2520/Did You Just EAT the Rosette Stone, Birb

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Did You Just EAT the Rosette Stone, Birb
Date of Scene: 19 July 2020
Location: Main Room - Titan's Tower
Synopsis: Kian outrages his English tutor by speaking perfect English. Luckily Kate is there to stop Colette from rampaging.
Cast of Characters: Colette O'Connail, Kian, Kate Bishop

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    Happy Harbor is on summer break, but there's one student who can't really afford to take a break—or at least so it had seemed.  Colette had been taking a keen interest in Kian's education, and has been the face of Happy Harbor's attempts to teach him English ever since he moved into the Tower.  Partly because it was her idea to send him here, partly because the bird-man is one of the few people Colette actually cares about, and partly because it's going to look pretty spectacular on her CV in years to come.
    Today is the day for one of her regular visits to deliver the next set of lessons, while checking on the bird-man's progress and determining what areas he's having problems with.  She's been working on ways to help him overcome his difficulty with consonant pairs, and has some exercises she holds out some hope will be helpful.
    She's due for quite a surprise.
    Once she's through the front door she follows the guide-lights to the elevator and rides it up to the main room where they generally meet for these things.  It's a familiar enough route for her, though she can't quite shake the oddity of visiting a tower that actually has people in it.  Not that it seems to today.  She walks into the main room slightly nonplussed at its emptiness, and yells out, "Hey birdy buddy! Where are you?"

Kian has posed:
    Kían comes tearing out of the empty elevator shaft at top speed, only barely missing the floor, and then only barely missing the ceiling as he corrects for only barely missing the floor.  "I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm so so sorry I forgot I forgot it's entirely my fault I was so busy with trying to affix things I'm so sorry!"
    He alights just in front of Colette, bows, and says breathlessly, "Kié, friend Colette.  I'm so sorry, I forgot we were supposed to meet now, I had so many other things on my mind I nearly forg… I did forget!"
    He lunges forward for a quick hug.  "It is so good to see you again!"
    The little birdman sounds… unreasonably fluent in English all of a sudden.

Kate Bishop has posed:
    Kate is chilling in the lounge reading on her tablet, she raises her eyebrow when Collete comes in calling out for her Birdy Buddy.
    Yup, she knows something Colette doesn't know.
    Still, all she does in the meantime is look back to her tablet and chirp from her chair, "Sup nerd," in a fond but sassy sort of greeting.
    Yeah she is totally totally still recovering from Brainiac, it has been what a week, but she is in good spirits what with her new toys and surviving and all.
    "Hey Kian," she calls when he makes his barreling appearance.

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    "Hey Birdy Bu…."  Colette is struck momentarily dumb by Kian's sudden fluency.  It doesn't stop her returning the hug, but it does transform the happy grin at seeing her alien friend into a suspicious narrowing of the eyes.  Once the hug is done she keeps her hands on Kian's arms, and looks deeply into his eyes.
    There would of course normally be a clarity of communication with that physical contact, but Colette remains the exception.  Apparently that barrier is no longer a barrier.  "Kiaaaaan," she says with a warning note in her voice.  "What have you done?"  She looks around the room suspiciously in case there's someone around there to blame.  Her eyes fall on Kate, but somehow this seems unlikely.  It's not really a Kate thing.
    "BetterHawk," she says in greeting.  "Still hanging out here I see.  Settling in well?  Haven't tried to murder Terry yet?"  She drops her hands from Kian's arms and looks from one to the other.  "Okay.  One of you needs to explain this.  Did someone get Kian a universal translator implant?"

Kian has posed:
    "Sort of," Kían explains half-breathlessly.  "Garth—not Gar, someone else—did something to temporarily give me your language.  I've been spending most of my time in my room trying to permanently fix as much of it as I can in my mind.  It hasn't really helped with numbers, but I can for now anyway process English so much better and I want to lose as little as possible when… when whatever he did wears off!  He said it should last three days about and I don't want to waste any of it."
     Pausing only because he'd run out of breath, Kían carries on, "I don't think I can keep all of it but if I can keep some of it that would be great, wouldn't it?  I think it would be great anyway.  Also, I don't think it worked entirely on numbers because we and Earth people count differently."  He blinks, once.  "Huh.  Weird.  Anyway, the rest of English seems to make sense.  So before I lose it again, is there anything you really need to know from me?"
    It also appears that part of the problem of giving Kían fluency is that he won't shut the **** up.

Kate Bishop has posed:
    Kate totally sticks her tongue at Colette when that suspicious gaze turns her way, I mean way not her thing and all but SHE KNOWs and she is amused by this reaction to it all.  It is very good natured though.
    "Yeah have my own room and am a founding member of Titans 2.0 as it were even if we still keep picking up stray 1.0s and all.  I love Vorp now that he has embraced his inner chaos muppet and isn't being a wierdo about it."  She grins.
    Kate listens to Kian explain and then adds "Garth is Aqualad now Tempest.  He has been spending time in Atlantis learning Atlantean Sorcery.  He enchanted an item that acts as a translator for Kian right now."  She considers.  "He has been very talkative… but then I think I would be too after not being able to communicate well for so long."

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    "Garth," Colette repeats in a flat tone, committing the name to memory in case she decides she wants to kill this person later.  "Magic?  Huh.  Atlantean sorcery, great."  Other people might mean it.  I mean actual sorcery, from actual Atlantis.  That should be impressive and exciting, but apparently not.  "Typical meddling Atlanteans.  They never learn."
    "Okay look Kian, this is probably a terrible idea.  I mean this isn't learning, it's… well probably it's converting your mental language into a spoken language that's foreign to you by tapping into the minds of others around you who speak the language.  What you're going to learn from this experience will probably be very limited.  Not much better than the dictionary program.  But… hmm."
    She unslings the backpack from her back and puts it down on the couch, opening it and poking around inside to locate her tablet.  "I'm going to try something.  If that theory is right, it's not going to help you pronounce a nonsense word any better than you would have before, because it will be a word that doesn't exist in the mind of anyone around you.  If you can the spell is more sophisticated.  Hmm, let's try…."  She jots something down on her tablet, then turns it around to show Kian.
    The word showing on the tablet is 'Elatsifrace'.  "Try pronouncing that, Birdy Buddy, let's see what you come up with.  She hands the tablet to Kian, then sits down next to her bag, making herself comfortable.
    "Terry is always a weirdo.  It's normal for him, so why would he be any extra weird just because he has an inner chaos muppet?" Colette asks.  "Did you know he's got Harley Quinn teaching him how to fight?"

Kian has posed:
    "It's not permanent.  I already know it's not permanent," Kían says, hopping up to perch on the back of a couch.  "I'm just going to try to keep as much of it as I can.  That's why I was late coming down, I was in my room trying to telepathically fix as much of it as I can in my mind before it goes away again.  I only have it for about three days, Garth said, and I'm going to keep as much of it as I can.  It makes such a difference being able to see how the language works from the inside, you know what I mean?  Well, it makes an incredible difference to me, anyway."
    He looks at the tablet blankly.  "I only got the spoken language, not the written language," he says flatly.

Kate Bishop has posed:
    Kate watches with a degree of curiosity as Kian's… 'English tutor' helps him and tries to prove a point really about short cuts.  She doesn't really have a dog in this race other than she is pretty appreciative of being able to more easily understand Kian after all.
    The question to her though.  "He has told me how chummy he is with Harley Quinn.  I trust Vorpal and his judgement though and I am willing to give the opportunity for Harley to try to be a good person despite her nearly blowing me up and literally blowing up some Russian Mob gun runners right in front of me.  I am skeptical yes… but I figure if anyone can teach him how to actually throw a punch it is that psychopath."
    Kate just sighs. "How you been Colette?"

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    Colette sighs and shakes her head.  She looks over to Kate with a shrug.  "See, this is what I mean.  Oh yeah, it all sounds great.  Suddenly being able to speak a different language.  Then you realize you're taking it for granted and it goes away and you're back to square one."
    She takes the tablet back, switches it off and drops it back in her bag, pulling out a thumb drive instead, which she passes over to Kian.  "Your next lessons.  Don't bother until the magic effect goes away, or it probably won't help."
    "Harley's fine," Colette says, lounging back comfortably in the seat.  "I met up with her.  We spent some time together, went to a bar, got into a bar fight.  It was fun.  She's definitely a reformed murderclown now.  Hardly an angel, but she wasn't exactly murdering people any more.  That even included the guy who threw a bottle of sake at her, so… Well honestly I think the biggest danger of her committing any serious crimes now is that she misses Salisbury steak day at Arkham Asylum and might be tempted to do something to get herself incarcerated again just so she can eat some more.  I can't say she made it sound particularly appealing.  What did she claim the ingredients were again?  'Pig, fish and asshole' I think.  She's a strange lady.  And yeah, she can throw a punch.  The problem is she throws them with all the tactical nous of a rabid badger.  I'm fine thanks Hawky, how about you?"
    "Okay Kian, try this.  Try repeating these two words.  Well, one word, one piece of nonsense."  Colette turns to face the bird-man so he can see her lips move, and carefully enunciates 'dastriff' and then 'astray'.  "See if you can repeat those two things."

Kian has posed:
    "I am not taking it for granted," Kían says, a little tartly.  "I am taking advantage of an opportunity to advance my understanding.  I know in another two days I'm going to lose… lose this again, and I'd be an idiot to not take advantage of it while I can.  The Gods know you of all people understand just how frustrating it's been for me to not be able to communicate.  I'm going to hang on to the gift from Garth as long as I can, I'm going to keep from it whatever I am able, and when it goes away, I'm going to spend half a day in bed crying from the frustration of losing it again."
    He nods once at Kate.  "She understands.  Do you know what it's like to have a mind and an understanding and not be able to communicate that beyond the level of a three year old?  This isn't a shortcut, this is an absolute blessing.
    "And while we're at it, 'dastriff' and 'astray'," he finishes, almost contemptuously.

Kate Bishop has posed:
    "Horse water," is all she says about the language lessons to Colette there.  Though after a moment she can't help but point out "Without the necklace his lessons can proceed per normal and honestly, Kian, it probably would be polite as Colette came all the way here for a lesson… then you could resume absorbing?"
    "As for Harley… like I said I want Vorpal to get training and she seems good for it.  I don't trust her.  But I am willing to let people learn from her and abide by the whole Diana lasso thing."

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    "Kían tavár'h," Colette says softly.  "I do understand.  That's why this worries me.  Language acquisition is complicated, it's not just learning by rote.  I seem to be the one person you can't ever speak to properly… I mean mind to mind.  It's frustrating for me too, believe me.  Part of me is delighted and I want to spend the rest of the day talking philosophy with you.  But it's… frustrating.  Because I know that when it runs out you're going to be unhappy, and twice as unhappy if you find out that your attempts to absorb extra lessons from the experience haven't helped at all.  I need to think about this."
    She pinches the bridge of her nose.  "There must be some way to… okay.  So it's working on a different level.  Not on a word basis.  Could there be an intermediary… no.  Hmm.  We should check to see if we can record you speaking English.  It's possible you're not and our minds are converting locally.  I don't… okay, Kian.  I'd like you to try something.  Try doing some transliterations.  You're pronouncing words correctly, even when they have multiple consonants you're not using the vowel stop.  Maybe that will help you see some of the pronunciation issues you've been having trouble with.  Do the transliterations, read them back, and compare how you pronounce them to how you pronounce the English words.  Maybe that will help."
    Colette puffs out her cheeks.  "Well.  Magic.  There's a thing.  Soooo.  Yeah I would trust Harley, within reason.  I mean she's fucking insane, her grasp on reality is almost non-existent, but apart from that she's quite nice.  At present?  Yeah, she's probably fine.  The future, who knows.  So long as Terry doesn't pick up too many bad habits from training with her it's not a completely awful idea.  She knows how to throw a punch, and her athletic fighting style is not totally inappropriate to a cat.  I've been trying to teach him a bit about how to actually think though, because thinking isn't exactly Harls' strong point."

Kian has posed:
    "It's not my pendant," Kían says to Kate, gripping it lightly in his right hand.  "Garth did something that went into my throat.  I'm not even going to pretend I know what, but Gods, I appreciate it.  I admit, I can't prove it's not my pendant because I'd have to take it off and I may not."  He relaxes his grip on it, and holds it out a little—it's in the form of a stylized hawk in silver whose wingtips stretch the width of a rising sun in gold.  "It hardly matters, it's going away in a couple more days."
    He sighs heavily, and turns an unhappy look to Colette.  "I shouldn't have snapped at you, I'm sorry.  But please understand that wiring this into my brain telepathically is how I'm used to learning.  It's how learning is done, on my world.  And I'm in the weird position of having to be my own teacher because for once I can see how it works for myself, and I need to lock that down while I can.
    "And believe me, the stacks of paper in my room are ridiculous.  I have been writing down everything I've wanted to be able to say, and detailed notes on pronunciation.  Because I know this isn't a shortcut to English, it's only a temporary help."

Kate Bishop has posed:
    Kate stays quiet while Colette and Kian hash back and forth about the language lessons.  She isn't trying to teach him and she probably chipped in quite enough there.
    "It is true he has been locked away in his room studying since Garth did it."  She considers for a long moment, then drinks her water before continuing.  "I think people may under estimate Kian because of the language barrier… also because he doesn't want to hurt sentient beings."

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    "Oh Kian, it's magic. It's not the same.  We don't know… do you realize that you may not actually be thinking in English at all, but believe you are?  You can't rely on the thought-forms present when you… you may be implanting the wrong percepts."
    Colette rubs her eyes tiredly.  For just a moment she's genuinely tempted to give in and reveal more.  To let him know her own deep frustration that she can't reach his mind, or any minds.  That the Martian part of her memories is deeply conscious of the mental silence, the impossible loss of the World-Mind.  And these Akiar—these bird-men—don't even appear to have a true World-Mind yet, just some nascent hints.
    It's just a moment though.  "Look, do what you think is best.  But I suspect that the largest benefit you can get from this is a familiarity with forming the correct sounds for the English language.  It's a shame it doesn't work with written language, there's a book I've been wanting to get you to read for ages, something I think you'd find very interesting and I'd love to hear your opinions of.  An Earth philosopher who has some very interesting concepts about the evolution of mind.  I guess that's something we still have to work on."
    "So.  How are you two coping with all this?  From the sounds of things you've been kind of thrown in at the deep end with the Titans.  Hawk, you were just looking for a couple of buddies to team up with to fight Russian mobsters and a few weeks later you're fighting alien robot zombies with a pretty heavywieght crowd.  Kian, you came here to have a safe place to live rather than a team to join, but here you are.  You both okay with how things are going?"

Kian has posed:
    Kían shrugs.  "If it all goes away, it all goes away.  Then I'll just enjoy the use of it while I have it, and learn as much as I can from the experience."
    Colette's next question gives him pause, and he thinks a while before answering.  "I think I'm okay with it," he finally says.  "It's a lot more than I expected, and it's very very weird.  I like the people here."  He flicks a quick smile at Kate.  "Even if the events make less sense than the language…."

Kate Bishop has posed:
    "My chance of early demise has definitely gone up.  That said the people here… the team… and everything they are doing, well… they are like a family to me more every day we stay here."
    She considers.
    "I think we stand to actually do a lot of good as a team.  I think we already did good getting back together… which honestly you did a lot for Colette and I don't know that anyone gives you credit.  Thanks.

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    "From the sound of things your world is pretty idyllic, Kian.  I mean statistically speaking, this world is the normal one and it's yours that's very weird."  Colette smiles wryly.  "Which doesn't mean the events make any more sense just for being normal.  The universe as a whole doesn't make a lot of sense, and if you look too hard for logic in it you're only going to be disappointed."
    Colette stretches her legs out, pointing the toes of her sneakers as she flexes and staring at them, gathering her thoughts for a moment.  "Credit is the last thing I want, Hawk."  She gives a faint shake of her head.  "But I appreciate the sentiment.  You don't… yeah.  You guys can do a lot of good as a team.  More than you understand, I think.  But look…."  She looks up, gaze going from one to the other.  "If either of you decide… you know.  That it isn't for you.  Get out, okay?  You don't have to do this."

Kian has posed:
    "I only know my world and this world, and I'm going to stand by mine being the normal one," Kían says with a little smirk.  "As for being here… well, it's something I can do so far.  This world needs so much more help than mine ever did.  It's a very odd feeling.  I don't know how I feel about it just yet, but I don't want to take to the sky and never come back.  So I guess that's good so far."

Kate Bishop has posed:
    Kate meets Colette's gaze a little flatly.  "I would be doing this alone or in this team.  This is who I am Colette… I can't not do this and still be who I am."
    She shrugs softly.
    "I am happy with the decision I have made and I am sticking by it.  Also yeah I know if I ever need to… for my health or whatever… I am free to walk away."

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    "If you think about it Kian, approximately oh…."  Colette stops to do a little mental arithmetic.  "Approximately thirty percent of the alien species who have visited the world have refrained from attacking it.  Earth has never attacked another world, so compared to most places in the universe?  You probably ended up somewhere less alien to you than most places."
    Colette arches an eyebrow at Kate's gaze.  "If you're going to do it, it's better you do it as part of a group," she says.  "As I said when we first met.  I'm not trying to talk you out of anything here.  It's just… people change."
    She sits up, straightening her shoulders.  "I have no intention of trying to talk either of you out of it.  What you're doing can be dangerous as hell, but it's also a chance to shape the world for generations to come.  One day either of you may find one or both of those facts overwhelming.  If you ever decide it's not for you, get out.  Don't stay for the sake of others, because in the long term you won't be helping them if it's not right for you.  Just saying.  I'm partly the reason both of you are here doing this shit.  If you change your minds, I'll help you find a way out too, okay?"
    "Aaaanyway."  Colette smiles and seems to relax a bit.  "Look, Kian's language lessons are a bust today, because I had not planned for this.  What's probably best for you right now is just to talk as much as you can, Birdy Buddy.  Enjoy being able to understand and express complicated ideas for a change.  Get your mouth used to shaping the sounds.  What say we hit Giorgio's for some pizza and Kian quizzes us about all the weird shit he's never been able to make sense of?"

Kian has posed:
    "It's definitely better for me than that SHIELD base, or, I'm sorry to say, Happy Harbor," Kían says.  "I'm more free to be just… me.  I don't have to stay inside, I don't have to stay out of sight, and if there's any place that can figure out where my powers came from and what their limits are, this is probably it."
    He hops to his feet.  "Pizza, I have figured out.  That sounds like a great idea."