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Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 75: Brown 194
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 74: Kondor 166
Over the next few days Derek kept things pretty simple. He went to the kitchen several times, encouraged by the guard who appreciated the treats he made while there. He did a bit of surfing of the ship’s systems, familiarizing himself with as much as he could, and made sure it was coded so that anywhere aboard the ship it would address him in English. He tried accessing ship recipes, but these were no help--since none of the food was Terran, none of the names of the ingredients had English equivalents except salt and baking soda. He would have to work out what everything was by taste and experimentation.
Then he launched his next phase. He was apparently very focused on it, because when Vashti interrupted him he didn’t realize she was talking to him for a moment.
“I’m sorry, what?” he asked.
“I was just curious what you were doing.”
“Oh. Well, I hope it works. The system has a routine for replacing dead officers. If the first officer dies, you have to be able to tell the computer who the new first officer is. I figure the entire crew has probably died, except for the two of us. So I’m trying to get it to engage a sort of emergency protocol by which it will determine what crew members are still alive, and advance them up the ranks to fill in the spaces left open by whatever crewmen it determines are dead. Since that’s everyone but you and me, I expect it will put us in charge of the ship. I could be wrong, but it’s worth a shot.”
She nodded. “So, what do we do then?”
He laughed. “I haven’t thought that far ahead, really. One thing, we probably move into more comfortable quarters on the officer’s deck. We’ll also have to figure out where this ship ought to be going, and whether we can get it there. Otherwise, it will be a matter of seeing what resources we have and what we can do with them. It would be good to get these people up to some sort of modern levels of education and such, but I’m not sure whether that can be accomplished.
“I suppose, though, I should ask what you would like to do.”
She shrugged. “Don’t know. I guess I have to see what choices we have.”
“Exactly. So we’ll give this program a few days to work, and hopefully when it’s finished we’ll be in a better place to determine our options.” He turned back to the computer and continued working.
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: