The interpreter lied sometimes, about which way to the bathrooms and how far away was Earth and why he preferred moon-distilled whiskey over vintage planet. Why was he even talking about himself? Maybe he forgot what he was hired to do; when both people nearby got quiet and looked at him, maybe he thought it was simply his turn to speak. We cut him some slack, because how weird a life to speak only somebody else’s thoughts, but we hardly needed him at the outpost. We had translation apps and hand gestures, and cooking and shipbuilding and scheduling, and most work, operated on numbers and intuition. The closer the relationship the less likely we were to need language at all. Conversations about love worked best when the phrasings were stock, parenting required only sweetbaby and no. When we had to, we adopted phrasings not already in our pockets and muddled up our cognates, but more often we smiled and punched and smoothed hair and dug holes and gave distance and made cartoon faces of surprise and pointed at a star and slumped. The ship was almost ready; we were about to blast off into nowhere. We needed the interpreter to get it wrong, to be ludicrously off the mark, mishear, deceive, when we were reminded how tiny our odds of getting someplace safe.