Friday, March 26, 2010
“¿Kiel vin nomas? Neniu volas paroli kun mi.”
I always was a natural for languages, that’s why I took on Esperanto. Imagine my surprise when I found someone typing perfectly natural and fluent Esperanto on Chat Roulette.
Her name was Katya, no one wanted to chat with her because they couldn’t understand her and she didn’t have her webcam on. She had been online for a couple of hours trying to find someone who understood. Not because she was studying Esperanto and wanted to practice.
“Vivas kun mia fratina, estas la jaro du mil kvincent, estas la lasta familio sur la tero.”
My Esperanto was good enough to follow her frenetic typing, she told me she lived with her sister and their father inside a bunker, the last humans alive in the year Twenty Five Hundred. Her father just installed a machine that could connect her to the Internet of the world before the big disaster. Before that it was only books, she had read the classics in Esperanto and generated their own electricity with a treadmill.
Naturally, I had questions; Had she been typing in English I would have dismissed it as a prank, but why would anyone take the time to type in perfect Esperanto just for laughs? Besides, a person from the far future wouldn’t speak English but something else, not pure Esperanto, but one dialect spiced with Spanish words and expressions.
“Nia patro prizorgas nosotras, ĝi eliras al la mondon de eksteren por atingi nin manĝo, akvo kaj medicinoj. "
It made sense that if they lived underground they would need vitamin supplements, the treadmill where they generated their power and used also to purify water would keep them fit and the books they had read would keep their mind busy. Her sister, Met, was only a year younger. Both were fascinated with the “Old World” but saddened because they would never touch it, I also could speak to her.
“Vi lernus La anglan, tiel vi povus povi uzi pli libroj kaj muziko " I said, a little ashamed my Esperanto would appear awkward and inelegant for her.
I offered to teach them English, at the best of my capacities. I asked if they could listen to me in their speakers, but turns out they were using an old PowerPC with no sound or video card. Even though they could not watch video and the pictures they could see were in 16-bit colors they were astonished by how beautiful our world was.
I was curious as how the world had come to an end:
“Nia patro nin rakontas ke al la fino la bastardos finis por mortigi inter ili.”
A man-made disaster sometime in the Twenty Fifth Century, guess we didn’t bother to seek out new life and new civilizations after all.
I asked if we could prevent it. For me it would not happen for centuries, there was still time. But Katya told me I’d have to be alive 400 years only to be dismissed as a madman.
After some weeks of talking to them it was clear that by now any prankster would have dropped the act or asked me for money. If this was indeed real I could track their IP, and possibly discover a gateway into the far future.
I could find it easily, but it turned out to be a proxy server somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, some independent island nation that financed itself with illegal servers. I frantically asked in several forums how I could unmask an IP behind a proxy, they always told me to find the administrator, but if the log file was deleted there’s no way I could find out unless I contacted the authorities. But what would I tell them? “Help, there are two girls trapped in a bunker, ah, by the way, they only speak Esperanto and live five hundred years in the future”
And asking them about their location was useless, according to them they lived in the middle of a wasteland in the mountains, but only know so because their father told them so.
I repeatedly asked to speak to him.
“Paĉjo ne volas paroli kun vi, se ĝi faras lin sentu ke al ni donas falsajn esperojn. "
He didn’t want to give them false hopes, For all purposes I am long dead, they are just speaking to ghosts.
We talked less and less, sometimes only an hour a week compared to the four hours I would devote in the beginning and had to stop only to attend school and do enough homework to pass. My Esperanto improved very rapidly, they would teach me some words and at the best of my capacity I tried to teach them some English, much to the chagrin of their father.
One day Katya appeared;
“Paĉjo jam ne volas ami min, ĉi tiuj tagoj amas pli al mia fratina, por iu ne ĉesas tuŝi ŝin. "
I didn’t know what she meant, for the first time I could understand the words, but not the meaning behind them. I asked what she meant when she said their Father doesn’t want to love her anymore, she became too old.
Then I understood everything.
That man kept them inside a padded room to have sex with them as many times as he wanted, he had kidnapped them when they were very young and created a fantasy world so they never ever wanted to escape.
That was the last time I talked to her and the administrator does not return my calls anymore.