Sunday, March 16, 2008


"This is one occasion when the Universal Translators will not work, Number One." I tell Riker as we go to the Transporter to welcome our guest.

"Why is that, Sir?" he asks.

"Because the Vral speak generally in hand signals." I tell him, "Though they do speak minimally, they prefer to use hands. As a result, a translator is coming aboard to teach us how to spreak in Vral."

"It sounds tricky."

"Indeed it does, Number One," I tell him, "Their signals are not easy as it is, I'm told."


The two of us wait the beaming in of the translator.

I introduce myself, and he says he is Ambassador Krell from the nearby planet of Dal. There, they speak normally as well as use the Vral sign language fluently. He asks for us and the senior staff to be gathered so that he can teach os basic Vral.


All of us are assembled in my Ready Room.

"If the Borg had assimilated the Vral." complains Seven of Nine, "There would be no need to go through this."

I wince at this, and ask Krell to start off.

"Firstly," he says, "In order to say hello, raise your hand in an open palm like this."

I do this, but Krell looks embarrassed.

"Not like that, Captain Picard." he tells me, "By holding the thumb slightly inward, it means you are expressing an intent to spend the night with that person."

I quickly put my thumb out and go red.

"Now hold both arms open." he instructs, "It means you are welcoming them to where you are."

We all practice doing this. Deanna is told off this time, as she held her arms too far. Again, according to Krell, this meant that they wished to spend the night with that person.

"Hold on, Ambassador Krell." I tell him, "How many gestures are there in the Vral sign language that could be mistaken for an intention of wishing to spend the night?"

"Oh, hundreds." Krell says casually, "Which is why you must learn the language carefully."

"It may also explain why the Vral population is very high." reasons Data.


Several hours later, we are ready to receive the Vral Ambassador. We are all sweating, with the exception of Data, who doesn't sweat.

"I willl welcome Ambassador Noor to the ship." says Krell, "Then introduce him to you, where the two of you can carry on in sign language.

That's the part I'm worried about.

In a few moments, the Vral Ambassador beams on.

Krell goes through a series of complex hand gestures, some of which I recognise from our training, others are way beyond me.

Finally, Krell presents me to Noor, and I start my hand signals, pointing to each of the staff and introducing them.

After that, we are all leaving the transporter room. Ambassador Noor pulls me aside.

"I am most flattered by your offer, Captain." he says quietly, "But I assure you, I'm not that kind of person."

I cringe and turn red faced.

I never was any good at sign language!


Author's Note:

Vegeta has unkindly left me a meme to do in which I should list seven random things about myself.

Here we go..

1: I always insist that the Captain's chair is clean, even if we are having alien invaders.

2: I had to replicate the bottle of Chanel Number 5 that I got for Bev for her birthday present as the shops had ran out.

3: I sing 'Oh What A Beautiful Morning.' in the sonic shower.

4: I do Jimmy Cagney impressions.

5: I still don't know how stardates are worked out.

6: I don't like metrication, although that is all the Federation use.

7: I had a sly scoop of Deanna's chocolate sundae while she turned to talk to Riker.

At this point, I'm supposed to nominate seven others, but I'm not so cruel, and will leave it to you.


Carmi said...

I love the thought of communication without the Universal Translator. What ever would we do without our basic technology? What if we had to go back to the old ways of doing things?

That's what I love about Star so often forces us to think about our own reality. Its allegorical power is unmatched.

Dropped by from Michele's to thank you for continuing to share these fantastic vignettes.

Vegeta said...

I have tagged you

The Curmudgeon said...

The Vral sound -- no, better, the Vral look like they'd be very entertaining....

Linda said...

That could most definitely be embarrassing when giving the wrong signals but at least the ambassador was flattered!

The Real Mother Hen said...

You just gave me a bloody good idea:
I'm going around today with my palm out and the thumb inward, and chanting, "wo jinwan yao heni guoye"

Man it sounds so cool! :)

Nepharia said...

I wonder what *else* you said that was incorrect?

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Maybe you need the translates all languages

Amanda said...

This was a very clever idea for your post today. Funny too!

PI said...

Sounds like the Vral sign language is a veritable minefield.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I think I should have bought my 'Learn Vral' handbook with me.

Vegeta said...

I do apoligise if the meme was actually trouble to you. Hmph,I should just adopt Trunks' no tagging policy

Miss Cellania said...

Daggum replicator takes all the romance out of romance.

Anonymous said...

'tis, some days are like that!

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

I wonder if you had them at hello.

Tricia said...

Oh oh you'd better watch where your thumb is pointing! LOL

Hey, don't you know that replicated Channel No 5 is just not the same? Shame!

Batman said...

Hh. lucky you didn't sneeze that might have been an invatation to go to bed

Michael Manning said...

Krell looks like he visited a "Botox on the fly" place on Rodeo Drive. I wouldn't trust him!

Justice said...

wow the things you do to keep peace JP... I am using you as an example of what we could build when we defeat the Corru but I dont think I would like to meet the Vral

Jaime said...


Great one, Captain!

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