“Is this really necessary?” He’d meant it as a question, but it came out as an accusation. With a frown he poked at the translator, it beeped cheerfully back at him and he tried it again. Still too hostile.
“Too sensitive maybe?” Sarah gestured with a screwdriver in the general direction of the mainframe. “It might just be picking up on the fact that you’re annoyed with it.”
“Which is better than emotionless how?” He dumped the uncooperative machine on the worktable and moved to the computer station to adjust the code. “I understand the emissary, emotions are going to be one of the keystones if we want to talk to them successfully, but if all we can get it to do is project the wrong emotions I don’t see how it’s going to help.”
“Wait,” his coworker’s face lit up in one of her famous Ah-ha! smiles, “maybe it’s not broken.” She leaned over and scooped the handheld off the table. “Try setting it for Khriss instead of Holst.”
She flipped one of the dials. “There we go, now: ‘Is this really necessary?’”
The question came out in a hissing collecting of growls and coughs, without the accusatory tone.
“I thought so,” she waved the translator at him, “It’s the species not the emotions. Holst are always posturing, I don’t suppose they ever say anything politely.”
“Oh, for the love of–,” he leaned back in the computer chair, rubbing his temples. “Why did I take this job again?”
“Because you’re brilliant, and I bullied you into it.” Sarah grinned and pushed away from the workbench. “Come on, you need some lunch to cheer you up. I’ll make you my world famous sandwich!”
He rolled his eyes, but followed her out the door. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches weren’t all that bad, even if she had a habit of sneaking in chocolate or marshmallows as ‘secret ingredients’.