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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 12: Brown 199
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Slade 171
The shift ended, and Derek packed up his computer and stood. Thinking that there should be some formalities, he faced the command chair.
“Captain,” he began, and waited.
“Yes, Commander Derek?”
“Our shift has ended. Permission to leave the bridge, sir.”
Derek looked over to Vashti, who was watching this, and nodded. She stood, nodded back, and took a moment to compose herself. She then addressed the captain in Arabic (which Derek thought a nice touch), “Captain, permission to leave the bridge, sir.”
Derek wasn’t certain whether the homonoid smiled. It was rough enough recognizing facial expressions on the indigs who populated the ship; a robotic simulation of an indig was even more so. But the captain responded to her in the same language, “Permission granted,” and she nodded and turned toward the door.
It then addressed them in English, “I will expect you both back in eighteen hours.”
“Yes, sir,” Derek said, and grabbing his bicycle led the way from the bridge to the hall beyond.
Finding a terminal in the hall, he addressed it. “Computer, please direct us to our new quarters as first and second officers.” Then in much the same way as it had brought them to the bridge, it led them into a section of living quarters.
The beds were a bit larger than the one in which they had spent their previous nights, but they were still small--not surprising, Derek realized, considering that even at only five feet they towered above the local residents among whom four and a half feet would probably qualify for a professional basketball forward. Indeed, everything in the rooms was a bit small, but not so small they couldn’t make due. It would be a bit tight sharing the one bed, but Derek thought Vashti would rather crowd into his bed with him than sleep in the other. His quarters were apparently directly across from the captain’s, and hers were adjacent to his one door further from the bridge.
“We’ll live in my room,” he said, “and use yours as a kind of study and office. Speaking of which, we’d better set up to do a bit of studying. We’ll also have to figure out how to get food up here--I’ll bet you’re hungry by now, and I know I am. So we have a lot of work to do in the next fifteen hours, and we have to sleep for some of that. I’d better get started.”
With that, Derek sat in the somewhat small chair at the small desk with the terminal, set up his laptop, and started exploring their situation. Food first, he thought, and so he began trying to find the officers’ galley on their computer.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #432: Whole New Worlds. 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: