Housewarming Visits in the Afternoon

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Text to Speech:

It's the early afternoon. I expected visitors to come quite early, but there haven't been any yet.

“Ms Faberetta is arriving,” Mitten announces.

We move to the front door and open it.

“Good morning, Beretta!” Rowan greets her.

“Good morning, I see I'm not too early,” she answers, “I just wanted to check, if there's something you need.”

“Please, come in,” I invite her in.

After showing her lack of tools in the kitchen, we lead her into the living room. I offer her a glass of green liquor.

“Nice ring,” she compliments upon seeing, “did you make those?”

“Yes, I did.”

“May I have a closer look?”

“Of course,” I pull my ring from my finger and hand it to her.

“This is…” Beretta mutters, “I thought that would be the case…” She returns the rings to me, “it is impressive metalwork.”

I put the ring back on my finger, “thank you, ”

“I wanted to ask you think about these metal samples. I got them from the shuttle,” I grab the small ingots from my pockets and put them on the table. “I have a feeling, the values my people put on metals don't match up with yours.”

“I shall tell you what I know, but I'd like to glean a little from your knowledge as well.”

She examines them and states: “All of these I have encountered before, but I've never used them, especially these.” She points to silver-107, iridium-191, platinum-192, osmium-192, aurum-197 and plumbum-208.

“I see, those are the heaviest ones. You see, I'm in need of these to feed the shuttle.” I point to the silvery-white Iridium and blueish-white Osmium Ingot, “while most the others are more seen commodities, these two, Iridium and Osmium, are commonly used to harden other metals. I'm in need of metals to feed the shuttle. These heavier ones are preferable.”

“Both of these are Banum titanium…” she points two bars of titanum-46 and titanium-50, the audio glitch I just heard was the automatic translation program updating and correcting the terms. “…but Common Titanium,” she points at the titanium-46, “isn't suitable for blessings, so it's used in mid-value currency. True Titanium is used in tools and high-value currency.”

How do they know the difference? You have to do spectroscopy do differentiate those!

“So you do differentiate them,” I try to probe about the topic.

“Yes, the difference, from my perspective, is only perceivable using a high grade of Eata's Blessing, so it is somewhat surprising you do as well.”

Pointing at two other metals, she continues: “These two are the most common waste products of refining titanium. I sensed some, no, a lot of this light metal in your Steel knife. So this makes the knife protect itself from rusting?”

“That's chromium, by alloying it with at least 1 part chromium with 9 parts of the rest of steel alloy, the steel protects itself from rusting. We call it Stainless Steel. If I remember correctly going as far as, 2 parts chromium, 1 part nickel and 7 parts of the rest of the steel alloy, would be the next grade of protection.”

I point to the nickel-58 ingot, that was ignored until now.

“I did not expect you to give me that recipe this easy.”

“It is common knowledge among my people,” I answer, “so it's nothing special. And you still to tune the rest of the steel to your needs. But why would you need that?”

“Titanium weapons, made from True Titanium, are expensive. While weapons from Common Titanium that aren't compatible with blessings would sell for cheaper, selling those could be used to sully my reputation as a blacksmith. Sell good quality steel tools is a way to avoid that problem. Sure, bronze tools work too, but they aren't as strong as steel ones.”

I used the default setting in the replicator, which always chooses the lightest isotopes to save on energy. So the items I created should be made from titanium-46.

“So about our rings…” I start.

“I could sense you made them from True Titanium,” Faberetta answers.

I did? But I didn't change the settings… Mittens must have changed the settings!

“Can you show me how you feed the shuttle?” she points to the Plumbum-208 ingot, “we are taught this has to be properly disposed of.”

“Yes, that makes sense, exposing Plumbum to water does poison the surroundings in the long term.”

The three of us move to the shuttle.

I put all the bars but light-metal ones onto the shelf, and the metal bars vanish a few moments later.

“You should join a smiths' guild next time you're in a town,” Faberetta says, “I can recommend you my guild if you want to. Depending on your needs, I can recommend you to both guilds. That way you can get all the heavy metals you need to feed the shuttle.”

“Don't I have to be able to make metalworks for that?”

“Yes, but you made those rings, didn't you?”

“Oh, yes, I did, but…” Can I really call myself a smith when I all I do is make schematics for the replicator? I'm at most an artist.

“You are qualified,” Beretta insists, “sure, your tools might be foreign to us, but that changes nothing.”

“I'll think about it. You were talking about money, I haven't seen anyone use it.”

“That's just how things in a village are,” Rowan answers, “we do have a little money, but it's rarely used in the village.”

“I can show you,” Beretta answers. She takes out her purse and puts several coins on the shelf, next to the knife I forgot to put back to my pocket.

“Why do you even carry that money on you?” Rowan asks.

“It's just a habit, so I don't forget my money whenever I go to Urach.”

Is Urach the next town? That's not important now. I have a look at the coins on the table. It's two red coins, two yellow coins, and one white coin. Each colour has a round coin and an oval coin twice the size of the round coin. All coins have a hole in them. Not soon after, the composition of those coins is displayed in my eye implant. The red coins are made from 95% copper, 4% tin and 1% zinc. The yellow coins are made from brass, 89% copper, 5% zinc, 5% aluminum, 1% tin. Lastly the white coins are made from titanium-48.

