Friday, February 17, 2017

Misunderstanding - Flash Fiction Friday



“These symbols here mean sleep. That way must lead to the sleeping quarters. This one means food. So the kitchen or cafeteria would be that way.” Ann pointed down the corridor to their right. Mr. Manke grunted, not looking at the symbols as she pointed them out.
                “So where is the bridge? Can you tell that from these hieroglyphics?” He said.
                Ann’s smile faded, and she let her hand drop from where she had been touching the alien markings. She looked at him, and straightened. “Yes, sir. I can, but none of the markings that would indicate a bridge are present here. Shall we continue on to another area of the ship?”
                Mr. Manke gave a curt nod, gesturing with one hand for her to lead the way.
                “Yes, sir.” She said again and began walking briskly down the corridor that lay straight in front of them. She was able to interpret some of the markings as they walked. She tried to keep moving as much as possible since Mr. Manke bumped into her whenever she slowed. There were more corridors marked ‘sleep’, but other markings she was less familiar with. She stopped to examine them one of these more closely. One looked like part of the symbol for ‘clean’ combined with part of one that looked like ‘repair’ except with an extra line slanting through the right hand loop. What could that combination stand for? Janitorial? Medical? She tried to remember if she’d seen an extra line like that added anywhere else and what it indicated. She thought she had. . .
                Mr. Manke coughed pointedly. Ann blinked, her thoughts broken.
                “Find something at last?” He asked in a tone that strongly doubted she had.
                “I don’t think this is a command center, but I can’t be sure. It looks like two symbols combined and –“
                “Move along then. The Authorities will be here soon and will take over. There is no time.” He marched off down the endless corridor, not waiting for her to lead the way this time. Ann caught up quickly, and scanned the walls as they went, looking for the symbol for order or control or flight. Hopefully they would use a symbol that she could identify. She wished they could go slower. She wasn’t getting a good look at each sign, and she really wasn’t all that familiar with the language.
                “There!” she said pointing to a sign by a door to the left. She ran up to it. “This means control.” Mr. Manke approached looking at the symbols she pointed at for the first time. “Except. . .” she studied the sign again. “This is the symbol for sleep again. I don’t know what the combination would mean.” She stared off into the distance, thinking.
                “No matter.” Mr. Manke unlatched the heavy steel door and entered a large room lined with what looked like large plastic lockers. The lights blinked on as he entered, Ann behind him. A loud click seemed to come from the lockers, then a hiss, as though air were escaping somewhere.
                A robotic voice announced something over an intercom system. Mr. Manke looked at Ann, but she had never heard the alien language spoken, and had no idea what was said. She only shrugged at his questioning gaze.
                The hissing sound began to fade and the lockers began to pop open, as the Tempin Army awoke.

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