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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 150: Hastings 92
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As she saw Joe draw out his blaster, Lauren realized perhaps for the first time that this was truly a combat mission. She had considered it something of a rescue, and had prepared for battle, but had not seriously considered fighting. That now changed.
This put her in her usual position of needing to decide on what weapons to rely. It was perhaps not so difficult as it often was. Most of her magic was designed to oppose magical creatures of evil, not ravenous dragons. The disintegrator rod was still broken. She had her psionics, her psionic blaster and drill, her capture rod, the pistols, and the laser rifle. Which should she have ready?
Derek was holding his laser rifle. It was a simple choice for him. Apart from that gun, he owned a knife, a chain, and a frying pan. Perhaps he had found another weapon since she knew him, but he had not mentioned it. Joe had the blaster, not the M-16. This surprised her a bit, since on their last mission he preferred the rifle; however, Joe now had a way to recharge the power pack on the blaster, and he had spares. That meant he could replenish the ammunition for it more easily than for the other. He probably also had found time to practice with the weapon.
Thought of the power packs reminded her that Derek would have only the six, probably. They were rechargeable, but it took a long time to do one. She had six power packs that matched his; if he ran low she could trade hers for his spent ones, and keep him in the fight. Thus it made sense to save her laser in case he needed the ammo. She had plenty of ammo for the pistols, but couldn't easily replace that. The weapons which made the most sense were the psionic ones–sort of. After all, she could use the laser or the pistols, or even the bow and arrows (she had brought these), and have her mind free to use her psionic abilities. She might be able to fly in this world; she probably could do the blade, and certainly the shield. There were a lot of mental tricks she could use if she were not using her mind to power her weapon. It was a difficult choice.
For the moment, she kept the capture rod in both hands. She could use this to stop an attacker, at least. Joe believed that the ship was overrun with those flying lizards; so far they had only seen one. It might well be that the ship was overrun with creatures, but not all the same creatures, or that the creatures went through morphic stages of development, like frogs. Capturing another could be useful.
Besides, there were once people on this ship, and there might be still. A telekinetic force field was a good choice in the event that they encountered someone, mad with terror or grief, or otherwise dangerous to them. She would rather not kill someone if she could save them, so it was good to have at least one weapon between them which was not deadly.
She closed the hatch behind them. It would slow any retreat they might make, but it would block the dragons.
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 #142: Characters Unite. 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: