Lost In Translation


barbara2_icon.gif elaine2_icon.gif

Scene Title Lost In Translation
Synopsis Barbara seeks to find deeper meaning in the strange dream she had the night before, and finds that she has more context than she ever imagined, and is missing more than she ever feared.
Date December 1, 2011

Bannerman's Castle

Amongst everything else happening in the last few weeks, the dream - nightmare? - that Barbara Zimmerman had had the night before was among the most troubling that had been presented before her. It was unusual for her to have dreams - visions - of events with no sort of trigger, no reasoning behind them, of people she had never seen or met in her life. That was how it had always been at, even before her father told her of the gift she possessed.

But something about the previous night's dream unnerved her. It seemed much like one of her visions to be just a simple dream, too real, too alive. And yet - there had been as much metaphor and uncertainty as many dreams often hold.

But the more curious matter of this dream of hers was the fact that she hadn't understood a word of it, a new experiance for her as far as she could remember. When she had awoken from it, she had immediately put out word, a message to be sent to the mainland that day. The Ferry, after all, had potentially one of the best translators in the world working for them, even if she didn't know it.

She sits now, at a table in the room where the council typically meets. The chair that Eileen had destroyed weeks before has been replaced, sitting across the way from Barbara as she stares at drawings she hastily made of the dream before going back to bed. Those she would worry about later. For now…

Language was what was on her mind.

And language was the one thing Elaine was good at.

With word sent to her that she was needed, the redhead was out the door and on her way to Pollepel within the hour. Maybe there was no need for that much of a rush but she was unused to being summoned. It meant something that her abilities were needed.

Stepping up to the doorway, she raps lightly on the doorframe to announce her presence before she makes her way in. "Thank you for having me, I hope I can help." She shifts the books under her arm—one a notebook, and the other a Japanese dictionary. Not that she'll need it.

"Ms. Darrow." Barbara offers a shallow nod, though she doesn't rise from her seat. "It's a pleasure to see you again." She remembered Elaine's s admittance to the Ferry at the request of others almost a year ago, but she hadn't much chance to speak directly with the polyglot in the time since. "Thank you for making it out here on such short notice." She offers a smile, motioning to the chair across from her.

"Particualrly since what I've asked you out her for is more of a personal matter, rather than something crucial to the network." As far as she knew, anyway. There was always a chance this could be more than it seems, after all. "I apologise if that wasn't made clear, but regardless, I appreciate it." She sits up slightly, fixing her gaze on the other woman. "Your talent, if I haven't missed my mark, lies in languages, yes?"

She motions to the drawings she has set to the side. "Mine is a more… abstract sort, Ms. Darrow. Not many know what it is I can do, and for good reason." A look to the door, and she nods. "Do you mind closing the door? I wish to keep this as private as possible for now."

"Feel free to call me Elaine, you don't have to be formal. Unless, of course, it makes you more comfortable." Elaine offers a small smile and tries not to fidget. Naturally, she wanted to look good. Don't screw this up. She thinks, forcefully.

"I don't mind coming out here, to be honest, I'm honored you'd ask." She turns to shut the door before sliding into the seat gestured to. "Privacy I can do. I'm a good secret-keeper."

"Then you understand that, unless I say otherwise, everything said in this room," the council's own meeting chamber, "stays between us." Barbara offers a small nod and a smile. "Like I said, I don't believe this to be of critical need to the network, but this is a personal matter that I need your insight into."

She slides one of the pictures back over, looking at it carefully. "I'm sure you know what a precognative is, Elaine." She waits a moment for a look of recognition before continuing. "I am the opposite. I am able to see the past, in brief visions and glimpses." She closes her eyes, taking a deep breath. "Typically, I recreate what I see in the form of pictures and paintings. THe visions are fleeting. However…"

She gives Elaine a more serious look. "The other night I had what I believe to be one of these visions in my sleep. And I could not understand a word of it."

Leveling her eyes with Elaine, she speaks a single phrase that she can easily replicate, to help the the linguist determine the language at hand - all Barbara had been able to figure was that it was Asian in origin.

"«Watashi wa,»" she speaks simply. She also hands over a drawing of one of the symbols she saw within her dream. "You will have to bare with me. I will have to replicate a language I've never spoken in my life for you."

"Don't worry. It's a secret between us." Elaine takes the picture, looking it over as she listens to Barbara. Setting the picture back down, she pulls out her notebook and pen, ready to scratch down any notes she might need. Her eyes, though, stay on Barbara.

"Japanese. You just said 'I', as in referring to yourself." She nods slowly. "Well, you're going to get a crash course in Japanese today. Just try and sound out words and I'll repeat what I think you're trying to say and you can determine if it sounds right."

Japanese. Asian origin, just like Barbara had suspected. She frowns. The most Japanese she had ever heard was fragmented phrases in TV shows in movies. Certianly nothing she could recalled together into a dream. All the more vexing. "Alright. That is a start." She picks up a pencil, scribbling down her own notes in the back of one of her drawing notebooks.

With a deep breath nod, Barbara begins to attempt replicating what she heard, phrase by phrase. «""Sore wa… anatadesu. Anata wa ikite… imasu?"» The postcog doesn't replicate the tone behind any of the words, and she stumbles along the way, needing to stop, start over, and repeat a few times before she gets the entire sentence out. She can still hear it, in the back of her mind, but replicating the rapidly spoken words proves troublesome.

"Um, ah." She shakes her head, offering an apologetic smile. "«Naze watashi w-wa… Shinu ko-to ga»" A grimace "«Dekiru to omoimasu ka?»" She sets up, picking up her pencil. Her attempts are fragmented - poor, but ultimately understandable as she forces her way through the words. "And this," she motions to the paper, two symbols superimposted over a sung. "Do you know this?"

Tapping her pen lightly on paper, Elaine waits for Barbara to speak. She scribbles down words, scratching out ones that don't work and replacing them for the ones that do sound right. The words may be fragmented, but the young redhead is an expert at piecing these sort of puzzles together again.

"«Sore wa anatadesu. Anata wa ikite imasu.» That's 'You, you're alive'. «Naze watashi wa shinu ko-to ga deskiru to omoimasu ka.» That one's a doozy. 'Why do you think I can die?'" Elaine underlines a word before glancing back to Barbara. "Your dream… they're friends, lovers?" She inquires. "If you don't mind me asking."

She tips her head to the side as she looks at the two symbols. "Well, that's sun, and that's moon."

Barbara starts out simply nodding at first, writing down what Elaine says at first, but she's given pause when she says "Why do you think I can die?" Her eyes widen slightly, looking up at the polyplot and blinking, "Excuse me?" she asks, her professional, calm demeanor breaking for the first time in the conversation. "Why do you think I can die? Are you certain?" The idea of immortals was no longer as strange as it might have been once upon a time, but even then…

She swallows, going back to writing down what ELaine tells her. "I don't know," she offers honestly. "These visions… they don't provide me with context, and this one was… vauger. More full of meaphor and implication than most of my others." She shakes her head. "What makes you ask that?"

She looks down to the symbols, reproducing them on a fresh page of paper, and writing their meanings behind them. "Sun and Moon…"

"«Naze watashi wa shinu koto ga dekiru to omoimasu ka?» That's definitely 'Why do you think I can die?' and I can double check the word usage for you if you need to be extra sure." Elaine pats the dictionary at her side, but then turns her attention fully on Barbara again.

"They don't give you context? The language gives you context. Let me paint you a picture of your dream. Two figures, their relationship is close. Mother and son, father and daughter, close friends, lovers, some relationship that requires trust. It's like calling someone 'dear'. That is what 'anata' reveals. It's a power dynamic."

Barbara taps a finger on the table, nodding slowly at Elaine. "I see," she says quietly, looking thoughtful. She writes that down, a few more notes to follow, and then she takes a deep breath. "That isn't quite the end, I'm afraid." Clearing her throat, Barbara takes a deep breath and does her best to continue replicating the Japanese.

"«Watashi wa anata o tsukutta»," she states plainly, lacking emotion, still stumbling over syllables and having to repeat them. "«"Anata wa watashi no monodesu.>" Barbara purses her lips, a hand rubbing at her chin. "And then, 'Kensei', and… strangely, in English, 'tell me a story'." She sighs, closing her eyes. "And then I woke up." She decides to leave out that she woke up screaming. She's still not entirely sure why.

"More? Well, I can help with more. Let me see if I can paint a bigger picture for you." Elaine picks up her pen again and turns back towards Barbara, studying her as she jots down the stumbling words. She then looks down at her notepad, blinking a bit before she looks up.

"«Watashi wa anata o tsukutta.» This translates to 'I made you'. We're still using 'anata' so it sounds like maybe both parties feel this closeness, this familiarity. «Anata wa watashi no monodesu.» That's 'you are mine'." She scratches the side of her head with the back of her pen. "They use 'watashi' for a first person pronoun so I can't get you gender from that I'm afraid. For the rest of it, Kensei isn't a direct translation to anything, so you're likely dealing with a name or a title, could be a location. I'd have to google for that."

She moves the pen to tap her chin now. "I couldn't tell you why that last bit was in English, but you said it was metaphorical more than your other dreams, I'd guess that they were talking directly to you at that point. What that means is anyone's guess."

Barbara's eyes widen at the idea of someone in her vision talking to her, metaphorically or literally. She had never once in her life considered the possibility that someone might know they were being viewed. But would that even be possible? That would require…


She puts that thought aside. Beyond being impossible, it's not what this meeting is about. Barbara's breath catches in her throat, staring off into nothingness for a moment before she silently returns to her notebook, writing down what Elaine has told her. She gives a shallow nod, looking back up at the other woman. "Thank you Elaine. That was the… end of this dream."

Barbara leans back in the chair, tapping her fingers on the table. "These things are rarely clear at first blush, but unfortunately this is even more muddled than the rest." Tap once, tap twice, pick up pencil, scribble a note. "I will have to study this translation, see if any… meaning comes to me from it. If you have any thoughts, I would appareciate hearing them."

"The end of the dream? Ah, well it's short, I guess that doesn't give you much to delve into." Elaine caps her pen, slides the elastic back around her notebook, and slips the pen in next to it. "I wish I could help you unmuddy this dream further, but unless there's any further Japanese I can't help you decypher more. Translation, puzzles, codes, that's my jam."

Scratching the back of her neck, the redheaded young woman looks towards Barbara. "The best I can give in my interpretation, and take this lightly as I'm only going off the language, is that there's a power play going on. There's one figure in control, the one that speaks 'I made you', possibly a mother figure because of the language of 'made' and the familiarity of the relationship. A creator with a created. I wish there was more I could tell you."

"Mm." Now Barbara takes to tapping her pen on the table, offering Elaine a bit of a smile. "Well. That helps, actually. I have no understanding of the language, unfortunately, so anything is welcome." She offers a shallow nod and a sigh. "That, unfortunately, is all. I'm sorry to bring you out here for so little. Is there anything that can be done for you to return the favour? I have to admit, I wasn't expecting such a prompt response."

Barbara sits back up, eyeing Elaine. "Otherwise, I'm afraid I must be off shortly to meet with Special Activities about some private matters."

Elaine nods once. "Well, the language is what I'm here for so I'm glad if I was any help at all. But you gave me an excuse to visit and chat with some of my friends and family on the island, so I wouldn't say you brought me for so little." She smiles warmly. "But there's nothing I need done, but I'm sure I'll need a favor eventually, so just remember that I helped."

She gets to her feet, making her way to the door. "Oh, and… thank you for giving me the opportunity to help."

Barbara stares at her notebook, reviewing the notes she's taken over the course of her conversation with Elaine, studying them as she tries to make sense of them. "You're welcome. We can always use more help, Elaine. However you can provide it is always appreciated." She considers pointing Elaine towards Special Activites herself - there was much someone so skilled in language could do to help many facets of the network in a myriad of ways. But she is pretty thin on time and attention at the moment, so she simply offers a smile. "Your talents are immensely useful, and immensely important. Never forget that, Ms. Darrow."

She watches as the door shuts, looking back to the notes on her paper. Another look up to the symbols written - sun and moon.

A shiver runs down Barbara Zimmerman's back.

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