The S. S. Lynx: Learning to Speak (pt 1)

By Richard Maynard (1832-1907) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Well, that did not go as poorly as I expected.  The new propulsion system definitely is an improvement over the old paddle wheels and sails.  I miss the sails, though.  Yet, with as heavy as I am, canvas may not be strong enough at any size to get me moving again.

The storm has passed, and now I can feel the crew thumping around below decks once more.  I think they are checking on how well things are tied down.  I wish I could tell them that everything is still in place.  Even my interpreter is down there with no way for me to draw his attention to any problems that may arise.  I can tell him from the others, because he always seems to be stomping his heels a little heavier, and it is almost always in the code that we use between ourselves.  I cannot wait for him to return to his normal post.  It will be nice having a chance to talk without worrying others will interrupt us.  There’s still so much that I want to know, to learn, and to discover about the world outside my hull.

He has been trying to help me understand what others are saying, though I cannot often hear their words someplace he can interpret it for me.  He said he had something to try for me, but it had to wait until we reached port.  After the last “surprise” I am not so certain I want him bringing me another.  The upgrades are good, but I really would have preferred to be prepared for them.

That reminds me, I need to talk with him about that.  I will have to remember for when he next comes down to the boiler room after whatever duty the captain has him doing now. I’ve felt him hang my striker up in a couple of rooms, but just as quickly take it back down after someone yells at him.  I can almost make out what they are saying, too!  I’m so proud of myself.  I think I’m beginning to understand how to listen properly in this metal body of mine.  If the speaker says something loud enough, I can feel a little tickle on my skin in that area.  Let me see if this is true.

Focus.  Focus.  The galley should have people in it this time of day.  The ovens are hot, so someone should be there.  Focus.

Yes!  The entire room is being tickled – it’s small, barely noticeable over the rush and surge of the water outside and other vibrations, but there is something else in that room that’s not present in the empty ones.  How to make that tickle distinct enough I can interpret it though?  I remember when I still had a wooden body.  I could not understand what was being said, but I was beginning to – especially when it was below decks where my sides would vibrate.  I wonder if there is a way to make this soft tickling strong enough that I can feel it clearly.  If there is, perhaps I can increase my understanding.  This time, at least, I know what language is, and that the sounds the crew makes mean something.

The rest of the trip to port remained uneventful.  No more storms, no heavy seas, and no malfunctions on my part.  Everything remained watertight, and shipshape.  I am rather proud of that fact, actually.  Even in my wooden body, I would have sprung a seam with the storm we went through, if I did not lose a sail or mast.

My interpreter left my decks right after the cargo was unloaded, which caused me to worry.  Since the upgrade, he has remained aboard and talked with me.  Though, he did say he would be returning with my new surprise.  After the last one, I am not so sure I want to know what that surprise is.  Having the sun inside my hull is not an experience I care to experience again.  I am also puzzled, since he is not as strong as I – if he is returning “with” a surprise, how big can it be?

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