Blowing Nietzsche

Indifferent wine is not intellectual chocolate

"Ablative absolutism," Toshiko murmured to herself as her pencil drew a linkage between several branches of her diagram. "Passive periphrastics." She clenched her fists and screwed her eyes up tightly. "Or is the suffix aorist? Give us this day our daily bread." One eye opened accusatively in Gwen's direction. "Feel free to help me out here."

"I'll go get Ianto put the kettle on."


The fabulous monkey spits little money

"A week you've been working solidly on that book and this is all you've come up with?" Jack stared disdainfully at the jumble of consonants and punctuation.

"Perhaps it's in code," Gwen added helpfully.

"I think," Ianto interjected deadpan, "it's Klingon for 'which way is the bathroom?'"


The blasphemy of cheese is like the desk of an idiot

"I don't know why you're still bothering with that. Come and join us for an Italian topside."

She shook her head at the offer. "I've almost worked out the grammar. It's ergativeľabsolutive like some parts of Georgian. See this part it's morphosyntactically aligned." A finger pointed to two similar looking words on opposite pages. "There's an extra character appended to the end of this word to indicate the ergative. But over here the same word is obviously used in the absolutive sense."

Without looking up she guessed from the silence Gwen had already left.


They stick the kittens into the machine

"Why is Ianto sniggering?" Gwen asked as Toshiko stared glumly at the cascading characters on the monitor.

"He thinks using the computer to analyse the vocabulary is cheating."

"Is it working?"

Toshiko stared at the latest sentence. "It's difficult to say."


Finish the snow crocodile and boogie in the mud

"You know," Owen said after a moment. "They read like a cross between an Agony Aunt column advice and the more opaque of Nietzsche's philosophising."

"You actually read?" asked Ianto, genuinely surprised.

"Any more of that and you'll get slapped," Owen promised. "In a manly way."


One stout woman imagines shellfish close their shells in slow hate

"This is becoming an obsession, Tosh. You ought to drop it."

She shook her head at Gwen. "I've translated three quarters of it." Actually that wasn't entirely true. She'd made English sentences out of most of it however without a proper lexicon her results were indistinguishable from random probability. The grammar she'd produced was consistent throughout the texts but as for the nouns and verbs... "Just a few more days."

"You said that last week.


Without you love is intellectual crack

Ianto stood and watched her take a blue censor's pen to part of her notes and scribble annotations into the margin of the workbook. After a few minutes he cleared his throat nervously.


"I was thinking..." he began before lapsing into silence.


"Could it be some kind of bible?"

The idea intrigued Tosh enough for her to stop and look at him. "Why would you say that?"

"Well, it was found next to the pilot's hand in the wreck. He could have been reading it for comfort in the last few minutes before impact."

"It's not a bible." Jack said emphatically as he arrived.


Work with me: that is not a custard anomaly

"Do you know what it is?" Toshiko asked, with a dangerous look in her eyes.

Jack glanced between her and the rest of his team. "Isn't it obvious?"

"NO!" said the others, in unison.


Is radio man the puppet of a strap-down glass god?

"Look at the last line," he said.

She shrugged but looked at the book again. "It's something with a number in it but it's not a complete phrase." A hand flicked through her workbook looking for clues. "It's written in the future tense from the suffix but it's not generative and it's not plural.

Tenderly he took the blue crayon from her fingers and wrote the final translation in large round letters.

Gwen's hand instinctively went to her mouth to stifle a horrified laugh.

Typing Practical - lesson one: 20 words per minute.

"Fuck," said Tosh, spitting out the syllable after an incredulous pause. "Fuck. Fuck. Fuck."