In Version; Chapter 15, Brown 248

Your contribution via
PayPal Me
keeps this site and its author alive.
Thank you.

Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 15:  Brown 248
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Beam 163

After listening to Kondor explain his theory about xenologists to the assembled working group of versers and Parakeets, Derek ushered his guests out of the meeting room in his house.  He then turned back to Vashti who noted his frowning face.

“Is something wrong?” she inquired from the middle of the room, pausing in her picking up cups and plates for the snacks that had been served.

“Kondor is thinking deeply and widely.  I need to do that as well.”

Vashti took an empty chair, and plopped down into it with the manner of ready to listen.  He smiled at her.  So cute, and such a blessing from the King.

“O.K., xenologists would want to study us.  Um.  O.K.  On Earth, before I met you, if we did this, we’d have a giant database.”

Vashti raised an eyebrow.  The question was obvious:  what is a database?

“Ah, so if you had a merchant who bought and sold goats, he’d buy one from one farmer, and sell it to another.”

Vashti nodded. This was familiar enough to her from her life as a companion of the Calipha in a low tech caliphate.

“Well, you’d have this written down on a paper.  Item sold:  goat.  From whom did you buy it:  the first farmer.  How much?  To whom did you sell it?  The second farmer.  How much?”  Walking up and down the room to burn off nervous energy as he thought, he then spoke again.  “And each of these would be fields.”

“Pastures?”  Vashti asked, puzzled.

“Like that.  See, a pasture holds something--goats or something else.  A field in a database holds information.”  Her face cleared up from its confusion, and he went on.  “Now, over a year's time of travel, our merchant does dozens of these deals.  And at the end of the year, he looks back over his database.  And he sees that the goats he buys from one farmer for ten shekels always sell for thirteen, better than the other farmers.”

“But he would know that already.  Every merchant remembers the best deals.” Vashti interrupted.

“True.”  He paused, wondering how to explain this.  “But bear with me.”  She leaned back agreeably.  “So he sees that he can cut off one of his farmers, from whom he buys at ten and sells at eleven, and go twice to the best farmer instead, thus gaining him two more gold at year’s end.

“Now, that's something a smart merchant already knows.  But what if there is a tight cluster of five farmers, including the one that is poor, and he can circle around to them thrice in the same time as to visit them all, and instead of gaining nine gold from those farmers, and eleven gold from five other farmers, he now does the circuit thrice and gains twenty seven gold.”

“That--the merchant would have a feeling as to what you are saying, but you could show him the exact facts so he would be brave enough to trust his feeling.”

Derek nodded.  “And it could get a lot more complicated.  Instead of seven fields, and ten farmers buying from, you might have a database with a hundred fields.  Some of them ask the most minute questions.”

“Like goats with black stockings are more valuable than just plain white goats, but you can never tell when one is going to be born,” Vashti broke out with.  He nodded.

“While such a thing could not tell you precisely, it would help you make plans for it.”  And as he sat there, he realized he needed to do the same thing with the alien language.  Cracking his knuckles, he got up, and told his wife he was off to the hangar to work in the shuttle.

Next chapter:  Chapter 16:  Slade 217
Table of Contents

There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with eleven other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #478:  Character Conflicts.  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

Re Verse All

In Verse Proportion

Con Verse Lea
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

See what's special right now at Valdron