In Verse Proportion; Chapter 22, Slade 175

Your contribution via
PayPal Me
keeps this site and its author alive.
Thank you.

Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 22:  Slade 175
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Kondor 179

Slade asked the teaching assistant about eating eggs.

“Well,” she whistled, “there are people who don’t eat them.  It seems strange to me, because of course they’ll eat primitive avians but won’t eat their eggs.  They don’t eat reptile eggs, either.  Something about the moral implications of eating an unborn creature.  But it’s not like we’re eating parakeet eggs.  It’s a sort of vegetarian idea--there are people who won’t eat any avians, and people who won’t reptiles either, and some who won’t even eat fish.  I’ve never heard of any who won’t eat insects, and of course everyone has to eat something.”

Later that day a professor from the science and engineering department came over.  After introductions, he began, “I understand that you might be able to suggest ways to build machines that have not yet been invented.”

“Yeah, in another world I was a mechanic, so although I never invented anything I worked on a lot of stuff I haven’t seen here, and I know enough about how it worked that with a bit of effort and maybe some help I could figure out how to make it here.  The problem, it seems, is that since I’m not avian I can’t patent anything, and that means one, that I can’t make any money doing it, and two, that anyone else can steal the idea and run with it, maybe even patent it and stop me from making it.”

“I see the problem.  But, really, what can you invent that hasn’t already been invented?”

“Well, that’s one reason I wanted to talk to you.  I don’t know what hasn’t been invented.  But maybe if I describe a few of the machines you can tell me what’s worth inventing.”

The professor nodded, still an odd gesture for its avian form.

“Where to start?  How about the--” and Slade realized that one of the problems with trying to communicate these ideas was that he had names for them, but the birds didn’t, so his words wouldn’t translate into their language.  “Well, never mind what it’s called, we’ll name it later.  A device that has--this is very difficult to describe in your language, but with two lengths of wire and a couple electrical gadgets at each end, it’s possible to talk into either end and be heard at the other.  Probably it would work over several miles, with my level of understanding.  We would have to come up with a way to increase the electrical level to go further, but I know it can be done, I just am not sure how."

He wasn’t that good at parakeet facial expressions, but he thought the professor was surprised.

“I’m guessing you already have machines that create electricity, and machines that turn electricity into motion.  Those are easy, if you don’t already have them, as long as you have magnets.  It can be done without magnets, I think, but that’s more difficult.  Anyway, I know how to use those electrical engines, or even to use a steam engine, to create cold, even make the inside of a space cold enough to freeze water.  This can keep food fresher, and keep people more comfortable in hot climates.  It’s a complicated machine to build, but the concepts aren’t all that difficult.  Might take a bit of experimentation to find the right gas for it.  I know they used something before they invented--what they used in my time.”

The engineer was still interested.

“I see vehicles using steam engines.  I can show you how to build a machine that uses liquid fuel, like alcohol,” he was pleased that they had a word for that, “to create motion directly from burning the fuel, without the problems of steam.  It’s a bit of a complicated machine, but it’s ultimately safer and more efficient.  Let’s see--what else?”

The professor found his beak.  “Those are remarkable,” he whistled.  “Are they really possible?”

“I’ve used them,” Slade replied.  “They’re really common in my world.  I mean, there are a lot of things I’ve used that I couldn’t tell you how they work, but these are things I understand and could probably make with a bit of help.  The problem is, Shella and I aren’t going to be able to live in this world long if we don’t find a way to build a house on a piece of land no one is going to argue is ours, and ultimately buy our own food and stuff.  That is, we’re going to need to be able to make money from what we make.  Otherwise, we just aren’t going to be able to make it.”

The professor nodded comprehendingly again.  “I’ll have to think about it, and talk to professor--” again the name did not translate, but it was apparently the law school professor from the sound of it.  “We’ll figure out something.  This kind of thing--it’s too good not to do something with it.”

There were a few more pleasantries and the professor excused himself.

“Well,” Slade said to Shella in English, “I think we got the ball rolling, anyway.  Let’s see what our professors can do.

Next chapter:  Chapter 23:  Brown 202
Table of Contents

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 #437:  Characters Relate.  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

Versers Versus 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

See what's special right now at Valdron