In Verse Proportion; Chapter 81, Slade 195

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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 81:  Slade 195
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Kondor 199

Eventually Slade realized that the team that had built the telegraph was at a point at which all that remained was installing systems and working out appropriate power levels.  He had explained to them the concept of a relay, which would permit a small voltage at the switch to drive a high voltage over the wires for long distances, and then convert back to the low voltage at the receiving end, so they really had the entire system.  It was time to give them something else.

“You’ve got a gadget now,” he said, “that can be made to carry simple messages over long distances.  We’re going to start on something that will carry actual speech over distances, not as long, at least for now, but simply enough.  We’re going to start with a proof of concept, building something simple that does the job, and once you’ve got that you can work on refining it.”

He had spent a few days thinking about this, so he knew where he was going with it.

“We’re going to need two identical disk-shaped magnets, mounted on a frame.  We’re also going to need a lot of rather fine wire, conductive but not normally magnetic, coated in some very thin insulation.  The tricky part is the wire has to be formed into a coil that goes around the magnet without touching it.  This is secured, probably glued, to the center of a paper cone, which is in turn secured to the same frame as the magnet.  The result should be that the paper cone can move relative to the magnet, such that the coil will move with the cone through the magnetic field.  You have generators, so you already understand that if you pass a wire through a magnetic field you create an electrical current.  You also have motors, so you know that if you pass a current through a wire inside a magnetic field you create motion.  So here’s the trick.”

He composed his thoughts a moment.

“We’re going to connect the ends of these two coils to each other, through a pair of light wires long enough to put one of them in the next room.  When we make a sound in one room, the paper vibrates, moving the coil through the magnetic field, which creates a current that travels down the wires to the one in the other room, where the current passes through the other coil causing the other paper cone to vibrate the same way as this one, and producing, perhaps faintly until we get it all refined, the same sound output in that room that was input in this room.”

“No way!” one of the birds exclaimed.

“You get it, don’t you?” Slade asked, not waiting for an answer.  “You’re the project leader.  This first one is, as I say, proof of concept, rather simplistic, and it works in both directions at once.  Once we’ve got it working, we experiment with how to make the listening part hear better and the talking part sing better, and probably double the wires so that each side has a listening part and a talking part.  But soon you’ll be able to replace the short-range communication gadgets with these, using the other system only for long distances.”

He paused to think about whether he needed to tell them anything else, but couldn’t think of anything.

“Questions?  Well, you know how to find me.  Go to it.”

Slade thought he’d never had an easier job.

As he and Shella strolled to the cafeteria for lunch, she said, “I don’t understand the magic in this new thing.”

Since they were speaking English, he could give it a name.  “The telephone?  Well, that’s because it’s not magic.  It’s electricity.”

“Electricity,” she repeated.  “They used that in the world where we were helping Lauren fight the vampires, and again in the world that was fighting over skin color.”

“Yes, those worlds had learned how to control it--but you had seen it before.  Lightning is electricity, on a massive scale.  And when you touch a doorknob and get a shock, that’s the same thing, only much less.  Anyway, there are several ways to make electricity, and a lot of ways to use it.  We’re giving them more ways to use it.  Right now they’re learning how to create sound from sound.  Maybe next I’ll talk about creating light.  But one thing at a time.  Let’s see what they have for lunch today.”

Next chapter:  Chapter 82:  Kondor 200
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

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