Jown’s return trip was uneventful. Hildi’s food was strange, but wonderful.
He was going to stay in his ship that night, but remembered that Johann and Hildi were anxious to see what he had, so instead he paid his landing fee and flew to the river, finally landing just north of their house (he didn’t want his ship to block their view from the porches).
He was just getting some samples out when Johann and Hildi knocked on his hatch. So he helped them up and into the hold. Hildi was sitting down examining one of the text blocks when a strange quiet voice not belonging to any of them said something quite distinctly, but in a foreign language. Jown was just thinking that it must have been Hildi impersonating a man’s voice. Hildi picked up the block again and then starting at the left side ran her finger slowly across the screen. As she did the voice returned and kept speaking as long as she scrolled her finger. Also at the same time the symbols on the page brightened then dimmed in groups. Hildi was ecstatic.
“This is wonderful! We have the written language together with the spoken language! Usually we can determine the written language, what it says, what it means, but the sounds that the peoples attach to the words or symbols is always a mystery.”
Johann, seeing that if he didn’t do something Hildi would stay all night in the hold said, “It’s getting a bit late and I’m betting that Jown hasn’t eaten supper. With your permission Jown I suggest we take all of these things inside. We have a hidden basement that is pretty secure. And if anyone comes to get you and takes your ship, they won’t be any the wiser. And we have some news on that front.”
Jown agreed so while Hildi fixed him some supper the men carried the treasure hoard inside. The basement turned out to be more than just a secret room it was a miniature laboratory. While Jown ate Johann organized the pieces on shelves and cataloged them.
After dinner Jown asked Johann, “By the way I was just going to ask you what you think the spherical assembly is when Hildi’s stranger interrupted my train of thought.”
“Oh Hildi has a habit of interrupting my thoughts …” , with that Hildi struck Johann a blow on the back of his head.
“Well if I was going to invent something to generate gravity I would make the shape spherical. Seems like it would make the calculations and control much simpler. So I’m guessing they’re engines.”
“But why not a shield generator or some kind of weapon?”
“Well there weren’t enough different assemblies in the store room you described to cover all those things. They have to have engines so either they don’t have weapons and shields or they don’t have them there. Again I’ll guess they are behind the strong doors you saw.”
Jown wasn’t convinced. “But they’re all so small. The largest isn’t any more than a meter in diameter. Do you think the real engines are somewhere else? And what would they need such a variety of small engines for?”
“Well Jown if they have developed a gravity generating engine, it must be based on use of sub atomic properties. And the potential energy stored in a meter-sized sphere is enormous. So the issue isn’t the size, it’s the rate at which it can produce gravity. We know nothing about that so it’s reasonable to assume that these small “engines” are potent enough for very large craft. Especially if they install many of them I order to give more directional thrust combinations and options. But we’ll know much more after we get a detailed scan of the whole assembly.”
“By the way earlier you hinted that you knew something new about my “status”?”
“Oh yes, just before you returned we were watching the local news. The Port Master was on and he said they had checked the registration of a ship that had stayed overnight. They found just after it had left that the pilot was wanted by the police for murder and that there was a corporate bounty on him. Cleverly the pilot had avoided going into any of the offices that had scanners, so they don’t know what he or she looks like. It’s good that you parked on the north side, although I think we will need to do a little camouflaging in the morning. We should probably come up with a new name for you to use while you’re here too.”
Jown thought to himself how close a call it was. If he hadn’t decided to return tonight and slept in his ship instead … . It took him a little longer than usual to drop off to sleep that night, even in a real bed.
Posted by strailon Monday, December 10, 2012 @ 00:00:00 UTC