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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 141: Brown 48
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"That friend of yours is quite something."
Derek hadn't heard Raeph enter, and so was surprised by his voice.
"Joe? He's been through a lot."
"No, the other one. The woman. She is really different. What was her name?"
"Oh. That's Lauren." Obviously Raeph had either remembered or again met her, and Derek was not certain what to say, not knowing what Raeph knew. "Well, she taught me quite a bit, and I suppose more than that she taught me how to teach myself. So I guess I think a lot of her."
"We'll have to find a place for her here. What can she do?"
Derek laughed. "I imagine she could do anything she wanted. But if you mean technology, I don't think she's ever learned much of that. You'd find her positively primitive on that count. She'd have a hard time explaining how her own gunpowder pistols work, and I'd wager if you asked about the laser rifle you'd get where the power pack goes and how you pull the trigger."
Raeph frowned. "That will make things a bit more difficult. But I'll think of something. I guess I should get together with her and talk about what she'd like to do while she's here. Do you think she'd have dinner with me this week?"
Something about the way Raeph asked–well, it didn't sound like his usual business voice. "I'll–I'll ask her as soon as I see her. I don't imagine her calendar is full. What night is good?"
"Well, tonight would be excellent, if we can arrange it. If not tonight, we should do it tomorrow–the sooner we figure out what she can do, the sooner we can get her started." This last seemed almost an afterthought, or an excuse, but Derek didn't press the matter.
"I'll talk to her as soon as I can, and give you a call when I know something."
He left work a bit early and found Lauren running all her clothes through his laundry. Even the robes, he remembered, as ancient and lavish as they looked, were a polyester-cotton blend, and washed up easily–although they were showing signs of wear.
"Raeph wants to meet with you over supper tonight," Derek said, "to try to figure out what it is that you can do in this world."
"I can do that," she answered.
Derek wasn't sure whether to say what he was thinking. However, he knew that it was usually better to tell Lauren his thoughts. "I think he likes you," he said.
"What?" she laughed.
"I think he likes you?"
"What makes you think that?"
"I don't know. Something odd about him, the way he was talking. I could be wrong, I guess. But I thought I should say something."
"I'm sure you're wrong," she said. "I'm surprised he doesn't hate me, actually. But thank you for telling me. When and where do I meet him?"
"Oh–he didn't say. He asked if I could arrange something, and I said I would try."
"I see. So now what?"
"I guess I have to call him, and see what he wants to do."
"Mm-hmmm." It was exactly what his mother would have said when he stated the obvious. He went to the console and raised Raeph, still at work.
"Tell her," Raeph said, "that I'll come by your place to get her in about an hour."
Derek delivered the message. Lauren looked over her clothes. "I think I can be ready by then," she said, and continued folding things as they came out of the dryer.
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 #134: Versers in Space. 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: