keeps this site and its author alive.
Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 89: Brown 30
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 88: Hastings 72
"So, you were born in this world during the time of the ancients, and then you went to another one, and then you came back?"
Dorelle obviously had been talking to Starson. She had come to see him while he was grabbing a bit of lunch in the kitchen.
"It seems so," Derek answered. "I don't think I can prove it."
"Where were you? On Mars? And how did you get back?"
"I wish it was that simple," Derek answered. "But I don't understand it myself, so I don't think I can explain it."
"Why did you come back?" Dorelle persisted.
"I didn't really think of it as coming back. This might be the same planet, it might another universe. But if this is my world, I'm several hundred years too late. To me it's just another world that I'm visiting. Eventually, like Lauren, I'll move on to another."
"Why? Don't you like this one?"
"I'm enjoying this one. I could complain about all the things I can't do. We don't have a swimming pool, and I can't go to a baseball game, and nobody is going to hand me a high school diploma. But those things weren't very important to me when I was home, even if I miss them now. I don't really have that much control over when I leave and where I go."
"Do you mean that we might be talking, and suddenly you would disappear?"
"No. At least, I don't think so. When I'm killed, I go to another world."
"Does this happen to everyone?"
"Only to people who stop getting older. At least, that's what I understand."
Dorelle appeared to puzzle over the matter.
"I've been thinking," Derek continued. "We've been here for ten years, Starson says. I've learned quite a lot. Maybe we should try going somewhere else."
"No, somewhere else in this world."
"Well, I don't know. You were talking about the planets. Maybe we could find an observatory somewhere that still works, and we could look at the planets and the stars, and learn a little about them that we couldn't find in our computers." That seemed unlikely even as he said itóbut he liked the idea now, so he wanted to find a reason why it might be so. "We could at least see with our own eyes, and know what the planets look like because we've seen them, and not just pictures of them."
"Or maybe," Dorelle suggested, "we could find a particle accelerator and see if we can prove what we've read."
"Or a space port," Derek added. "I read that there were several space stations in earth orbit, and we might get there."
"In ten years, my understanding of the world has completely changed. So many mysteries, things which all my life seemed like magic, have been explained. I think I'd like another look." After saying this, Dorelle sat for a while, seeming to contemplate the idea, before speaking again.
"So, how do we find one of these places?" she asked, and Derek realized he really didn't know. He had very little idea where such a thing might be; to make it more difficult, he didn't really know where he was. He had been in this building for a decade, and all that he knew for certain was that it was somewhere on earth, and they had the sort of seasons he knew from home. He suspected that it was North America, but that was just because there were a lot of things written in English, and the bulk of the stored satellite images he had recovered were of that area.
"I don't know, Dorelle," he said. "I don't know. But there must be a way to find out."
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 #110: Character Redirects. 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: