• Member Since 30th Jun, 2014
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Chicago Ted


Nǃapata alnyamu.

T
Source

"And we are absolutely certain that's a settlement? That Rhysling already has Indigenous populations?"

"Yes, Commander. There is no doubt. An engineer can fix the probe, but he would not know how to talk to them."

"Alright. Forget the engineer, then. Get me the linguist."


Coverart by SagebrushPony (not on Fimfiction).

Preread by Sunnypack, Shinzakura, Ghuntz, and Admiral Biscuit.

French language support by Conflicting views. German language support by Purple Smart. Russian language support by Alkarasu.

This story follows show canon until the end of Season 1.

Featured on 30 June-4 July 2021.

Chapters (12)
Comments ( 433 )

Brilliant author’s note mate !
You sure put some thought into this.

And good start to the story too, of course.

I've got a healthy amount of respect for an undertaking of this magnitude, doubly so for the respect you've shown in your research. As it stands, I've probably got half the brain required to make sense of the story you've excellently laid the groundwork for, but I'm looking forward to reading more of it as we go along. With that out of the way, this is far more than a riveting start: it's beyond wonderful. This section alone stands uniquely defined on its own, and I'm hoping that's a sign of greater things to come.

Also, that might be the most "Author's Note" author's note I've ever read.

Wonder which way grammatical time flows, if its zeroth or fourth person, cross linked branch, recursive or interleaved like the Brou?

I thought TPRU were the Thorium Power Reactor Units. :derpyderp1:

They wuldve had a conflict between keeping the old CRTs or using far lighter and thinner LCDs just coming along?

As for computer systems? Check Hanger AE. Its a Very Deep rabbit hole, with a Lot of suprises.:trixieshiftright:

So joint ventures in spaceflight across the Iron Curtain would not be out of the question, in my opinion at least.

They almost did, but then Kennedy had to go and get himself killed.

A Conlanger huh? Someone's really following Tolkien's footsteps.

Intriguing execution, I'm anxious to see more. I hope you have a couple chapters already raring to go! :twilightsmile:

I'm suprised they aren't more suprised to not only find aliens but aliens that look like ponies

I found this story off another author recommending it. Not a bad start, I wonder how they will take the craziness of Equestria?

very interesting so far, have a like and a watch.

Hello there Twilight.

on contamination and such: How long until Twilight decides to teleport inside and effectively ruin their hard work at keeping the respective biospheres separate?
on the other hand, cross-species viruses are already somewhat rare even without a totally new and alien environment (we've lived with domestic animals for how many thousands of years and only a handful have jumped to us), so it's highly unlikely that they could get sick from the other's pathogens without significantly more contact i.e. the colony is established for a few decades/centuries. Benign bacteria and such that live pretty much everywhere are more of an issue, but intruding into an established system could go several ways.

I'm not generally one for HiE, but that author's note grabbed me. Anybody who's gonna do that kind of background research has my attention.

This looks really cool.

You created an Equestrian conlang and are using it for the purpose of the story? I am impressed. The idea of using an untranslated conlang to add to an alien setting and give readers the opportunity to translate it is something I've encountered before, but for obvious reasons, it's very difficult to pull off. A story with a linguist protagonist works particularly well to implement it, since it aligns well with the central conflict. It'll be fascinating to learn more about it and its features.

I can tell that linguistics and space are both things that you are really passionate about, from reading the author's notes, and your passion is contagious. Excited to see more of this in the future.

Oh, oh, oh! OUI! :pinkiegasp:🤓

This is quite promising - I want MOAR! :yay:🦄

I get what you're trying to do here, but the idea of the commander just grabbing yon team linguist and give him the order to "go down and meet the natives" without any form of prep-work, backup, or even a good telescopic view of what the indigenous aliens look like is laughable.

It's the equivalent of NASA going "Oh, just land the rover somewhere in the northern hemisphere, we're trusting you that you won't need a topographic map and can do it without training."

Did this french commander have a bit too much wine with his rations?

Edit: New headcanon. All the "awake" astronauts went insane while going through that wormhole.

good start, reminds me of Arrow 13

I’m always fond of first-contact stories, and linguistics has always been something I’ve been fascinated by but never had the time to study in any depth. So to say the least, I’m quite excited to see where this goes. There’s a great deal of research that went into this, and starting from an alternate history rater than a hypothetical future is an unexpected swing. It also allows for (or, I suppose, forces) a heavy element of hard sci-fi, which creates constraints that would be interesting to write in.

While I do think it’s a little silly that the linguist goes down by himself, alone, first, with minimal other resources--I am willing to put that aside, even if it is thrown into sharp relief given how much work has gone into other thoughts about first contact (decontamination primarily).

I’ll be keeping a close eye on this, I think. Horses, sci-fi, a story focused on overcoming a language barrier... A recipe containing many of my favorite ingredients.

Okay, critiques.

Using occasional words in a character's native language isn't a terrible way of expressing their voice, but it should be used in inverse proportion to that character's fluency in the language being spoken. I absolutely refuse to believe that anyone educated enough to be put in command of an interstellar colony project would not have the English for first, second, or third. ESPECIALLY not a Quebequois. And a commander of a scientific space expedition of any kind would DEFINITELY know the word for any and every part of the mission under their command. It makes him look like an idiot or a goofball, and it weakens the writing. Anton, if anything, is even worse, since he doesn't even know the English word for the scientific field in which he's a leading pioneer.

I'm forced to assume, since the lander we see here only has a crew capacity of three, that the colony ship, or a huge part of it, is itself built for re-entry or landing. Even so, landers are an expendable commodity, and replacements won't be along for at least twelve years (Jupiter orbital period). Given that, using a lander to send down ONLY one person is... questionable... at best. It's even more questionable when you consider all the other roles that ought to be filled by a first-contact crew:

MEDICAL- Cross-contamination is an issue, right? Well, then you need someone on the ground with a small lab to begin a viral and bacterial survey to see what kind of infectious stuff might crop up.
MILITARY- We know the natives will be friendly, because ponies. Our colonists don't. Some minimal level of defense would at least be considered.
GEOLOGICAL- This is a colony mission. Even if it does seem excruciatingly rushed (no surface survey? No bio review? Only fifty people?), the expectation is that these people are here to stay. They're going to need food, which means they're going to need farmland. Other resources will also be desired for making tools and replacement parts. A mission geologist would be absolutely critical to picking out a colony site.

There are probably more, but I don't have time right now to properly brainstorm. Suffice to say, if this is preliminary to landing a colonization attempt, all three of those seats should have been filled. Sending down a linguist (and what was a linguist doing among the crew if First Contact wasn't expected??) all by himself make sense only under one premise: that the commander has decided to limit potential losses.

In short: Adam is expendable.

I don't complain about the sterilization fetish. It makes absolutely no sense when you consider that this is not a survey mission but a colony ship that's coming to stay, and that the biota inside the ship (and inside the colonists) will inevitably get loose on the new planet. But it's the kind of nonsense that the people planning the mission would reasonably embrace, for all the reasons you express in your author's note. And it's something that would definitely be attempted, even without the capacity pre-built into the ship, if the expedition discovered intelligent life on the planet.

And: why the hell would Adam need to be introduced to his mission commander?? Under what possible circumstances would a colony mission of this kind NOT have included intensive training and team orientation to weed out misfits and to get everyone acquainted and used to working together? Adam should know how the lander operates. He should know how long planetfall will take. He should know the sterilization procedures. He should know all this and ten thousand other things because he will have been drilled in it as an astronaut candidate and as a candidate for this mission. He should not be surprised here by ANYTHING except that he woke up so early (and also by the ponies). If he's so untrained and unfamiliar as to not know the mission commander on sight, let alone all the other stuff, either he should never have left Earth... or else the entire mission should never have left Earth.

I make no complaint about the conlang. It's the entire point of the story, and you say as much in the notes. And from the handful of words I made for Maretian, I know it takes intensive work and planning to make a conlang work consistently. Using IPA, on the other hand, is basically saying, "I don't want any idle readers: I want people to be forced to work to understand what's going on." All I can say is, it's not going to be the same voyage of discovery and wonder for a lot of others as it is for you. There are many reasons why I didn't use actual Morse code in Maretian.

A Voice Among the Strangers’ idea of a language barrier admittedly makes it easy to read, but to me comes off as lazy, e.g. ~This is a sentence in Equestrian.~ Don’t take this as a jab at the plot, the characters, etc. of the work, it’s just – for something that’s considered a classic, it felt like a letdown for me.

Message in a Bottle does use a real language. Unfortunately, it’s Esperanto, e.g. Ĉi tio estas frazo en la ĉevala. The author, however, did disclaim that he wasn’t “skilled enough to invent my own fake language for them.” Starscribe, if you’re reading this – I gotchu fam.

So, you did? Create a conlang for this, that is.

I keep looking at that rabbit hole. It looks like a fun ride - and I'm sure I'd love it - but I dunno' that I want to walk back the work I've already done to fake it. :rainbowlaugh:

Words not having direct translations. Inhuman phonemes. Different takes on which sounds are distinct vowels and which aren't. A whole different phoneme-in-word ruleset. Different ways of representing tenses, much less altogether different tenses. Punctuation. Colloquialisms. Homonyms. The impact of other alien languages. And so much more!

Sheesh. That's a deeeeeeeeep hole!

I'll be honest, the MC's place in this, and this whole mission's construction, has a grossly unprofessional feel to it, and it rubs me in all kinds of wrong ways. Its like nobody actually has any idea what they're doing, and nobody has ever met or interacted before. They're not doing an ad-hoc response to events as they happened, so there's no reason for their ship to have a crew with no familiarity with each other, let alone any kind of confusion or unfamiliarity with the ship and its systems.

I have many minor gripes, but others have already stated them better than I could. Besides which, they are minor gripes (for now) and as such far less interesting to me than the prospects this story has going forwards. I eagerly await the next instalment and hope you don't disappoint :twilightsmile:.

Interesting premise...

Although I've never really imagined the Ponies as looking like actual horses (actual horse legs are crap for doing any of the stuff we regularly see Earth Ponies do) and I'd expect more incredulity at seeing Ponies "in all colors" (Purple? Pink? Green?). Also, no hovering Pegasi?

Since it wasn't mentioned, I suppose the sun doesn't circle Equestria in this world: do Celestia and Luna still have a job? :pinkiehappy:

First impressions are fantastic! Can't wait to see what happens next.

Dan

10882896

https://www.amazon.com/Ton-Beau-Marot-Praise-Language/dp/0465086454

Highly recommended. Much as GEB should be required reading for any college entrance, LTBM should be for basic highschool French or Spanish.

Well, this is a ripe clustef--k of a mission. There should have been a time skip for our newly defrosted linguist to get into some kind of shape before sending him into a gravity well (how much g is there anyway?), not to mention some of the hard data about a planet (though much of that should be stored somewhere accessible) for background. Three years of non-movement will result in how much atrophy ?

Just a bit too loose (though I do wonder who has the probe by now?) but we'll see what happens next ...

10882802

The crew forgetting English words may be explained by the memory loss that they said can be suffered by individuals recently awakened from cryosleep.

With only fifty people, this may well be the initial survey and analysis party, thus explaining why they know so little. It’s clearly far too small a group for a permanent colony unless larger transports are expected to be coming later, and we already know that these people have family members left back on Earth that they’re going to want to be reunited with eventually.

A single linguist makes sense for a survey mission—at least one large enough to have fifty seats, and several of those dedicated to soldiers!—just in the off chance they find ruins or something else artificial that might have what could be writing on it. You don’t have to expect to encounter a living civilization for it to be a practical contingency consideration when exploring an entirely new, alien world, especially one that you do at least know is life-bearing.

Other than those little points, I find myself in full agreement with you.

But I’m also very interested to see where this goes.

I don’t have the time to play mystery word games, though, so hopefully commenters who do will provide full translations eventually.

Be sure to remember your universal greeting"Baa weep grana weep nini bong"

10883180
The point of using some form of cryosleep instead of just a medically-induced coma would be to really slow metabolism (and thus reduce calorie/nutrient requirements) and consequently aging (and thus muscular degeneration!) in the crew. It’s clear degeneration is nonzero—they probably also had IV nutrients feeding them for the same reason!—but it’s not like they were a coma patient wasting completely away over the years. You know, before they started using electrostim to try and reduce muscle loss in comatose people. Which is another thing that could have been done.

10882477

Edit: New headcanon. All the "awake" astronauts went insane while going through that wormhole.

I think even Discord would disagree with Event Horizon.

That ship went places.

Really looking forward to seeing where this goes

КАльтаиру

Should be «К Альтаиру». It’s two words, not one.

Нет требуетводы

Should be «Не требует воды», probably. A space got eaten again, I guess, and “no” got translated into a wrong particle for that sentence structure.
Well, unless you are going for a deliberate mistranslation on a hastily-labeled product.

I like the language mix.

” And in a louder voice, “Is Dr. Somerset’s lander ready yet?” he asked.
“Da, on gotov,” Anton’s voice echoed ‘up’ the way. “We should launch in ten minutes next.”

The lander is male now, don't misgender... it. :trollestia:

So uhh, my only question is this, did they really send an unarmed one-man mission? I mean, unless they had total confidence in his safety, landing site, etc.

But with the lack of preparation, and saying, "Hey, how was your three-year nap? Don't answer that, guess what you're going to be the first human in the world to land on another planet and meet aliens. Proceed to this pod here."

I mean, at the very least a firearm or something. Sure, one could say the natives might take an armed negotiator in a negative way, but then again, it's a one-manned mission where he's all alone. Better come late than end up has timber wolf food.

I haven't read the author's note, I don't like reading the author's notes that are too long(usually because for me it disrupts the flow of a story, even if this is the only chapter for now). But from the comments, there's a lot of dedicated research. And the general path the story is going is great, except, that from an objective point of view, there's quite a bit missing.

Other than that, so far this story has been extremely well thus far.

10883213
Current astronauts are actively trying to keep their 'earth legs' while on the ISS, and their up for six months periods? And that's actively working on their muscles, this is three years of non-activity (though there is some 'gravity' due to spinning but ...) so unless there's some super-science involved, one isn't going to pop out ready to tackle a full gravity well (considering that this is 90's tech) ...

I'm a speech language pathologist undergrad. Which is something like a linguist and a ear-nose-throat nurse mashed together.

Your IPA transcription is formatted in a way that's super hard to read. IPA phonemes aren't written like periodic table abbreviations, just use all lower case. It's also always between forward slashes, /ænd, doʊnt æd ˈspeɪsəz ɔr ˈpɪriədz. ʤʌst raɪt laɪk ju ˈnɔrməli wʊd./

[n̥ɑ.pɑ.ˈtɑ ... ɹi.ˈkě ɑl.ˈβu] should look more like, /n̥ɑ pɑ ˈtɑɹi ˈkěɑl ˈβu/ (The ellipsis is perfectly fine since it is narrative dialogue, I just removed it for clarity here)

First guess is this is derived from a satem branch of IPE.

Feel free to PM me if you need any help.

10883435
I think you continue to misunderstand the entire point of cryosleep.

the amount of detail and care given to this... I'm kinda speechless

Oh, this a treat and a half. Good sci-fi is hard to find on this site (understandably,) and this looks like it’ll more than qualify. Eagerly looking forward to more, especially given the sheer breadth and depth of research and things like making a whole dang conlang. Looking forward to more.

10882515
Oooh, yes. I'm still hoping Tigerclaw finishes the Sparkle-Side story for that.

Hm. I'm having a lot of trouble grasping the design of the ship from the descriptions, sorry.

"Adam recoiled at the news. Three years had gone by in the blink of an eye."
...Wasn't that what he was expecting when he signed on for the mission? That, or an even longer time before being woken up?

Time dilation? Interesting. Over three and a half years to Jupiter sounds like it's not even a Brachistochrone (and yeah, a quick check of Atomic Rockets puts that as possibly higher DV than a pure Hohmann (different instances seem to vary, simplifying assumptions are involved, and I probably shouldn't be spending even as much time as I am checking at the moment), but still indeed looking like mostly coasting), much less something involving relativistic speeds, so presumably that's from the mysterious(?) Flandro Object. I wonder what caused it, and how they measured it? Though they appear to have some advance information on what's on the other side...

...They seem extremely confident that the "Indigenous" aren't hostile. Sending one person, a linguist, down, all by himself? I also noticed that they appear to not really even be considering the fact that, given this planet is in fact inhabited, colonizing it might no longer be on the table.

...They're sending him down, alone, in a lander that, by the sound of it, he hasn't even trained on, at all? Wait, no, of course he hadn't trained on it, he didn't even know what the landers were.
...Did the fall of the USSR involve WWIII in this timeline? But, no, they only have fifty people; that's not going to be a self-sustaining colony in all but the most optimistic circumstances, if that, from what I recall (don't have time to look it up again right now).

"I should probably find a place to strap myself in – reëntry can’t be comfortable."
...B***** ****, who is running this program?
...Yeah, no, I'm now guessing that either the cryogenics system, or something else here (The Flandro Object, maybe?) causes brain damage, or there's active foul play involved somewhere.

"then he noted a ton of equipment packed inside the ‘door’ and realized it was an EVA suit – one adapted for the ground, no doubt. All that equipment must be for water, oxygen, temperature regulation, and so forth"
[eyetwitch]
They are sending him... alone... to an alien plant, with unknown life and sapient inhabitants, and he has that level of knowledge of the EVA suit that his life is going to depend on? Did anyone train for this mission, at all?
And what exactly is the rush to get him down there? They're so confident the natives aren't hostile, after all.
...Yeah, I am definitely suspecting fowl play here, either that or things are really seriously wrong back on Earth. Maybe they have a bunch of frozen embryos aboard, or another such system, and this is intended and needed to found a self-sustaining colony? ...But Adam was concerned about missing his daughter's first day of school, and how his students were doing back at MIT, not sad that he'd left the people he knew behind to die.
...Well, I'm quite curious to find out what on Earth is going on, at least.

"Adam knew memory loss was a possible side effect of cryostasis"
Ahh. Yeah. So, uh, I think maybe some bad news about the command staff of this mission, Adam... possibly you as well... Hm, and Anton was potentially forgetting details of the lander design earlier, too...

...Argh, and I really need to try and stop commenting, I am already so behind schedule, sorry.

"But you’re the first to enter this atmo, so I’ll be honest with you, none of us really know how long."
...Because taking measurements of atmospheric density and such is definitely not something one would want to do before sending a lander down.
Right, right, brain damage... ...And I need to stop commenting...

...Wait. So. The lander radio was off. And, in fact, the lander power was off.
...Then... how, exactly, did it perform deorbit and reentry? How was it supposed to be piloted at all, let alone remotely?
And yes, I know, not supposed to be commenting, super low on time, but, new hypothesis: Earth does not exist. There was no Flandro Object or journey through it; the ship and all aboard were created where they "entered" the system, with a full suite of false memories, by Discord for reasons yet unknown. Possibly all as part of a very elaborate prank on Twilight.

(At this point, I in fact ran out of time and had to put the story aside to finish later; any following commentary is therefore after a break, though I'm still planning to try and keep commentary down due to the much laxer but still present time constraints applying then.)

(Interestingly, during my time working on other things, I happened to encounter some information suggesting that the high-radiation environment of interplanetary space might put humans travelling through it at risk of significant cognitive deterioration. So while my leading hypothesis is still "Discord did it"-- wait, no, per the description, Discord might actually still be in stone. Hm. Well, one of the mysteries to be worked out. In any case, as I was saying, that, if it applies in this universe, might be another contributing factor.)

"or arming for an attack. Let’s hope the former; that’s easier for me to work with."
Well, finally! But how, in fact, would you work with it? Do you actually have any means to defend yourself? Even if you do, do you know that you do?

Ah, and a long author's note with more information, I see!

[searches for Argjend Gjebrea]
Ah! This, it appears.
(Though as I don't know why the story was removed from FIMFiction, please let me know if you'd like me to remove the link from this comment.)

"Despite NASA's reluctance, public opinion swayed Congress into granting increased funding, for the express purpose of building an interstellar colony ship."
Heh, presumably their reluctance was just about it being a colony ship straight away (which, I agree, bad idea), rather than a life-bearing world being discovered so close by (which I expect had them very excited to launch all sorts of missions). A bit ironic, in a way I expect they would have noticed too, that they went from desperately trying to keep enough public and governmental interest to get the funding to do anything useful, to having enough interest for presumably massive amounts of funding, but pushing them towards a likely highly suboptimal mission.
(Assuming, of course, that NASA exists, but even if this was somehow Discord, it seems useful for the moment to speak of the false past as if it indeed happened.)

"It’s unlikely NASA would have convinced Congress or the public about exploring any sort of wormhole with human intervention, no matter what promises lie on the other side."
Huh. Didn't you say above, though, that it wasn't NASA pushing that, but the public and Congress against NASA's recommendations? Or did that change as development of the timeline continued?

re Alfa vs. Alpha:
Oh, interesting! That I did not know; thanks.

And thank you for the additional information! I'm looking forward to seeing how the language matters develop, certainly, among other things -- though unfortunately, I can't actually read the IPA (not my first encounter with it -- but I also hadn't encountered it enough to even recognize it for sure from sight, before you said that's what it was). Oh well.
Impressive how much conlanging work you've done, though!


10882802
"In short: Adam is expendable."
Yeah, definitely also occurred to me.

And thank you for your comment, both for where it overlaps and particular where it doesn't overlap mine, as you noticed some things I didn't.

(And I think my leading hypothesis is still "Discord did it, somehow".
Though the brain damage hypothesis could also explain everything I recall noticing except the lander somehow landing without power, I think. And maybe that was the guidance and landing system being of a separate circuit, while the commander supposedly being able to control the ship with a radio that was turned off was the brain damage again. Hm. Well, we'll presumably be getting further data as things proceed.)

10882973
Yeah, I don't really see this making sense as a space mission from Earth without the crew having gotten significant brain damage from the cryogenics (and possibly radiation exposure). I do wonder how much testing the cryogenic systems got -- though apparently they knew that there was potential for memory loss, and sent people anyway.
I'm quite eager to see where exactly we are in the timeline relative to Discord getting loose, though, as him creating the ship and everyone and everything aboard with false pasts is something I'm still considering a highly likely explanation.
That said, it does also occur to me now: it might not be Discord who created them with false memories and an ulterior motive. After all, as far as they know, their Earth can't do that sort of thing... but if it could and had, they might still believe that.

10883205
"A single linguist makes sense for a survey mission—at least one large enough to have fifty seats, and several of those dedicated to soldiers!—just in the off chance they find ruins or something else artificial that might have what could be writing on it."
...Actually, though, that did lead me to think: why aren't they in contact with Earth? Why did this decision have to be made by the field commander? We know that the wormhole passes EM radiation just fine; they were able to see the planet through it from the Jovian side, after all. Drop relays in the right places, and, sure, there'll be some light lag, but a link should still be possible. Why isn't this being broadcast on live-minus-light-lag television back on Earth? Maybe the brain damage hypothesis could still explain that, if they've all completely forgotten about that part of the mission and failed to notice or thinking about any of the equipment aboard the ship for it... but it seems a significant stretch.
So, yeah. Unless it's something like the crew being actively mentally influenced my something (Harmony itself? Spacefaring changelings around Jupiter who secretly boarded the ship and did this for... some reason?), I do not think Earth as the crew knows it exists. Where they actually came from (assuming it isn't Harmony of alien mind control or whatever), that remains to be discovered...

10883213
Hm. Actually, going back to the brain damage hypothesis (which might now be a moot point in terms of actual in-universe reality but could still inform their beliefs about what happened -- or might still be part of actual reality if it is mind control), I think I recall reading somewhere a while ago that in theory cryosleep could increase vulnerability to radiation. Don't recall where, exactly, but thinking back on it now, it seems to make sense: the body's self-repair processing would also be slowed down, giving damage more time to accumulate and compound (that is, a cell that needs A to repair B and B to repair A could be healthy after radiation damage to both A and B if there's time to repair in between the damage events, but if it can't do that, it loses both A and B).

10882477
Ah, missed your comment earlier. Interesting hypothesis, though, that it might have been something about the wormhole; even if that's not the whole explanation, it could at least be a contributing factor.
I mean, depending on how Equestrian magic works on the two sides of the wormhole, it's possible that the wormhole actually links two regions with different laws of physics... and that might cause all sorts of problems either just from being on the other side or from some part of the transition crossing the wormhole.

10883743
For a nth generation cryosleep/stasis, probably, for first (usually the prototype) generation, not even with its inventor/developer involved ...

Okay, this certainly looks interesting. I'll definitely be watching to see where it goes!

Though I do have a few issues, which other people have brought up. This seems a bit... Rushed. I'd expect them to wake up the linguist, maybe a few others, give them time to get over their cryosleep... ESPECIALLY if it's known that it causes short term (or even long term?) memory loss. Give them a proper medical and cognitive checkup. Brief them on the situation. Study the planet some more. Send another probe? Presumably they have more than one lander. Landers are big and expensive. Probes are smaller and cheaper. Presumably it would be better to drop another probe or two for more info before dumping a valuable, irreplaceable lander.

Also, our heroic linguist seems WOEFULLY unprepared and under trained to be an astronaut. He doesn't know the layout of the lander. He doesn't know what equipment is inside. He doesn't know WHERE TO SIT! You can write that off to memory loss... But if so, then it's even MORE insane to just wake him up and shove him in a pod.

It's like they're in a huge rush for some reason. I suppose it would make sense if, say, the Chinese have also launched a ship, and it's a week behind them... "We have to land and make contact first! No matter what!" Or if the natives have demonstrated the ability to reach space somehow, and they're note sure if they're hostile / will think the humans are hostile. "Look, whatever that radar blip was, it was a man sized object moving under it's own power. If they can lob probes into space, they can lob missiles. We have to open communications with them ASAP!" Without something like that pushing them to act so rapidly and recklessly, dumping our hero in a capsule and blasting him off the ship doesn't make much sense...

But regardless, looks like a good start!

10884697
love how you instantly go with chinese in one of your scenerio instead the usual russian/germans. Though to be fair one of the officers/characters IS Russian. Comrade and all that. But at the same time, you're not entirely wrong with the urgency of not letting China get first dibs

I appreciate your use of the diaeresis to separate vowels :moustache:

10884798
Well, we already established that this whole mission is a joint US/Russian effort... I mean, it's a BIT awkward to rush to beat the Russians to a destination when you're, you know, bringing them along... :moustache:

American Commander: "Woohoo! We made it first! America F___ yeah! Suck it commies!" *Throws up devil horns*
2nd In Command Russian: *coughs into fist* "Ahem. JOINT Mission, you remember Commander? Da?"
American Commander: "Ah. Oh yeah. Ahem. Sorry about that..."
Random Passing Astronaut: "Awwwwwkward....."

Quite a promosing story : )

“ Da, ono gotov, ” Anton’s voice echoed ‘up’ the way. “We should launch in ten minutes next.”

it should be Da, on gotov, Da, gotov or even just gotov. Lander (chelnok? ) has masculine grammatic gender, and it's retained in the following sentences referring it. So it(lander) still would have masculine translation as 'he/on' in this situation.

“No water – Нет требует воды.” Works for me!

Не требует воды

that's just what I remember currently, could be some more stuff. Boop me if you need help with Russian : )

Also, voiced bilabial fricative? Color me intrigued : )

10884922
Er...the Commander is Canadian, not a US citizen.

Unique setting. The whole time I was wondering how early 90s Earth had managed a joint US-Soviet mission to another star system. Might want to clue people in on that part a little earlier.

Also I misread the description as "linguistic xenoshippology".

Found a website that can read off the IPA words - though it won't interpret elipsis as pauses, sadly.
http://ipa-reader.xyz/

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