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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 71: Hastings 67
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Derek was not an apt pupil in combat skills. He was as unfit as he looked. Then again, Lauren remembered that she wasn't in the best shape when she started her workout, and it took months of practice before she was comfortable with her tumbling, jumping, and balancing tricks. Although she had only worked with Raiden for a little over a month, she had worked with him intensively during that time, and used those skills whenever she could. Plus, she was already in great shape by the time she met him, so the lessons were easy.
He did have some skill with the butcher knife he carried; but it was crude as a weapon, not designed for the purpose, and he was very much an amateur with it. Also, although he had developed an attack which could be devastating if successful, plunging the blade deep into the unprotected abdomen of an opponent, it was from one perspective a poor attack, easily avoided and putting the attacker off balance on a miss, even on a weak hit. A solid hit on an unprepared target could end the battle, but the technique was unreliable.
She started him with some of the easy things, the forward roll, a few simple calisthenics, and some running. They spent an hour on this, enough time for the power cells for their guns to recharge, and then returned to the weapon practice. But she told him that he would be sore the next day, and shouldn't let that stop him from coming back for more.
After the next session of target practice, they plugged the cells back into the charger, and went to other things. Lauren returned to her room, and her studies. She decided it was time to test a few things, starting slowly. Her clairvoyance and other remote sensory abilities worked fine. She found that her telekinetics worked quite well, and that she could even lift herself off the ground, although she didn't actually attempt to fly in the room. She could do the pyrogenesis. In all, the psionics worked. She turned her attention to the magic.
Magic did not work at all as well; most of the things she tried didn't work at all, and the few things she could get working were weak and uncertain. This was not a world for magic.
She didn't have to check technology; there was plenty of it around, and although the people she met didn't much understand it, they had no trouble learning to use it. She had a feel for the world now.
She devoted the time remaining before dinner to prayer and study, and again faced the question of what she should be doing here.
Dinner was the one time when everyone seemed to get together. She took this opportunity to tell them the simple gospel. Other than Derek, they had never heard of the Bible, or Jesus, or even God. She found it necessary to start with the simplest concepts, that God had created the world, that man was created in God's image to have fellowship with him, and that man's sin separated him from God. It was a long leap from the fall to the redemption, but she made it, talking about how God became man, taught us about God, then died and returned from death, making a way for us to return to God.
This simple statement wasn't enough. There were too many gaps in their knowledge, too much to tell. It wasn't just technical knowledge they had lost in their disaster; they had lost everything, history, science, culture, religion, mathematics, art, music, all swept away in the cataclysm. Knowledge of the cataclysm itself had been lost. There was no history, no knowledge, not even myth and tradition beyond that there had been an ancient people who were humans and had built the roads and buildings and towers which still in small part remained around them. Preaching the gospel would require rebuilding an entire knowledge base. There was much to do.
Lauren would do it. She would begin at the beginning, and teach them the whole story. It wasn't that they weren't interested; they perceived it as lost knowledge, having unknown potential value which could only be discovered by learning it. Dinner would be her pulpit, and she would teach them in simple Bible stories everything that happened from creation to redemption. This world had lost the truth; she would bring it back, as well as she could.
She had found her purpose here.
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 #100: Novel Settling. 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: