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Coded Signals

A joint log by Laehval t'Temarr and Issaha N'Dak


Issaha sat quietly in the lab, alone after Pexil had left him to attend to some other pressing issue that had arisen. Frankly, Issaha was relieved he was gone; while he didn’t have anything personal against the Daise’Engineer, he had found it awkward to work with him given that every five minutes Pexil brought up the stabbing in some fashion. The younger N’Dak closed his eyes and leaned back against his chair. He was going to have to get used to it, he supposed.


Opening them, he looked back towards the analysis that Pexil had helped him program. They weren’t any closer h’nah to finding the origin than they’d been several hours before, every time they got relatively close to what seemed to be the origin -- there was na thing there. The nature of the signal itself did na seem to help either. Its short duration, combined with the fact it had only appeared twice, had made it very difficult to track.


The Enarrain had given Laehval much to think on, but foremost in her mind was the ISD in her hand, with vital information that she knew Issaha could use. While the Daise’Science had done what he could to track the signal’s source, he’d been hampered by Galae’s security network. Now, with the codes that would give them access and open the way, she knew that he’d have a better chance of finding t’Ksa.


Striding into the lab, her eyes drifted over the empty room until she found him, sitting alone with his work. A moment of sympathy crossed her face, thinking of his wounded brother, but she smoothed her features into an expression of neutrality as she approached him. They both had a job to do and lamenting Destorie’s demise would have done either of them very little good. She cleared her throat as she neared.


“Daise, I have something that au will appreciate.” She waved the ISD for him to take.


Issaha turned hearing her voice, startled at first. Unlike his brother, his paranoia was not such that he actively worried about someio creeping up on him, but perhaps it was habit that would suit him to adopt. Recovering quickly at the sight of Laehval, he tipped his head respectfully. “Rekkhai,” he said, “If I may, what is it?”


“The answer to your present troubles,” she said cryptically. “The signal au have been tracking has na gone unnoticed by others within Galae. The Enarrain gave me these codes, authorized for our use in tracking t’Ksa. Hopefully we will be able to use them to track the signal further. Have a look.”


He took the ISD and looked the information over cursorily. “Ie,” he said, “this will certainly aid our progress. I will na lie, it has been rather difficult.”


Sitting the ISD down for a moment he glanced towards Laehval. It was so strange now to see her in what had been his brother’s position, and even stranger given what he’d heard. “Hann’yyo,” he added. “We will begin using these codes to try and further localize the signal.”


“Au understand the implications of this signal, ie?” She wondered how much he’d been told and if t’Rexan had shared the rest with anyone else. Knowing that the ship’s Enarrain believed herself to be on a suicide mission was a difficult burden to bear. “We show that it was activated twice, but only in short bursts. It seems deliberate, does it na? t’Ksa attempting to signal, but unable to leave it for long for fear of discovery by her captors.”


The thought had occurred to him. He knew why they were out here, and he was smart enough to be able to deduce why they’d be looking for a specific signal. “I believe I do, ie.” Though he wondered, silently, had it been his brother that had gone missing, if the Talon would have been mobilized so quickly.


“Of course, I expect to be updated if au make any further developments.” She studied him for a moment, looking past the position to the man. Her voice softened a fraction. “Do au have everything au need? I know this position is na io au expected to assume. Recent changes have come as a surprise to us all.”


Issaha felt himself suddenly very vulnerable. As his eyes met with those of Laehval, he had to consciously remind himself of his station. Swallowing back his emotions, he nodded. “Ie,” he said. “Though I have considered asking the quartermaster to assign me different quarters. The ones I have h’nah are awfully... big.”


It was a rather silly request, he knew, especially couched in those terms, but he really didn’t want to say ‘Ie, ie, please get me out of my quarters so I am not constantly reminded of my near yy’a brother.’


Her brows knitted, but she nodded knowingly. “I will see to it. Do au have a preference as to where au wish to be moved? In these circumstances, au should be given a choice. Decide and send your request to me. In fact, if au need anything, departmental or otherwise, let me know. The science department has always been somewhat of a puzzle to me, so au are very much valued. There are few here that could do what au do.”


Issaha tipped his head respectfully. “I am very thankful,” he said graciously. “I will send the formal request this evening once I have finished my work here. And also hann’yyo for au kind words, and for au support of the department. Science is not always valued in the Galae command structure, as au know.”


He paused and looked towards her, wondering if she’d be so gracious under other circumstances. He put the thought away as soon as it formed. He’d known Laehval, or known of her rather, for as long as he’d been on Talon; and while she had a reputation of being a bit .. prickly, no one had ever accused her of being dishonest, either. Destorie certainly thought much of her, to be sure.


“And,” he added, “if there is anything au require of me, I am of course at au disposal.”


“The offer is most appreciated, if unnecessary. I am certain that au will do your duty to the best of your ability. I need na remind au that all of this rests solely upon your department for the moment. If au are unable to trace the signal, we have nothing to go on and our mission will fail before it ever begins. It seems a large burden to place upon your shoulders, but I have confidence in your abilities. House N’Dak has a certain reputation, as au well know. On the Talon, au have always been hidden within your brother’s shadow, but that time has now passed. This is your opportunity to show that au have something to offer.”


It was the first outright mention of his brother’s name, though he felt they’d both been thinking of him for sometime, and it caught him his guard for a moment before he recovered. “Ie,” he said. “And I do not intend to fail. I am sure you may have heard of the motto of the House N’Dak, ie? ‘The Bold Endure.’ But I doubt au have ever heard the io of my mother’s family, House N’kedre?”


Laehval shook her head. “Na, I know na of your mother’s family. Do au hold to their words as well?”


“Ie,” he said, a tinge of pride welling in his voice. Of his mother’s four children, he had been the only io to hold much sentiment for them. While they were noble enough, they lacked the prestige and intrigue of the House N’Dak, he sometimes wondered if they were ashamed to have been from such a house. “The banners of her house bear the words ‘strength rejoices in adversity.’ I have always taken it as something of a personal motto myself.”


She studied him thoughtfully. “I would say that those words fit au, especially now. Hold to them an au will have little trouble proving your worth.” Inclining her head, she offered the barest hint of a smile -- a rare show of emotion. “If there is nothing else that au require to aid au in tracking the signal, then it is time I return to the Oira.”


“Of course,” he said, bowing his head respectfully. “Hann’yyo, again for everything.”

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