In Version; Chapter 107, Beam 187

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Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 107:  Beam 187
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Slade 240

“Here’s the hitch,” the white-haired man said to his assembled team.  “I need to address the entire ship.  I’ve managed to hack the system and given myself the rank of Admiral, so I can use the coms.  What I can’t do is deliver a message in their language.  Solutions?”  He looked at Bron.

“Give me a day or two, and I could probably put together a kind of translation spell that lets you do that for a few minutes,” the blacksmith magician said.

Beam nodded; that wasn’t soon enough.  “Sophie?”

Haltingly she answered, “I--I have a spell that lets me read and understand other languages, but it doesn’t let me speak them unless I’m reading from a page.  And I’ve never used it on anyone else.”

Again he nodded; he didn’t have to say Bob’s name to hear the response.  This one can understand languages by reading that part of a mind that controls speaking.  This one might be able to connect your mind to the mind of one of them so you could do that.

That was promising.  He could try that, although he wasn’t sure he wanted to connect his mind to that of an alien.  Sophie’s magic had some promise, if he could dictate what he wanted to say to one of the aliens to write in their language and then read it from the page, or screen, or whatever.  Of course, she’d never done it before; but they had done a lot of things they’d never done before.

Among the things they had never done before, though, was link his mind to that of an alien--that is, an unknown alien.  He communicated with Bob by mind link all the time, but Bob was kind of like family.

“Lors,” he said to the alien he was adopting as his primary liaison, “can you write?”

The answer returned through Bob, of course.  Write, sir?

Pulling out his graph paper pad and a sharpened pencil, he tried to explain.  “Can you form letters on paper to create words that someone else can read?”

He could tell that the answer was no before Bob delivered it.  But attached to the no was something more:  I don’t think anyone can.

To some degree that would figure.  Despite its huge size, Seeker would have limited resources.  They wouldn’t waste materials to make paper.  What would they do?

They would input to the computer and display it on the screen.  Could Lors do that?

No, apparently not.  But then, Malacon could.  “Bob, ask Malacon to come; tell him I need his help.”

Malacon entered.  His first words, translated by Bob, were You accessed the ship-wide communications; how?

“It wasn’t difficult.  I told it I was Admiral Beam, aboard the ship to straighten out problems following the recent crash.  It gave me full access.  Look, I’m going to dictate a speech I want to make, but it will come into your mind in your language.  I will go slowly; I need you to input it so that I can read it on this screen.  Once it’s there I should be able to read it aloud, and so speak to the entire ship over the speaker system.”

Why do you not just speak to their minds?

Bob provided an answer to Beam, that would be very difficult for this one to do.

“Between the distances and the sheer number of minds,” Beam said as Bob conveyed it, “it is likely that some people would be missed, or would doubt the voice they heard in their minds.  I want them to see me, and hear me speaking in their own language.”

This seemed to satisfy the officer, who moved over to the computer.  Beam jotted down what he wanted to say, making a few corrections, and then began dictating, slowly.

“I am James Donald Beam, Emperor by right of conquest and duly appointed Admiral, ranking officer aboard this vessel.  I expect all officers and persons of authority to swear fealty to me as Emperor.  Lieutenant Commander Norax has rebelled against my claim, and set himself up falsely as captain.  He believes that he can lead a rebellion against my lawful authority and win, and that he can then bring the ship to the surface and deliver you all to dry land.  He can do none of these things; do not believe him.  He faces summary court martial for treason, and any officers who support his claim will face similar removal of rank and position.  That is all.”

He waited for the alien to stop touching the screen.  “Got it?” he asked, and the creature affirmed.  “O.K., Sophie, let’s see if this works.”

Sophia touched the fingers of her left hand to Beam’s upper lip and started speaking in some strange language.  She seemed to hesitate a few times, suggesting that she had not done this often and was trying to remember all the words.  Please, he thought, get it right.  I don’t want to be a serious magical botch.  It took her about a minute, and then she stopped, hesitated before removing her fingers, and indicated that he should look at the screen.

The alien script was still there, but suddenly he understood how to pronounce each letter, and in combination as words, which he not only could pronounce but could understand.  He quickly skimmed through it to ensure that it was correct and that he knew what he was going to say.  Then he faced the vid, told it to activate ship-wide message and record the same, and proceeded to read the translated version of the message he had written.

Shutting off the feed, he turned back to the computer system, logged in as Admiral, and finding the crew roster with a bit of help from Malacon removed all rank and privileges from the opposing commander.  He also promoted Malacon to Full Commander and appointed him as First Officer and Acting Captain.

“Congratulations, Commander Malacon,” he said in English for Bob to translate.  “The ship is yours, for what it’s worth.”  He closed the program and signed out.

“That,” he said, “should make it very difficult for Norax to wage war against us.”  He thought the aliens smiled.

Next chapter:  Chapter 108:  Brown 272
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 #493:  Verser Engagements.  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

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