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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 60: Brown 20
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 59: Hastings 63
Derek spent the better part of an hour studying the circuitry inside this new computer console. His suspicions seemed to be proving themselves. Although there were new kinds of components the nature and purpose of which he could only guess, he was still able to trace the primary functions of the system–it had a video card, audio processing, memory circuits, and processor chips. He tried to tap into the system several times without success, and then went back around the console to collapse in one of the chairs. It was no use; he really had no clue what he was doing.
He realized that he was tired, but also getting hungry. He was not certain how long it had been since he had eaten, but there wasn't any food here and he hadn't brought any with him. He was going to have to get control of the doors, because he wasn't going to get any less hungry. One more assault on the computer, he thought, and then I'll focus on the doors directly. Doing doors one at a time wasn't the best approach, because it would be complex and time consuming; much better if he could find a way to open all the doors at once, or even better to write himself into the system so they would open for him. That meant determining which was the security control console and getting into that. This was the best bet; it was nearest the security monitoring station. Returning to the open access panel, he pulled a few more connectors, hooked up his computer into it at a different point, and started running some code at its processors.
Abruptly it happened: he was in. The monitors came alive, and he was suddenly able to run the console.
It still took a while for him to understand what he was seeing and how to operate it, but this was definitely the security control console. He got floor plans, door controls, even room names. He could monitor fire and breach alarms, activate or deactivate fire suppression equipment, and much more. He was now in control of movement through the compound.
Quickly he plotted a route to the outside, and opened the doors leading there. Grabbing his things, he rolled his bicycle into the hall and looked for the path he'd planned. At the end of the hall the door stood open, and then there were stairs leading up or down. He went up, up, up, dragging the awkward vehicle with him. Out of breath, he reached the main floor, and throwing his leg over the seat rode down the hall toward the front entrance. In a moment he braked, stopping on the threshold at the top of a flight of steps which were outside.
He looked before him. Once there had been a road here; the blacktop was broken and overgrown with weeds; ahead, the woods encroached on the yard, and the fence which had once surrounded the building was torn up by trees and vines. He faced the wilderness, the wild unknown.
Turning around, he rolled the cycle back down the hallway.
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 #94: Novel Meetings. 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: