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Stories from the Verse
For Better or Verse
Chapter 61: Hastings 113
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 60: Slade 68
Lauren did use the disintegrator rod the next day. It wasn’t that she wanted to see whether it worked, but rather that she wanted to test her own skill with it. She had not fired the weapon in centuries; and although it was a devastating weapon, she discovered she was less than comfortable using it, not having had near the practice as she'd had with the other weapons. "On the other hand," she said to no one, "I've learned a lot of good fighting techniques I might not have learned so well if I'd had this to fall back on."
She practiced with it a bit. She thought it would be better to work with it until she was good at it; but it was the sort of weapon that would reduce a boulder to less than dust–a small boulder, certainly, yet large enough that she could see herself whittling away her island bit by bit in the name of practice. She tucked it back into the cart; maybe one day she'll have the opportunity to clear a path through an asteroid field or something, so that she'll have a real reason to use it.
Over the next several weeks, she began thinking more about ways to make her abilities work together, to use the outer and inner powers to reinforce and enhance each other. She had had an insight about the nature of reality, the idea that things were not so easily divided. She had always learned to discriminate–religion, science, history, law, grace, future, past, spirit, body, mind. These were, in a sense, very human ways of seeing the world. But they were not the world; they were only tools for understanding it. Religion, science, history, law, grace, future, past, spirit, body, mind, and whatever else was out there could be distinguished from her perspective; but in the end they were all reality, not even parts of reality but each in some sense the totality of reality, not parts of the whole but expressions of the whole. As it was now, she did some things with her mind, some with her spirit, some with her body; but could she do all things with her whole being? Could she put the totality of herself into one thing?
Then she wondered, if she did that, would it be the end? Would it remove her from the physical world altogether, finally bring the permanent death which was the door to greater life?
That was something about which she realized she should perhaps not speculate. God decided how long she would live. She was obliged to use the time well, however much it was.
Over the next few weeks she began to experiment with using different kinds of abilities not merely together, but to enhance each other. She remembered, ages ago, using levitation combined with a jump to make it appear that she had leapt to the top of a building; but now she considered whether she could enhance her jumps and flips and other acrobatic and even combat maneuvers by backing them up with levitation, telekinesis, and force generative skills. She also started considering more how her magic could enhance her fighting, not just as discrete forms of attack but as ways of enhancing the physical. She considered whether she could give her weapons, from the kau sin kes to the arrows to the bullets and even the beams of light, greater accuracy or impact by using magic and psionics on them, and so destroyed a few arrows and a few targets in the process. The magical ability to target transferred also to her psionic weapons, and she looked for ways to use her psionics to support her magic. It was a different way of thinking about all of these things, and it was going to make her yet more potent than she had ever been.
If she again faced Tubrok, she hoped not to be embarrassed again.
She was not counting days or weeks or months; there was no reason to do so. Had anyone asked, she would have said she had only been here a short time, perhaps three or four decades. No one asked, and she did not think about it. Yet it was only a short time after she began this new idea that it came to an end. Something she attempted didn't work right, and her adventures changed significantly once more.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with ten other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #183: Verser Transitions. 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: