In Verse Proportion; Chapter 64, Brown 216

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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 64:  Brown 216
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Kondor 193

Reaching their rooms, Derek went into the one they used for an office, unpacked his laptop, and using the trinary-to-binary converter clipped it into the desktop computer terminal.  He probably could do this through the touchscreen interface, but he was more comfortable with his own keyboard.  He was not so comfortable with both Vashti and the robot standing over his shoulders, but it would be more difficult to shift the latter and he thought he would be less comfortable if he only moved the former.  He began typing.

It didn’t take long to find the operational section for the utility robots.  It took a bit longer to work out that seven thousand four hundred fifty-nine was represented in base eight as one-six-four-four-three, which he decided he needed to use to ensure that he was working with the correct utility robot.  He soon had accessed its current function and mission.  Now he had to change it.

He typed Repurpose utility robot one-six-four-four-three.

That seemed to get what he wanted, as the computer returned the question, What is the new primary purpose?

Primary purpose:  food preparation.

It took a moment, and indicator lights flashed on the robot.  The computer then asked, What is the new primary mission?

Derek thought for a moment.  He wanted to be certain he had this right, including all the necessary parameters.  Then he typed, Prepare meals in the officers’ galley for First Officer Commander Derek Jacob Brown and Second Officer Commander Vashti Brown, Amira, consistently with their schedules, such that they can eat before and after work and at convenient times when off shift.

Again this seemed to work.

A moment later the computer returned, Does utility robot one-six-four-four-three have a secondary purpose?


What is the new secondary purpose?


It seemed a full minute before the computer responded to this.

No such function found.

Of course not, he realized.  When it embarked the ship’s contingent all spoke a single language.  He did not know whether that language had splintered, but the computer knew nothing of multiple languages until he himself added English and Arabic to its database.

He swore in Spritish.

“What?” Vashti asked.

“Nothing,” he said.  “I should have realized that there wouldn’t be a translation program available to the robots.  Since the beginning of the voyage until we arrived, there were no languages to translate.  I’m going to have to write one.  Well, I was going to have to do that anyway, if we found the hand-helds.  So that’s something else on my to-do list.”

He turned his attention back to the computer.  Secondary purpose pending.  Finish.

It acknowledged.  He turned to the robot.

“Utility robot seven thousand four hundred fifty-nine,” he said, “we would like supper.”

“What would you like, to eat?”

Yeah, that was going to remain a problem.  He would not know the names of any of the native foods, and they wouldn’t have English equivalents, and his language program wouldn’t even communicate anything meaningful if he said he wanted something like beef.  But if he were generic enough, maybe they could get something edible.  “Please prepare something including a meat, a vegetable, and a starch, with a compatible sauce or gravy, something sweet for dessert, and a compatible beverage.  We will come to the galley in one hour to eat it.  You may proceed.”

Indicators flashed, and the robot left the office.

“Where is it going?”  Vashti asked.

“Well, I’m not entirely certain,” Derek answered, “but I suspect it has to go somewhere to be refurbished with the equipment used for food preparation service, and then it will go to our galley to make food for us.”  He glanced at the time on the ship’s computer.  “It will expect us to be there in about an hour to eat.  Hopefully it can make a decent meal.

“Meanwhile, we should unpack and get our rooms set up again for living.”  He rose, disconnected the laptop, packed it back in its bag, and headed for the bedroom with the rest of his luggage.

Next chapter:  Chapter 65:  Slade 189
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 #443:  Versers Acclimate.  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

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