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Rated: E · Fiction · Sci-fi · #2244846
The Writer's Cramp 2/22/21 W/C 507

Translation Needed

First Mate Joseph and Second Mate Harry stepped off the Mars Rover II. It had been a long journey and they were glad to get off the spacecraft.

“Finally. Never thought this day would happen,” Joseph said. He slid his sun visor down, surveyed the Martian landscape. The red planet looked just as it had in the images sent back by the robot camera.

Harry stood beside Joseph. He tapped his watch. “We’re right on time. We should be meeting the ambassadors any moment now.”

A trio of Martians made their way to the two astronauts. Joseph and Harry watched them approach.

“What do you think? Will they understand us?” Harry was a little nervous about all this.

Joseph kept his eyes on the Martians. Their suits, their bodies, their mannerisms, all of it he watched closely.

“I don’t know, Harry. Guess we’ll find out soon enough. It’s not like we can leave or anything. Check out their suits. What do you suppose they’re made of…”

“mannu minu awil-um laqahu” One of the Martians spoke to the humans.

Joseph and Harry looked at each other, then back to the Martian. They were puzzled. Something was lost in translation.

“So sorry, I forgot. You don’t speak Akkadian. Let me translate.” The Martian contact spoke to his companions then said, “We will now take you to our offices.”

“We will be glad to go with you.” Joseph pushed Harry in front of him. Then they followed the Martians to a building embedded in a red hill. Inside they walked past flags on steel poles.

“Are those…?” Harry asked.

“I think so, maybe, perhaps.”

“This way, humans.” The Martians led the astronauts to a room at the end of the long hall. More Martians sat in a row inside. “This is our kisallu. They will talk to you.” Then the humans were left on their own as the initial group of Martians left the room.



Once again Harry and Joseph seemed puzzled.

The Martian group conferred with their pointed heads together.

“We apologize to our human visitors. You do not understand the ancient one’s language of Akkadian. Who are you? And What do you want?”

“We want to be your friends. We want to say hello.” Joseph said with a big smile.

The Martians rose from their seats.

“Qatalu awil-um”

“Sorry, but we don’t understand.”

The Martians left the room. Joseph and Harry turned to each other.

“What now?”

“Let’s erequ.”

“What’s that mean?”

“Flee. They said they’re going to kill us.” Joseph started running.

“Since when do you speak Akkadian?”

"I majored in ancient languages in college. Hurry!”

They ran to the rover.

“Did you see the flags in the hallway? Those were socks. They’ve been collecting our socks for years.” Joseph opened the door.

Harry jumped inside the rover. “So what if they collect socks.”

Joseph sealed the door. “I don’t want to be wearing mine when they do.”

The Mars Rover II roared to life and lifted off from the red planet.

W/C 507

Per Wikipedia:

qatalu. kill

mannu. who?
minu. what?
ayyu. which?

kisallu. court

erequ. flee

laqahu. take

awīl-um. man

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