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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 136: Kondor 88
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 135: Brown 46
Kondor enjoyed the life of the student. He was able to convert a few of his gems into a substantial amount of computer credit, which enabled him to live comfortably and buy things when he wished while paying his regular expenses from his part-time medical job.
He also expanded his interests. Being in engineering to learn about gravity generators, he took the time to explore propulsion, life support, guidance, stabilization, tracking, shielding, and any other systems he could study. He delved into the computer texts on these systems, and soon had mastered the fundamental theories of the operation of a spaceship.
He was disappointed to discover that his electronic textbooks were not compatible with the computers here. Derek said something about trinary coding, and offered to build a converter for him, but Kondor said it would be easier just to get the right equipment. He found a new hand-held reader that enabled him to record his own cartridges, either by offloading information from the computer or by typing notes by hand. He bought a lot of blank cartridges, and filled many of them with files from engineering and medical sources.
Derek did recharge the power supply in the old system, which was still working remarkably well for all it had seen.
There was an unforeseen problem with his visiting student status. With annoying frequency people would ask how long he expected to be on the station. The exact truth would be much too complicated to explain, so he took to telling them that he was not certain, and made vague references to bureaucratic red tape and grant funding which seemed to settle the matter. The one consistent factor in advanced societies appeared to be the complexity of administrative government; everyone understood that if some government was funding his stay, it would not be possible for him to find out anything about it.
This made him realize that he was eventually going to have to shift his identity, to advance beyond student status and become part of the workforce, as Derek had done. He also realized that he particularly liked high tech worlds. There were specific things he liked about them–regular showers, clean laundry, prepared meals, safe non-alcoholic beverages. He hoped he could stay in this one for a while. He had been lucky to land in two such worlds in a row—but then, he'd been years in worlds in which these luxuries were unknown. It would be nice to have a long stretch in these more comfortable worlds. Better not to worry about it, he thought, as he might jinx his luck. Then he scolded himself for allowing these hints of superstition to invade his thinking.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with eight other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #134: Versers in Space. 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: