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Stories from the Verse
Chapter 12: Kondor 100
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Previous chapter: Chapter 11: Brown 101
"What was that," Slade started to say, but Kondor silenced him with a finger to his lips. He motioned for them to sit at the conference table, and set up his listening gear to focus on the door. Then, once he was certain that the sounds on the other side of the door did not include efforts to eavesdrop on them, he spoke quietly to the others.
"This is--I don't know what to say. We've fallen into a war, all right, but it's a huge mess. I'm not sure how we're going to fit here at all."
"What do you mean?" Slade asked. "If there's a war, surely it's just a matter of figuring out which side are the good guys and joining them. That's what I always do."
"Not this time, you don't," Kondor said. "Didn't you see it?"
Kondor wondered how Slade could have missed anything so obvious. Then again, as much as he admired his friend's combat skills, the man believed that Odin had called him to prepare to fight at Ragnorak, so how smart could he be?
"O.K., as soon as they saw you, they said you were a ghost. The ghosts are the enemies. Now what is it about you that makes you different from everyone else in that room, including me, that they could see that quickly?"
Slade screwed up his face. "I don't know. Iím wearing medieval clothing and weapons?"
Kondor just dropped his face into one hand, and shook his head.
"Iím not wearing an army uniform?"
It was clear that Slade had no idea.
"You're white," Kondor said. "They call you ghosts because you're white. This is a race war. Everyone on this side is black; everyone on that side is white. You didn't notice that there wasn't a single white soldier in that room?"
"No," Slade said. "Why should I have noticed something like that?
Kondor didn't have an answer to that. If Slade didn't understand why noticing the color of someone's skin was important, he couldn't explain it to him. Slade continued. "A lot of black guys join the army; I think more of my black friends did than my white friends; my white friends tried to get into the air force or the navy or something."
"Well, not in this world. This is an all black army defending an all black nation against white people. Wait, someone's coming." Kondor heard the approaching footsteps on his headset, and quickly shut it off just before the door opened. It was the one they called Lyson.
"If you will follow me," he said, "I'll show you to your quarters."
"We left some of our gear in one of the rooms up the hall," Slade said, "just sort of dropped it somewhere when we arrived. I hope there's no problem collecting it on the way?"
Lyson was visibly annoyed that the white person had spoken to him, but he answered. "We will let you gather your possessions." Kondor picked up his own things, such as were close at hand, and as they followed Lyson out of the room he wondered, and worried, what they would do tomorrow.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #218: Versers Resume. 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: