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Communications is not an easy job. I wouldn't have wanted it if it was. It can be listening to three different languages at once, in two different ears, and being absolutely sure that you can recount all three in a totally different language from the ones in which they were spoken.

There's a music to that. Rhythm, harmony, grace. Even the harshest-sounding languages. They're just different instruments in the symphony.

Spock would decry it as a pointlessly romanticized view of something logically constructed of the need for semi-uniform communication, but what he won't admit is that he finds beauty in the logic of it all. Either way you have it, it's, well. Fascinating.

That's the most optimism I can find in this, anyway. Monitoring subspace, ear to the metaphorical ground, waiting to catch a stray whisper of our potential hostile and being lucky to get run of the mill docking requests instead of some of the more colorful chatter that men of every species, it seems, will fall into when bored at the wheel. Sometimes it's amusing. Sometimes it's repulsive. This time it's--

--I catch something in Denobulan, which is one of the secondary languages I'm looking out for. I try to isolate and clarify. The crackle on the line suggests equipment so old the make might actually be dangerous to the poor grunt using it, but then it screeches in my ear and I very nearly tear the earpiece out.

"Captain--" Captain Kirk is not on the bridge. Spock answers.

"Lieutenant Uhura?"

Overlaid is something tinny, uncharacteristically harmonic, and English.


English, but... whispers.

Drawing up the text for the transmission throws me; it's either corrupted, or a mix of several languages left to right and up to down, garbled into one. It scrolls almost too fast for me to read, and I feel Spock at my shoulder.

He can be an intuitive man, for someone who blocks out his emotions.


He leans over me and then it's gone, crackling with another whistle-screech that has me cupping my ear.

The pain hasn't even faded before we're both trying to backtrace the source.

As it happens, we both fail.

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