Ensign Mallora Vossti -- Icons, Simple and Complex

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David Lichtenstein

Oct 13, 2021, 2:00:29 PMOct 13
to Gorkon IC
((Cone Structure Interior, Subterranean Ruins, Darime IV))

Mallora looked at the yellow-orange text on the screen that was even more alien-looking to her than the Klingon text she'd seen at the Academy. But at the bottom of the screen below the text were two slightly larger symbols: a triangle with a rounded base, and a tiny circle occluding the center of an 'X'.

She looked to the faint shadows that she knew were Commander ch'Ranni and Lieutenant Tan, waiting for them to give her advice or instructions, but neither were focused on her. Instead they seemed distracted by the insistent chirping from the walls of the house.

Mallora grimaced, holding her breath, then touched the 'X' icon.

Voice: Kadmat ela'a mustawa madinat mazuhratun access denied.

The walls chirped insistently again.

ch'Ranni: Alarm system?

Tan: ::Whispering over his shoulder,:: Maybe.

Vossti: Should I try the other one, sir? ::her finger hovered over the triangle-ish icon::

ch'Ranni: ::a quick nod and then raising his weapon and tricorder in preparation for what they were about to do next:: Do it. Stay here, doctor.

Vossti: Yes, sir.

The duo - Andorian and Trill - crept down the stairs to look at the lower level.

She hesitated, holding her breath. But Commander ch'Ranni had told her to 'do it' so she closed her eyes and touched the triangle-like icon. When she opened her eyes, the screen had changed.

Mallora could hear the two officers whispering to each other, but she couldn't make out the words over the thundering of her heartbeat in her chest. Instead she focused on the device's screen. There was a large rectangle with a new block of alien text inside it which took up most of the screen; down at the bottom of the screen were two new icons: one was a simple vertical line, the other was a more complex icon which looked a little like a cross between a stylized squarish building and a heavy cold-weather hat.

Vossti: oO I must be making at least a little progress here because the walls haven't chirped angrily at us since I touched the triangle. I kind of wish I had a bit of advice before moving too much further, and there might be a security threat downstairs. Oo

Mallora heard her teammate raise his voice significantly above a whisper suddenly.

Tan: ::louder, to the figure below:: Greetings, my name is Lieutenant Serren Tan, I am with the Federation Starship Gorkon. We come in peace.

She listened for a response, but didn't hear one. Fortunately, she also didn't hear any signs of a struggle, so she turned her attention back to the PADD-like device in her hands.

Vossti: oO The triangle-like button allowed me progress of some kind, whereas the X-like icon didn't. Maybe their iconography isn't so different from our own frames of reference? And if that's the case, what would the line and the building-hat-thing represent? Oo

ch'Ranni: Response

Tan: Lieutenant Serren Tan. USS Gorkon. Hello?

Vossti: oO It's probably not a simple 'yes' and 'no' choice, because the building-hat icon seems too complex to be such a simple concept. The line might be a 'yes' or 'no' however. But what would be a reason to pair a simple concept with a more complex one like this? Most antonym pairs are of equal complexity, so why is this choice a simple icon and a complex one? Oo

ch'Ranni: Response

Tan: I think it's a holoprojection of some kind, and I think it's waiting for something. Maybe it's only programmed to react to people coming into the house, or maybe it's on a timer. Either way, it doesn't seem to notice me, or be doing anything at all.

ch'Ranni: Response

Vossti: oO Maybe the antonym pair I'm looking at is something like 'simple' versus 'complex'. That doesn't really explain the previous pair, but it could explain this one. Many cultures use a single line, either vertical or horizontal, to represent the number 'one', so it wouldn't surprise me to see an icon using just a line to represent something like the concept of 'simple'. The Commander told me to go ahead, so I really hope I'm not killing us all. Oo

She closed her eyes again and touched the vertical line icon.

Suddenly, with a soft chirp, the translucent figure downstairs began to move.

Voice: Kadmat ela'a mustawa madinat mazuhratun limited access granted.

At the same time, the walls reverted to their prior transparent state, allowing the alien city's light to stream inside once again.

Tan/ch'Ranni: Response

The translucent figure moved to the stairs and slowly ascended them.

Mallora opened her eyes, feeling a mix of elation and shock. The PADD-like device had changed again, this time showing no text at all, but a grid of nearly two dozen much smaller icons, all different and in a wide variety of colors rather than the slightly alarming yellow-orange it had been limited to. She could also see that the background behind the icons was an artistic pattern in browns and magentas and greens which slowly rippled back and forth across the screen like waves in a pool.

Vossti: I think I gained some sort of access to the PADD thing here. That doesn't mean I understand it though, sir.

Tan/ch'Ranni: Response

When the translucent figure reached the bedroom level, it moved to the center of the room and then floated there still, as if waiting for something.

Vossti: ::to herself:: Woah. ::to her companions:: That thing isn't a threat, is it?

Tan/ch'Ranni: Response

Mallora stood up, wincing a bit at the continuing pain in her side; she turned the PADD-like device's screen toward Jona so he could see the wealth of new icons there.

Vossti: Do you think I should continue to … experiment with this, sir?

Tan/ch'Ranni: Response

Ensign Mallora Vossti
Junior Medical Officer
USS Gorkon
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