When Edward just stopped writing, and then stayed there for a while, Dijana thought she had broken his concentration. Rather than interrupt him further by asking him what she had interrupted, she said nothing and hoped he would get back on track. This resulted in what might have been a very awkward situation with two individuals standing completely still in a room had either of said individuals been self-aware enough to realize that what they were doing was awkward.
When he did address her question, though, she tilted her head as though the sound he had made represented a full question involving words in an officially recognized language. She listened to his full explanation, turning the ideas over in her head, until he got to the part he had been considering, at which point she gave a nod. Indeed, there were social impacts to take into account, like the one she had mentioned about the ship’s crew. She did not answer right away, but thought about it as well. Then she stepped around the table to join him at the chalkboard.
“Professor, my opinion is that it should be done. The benefits to having an engine powered by steam are enormous. A ship no longer reliant on the wind, albeit still supported by it if the masts remained as a backup, would be more reliable; and the speed at which it could travel would be a known quantity, unlike the wind. In fact, perhaps having ships made of metals could be better for holding greater loads and being harder to destroy than wooden hulls. They may withstand sudden storms better as well.”
She arched an eyebrow. “But that is only my opinion. The question I would return to you is, should we be the ones to make that decision? If a steam-powered ship—or more to the point, Professor, merely the engine you have here—becomes available, either shipping companies and merchants will use it, or they will not. The markets will always settle around goods that work.” With a small chuckle, she added, “Eventually. Ship captains are a stubborn bunch, it must be said. They would pitch a fit if someone said the masts must be a centimeter taller.”
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