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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 23: Brown 202
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Slade 175
The routine continued for several weeks, with minor interruptions. Derek learned that the base eight system had controlled the calendar, which had eight day weeks with two days off. Whether it was so always for everyone but only for them because they were the crew of a ship, their two days off were not any particular days, but Derek set it up so that these would be together together, that is, that he and Vasthi would have the same two days off every week and that they would work six on and two off.
That meant that on their two days off he could learn to do some real cooking, and since there were terminals in the galley he was able to get tutorials on what all the food was and how to make it. Of course, none of it was terrestrial, but with a bit of exploration he was able to find something like beef, something like chicken, and a variety of types of fish despite none of them being familiar. There were also eggs, and they didn’t taste much different from those which he knew from home. It occurred to him to wonder how there could be fresh eggs in the galley, but decided that that was a question for another time.
He was about six weeks into the routine when his pilot training class threw something completely unexpected.
For the next lesson, please report to the bridge simulator room.
He did not know that there was a bridge simulator room. However, he told Vasthi what it said, and she asked if she should come with him. At first he was going to say no, but then he decided that since he was leaving the relatively secure bridge area (as already observed, the little green men who populated the ship elsewhere were afraid to enter this area) it would be safer to have someone with him.
He got the computer to direct them to the bridge simulator room, which was a few levels below. It looked exactly like the bridge but that, of course, the captain was not there. It even occurred to him that this might function as a secondary bridge, if there was some reason the primary bridge was compromised. He would want to be careful not to trigger anything of that sort.
He suggested Vashti take the navigation station while he took the pilot station, and that she see whether the simulations would allow her to “play too”, a way of expressing it that caused her to giggle. He had played on flight simulators years ago on his video games, and flown video game spaceships, but this was a bit more real, closer to the reality. It was almost frightening.
Settling into the too-small seat, he logged into the simulator, letting the computer know that he was ready for the next lesson. This was a much more intense experience than he had had on the real bridge, as the simulation gave him problems to address, like oversized spatial debris to avoid, gravity wells to skirt, and a mid-space rendezvous.
These problems also gave Vashti opportunities to apply her navigational learning. Her math wasn’t entirely up to the problems posed, but the computer helped with the math when she input the problem. Together they worked through a variety of scenarios before ending the lesson and heading back to their quarters.
From that time forward all their flight lessons took place in the bridge simulator room, so they spent less time on them, focusing on the math after work and going to the simulator room only on their free days. Derek thought it was sort of like working every day, but on the other hand it wasn’t like they were going to catch a movie or go to a restaurant on those days, and the lessons were closer to playing video games than anything else he’d done for a while, so he decided to relax and enjoy them, and hoped Vashti could do the same.
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: