[00:56] While Samanta took her walk, Saira had spent more time trying to communicate with the Nayabaru.
The calm, peaceful interaction between her and this Hesh – that much she had determined by now, that this was some kind of job description or title or both, or in a pinch perhaps a generic name shared by several Nayabaru – let her progress slowly but surely through laying some linguistic ground work.
The grammar seemed palpable – not too different from basic structures found in the majority of human languages. Vocabulary seemed easy enough to pick out once she'd gotten a handle on the deep pitch these critters used and learnt to differentiate the syllables. She couldn't directly reproduce the words, but her higher-pitched versions were clearly also acceptable.
So far, mostly well before Samanta had left, she'd gotten through communicating "I am Saira", "I am a xenolinguist" (or rather, "I work with languages", 'xenolinguist' was more specific than she was going to beat out of this talking dinosaur), and she had tried, unsuccessfully, to chat about the weather.
Chatting about the weather was made especially difficult for it being the dead of night. Chatting about the landing or Earth was made especially difficult for them not being anywhere near the landing site, nor Earth being visible in the sky – or in fact ever again, given this planet and Earth occupied opposite sides of the same orbit the sun.
The notion of ever learning enough about the language to find out how the planet had gotten here, the big mystery, seemed far-fetched. Thankfully, the English message 'Valcen' had left them suggested she might not have to – but it was still in her professional interest to press on regardless.
Samanta, however, returned a bit sooner than assumed.
She jogged a little toward Saira, as though aware of her mild confusion and equipped with an urge to minimise it as soon as possible. "Hey," she said, even as she slowed herself back down. There was no real reason for them to rely on physical proximity, what with their ability to keep in contact via comms – but they were both human and they preferred to see each other when talking.
Especially about important matters.
The Nayabaru grunted something that might have been a 'welcome back' or 'where were you?' or any number of things that were probably more platitude than communication. It seemed safe enough to ignore, but Samanta quickly slipped in a full-body gesture she hoped would be interpreted as gratitude, before turning her attention back to Saira.
"Something very strange is going on here," Samanta said, keeping her tone almost painfully conversational, evidently not wanting the Nayabaru to catch onto the content of the statement by tone alone. She sat down beside Saira, the motion a kind of swing, as though imbued with new energy.
"Remember the first biologicals we came across?" Samanta asked, before Saira could get a word in. 'Biologicals'? Was she using words she knew with certainty the Nayabaru couldn't have picked up on? "I encountered some more. Had some... intriguing things to... ramble about."
A grunt from the Nayabaru, its head tilting in passive observation. It seemed a little miffed about not knowing what its guests were talking about, but not altogether slighted – if its body language was any indicator, which, given the different cultures, it might not.
[23:56] Saira Hoshino was breaking new ground. Contacting, communicating with actual extraterrestrials for the first time was not only a massive honour and a significant chunk of history in the making, but it was exciting in ways she hadn't even anticipated. There were definitely times when the linguist would grow excited and then lose her tentative grasp on the forming communications, but she remained dedicated and optimistic. She couldn't have marked how much time had passed given the lack of sun to track in the sky above, but she was still mildly surprised with Samanta came jogging up at a brisk pace towards them. With a deep nod and accompany gesture of apology, she turned her attention to the approaching woman. It took her a moment or two to process what was being said, that the choice of words and tone were deliberate as to not let what English words the Nayabaru might have been able to decipher slip through. "Oh?" Just a single syllable that conveyed so much, because she wasn't sure if this was a conversation that they could be having here before their host. Samanta seemed alright, so it couldn't have been too hostile, but curious nonetheless. "Do we need to, uh...?" And she made a thumb gesture over her shoulder as if to indicate go elsewhere to talk quietly. Though there was no telling how good the dinosaur's hearing was.
[22:31] Samanta smiled at Saira, the expression making her tension obvious without making it apparent to creatures only just learning human facial cues. "You would know best," she said, but paused only briefly, evidently in the belief that going elsewhere together was not going to improve the situation noticeably. "Let's indulge in a hypothetical.
"Suppose you and a friend met two perfect strangers in sequence. One of those individuals runs away the exact moment the other reaches your vicinity. You and your friend then spend some time with the latter at a party. At some point you excuse yourself from the party to... vape? Anyway. You stand on the balcony and notice your initial contact is sitting in the shadows.
"And they whisper to reveal... a dangerous fate to you. They are... amicable but clearly... anxious." Samanta was clearly battling herself on the narrative front, carefully steering herself past the most common words that threatened to provide recognisable content to the Nayabaru. "Imploring you to abscond, together with your friend.
"Do you do that, or do you politely decline?" Samanta finished, maintaining her tense smile.
It was easy enough to unpack – so the 'raptorians had reappeared and were warning Samanta that the humans from the landing expedition were at some nebulous risk if they stayed with the Nayabaru.
It harkened back to Don't accept candy from strangers, except that strictly speaking the 'raptorians were the strangers. The Nayabaru were no better; Samanta had used the phrase 'lulling us into security' back when the shock about Valcen's message was fresh – less than a day ago, though it felt like an eternity.
They'd decided that there likely was some danger, but they were relatively safe – Jason had convinced them of that. Yet to have that sense of danger echoed back at them felt dangerous in itself, as though they were caught in a the middle of a propaganda war.
Perhaps that was to be expected; at the moment they were the aliens. Both these species might think it beneficial to ally with them.