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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 18: Brown 201
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Slade 173
Awakening more than an hour before they were due on the bridge, Derek and Vashti had time to grab a quick shower and something light to eat in the galley before reporting for duty. On the way Derek had an idea.
“I’m sure you’re by now sick of studying,” he said, “but we’ve still got a lot to learn. What if I set your station computer to give you a tutorial on the navigation control systems? I know you’re not yet up to the math for it, but at least you can learn what everything does.”
Vashti just sort of nodded, then said, “I don’t think I realized that traveling to different worlds would mean having to learn so many things.”
“Well,” Derek answered, “sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. This time we landed in a world in which there is a lot to learn. Many years ago I discovered that I actually liked learning things, when there wasn’t a lot of pressure on needing to know them. Unfortunately, we have that pressure here, and it’s my fault--there were probably a lot of things we could have done on this ship, but I thought that the best choice was to take over the bridge. I didn’t quite succeed, and even if I had we would still have wound up having to learn how to run it.”
“Well, I guess I’m going to learn navigating,” Vashti said. “Maybe it will be fun.”
“I’d bet on it, actually. And in the centuries ahead you’ll probably have the chance to do something else with it. This isn’t my first spaceship, you know, and I think every verser I know has been on at least one sometime. Knowing how to fly the thing has to be valuable.”
They reached the bridge, and not surprisingly the captain was there. “Commanders Derek and Vashti reporting for duty, sir,” Derek said.
The captain responded, “Take your stations.”
Derek set Vashti up with a navigation tutorial, and then decided that he should probably do something like that for himself. He wasn’t sure whether he should duplicate her navigation training so he could help her and have the background in it, or get a course on piloting. He decided on the latter; he was already ahead of her in the math, and could catch up on the navigation, but he was going to need to understand how to operate his own station. The controls were relatively simple, and he managed to get a fairly good notion of how to operate everything during his six-hour shift. It passed uneventfully, as he had anticipated, and when his clock said it was time to retire he again said, “Captain, permission to leave the bridge.”
“Permission granted,” came the response.
“Permission to leave the bridge,” Vashti echoed, and again got the expected response.
“Galley?” Derek asked as the bridge hatch closed behind them.
“Bathroom,” she answered. “Then galley.”
Well, that did make sense, so they did that. Derek tried to cook up something tasty but more quickly, and soon served a decent dinner for them, and again put together a snack for later. They returned to their studies, and were beginning to develop a routine.
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: