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Stories from the Verse
Chapter 52: Brown 121
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“So, how do we get to the thirtieth floor?”
Derek was addressing his own thoughts, and the others were quiet for a moment, until Pete interrupted. “I take it you don’t want the obvious answer.”
The interruption confused him for a brief moment. “What? Oh, yeah, that we go up?” He smiled. “Funny man, they didn’t tell me you were also a comedian. No, obviously we go up; but how do we get there?”
“How?” Pete asked, really questioning the question.
“The building has eight sets of stairs, four along the outer walls and four closer to the center. There are also pairs of elevators on each of the outer walls, and a central core of eight elevators. Sometimes the central elevators open into a square, and you can walk all the way around them; sometimes floors are divided into sections such that if you take the south elevator to reach a north office you have to go around the long way to get there. It’s not exactly the same with the stairs, but some floors are divided so that it’s difficult to get from some stairwells to offices on the other side. That gives us two problems.
It occurred to Derek that he was starting to talk, and maybe think, like Joe. This was the kind of reasoning Joe used when they were trying to take the spaceship from the dragons. Of course, there were worse people to emulate in regard to tactical thinking.
“The first problem we have is that we don’t know the layout of the thirtieth floor and we don’t know where the command post is. So we don’t know where we want to be when we get there. The second problem is that they’re likely to have some kind of defenses on the doors--guards, bombs, something--and we can’t be certain what they’re going to have where.”
“Not the lifts,” Jim said, and Derek gave him an inquisitive look. He continued. “Even though you did that thing with them, the terrorists are going to be on edge. The lift rings before the door opens, and there is no way for us to retreat from it. Even if they aren’t watching them all, it’s easy for them to watch the ones they are, and we can’t see before the door opens. Stair doors have small windows, so people won’t crash into each other opening them.”
“But,” Pete offered, “with these simple bombs they’re using, it would be easier to trap all the stair doors so no one can enter the floor that way, and then just watch the lifts.”
They were both right, of course. Derek had to think about this. It would be better, probably, to enter the floor somewhere farther from the office, because the terrorists would be watching the nearer doors more closely; but then, that would also mean that they would have to cross a greater part of the floor to find them. In any case, they had no information about that floor. Or did they?
“We need,” he said, “to find a building directory, to find out where this photography studio is.”
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 #235: Versers Infiltrate. 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: