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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 111: Brown 230
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Slade 203
That Vashti had to pack proved to be a more complex problem than Derek had anticipated. For one thing, she hadn’t actually brought a suitcase. After all, her departure had been completely unanticipated. He gave her his small bookbag backpack, but it was not adequate for everything she had brought. He searched the officers quarters.
In doing so, he realized that many of the rooms had been occupied so long ago that most personal possessions had been reduced to dust and swept away by cleaning systems. He found a few bits of plastic and metal in small drawers, apparently ignored by systems that were programmed to clean around personal items. He eventually found one case that was durable and lightweight, and large enough to accommodate most of the rest of her gear.
But then, she pointed out to him that they were going to need to pack food and beverages. After all, even if all went smoothly and they made a determination quickly, they would be gone for at least a day. They should plan to be away from the ship for closer to a week. He was going to argue, but then, she was right. Space missions when he was a boy took probably a day to get from the ground to the space station, and probably the same to get back. That, though, meant that they were going to have to figure out how to pack food in to-go boxes, and bring large containers of drink. He coordinated with the robot to organize this, including obtaining some self-powered mini refrigeration units and pre-cooking some food that could be eaten cold.
He also realized that this was more than they could transport to the shuttle, even with the help of the robot. That sent him back to the computer to figure out how to arrange equipment transportation, some kind of self-powered cart that could move all of this to the launch bay. Frustratingly but logically, shuttles launched from one of the lowest decks--not the last, which housed massive cargo holds filled with equipment that would be needed to colonize the planet, including robotic tillers and harvesters, prefabricated housing, mining moles, and ready-to-function factories. Now all he needed was a planet on which to offload these, and a people capable of populating it and using all this equipment.
One step at a time.
He made sure he got a good night’s sleep before their departure, and then the next day traveled with Vashti, with the robots and the cargo via cargo elevators, to their assigned shuttle. It still took an hour to load everything securely, making sure the food was accessible, and then they were aboard and ready to launch.
“Strap yourself in,” he said, as he began the launch sequence.
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 #452: Versers Ready. 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: