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Lt Kettick: Sarcasm Identification in Tactical Communications


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((Kettick's Apartment,Level 35, Anchorage, Denali Station))
 
On the 35th level of Anchorage tower, in the heart of an ever-ticking clockwork maze the likes of which MC Escher and Rube Goldberg might have dreamed together during a steampunk convention, sat a large standard-issue Engineering PADD. The metallic components of the machinery that surrounded it echoed with alien sounds, and here and there, a complicated piece made of Remmilian crystal cast an eerie glint in its muted blue light.
 
In front of the screen, watching with rapt attention, sat the friendly neighbourhood insectoid Chief of Engineering. One might say that he sat comfortably, never mind that his "seat" looked like it should stick out of a particularly fancy theremin. Then again, the only one who was around to judge his tastes in furniture was Major Quack, and the slightly glowing rubber duck hekd his peace for now.
 
Kettick had another, smaller PADD next to him, and from time to time plucked a stylus from a nearby flat surface to scribble on it in a brief bout of quiet frenzy, with his head cocked to the side and a thoughtful cast to his facial appendages.
 
The recent mission had highlighted a weakness of his that he had left unadressed for too long. It had been fraught with peril, predatory giant monsters, death-defying jumps, exposure to unknown technologies, and other such things that happen every other Tuesday when you wear the Starfleet uniform.
And when faced with near-constant stress and the specter of their possible demise, his primate colleagues had reacted in their usual manner.
Banter. And among it, sarcasm.
 
Now, Kettick was not completely alien to sarcasm. He had served under humans that were  close to breathing it - at the very least, they used a significant part of their breath in that pursuit. Through constant exposure, he had learned to spot some patterns, some idioms that allowed him to understand that some words were said in jest, and that his interlocutor occasionnally meant the polar opposite of what they said.
 
But the last days had tested his proficiency in the fine arts of sarcasm and irony (and yes, apparently, these were two different things), and he had been found... sorely lacking. A failure he could not afford now that he was supposed to lead; back when he was a menial drone, he only had to understand his task, and do it to the satisfaction of his betters. Now, if he were to serve, he had to understand *people*.
 
Fortunately, he had been told by friendly humans in the enlisted contingent of some remedial courses that he could use to better himself, and he had thrown himself into the task with his usual zeal. 
 
The situations presented were of course exxagerated, but the course material was easy to understand, and he had a feeling that he was starting to understand the finesses of situational and interpresonal interactions. In fact, he was impatient to try some of the lines he had noted down as particularly impactful. He had no doubt that they would work in a professional context, since according to the title of the data folder, they were meant to be used in the Office.
 
END/No tags

--
Lieutenant Kettick
 
Chief of Engineering
Denali Station
 
G239107LR0
 
Your Engineering department kindly reminds you that you are supposed to read the flakking manual.
 
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