This afternoon, Aneti and I went to one of the parks immediately after work. We sat in the shade of a blossom-raining tree, and the warm summer breeze played with the fabric of our light hepteri vests. We took the Skyrail to my apartment, where Kati stood over the stove stirring noodles for a sasahi-based sauce. I wanted to go to Lantern Park for one of the moonlight tours of the historic city, but Aneti wanted to visit a holographic garden. We stopped arguing in front of my cousin once we saw that le was there.
I don’t know. Aneti confuses me. … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … Ler relationships seem to progress more slowly than ler flings — I am only now getting close enough to betray lim to the authorities. Le has done nothing documented, though, and so I can do nothing.
I opened one of the refrigeration drawers and sliced raw fish for the two of us, which we had with puffed noodle cakes. I added seasonings to mine. Aneti, Kati, and everyone else I have asked says that the sliced raw fish over these cakes is a northern speciality, but the river fish is chewy and bland. Saltwater fish tastes so much better like this!
Kati, meanwhile, ate ler noodles quickly and left the apartment because le has a musical performance in one of the small temples near the edge of town. I am excited for lim.
Without much warning, Aneti said, “My older sister used to make these every night. Le used fresh noodles and the leftover oils from the morning breakfast, and the cakes came out of the oil so hot that they burned our tongues if we didn’t let them cool. The ones from bakeries are not the same.”
“Le doesn’t make them now?”
“Le died before I was a woman,” Aneti said. “Le left the family at sixteen and was five years older.”
I chewed quickly so I could respond and said, “That’s hard.”
“Just for me. My family didn’t mourn.” Aneti grimaced. “I loved lim so much.” Le took a bite of one of the cakes and swallowed.
I cannot imagine having a sister whom one’s family wouldn’t mourn. It is chilling.
Le asked me about my own family, and I can hardly answer with anything so bad. We are Narahji, of an esteemed family, and I have the flexibility and freedom of my grandmother’s heroic sacrifices. It gives me a safety net that many Narahji don’t have in the Tveshi state. I can dissent because my family is ascendant.
“Is there anything else about them?” I asked.
Aneti shrugged. “My grandaunt controls the family. Le has devoted limself to the Progressive Movement, and the majority of my cousins hold state positions. My sister is the only stain.”
I frowned. “Really?”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” le said. Le finished off one of the cakes and stood.
The conversation was over. I brought lim back towards my room, and there, I transitioned out of my gyena into one of the caps to protect my hair during sex. Le pulled me down onto the bed, and we started kissing.
Ler communication band went off about a quarter of an hour later, and le immediately flinched away from me and grabbed it from the room’s small table. It was a voice call. The caller must have been so rude! It’s the kind of thing no one would ever accept.
Aneti, however, answered it. Liga — I have gone to the trouble of transcribing what the bug picked up. It’s a bit muffled from the cap, but it picks up almost all that le said.
I’ve corrected the spelling based on what my tablet’s software says this should be like — I ran it through a few of the translation databases that can understand audio, and it has high confidence. I don’t think that I can pronounce any of it.
“Sehuta, eğ søngabu … … nigavøḥaiḥa gavøsu tagamnil lejeḥ … … medtė ødya. … …” The voice was masculine, and le spoke with the same cadence as Aneti. I think, but am not positive, that Sehuta was a short form of Aneti’s formal name.
My translation software says that that means Sehuta, I really need (and then the speech is muffled) cannot attempt in the month’s first decad that thing (and more muffling) failed to fulfill obligations.
“Eğ ḥioğaim gourinkehioḥ jas ødya. Seğ basabu jisabø lie isa?” This was simple: I might know someone who will work. We only need one extra person?
“Tasø. Sø … … fil.” This is turning better against all odds. You (muffled) lim.
“Eğ gavøha loja øva? Eğ meğis gouria raihaḥil ødya.” In full: Do I need to do this now? I must respectfully say that I’m busy.
“Sehuta, sø haga so … … … … … … ødya.” Aneti, you have — and the rest of it is cut out. It is all still so stiff — ødya is a formality marker. Le has what?
“Eğ meğis gouria nasahil helai raiha ødya.” I feel overwhelmed due to the workload.
I understand what all of that means now, but at the time, I lay on the bed staring up at the ceiling, uncertain of what to do. Le had me so worked up, and I understood that the tone was urgent, so I anxiously waited for lim to say that le needed to leave. Halfway through the conversation, Aneti slipped from the bed and started pacing. I propped myself up on my elbows.
Le did need to leave. I let lim. Please don’t listen to the three minutes after le left, Liga.
Obviously, I missed something crucial — and even though so much came out, they were still speaking in code. Maybe I missed the most important part or mistakenly identified words. Liga, do you know Shiji? Did I get it right? Do you understand more than I do?
You can’t do everything for me. I found a script that can reduce the audio noise relative to the background, and it will take about an hour to run.
Salus Niksubvya —
In the future, message my comm when something like this happens with the prefix “URGENT.” I remote-accessed your computer to check the software you have, and while it has no vulnerabilities, I had to disable monitoring software downloaded in the background. Be very careful! I skimmed my own copy of the audio. My local associate who speaks Shiji says it sounds promising, but vague — there is something here that a sympathetic officer may follow up on. We’ll keep it in a dossier.
Has Sehutañi shown many signs of stress beyond the excuse? Please write if so. If le’s cracking under pressure, that can help us. If not, le could be trying to get out of the conversation to have sex. 😁😅
Liga, when you say all of this, you — it’s illegal, right? And you’re keeping things in a dossier? I doubt writing URGENT will make you listen to me. The fact that you have dodged my questions about the nuamua and everything else? This gives me a lot of stress. Never mind Sehutañi. You need to say something.