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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 101: Kondor 76
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Once in custody, Kondor found himself repeating his story; then, under questioning, he presented the whole matter to them. He told them about the experiments with scriff-based electronics in his world, and how the army fouled up and got him infected with the stuff. He gave a rundown of his adventures–a few days in the first world, a couple of years in space, a decade or so in Sherwood Forest, a few weeks in their own history bringing back the vorgo, several months in the strange parakeet world, a few years sailing the seas, and then less than a week ago back here, all, thanks to the scriff, without aging a day. In support of his story, he showed them several of the medical instruments and medicines (he said he would be very happy to have them copy the medications, if they would provide him with supplies), as well as the mace, the sextant, and the statue in the museum that was so like him.
"Finally," he said, "you could test my theory by killing me. If I'm wrong, I'm dead, and you can try to figure out some other explanation for my gear. But if I'm right, I vanish, and all my gear goes with me–and you lose several advances in medicine and a major step forward in your science."
"So what do you want from us?" the inquisitor asked.
"Want?" He hadn't really considered it, but there was something that had been on his mind. "For the past couple of days, I've wanted to find a job, so I wouldn't continue depleting my gold. I've worked for the military before–not any military you would know, but not much different from yours, judging from the compatibility of the gear. And I always want to learn. I'm probably about as advanced in medicine as your schools could take me unless I went into research, but you're about to advance physics into new places thanks to my gear, so I want to be part of that–I want to understand how my own equipment works, so I can fix it if it breaks, at the very least."
A voice, as from an unseen observer, came through on a speaker. "I think we can accommodate Mr. Kondor."
"Sir," the inquisitor replied, "you don't believe his story."
"I don't see that it much matters. He has something we can't explain; he offers an explanation we can't understand. If he told us he was from the planet Fortran in the Nexus Nebula, or that he had come to us from a thousand years in the future, or that he is the heir to the throne of the ancient civilization of the Pernicans, would we have any basis to say that his explanation is incorrect? He claims that something has happened to him which he doesn't fully understand, and that he has somehow stumbled into our world. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. He says he doesn't understand how the thing works, but is quite willing to let us examine it and experiment with it as long as we share our knowledge with him and give him the means to live while he's here. Even if I thought him insane–which I do not think–I would still think that a fair deal."
The inquisitor sighed. "Welcome aboard, Mr. Kondor."
"Yes, welcome aboard, Mr. Kondor," the speaker repeated. "We'll get you set up with a room on the base–I'm afraid that it's rather a closed facility, and there is very little traffic in and out, but you will be treated as the rest of the men in that regard. Once you've got a room, someone will bring you to my office, where we'll set you up with the proper paperwork for pay and benefits. I am looking forward to working with you."
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 #116: Character Missions. 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: