I put on my headphones, ready to voyage again into the skies above. As Council Leader, I am delegated with primary contact to the Mothership. I dial up, and the click precedes the jovial tones. Our language has departed from our ancestors over the years, but most translations are understood enough. I type in the correct kedpad responses for opening commentary, asking the obligatory status updates that keep our societies intersected. As can be their way, the mood shifts dramatically on the Mothership. It seems as if a new corresponder has gotten on the line. Their words are clipped, spaced with odd breathing and possibly tears. Instinctively, I bide my time, making soothing noises and appropriate lister noises. The mood remains.
The next hour is spent in a flurry of translation. They communicate, I translate and check back. Repeatedly I am given new phrases, new idioms to explain a way of life I’ve never actually lived. Metaphors that are beyond my experience leave me confused. The Mothership breaks off to sob, and the barriers of space junk are thick between us now. I can feel the miles stretch out as I try to see what is being said to my people. The signal fades at times, and a crucial word is lost in the vast outside. Finally, a semblance of sentiment is secure on paper.
“The home world is dying.”