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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 32: Brown 205
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Slade 178
When Derek got off shift, he almost skipped dinner, but realized he had to feed Vashti so he might as well get something for himself. Sandwiches were not really an option because they didn’t have sliced bread, but they did have cheese and cartons of beaten eggs, so he made a couple of omelets.
Then as soon as they had returned to their rooms he was on the computer.
“What are you studying today that has you so eager?” Vashti asked.
“I’m not studying,” he answered. “At least, not yet. The captain suggested that the ship had mini computers in storage, and from what he said they’re more powerful than calculators. I need to see them, and figure out how I can get a few.”
“For--you called them ‘translators’?”
“Yes. The idea is that you speak into it in one language, and it comes out in another. I need to make it work both directions, so it will translate their language into English so I can understand them, and English into their language so they can understand me.”
“Because you want to teach them things, like how to cook.”
“I figure cooking is a good place to start, because it’s something they can do on the ship and learn to do reasonably easily. In fact,” it occurred to him even as he was saying it, “if we could teach a few of them to cook, we could give them jobs in our galley and they could prepare meals for us so we wouldn’t have to spend as much time cooking.”
“That sounds good.”
“Yeah, but I’m getting ahead of myself. First, I have to try to find these computers, then I have to see whether I can create a translation program--that’s the tricky part, really, because I’m pretty sure the indigs don’t read, so the program has to convert speech to speech probably directly. The ship’s computer can already convert text to text, and it has some voice integration software, but I’m not sure how many programs it uses to do that, or what I’m going to have to do to get all of that compacted into a smaller system.”
Vashti was obviously lost by all this. “Well, I’m sure you’ll figure it out.”
Derek nodded. “I hope so, anyway.” With that, he returned to the computer, seeking information about hand-held computers in storage somewhere.
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: