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Miners' Dialect

by Luc Reid

NOTE: This piece may or may not contain objectionable language unsuitable for children, fine ladies, and other persons of delicate sensibilities.

Harald and his translator Gothica stood up when the Mining Belt envoy entered the room. The envoy was still wearing his atmosphere suit, a tarnished-looking garment that looked like metallic longjohns. Harald waited for the envoy to speak first, through Gothica.

"Yahhh, mother-flicking candleraper."

"Good morning," Gothica translated.

Surely that couldn't be the miner's dialect, Harald thought. But then, communication had been all but cut off between earth and the asteroid miners for a hundred and twenty years, so only expatriates like Gothica would have any idea what the dialect was like.

"Good morning!" Harald finally managed. The envoy nodded: apparently he understood Default English, even if he wasn't willing to speak it. He sat down heavily in the conference seat, and the display lit up with the treaty document. Harald sat cautiously opposite him.

"Tha dox, it's faint-stinkin crap, yahh shove it up yer beefhole," the envoy said.

"He has some minor concerns about the proposed treaty," Gothica said.

"What kind of--"

"Cork yer rodsucker, ya windae-licker!" the envoy cut in. "Allshate stick yer lucre-baiting, stick yer muddamned stufftops, yer goatspucklickket grandma."

"If he may get right to the point," Gothica translated, "it's primarily the interest rates and production caps that concern him."

Harald fumbled with his reader control and brought up the applicable sections.

The envoy nodded at Gothica. "Like ta cram ya splat and ream ya, tartess," the envoy said.

Gothica nodded back. "Like ta chop yer marblesack, ya bungtaster." She smiled at Harald. "Just pleasantries," she said.

"The concern, uh, the concern we have with your original proposal for interest rates ..." Harald began. The envoy took out a data probe and began to pick his teeth. Harald tried not to stare without looking like he was trying not to stare. "... um, for interest rates, is that it doesn't account for changes in the base rate, so of course we're suggesting a variable structure."

"Spill yer shate anna blood and lickket yer merd yer dam ainsel, ya anna yer spewin girlbrat," said the envoy.

"Interesting," Gothica translated.

Harald looked from Gothica and back to the envoy, his face blank. "Will you excuse me for a moment?" he said finally, and left the room. They could hear him running in the hallway before the door irised shut.

For a moment there was complete silence, until Gothica, who had been turning a little red, couldn't hold herself back and made a little snorting noise. Within a moment both she and the envoy were laughing so hard that tears ran down their faces.

Several minutes later, the envoy wiped tears from his face and blew his nose on a clean nanohandkerchief. "Do you think it's working?"

"Even if it isn't," said Gothica, "it was worth it to see the expression on his face!"

This brought on more laughter, which took a few minutes to wind down.

"Screw you, whore," the envoy said affectionately.

Gothica just smiled. She knew he loved her, but she liked when he said so anyway.

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