87-Valkyrie’s View: A Year Among the Stars

March 27th, 2552 Busywork
Tow Truck Driver/metallurgist’s apprentice/ – Katherine ‘ConV’ James Reporting

Well, since they couldn’t have me just sitting around moping, Cookie and Mac worked together to get me some kind of assignment on the project. I understand that the powers-that-be want to make sure I don’t break something during the reverse engineering process, but it is my ship.

So – they can’t let me out into the wild or I might never work on the changes to the Gumbo that would lead to the ship they found, but they can’t let me do the work because— I might change what they found. Which means I’m in limbo. Do they preserve the timeline or let me do my job? I know which I’d vote for, and thankfully this is an engineering problem, not a military one.

At least with an assignment, I’m not dealing with the headache that goes with all the repercussions of what’s going on. I’m just going to go with an elaborate hoax and leave it at that.

So, I was assigned to Fipps’ metallurgical team. I started taking notes as Fipps filled me in and walked me through the tests to determine wear and tear on the metals, some of which— he’s never seen before. At one point he looked at my notes to review something and I had to translate for him.

“What is that chicken scratch!?” he demanded.

I had to laugh as I looked at my notes. They looked somewhat like a cross between a math equation and a game of Pictionary. “When I was 13 my brother started reading my diary… I fixed that,” I explained.

It had started as a simple letter substitution, simplified versions of letters that pretty much hinted at their origin, but over the years it had grown and changed, shorthand, pictographs, symbols for sounds instead of just letters, then I started adding in letters from different alphabets and even a few signs that represented gestures or ASL.

Since a lot of what we were doing was busywork while we waited for more assignments, I started teaching him the basics. By the end of the day, Tower was playing ‘Learn Kat’s Code’ with us.

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