AA I: 1/24/35
May 1st, 2044
Vindico Medbay 02
Richard was playing on his phone. Meshullam came in from the other room of the clinic and immediately went to a console to input some data. Richard tapped his cigar into a nearby ashtray. Never looking up. "So. Is he going to live doc?"
Mesh was getting used to his sarcasm. "A minor abrasion on the distal region of his upper forearm. He will live."
"Most humans die when they touch dirt. If he makes a full recovery, you should get a medal."
Mesh finished up documenting the data on a patient he just treated and came to sit down by Richard. His chair was a bit bigger than the smoking doctor's. Said doctor adjusted his cigar and crossed his legs. "Having fun treating us little people yet? I still haven't had a chance to patch up one of you guys."
Mesh seemed to be operating a screen in his helmet, but the Ittai answered. "Minor injuries such as cuts and bruises are hardly any different than what I would do on the Achim. Or on simulators. But I know why you haven't had an opportunity to treat my people yet."
"Beeecause there are less of you? Oh. It's because you have your hard hats on."
"We have our suits. And even if we didn't, we generally hope to avoid treatment for self healing or natural healing."
"Sounds like a kid scared to go to the hospital."
Silence for a moment with neither of them looking to each other.
"So the Ittai really don't enjoy flashing in public."
"I am sorry?"
"You know, streaking?"
Mesh looked over to Richard. A bit disgusted. "... It is a personal and cultural offense to expose any portion of your skin without privilege. How you humans attend to clothing is a tad strange to me."
"We wear it. It's courteous and occasionally the law. Occasionally. Keeps people warm. Gives us personality. Identifies us."
Mesh seemed a tad more attentive. "Hmm. Similar. Though clothing alters little between Ittai. Size, voice, and the shape of our clothing help us understand to whom we are speaking."
"Status. The tears, the age."
"... Huh." Richard seemed more distracted by his handheld device. "... Makes selling clothing easy. Not a fruitful business, but, you know."
Mesh was actually humored by that and let a quiet laugh out. "When an Ittai completes adolescence they are given a 'Vestis' to wear for the rest of their life. If it wears itself naturally to the point of exposing skin, you are allowed to continue wearing it. It is a major offense to attempt to artificially tear it. If discovered, you are punished and given a new 'Vestis'. The ultimate mark of dishonor. If torn naturally to the point of being unwearable, you are given a 'Stola". The ultimate sign of honor and may expose your face."
"... Sounds all a bit, archaic."
"That it would be. It has been a universal tenet of Ittai cultures since the beginning of civilizations. It made sense then… Status, warmth on the shifting temperatures of home… We are cold-blooded where as you humans are warm-blooded. But, from what I heard, the 'Vestis' was actually beginning to lose it's meaning back home. Exposing yourself to those outside your family more, and more frequently. It is a faith based system, so, the only way you would be discovered would be if someone accused you..."
"Ah. No wonder you can't find any good Ittai porno."
Mesh was offended yet again and a bit disappointed at the remark. He looked at Richard’s screen. "What exactly are you doing?"
"Playing a game."
"What form of game?"
"A video game."
"Ah… I see."
"No you don't." Richard tapped his cigarette again into the ashtray. "It's just a popular Roleplaying, Action game with magic and lizard people."
"... Does it have a name?"
Mesh then spent the moment observing what was going on the mobile screen. It was at least a bit intriguing. But on Mesh's HUD, a notification appeared. "Announcement."
"Hmm? How do you get it first? I have to wait-" His handheld device left the game to present the same notification from command. "... I should have saved."
The PA went off into a ship wide announcement. "Attention. Attention. After confirmed reports and recordings, we have with 100% certainty, caught foreign radio signals. They originate on an alien planet 14.6 light years away and the signals, only another 13.2 years old. Although Command wished to find a more underdeveloped species first, we has granted all members of the crew onboard to review the data received and to vote on a poll found on all personal devices to decide if we are to either continue searching for 'safer' beings, or chart a course for the star system developing these signals. In 3 hours, the tally will be counted. Review your decisions, and insert your response. Good afternoon." And it ended.
"... ABOUT blasted time." Richard stood up and Mesh did as well. Both of them did just as the announcement asked, reviewing the data before voting. Mesh through his helmet, and Richard through his phone. "How many systems have we been to so far that were duds?... 3?... Blah blah blah… Planet data, planet data… Huh. Almost no useful info at all. Except recordings in a language we have almost no chances of deciphering… I'm voting yes."
"That, is a bit hasty. From the planetary data and recordings and the form of radio wave we can infer what-... What?"
Richard threw his cigar away. Into a trash bin. "I don't see any reason to vote no. Anyone who does is just afraid of change. And almost everyone onboard is here for change."
"... I suppose we will be there soon enough if we all are courageous enough." Mesh voted as well. "Maybe we will finally get to treat some actual injures. Sate your strange desires, Dr. Falman."
"I just want to see what you big bastards look like under your suits." Richard gave that unsettling smirk again. But Mesh was no longer afraid of it.
A hologram of the Officer of Communications appeared before Ohad. "Captain."
"The results are in. The crew voted to investigate the system. With an overwhelming 89% percentile."
"Hmm. Then inform Naoko to set course for the system. And then make the announcement. We're entering unsanctioned space."