Versers Versus Versers; Chapter 66, Brown 192

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Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 66:  Brown 192
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Chapter 65:  Hastings 182

Derek puttered about the kitchen for a couple hours, figuring out what things were, how they worked, and how to operate them.  He deduced that several of the appliances vented heat from the ship’s engine cooling systems, and so he was able to control and operate them.  He went through the larders, mostly frozen or freeze-dried food, some foods and beverages canned in various materials.  Although much of it looked familiar--meat and vegetables and fruits could only come in so many forms--he was not persuaded that anything he found had a terran origin.

Vashti, meanwhile, sat on a stool watching him.  He entertained her, periodically frying up tastes of one food or another on the grill and sharing them with her, explaining what the various devices did.  The toughest was the concept of engine heat, but he found a long way around to get to it.

“You know, when the rowers row the boats on the rivers, they sweat.”


“That’s because they’re using energy.  In their case the energy comes from food--mostly sugars and fats, some of it from proteins, I think, but biology is not one of my strong subjects.  The body literally burns these, as we burn wood in a fire.  I say literally, because the sugars and fats are hydrocarbons, and the wood is also a hydrocarbon, and the process oxidizes the hydrocarbons producing water and carbon dioxide, and releasing energy usually in the form of heat.”


“That’s more than you need to know for now.  In any case, the rower turns sugars into power, and produces heat, and he sweats because the evaporation of his sweat removes the heat and cools his body.  It’s a very important thing, sweat.  I think we’re the only creatures who do it.  Most other mammals pant to cool their bodies, evaporating saliva from their tongues, but we can sweat and cool our bodies while we’re--I’m really getting off track.  Anyway, to turn fuel, whether it’s sugar or wood or something else, into energy you produce heat, and you have to get rid of it or you’ll overheat.”

“Alright,” she said tentatively.

“We’re on a ship--a huge ship, and its traveling through the sky, not the water, but it’s easiest to think of it as a ship.  We don’t have rowers.  We have huge machines that do the jobs of rowers, and which make the lights and move the air and work the doors and everything else.  But just like rowers, the machines get hot.”

“Like the stones at the mill.”

“Exactly.  Work makes heat.  So one of the machines has the job of cooling all the others, and it pumps something, probably a high density liquid polymer--no, you don’t need to know that--but something like thick water, pumped through pipes in and around the other machines, and the heat of the machines goes into the thick water, which then gets pumped somewhere to cool.  When I turn on the stove, some of that heat--maybe the coolant directly, maybe through a secondary coolant stage--gets fed to my grill top, making it hot so I can cook.”

Well, he wasn’t sure just how much of that she understood, but she was enjoying at least some of the foods he was finding, and even when she grimaced at the taste it was part of the fun, and it was their first day out in a while so they were just having fun being out together.

Meanwhile, Derek was musing on his next step toward taking control of their destiny here.

Next chapter:  Chapter 67:  Kondor 165
Table of Contents

There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with ten other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #339:  Verser Tensions.  Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.  It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.

As to the old stories that have long been here:

Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel

Old Verses New

For Better or Verse

Spy Verses

Garden of Versers

Stories from the Verse Main Page

The Original Introduction to Stories from the Verse

Read the Stories

The Online Games

Books by the Author

Go to Other Links

M. J. Young Net

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