In Verse Proportion; Chapter 104, Slade 201

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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 104:  Slade 201
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Kondor 209

After a morning workout with the combat history professor, Slade invited him to breakfast.  “I want to pick your brain about a few things,” he said, which apparently did not translate very well, and he had to explain what that meant.  They walked together to the cafeteria, where they got a light meal and hot beverage and settled at a table in a corner.  A few of the engineering students came to join them.  Slade was considering shooing them away, but apart from how, well, what, misavianistic? that seemed, it struck him that having input from some of them might be valuable.

“What I want to know,” he said, “was what’s the most advanced weaponry your people have.”


“My job here is to invent things.  I’m really not that creative.  My advantage is that I’ve been to other worlds, and learned how things work in those worlds, and can bring the ideas here.  But I don’t understand how everything works.  For example, I carry a weapon that fires a pulse of what you might call reverse gravity.  My friend,” and he reverted to English, but knew that this was a word from their mythology, from when they had last been here, “Joe.”  Then he continued, “Can tell you how it works, and with the right tools and equipment--things you won’t have for at least a hundred years--could build one.  All I know is how to charge the electrical supply, where to put it, and how to aim and activate the thing.  Oh, and that it projects a maybe fist-sized invisible energy sphere.  I might try to figure out how to build an airplane, but first we’ve got to have significant improvements in our experimental motor, and then I have to figure out how to turn an air foil into a wing.  So there are things I don’t know how to make, or at least, not yet.”

He adjusted his position and took another sip of his beverage.

“But I’m a fighter, a warrior training for the great battle at the end of time.  So I know something about weapons.  I suspect that there are a lot of things I could bring to your world that would make your weapons better.  And better weapons--well, you never know when someone is going to think that war would be a good idea, and if you’ve got good weapons that someone is going to think twice, maybe, and regret it if they don’t.  So what have you got?  I’m guessing that you have cannons and long guns and pistols.  Do you have rifling?  You must, since I just found a word for it.  But your gunpowder weapons--all muzzle-loaded?”

“Yes.  How would you do it?”

“Powder, wad, ball, and what?”

“The latest advance is a small cap, a bit of tin with gunpowder and wax and phosphorus, placed over a small raised hole at the rear of the barrel and struck with a hammer.  This creates the spark that ignites the powder.”

Slade nodded.  “I actually have one, somewhere, I think.  Took it off someone who was trying to kill me with it.  Never used it; not even sure I have ammunition for it.  But anyway, it gives me ideas.”

He turned to one of engineering students he recognized.  “Here’s a question for you.  Imagine first a brass cup, as it were, open at the top, lip at the bottom, with a small soft spot, maybe pewter, right in the middle.  You put gunpowder in the bottom, and then you put a carefully crafted slug,” he wanted to say aerodynamic but couldn’t find a word for it, “that fits snugly into the cup and has the same diameter down its length.  Now you have a self-contained bullet.  If you could open the back end of the barrel, you could slip this into position, close the back, and strike it with a hammer.  That would cause the gunpowder to explode and drive the slug out the other end of the barrel.  Right?”

The bird nodded, and chirped back what Slade took to be an affirmation.

“Then you could open the barrel, remove the empty cup, and replace it with another.  Reload time cut to a fraction of what it was--and a step toward a lot more.”

“More?” the professor asked.

“Oh, yes, much more.  Once we have these, we can make shells that fire multiple pellets at once, and guns that rapidly reload themselves to fire repeatedly.  But one invention at a time, gentlebirds.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go share some of this with the engineering professor.  You students should come along.  You’re probably going to be inventing some new more potent weapons in the near future.

Next chapter:  Chapter 105:  Brown 228
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 #448:  Inventive Versers.  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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