Come to think of it, Faberetta didn't speak about the aluminum-27 ingot I prepared. I guess that's something of a minting secret and is not talked about?

“The smallest one is a round copper,” Beretta points the round red coin, “it's also called a Credit. Twelve of those make one long copper coin. Eight long copper coins equal to 1 round brass coin, which is also called a Gil. One Gil has the same value as 96 Credits. Twelve round brass coins make one long brass coin. The next coin is a Common Titanium coin, a Bell. With 104 Gil per Bell, that's either eight long brass plus eight round brass for one titanium coin, or 26 long brass for 3 titanium coins.

There are units above these, but you're very unlikely to come across them.”

“Those are quite complicated subdivisions…” I mutter. So 1 Bell is… 96 × 104 Credits — 10,000 minus 16 — that's 9,984 Credits1.

“Yes, but those are just the official numbers. Some merchants are inclined to simplify the numbers, usually when buying and selling in bulk or when the potential losses aren't that big. Super rich people sometimes simplify the numbers to demonstrate their spending power by showing everyone the difference doesn't matter to them.”

“So actually being accurate is considered admitting not being in the same league as the rich?” Rowan asks.

“If someone offers you a simplification in your favour, accept it. It's considered bad etiquette if you don't. Anyway, can I have that bar of Chromium?”

“Of course,” I answer and hand her the bar.

“I'll make you some good kitchen knives from it. And some pots, I guess. While I'm at it, I'll add a copper pan. I heard you're taking cooking lessons from Nell.

I'll be back later!”

We accompany her to the door.

After Faberetta leaves, several other people drop by. They give us a lot of preserved food: pickled, salted and even candied. We're currently sitting in the shuttle. Rowan said, it'd be better to welcome our visitors in the shuttle. It's brighter in there. Since neither Rowan nor I can use Eos's blessing, we can't illuminate the house. Apparently, light created by Eos's blessing has a more limited range than natural light. Mittens says, it's probably an inverse quartic relation instead of an inverse square relation of regular light.

“Is it normal to give so much preserved food as housewarming gifts?” I ask Rowan.

“Well, it's well known in the village I can't cook,” he answers.

I don't think that can be true… but whatever. So if I could cook, he'd eat my food regardless of whether it's tasty?

“It's just a way to show that they care,” Rowan concludes, “it's also an opportunity for them to get away with letting you taste their special food without having to interact with us in any meaningful way.”

Eventually Nell drops by, or is it Uncle Nell now?

His gift is a set of spices.

“The Red Spice we commonly use in this village is made from Canela Fruit, Verum Fruit and salt.”

He shows me a small fruit.

It does somewhat look like a raspberry, but bright red.

“Canela is slightly sweet and aromatic and makes the perfect ingredient for a tea.

Then, there's Verum,” Nell shows me another fruit.

It looks like a kiwi, but it's green and much smaller, “this is the most common spice in the village.

It's used for many recipes and is really tasty on its own too.”

Nell smiles at me, then takes out a small bag with white powder, “and this one is salt!”

I laugh, “I know what salt is!

I just wonder where you get it from.

Salt doesn't grow on trees”

“It actually does.

Only fully ripened Verum is tangy, unripened ones only taste salty.

But you need to boil them to get rid of the toxins.

That's enough knowledge for the day, I'll be back tomorrow to teach you some cooking.

Tomorrow we'll start with making some simple sandwiches.

It's a simple.”

I smile, “Thanks Nell!

I'll see you tomorrow!”

He smiles back at me, then walks out of the door.

As the sun sets, Faberetta arrives again.

“Just as promised, knives and pots from steel and a pan from copper.”

I smile and take them, “thank you so much!”

She nods in response, “I hope you'll make good use of them.”

I nod in response, “I will do my best.”

Faberetta returns to her house. I don't know what to cook, so I decide to spurge a little and have dinner from the replicator.

“Mittens, choose something for dinner for Rowan and me.”


A few moments later, two pizza like objects appear in the replicator. Instead of the tomato sauce, it's a white cream. It's garnished with cubed bacon and green onions.

“This is called Flammekueche,” Mittens explains to Rowan.

I take a bite and it's delicious, but kind of bland. It's a lot blander than I remember. I've heard for some people, food from replicators tastes bland. But I've always thought, that was just placebo! At this rate, I can't go back to replicator food… Well, I'm planning on learning how to cook anyway, so that's not a problem for the immediate future. I take another bite of Flammekueche, but it's still not as good as I remember.

“What do you think?” Mittens asks me.

“It's delicious,” Rowans states.

“It's good,” I say, “but I think I can't go back to standard replicator food.”

“I understand,” Mittens reports, “retroflavor schematics shall be used next time. Maybe that helps.”

Oh, yes retroflavor schematics… Maybe they do taste better. I should have Mittens prepare a double-blind test for me. I only know they take more energy to synthesize.

“We have those installed?” I ask.

“Yes, they are. It seems they were a promotional item for this replicator.”

After we finish our meal, Rowan says: “We should get to bed early, we have a long day tomorrow.”

I nod in agreement, and we head back to our bedroom. 

  1. a mental arithmetic trick, as a formula: (a + b) × (a − b) = a² − b², in this case: 96 = 100 − 4 and 104 = 100 + 4, so 104 × 96 = 100² − 4² = 10,000 − 16 = 9,984. 

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