18 Jul Chapter 38: Walking
I spend another day walking out messages. I change orientations this time, in the off chance it helps someone notice that these are letters I’m spelling out and not just random movements.
Some of the messages I’m thinking up are getting a bit off topic. I walked ‘SEND FOOD HERE PLEASE’ and ‘TELL GIAN I AM SORRY AND I LOVE HER.’ I also traced out ‘PLEASE RESCUE DOMIK OF THREA HELD BY OLIOT’ which although not directly relevant I hope they see. I however still make sure to intersperse plenty of regular messages about the Oliot threat.
I’m tired, hungry and my feet hurt but I soldier on. I turn the text of the current message I’m working on into a song, and hum it to myself while I walk, emphasizing the current letter as I sing to keep track of where I am. The repetitive turning and backtracking ends up putting me into a kind of trance—it feels like my feet are sinking into the floor and floating above it at the same time.
A disquieting thought occurs to me and I freeze in place. What if the Bavul can’t read my messages? Maybe they speak a different language or dialect.
From the time the Bavul shuttles allowed all the habitable worlds in our system to reconnect generations ago, almost all planets have adopted the Common Language, as it’s called. It’s believed to be a descendent of what the first colonists spoke, but no one knows for sure.
The Bavul must speak Common too though, it would be hard to manage trading and interacting with other planets if they didn’t. Or maybe it’s a second language for them. In any case, I could easily scare myself into paralysis thinking about the hundreds of reasons tracing message out probably won’t work, so instead I just keep walking.