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Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 71: Brown 193
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 70: Hastings 183
Before leaving the kitchen, Derek decided on one more experiment. He found several ingredients that had something of a sweet taste--he guessed they were fruits and vegetables--which he could mash together into a paste, and then dropped little dabs onto the greased grill top, flattening them with a spatula, then flipping them like pancakes and dabbing a bit of a sweetener he thought was probably powdered sugar before removing them from the heat. So doing, he made something like cookies, and although he had had better cookies he had never himself made better cookies, and after tasting one he had a couple more, and gave a couple to Vashti, who admitted they were pretty good for a first attempt. He made about three dozen, and so had a good thirty left after tasting, and he persuaded their guard that they were safe to eat. The guard clearly had never had anything like it, and showed surprise at the flavor, eagerly eating another. Derek gave him the batch, and tried to suggest that he share it with others, although he was not certain the creature would. In any case, he thought it likely that the guard would let them return to the kitchen unimpeded in the future.
The next day he was back at the computer. He had realized that he had to make some long-term plans, and that would mean getting the ship to recognize him, not just his computer, as an authority. It took a long time, but he added himself and Vashti to the crew roster. He had to work out the ship’s calendar so he could give them birth dates; in the process he determined that the launch date had been over a thousand years before. He figured out the rank structure, to some degree, sufficiently that he could place them near the bottom where they would be readily accepted as officer trainees. He had to feed it his palm print, and hers, through the reader by the door (and had to remember that most of the people here, like himself, had been left-handed, so the machines expected the left palm).
He worked through lunch, nibbling on the food Vashti insisted he eat, but by the end of the day he was ready for the next step. He just wanted to give the ship a bit of time to process what had already been done, so it wouldn’t decide it was being hacked and lock everything out. However, by the time he went to bed he was satisfied that they had been added to the crew roster. They were officers, albeit low-ranking ones, aboard the ship.
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 #343: Worlds Explode. 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: