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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 5: Kondor 43
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Previous chapter: Chapter 4: Hastings 45
The pilot appeared surprised to see Kondor, but not inordinately so. He called one of the deck hands, and instructed that he was to be escorted to Captain John. Even the names, Kondor thought, had a strange parallel. He was led to a room filled with charts and maps on the deck below.
Captain John could have been Captain Johnson's twin. The black man beside him looked for all the world like First Officer Jamison, almost six feet tall and well-muscled, enough like Kondor that he might be mistaken for his brother. The others also looked familiar.
"Captain," he began, "my name is Joseph Kondor. I'm a doctor from the outskirts of New Haven. I was just coming into town to buy supplies when I was jumped and struck from behind. I woke up some time ago; they must have thought I was dead. They took my money, and stuffed me into a crate of apricots. I pried it open when I awoke, and as soon as I figured out where I was I came looking for you.
"I'm not a stowaway, sir, and would be pleased to work off my passage somehow, perhaps as a deck hand."
The captain took this in stride. "Welcome aboard, Doctor Kondor; I'm sorry for your trouble. We're quite a distance from New Haven, sir, and not really headed that direction, I'm afraid."
"I understand. Well, I've always wanted to travel and never had the opportunity to take to the seas. Might I ask where we're bound?"
"At the moment we're crossing the Syndic Ocean; with any luck, we should reach landfall in Durnmist in less than a hundred days. After that we've got several stops before we end the run in Sardic. We usually start again after about two weeks, sometimes more or less. But you can probably catch a more direct route to New Haven before that."
"On the other hand, having been robbed I don't know what I would do for money. If you'll be reaching New Haven eventually, I would prefer to work off my passage and stay with the ship."
Captain John eyed him up and down. "James, what do you think?"
"Well, Captain," the black man said, "we can always use an extra deck hand."
"That's true. On the other hand, the man is a doctor, and it would be a shame to waste those skills. Is Doc Evan up?"
"I'll check, sir." And James left.
"We're a little more than half way through the run, and I'm ahead of schedule," the Captain said. "If you know what you're doing, I'm sure Evan can use an extra medic. I'll pay you five thousand diktar when we reach Sardic plus quarters and meals on the ship until then, if he approves. You work for him, tending the sick and injured and preparing and serving meals."
"That's quite generous of you, sir."
"Ever work on a ship before?"
"Nothing like this. But I'm sure I can pick up the differences quickly enough."
"I'll hold you to that."
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 #74: Another Novel. 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: