Braille Monitor                                     February 2017

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Dots from Space!
Where No Dots Have Gone Before

by Amy Mason and Anna Kresmer

From the Editor: This is episode two from our serial “Dots from Space!” If you missed episode one, refer to the January 2017 issue.

A short time later, Captain Dottie and the five other crew members in the away team surround the edges of a large glass skylight. On closer inspection a loose panel is discovered and gently lifted clear.

Motioning to those around her, the captain says, “Team, we don’t know what we will find in this structure. I will go down first. Cover me and follow after I give the all-clear signal.”

As the crew stands back, Captain Dottie rolls to the edge of the opening. Quickly, while grasping the edge of the metal frame, she begins to lower her body down into the hole. Stretching out, she touches down on the floor, twenty-five feet below, before releasing her hold on the skylight above.

Rolling across the smooth marble floor, the captain quickly confirms that she is alone in what appears to be a reception area. As she explores, a small blinking light appears on the surface of her body, and a voice can be heard to say, “Captain, is everything all right down there?”

A view of the desk in the atrium as seen by visitors arriving on the elevators. A bust of Kenneth Jernigan is visible against the far wall.

“Yes, yes, Commander. I’m fine. Judging from the height of this front desk alone, I’d say it’s pretty safe to say that the creatures who inhabited this building were close to our size and stature.”

After a brief pause, the commander tries again. “I’m glad to hear that, captain. Does that mean we can come down now?”

The captain gives her approval and within moments is joined by the other members of her away team. They find her standing motionless before a small statue of wood. Atop the statue is the chiseled likeness of one of the aliens who previously called the planet their home cast in bronze, while a long, slim wooden pole extends down along one side to the floor. Curious, the crew members all move in closer to get a better look.

The first to act, Captain Dottie reaches toward the statue, enveloping it in the folds of her clay-like body. “There is an inscription,” she murmurs in a thoughtful voice as she passes a hand-like appendage over the engraved print and embossed Braille. “Dr. Kenneth Jernigan. He told us it is respectable to be blind.”

“Blind?” the young ensign asks. “Our translator has no equivalent word for this? What do you think they mean, captain?”

“I’m not sure, Bean. I’m just not sure. What do you make of this, Doctor Spot?”

“Well, captain, it appears that we now have three mysteries to solve: What is ‘blind’? Why is this message written in two codes? And why was this place abandoned?”

“All good questions, doctor. Let’s go find out,” calls Captain Dottie as she leads the team through double doors and down the dark hallway.

Having made one last circle of the room Counselor Mote rolls toward the open double doors and picks a pamphlet up off the floor by mistake as she passes over it. Curious about the paper stuck to her body, she begins to read…

[Note: If you wish to read “The Pitfalls of Political Correctness: Euphemisms Excoriated,” by Kenneth Jernigan, Braille Monitor, August 1993, you may find it at https://nfb.org/images/nfb/
publications/ bm/ bm09/ bm0903/bm090308.htm
]

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