece of grass between his teeth, looking like he’s waiting. For once, it looks fairly peaceful and quiet. The ship and cargo deck look clean and orderly, with minimal gear or equipment around. The day is overcast, no sharp shadows.
The sound of an approaching truck breaks the quiet. It comes down the road, and stops in front of the ramp. A grav truck with a large cargo container on the back. The driver hops out, walks over to Helton, and hands him a tablet to sign for receipt of the container.
Deliver Driver: Where do you want it?
Helton: Need the container back?
The driver shakes his head.
Helton: Can you drop it inside?
He indicates with a move of his head the interior of the cargo bay. The driver eyes the bay for a moment.
Deliver Driver: No problem.
The driver hops back into the cab, and spinning it around in place, back easily up the ramp and into the cargo bay. A pair of folded retractable loading arms lift up on either side, hook onto a set of brackets on each side, lift it up a little, then gently back and down onto the deck. The arms fold away, and the driver glides gently out of the hold, down the ramp, and away. Helton walks over to a wall com unit.
Helton: Henery, got a few of those parts you were waiting for. Think you’ll need a hand unloading them.
INT – night – Helton’s cabin
Helton walks in, looking tired. He takes off his shirt and flops down on his bed.
Helton: Lights out.
Most of the lights turn off, but the one on the shining on the book is still on.
Helton: ALL lights off!
The light remains on.
Helton sighs, gets up, and walks over to the book, open to the first page under the light. It is clearly legible. The two pages are densely covered with writing, with very narrow margins. The writing is clearly broken into various parts by rounded-corner rectangles grouping things together. In the top left it starts with a set of small tally marks, next to a symbol. There are twelve symbols, and no tally mark in the top row next to a zero-ish symbol, then one, down to eleven. Then there is a group of 12, and the first and second symbols next to each other. It looks like a very beginning math text, setting up counting and numbering system. Below it are further symbols and simple groupings of tally marks. The symbols look angular and somewhat like Futhark. As Helton flips through the pages they become less clear and distinct, as they have gotten less light. The next page appears to have some simple math expressions, showing tally marks and symbols.
Helton: (thinking out loud, to himself) Weird place for a basic math book. Wonder what language it is?
He turns the book up on its end, and spreads out the covers to hold it up, and sets the light so it can shine in on all the pages from the side, and heads back to bed, lays down on his side facing the bulkhead, and tries to get to sleep.
INT – day – engineering
Stenson is working with a couple of guys and gals on a long, partially disassembled tube-shaped thing, watching them as they take it apart and discuss it. Helton walks in through the open hatch.
Stenson: How goes it, captain?
Helton: You tell me. Ready to trans-light again yet?
Stenson: Almost. The drive cores will be so far out of harmonic alignment we’ll look like a calliope on anyone’s scope until we can tune them, but I think we are close enough to not turn ourselves into a small star.
Helton: Well, THAT’S good to hear.
Sanchez: (looking up from working on tube) Calliope?
Stenson: A ship with poorly matched drive cores, so they are “playing different notes” in the same tune, as it were, like the old musical instrument. Ships built from parts not designed to work together. Slower, less efficient.
Helton: This ship has ALWAYS played a different tune, it seems.
Stenson: We can get them synchronized and meshed together close enough to fly, then fine tune on the next trip. Anything new in the book?
Helton: Things are showing up. Looks like a math text.
Helton: Yah. Kind’a weird. Didn’t recognize the language, though.
Stenson: We can take a look at it later, and run a comparison to known alphabets. Shouldn’t be to hard to match.
Helton: How about when you break for lunch?
Stenson: Sounds good.
Fade to black