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Poem: "Words, Words, Words" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Words, Words, Words"

This poem was inspired by the #15 Decipher slot on the Rainbowfic Vellum list.  It has been sponsored by technoshaman. It belongs to the series An Army of One: The Autistic Secession in Space.




Words, Words, Words


The loss of Sweep and Crowbar
made it harder for Shakespeare
to do his job, but he refused to quit.
With the Carinan and Orion armies
both hunting for secessionists in the Lacuna ...
now, more than ever, they needed to know
what was going on.

Quell, their jammer, had cross-training
for the sensor array; he needed to understand
how such things worked in order to make them stop.
So he managed to find signals, not as many
as Sweep had, but enough to work with.

Shakespeare had little skill at actual codebreaking,
but there was the computer to do some of that,
and there were Carinan signals in codes
for which they had the actual keys.

Sometimes, too, people sent them messages
skimmed from other sources, in hopes that
Shakespeare could decipher the meaning --
Hootowl and Router and the Minotaur mostly.

That was Shakespeare's skill, sussing out
what the silly phrases really referred to.
He was no good at thinking up words
or putting them together on his own,
but give him a phrase or an association
and he could leap to a conclusion
in a single bound --
usually the right conclusion.

So when Shakespeare figured out
what the Carinan ships were saying,
he ran to the control room
waving the transcript and crying,
“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny
but in ourselves!”

Quell glared at him.
The other man did not like talking
or keeping company very much.
"Let's keep this conversation to a minimum.
What's wrong and what do you want me to do?"

Shakespeare pointed again to transcript.
"The general who wins the battle
makes many calculations in his temple
before the battle is fought,"
he explained.

Quell was not Crowbar,
and Crowbar was not there
to explain what Shakespeare meant.
Quell shrugged in helpless confusion.

“The fool doth think he is wise,
but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
Shakespeare muttered to himself.
He scribbled lines of attack from the ships
pointing to a bullseye over
Supply Base Bounty 3D3N.

"Oh shit!" Quell yelped.
He hastened to send the image
to warn the other secessionists,
appending the original signal
and Shakespeare's attempts
at interpreting it.

They waited, tensely,
to see what would happen.
They were used to this --
it was not and never had been
their job to fight on the front lines --
but that never made it any easier.

Later they received word
that the attack had been thwarted.
So many of the rogue jumpships
now allied with the Lacuna
had shown up to ambush the strikeforce
that the Carinan ships had surrendered
without a shot fired.

The supply base,
intended to become a garden
and bolster the food supply
within the Lacuna,
was safe for now.

As Shakespeare prepared for bed,
his personal computer chirped,
alerting him to an incoming message.
There was no attached file
for him to decipher, though,
just a brief personal note:

"No duty is more urgent than that
of returning thanks." (James Allen)
Supply Base Bounty 3D3N
Router, Commanding Officer

For the first time since
Crowbar returned to Carinan space,
Shakespeare felt like
someone was speaking his language.



* * *

Notes:

"Words, words, words."
-- William Shakespeare

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
William Shakespeare

The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.
-- Sun Tzu

“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
William Shakespeare, As You Like It

No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.
-- James Allen

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Current Mood: busy busy

4 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: technoshaman Date: May 27th, 2013 10:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awwww. Darmok. :D

And, <3 Sun Tsu.

"Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves."
-- James M. Barrie

In light of that? Have a sunny day. :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 27th, 2013 10:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>> Awwww. Darmok. :D <<

Sokath, his eyes uncovered.

>> And, <3 Sun Tsu. >>

He's one of my favorites. The Art of War helps write credible warfic.

>> "Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves."
-- James M. Barrie

In light of that? Have a sunny day. :) <<

And to you, my friend.
From: julia kolb Date: August 30th, 2015 09:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

Anomalous

i get this!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 30th, 2015 09:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Anomalous

Yay! I'm so glad it worked for you.
4 comments or Leave a comment