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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 96: Kondor 74
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"Could we see some kind of identification–perhaps a passport or a blue card?"
Kondor smiled, attempting to be disarming. "I don't have anything like that on me at the moment. I was just going to go for a walk."
"Actually, you don't have anything like that at all, do you?" one of the men said; it did not seem to be a question.
"Is this some sort of immigration enforcement?"
The first man smiled. "No, that's not our concern, generally. We do investigate espionage, but somehow you don't seem to be that sort of threat."
"But I do seem to be a threat?"
"Did you talk to an Abram Raphos the day before yesterday?"
"I talked to a lot of people the day before yesterday, including several police officers, bank officials, hotel staff–and I did some shopping, if I recall correctly. But I don't recognize the name."
"Abram Raphos is the manager of an army surplus store a few blocks from here. He has reported that a man named Joseph Kondor staying at the Hendricks is carrying what he has described as a ray gun. We don't normally take such stories seriously, Mr. Kondor, but it seems that you are something of a mystery yourself. Could you tell us what it was that you showed Mr. Raphos?"
"Mr. Raphos is remembering a toy I showed him, something I picked up in my travels. He's overreacting."
"We thought of that, sir; it is certainly possible, but Mr. Raphos doesn't seem that type, and he was rather convinced that this was a weapon, of a type he had never seen."
"It is a silly idea, though, isn't it? A strange man carrying a ray gun stops in an army surplus store to get ammo for it."
"It is a silly idea, sir. But we didn't say you were trying to get ammo for it. Could we see this toy, sir?"
Kondor could see that he had goofed; there were few options at this point.
"It's in my duffel, in my room."
"We would be happy to accompany you back inside, sir."
"Very well. Follow me." He led them inside, upstairs, and to his room. There he drew out the kinetic blaster he had brought with him from the Mary Piper, the spaceship of that name, and presented it to them.
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 #113: Character Movements. 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: