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Latest revision as of 17:17, 12 April 2017

A sci-fi story I started and then completely forgot about. There's another 1000 words ten years later. As I remember there was a global conspiracy, a game, and assassins...

Here's the introduction...

'I'm bored, Teli.'

'Only boring peo...'

'Yeah yeah, but really, I am. I mean, what am I doing with my life?'

There was a deliberate pause as Teli pretended to think about this, 'You could always change role, find something you find more, fulfilling?'

Ghed looked around at the mailroom, a couple of other workers were purposefully sorting packages, some robots drifted casually by, loaded up with letters, he let out a sigh. 'Yes, I suppose.'

He worked in silence for a while. 'I'd quite like to travel, you know, see the world?' he said eventually.

'Well holidays...'

'Not on holiday, Teli, to live, work, be part of the culture. Wake up each day and hear a different language...'

'Well, that's one issue, maybe.' interrupted Teli.

'What is?'

'The language. You only speak English. You could look at roles in other English-speaking countries, you'd only need to learn the regional differences to be eligible for all kinds of things.'

Ghed looked sullen. 'I was thinking more... tropical.'

'Ah. Australia? South Africa?'

Ghed pulled a face.

'What's wrong with South Africa?'

Ghed ignored the question. 'So if I learned a language, could I get a high-credit role somewhere hot and foreign?'

There was a pause. 'Technically, yes.'


'Well, how can I put this? You've never exactly been gifted with language abilities.'

A complicated personal ability enneagram appeared near Ghed, highlighting the language branch in red, which was short and stubby. He stared at it for a moment. 'I've never really tried.' he protested. 'Anyway, what languages would I have to learn to get a high-credit role in a hot country? Punch me up a list.'

Teli removed the ability enneagram and brought up a list of ten obscure languages, 'Sadly over five hundred languages have vanished over the last hundred years alone. No more native speakers.'

'But you know how to speak them?'

'I could learn, but we don't know how many of them were used in everyday ways, the cadence, the sounds, the humour. Lost, like Latin - we can parrot it, but it's dead.' Teli paused, seemingly with sadness, then went on, 'So, there are some personality points available for learning almost-dead languages, but no high-credit roles. You could learn Tidikelt, for example, and be eligible for a role in Algeria in a post office, kind of like here, but it wouldn't be high-credit.'

Ghed grunted, stacking some letters on a pile. 'Okay, show me some languages that I get personality points for learning, and there are high-credit roles available for speakers.'

Teli did nothing for a moment. 'You would need to alter your ability enneagram to be eligible for any high-credit role, done in a rare language or not. And your personality enneagram too, to be brutally honest.'

'Just show them!'

A new list appeared.

'They look quite... African, can we remove the African ones?'

'Why?' asked Teli. 'What's wrong with Africa?'

'I kind of had Asia in mind.' said Ghed quietly.

'Like a job on a beach in Thailand?' said Teli.

'Well, I'm sure there must BE jobs on beaches in Thailand.' muttered Ghed.

'Yes, Ghed, subsistence level jobs done by local people in rotation. There's not a chance really.'

Ghed had stopped and was staring at the list. 'There are hundreds of them.'

'Well, yes. There are thousands of languages spoken in the world.' said Teli.

'Oh! Tibetan!' Ghed was pointing. 'What about Tibetan?'

'Ah, Tibet. Well, depending on what you want to do you there's Amdo Tibetan, Central Tibetan, Khams, Dzongkha, Sikkimese, Sherpa, Ladakhi, or one of several Qiangic languages spoken.'

Ghed looked depressed.

Teli waited for a moment then added, 'You'd probably want Central, or Standard Tibetan I suppose.'

Ghed looked up. 'Maybe I would. What roles could I do?'

'As I mentioned, you'd need to change your abilities and personality, but it IS possible with some effort. Though there are a million Standard Tibetan speakers, there aren't very many Native English speakers with fluency, which means there are some possibilities. Let's see.'

A list of roles scrolled up in front of Ghed, one was highlighted.

[Translator Native English (multi region roles available) to Central Tibetan (current places 50, credit 300, rotation 4/5 years, queue 117)]

'What about that? Pretty good!' said Teli.

'Wait, wait. What was that one just scrolled off the bottom?'

'The Marine Biologist?'

'No, no, further. That one!'

'You've got to be kidding me.' said Teli, drily, 'Monk? Tibetan Buddhist Monk? You're not even a buddhist! Your personality enneagram doesn't quite fit either...'

Ghed just stared at it.

[Buddhist Monk, Tibetan. Personality fit essential, ability fit essential, Central Tibetan fluency. (current places 0, credit 0, rotation 0, queue 57)]

'Could I do it, learn Tibetan and become a monk? I mean, you know, in theory, if I spent years and years at it? And a place came up?'

'It's not high-credit, Ghed, it's zero-credit.'

Ghed said nothing.

There was a long pause and then a sigh from Teli. 'Of course you could Ghed. You could do anything if you put your heart into it. Your English has always been very good, we could start the language and you could do mind exercises to alter your personality. It might take a while, but, well, it's possible.'

'How long?' Ghed was grinning.

'Oh, for you? I can do you a special deal. Say... eleven years.'


'At least.'

Ghed laughed. 'Best get started then!'