Spy Verses; Chapter 111, Kondor 126

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Stories from the Verse
Spy Verses
Chapter 111:  Kondor 126
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:   Chapter 110:  Brown 144

As Zeke packed his loose gear in his duffel, he talked.  “O.K., so far you’ve been right, so I’m willing to accept that this is strange but it’s happened to you before.  Obviously I left the base with you, and I’m somewhere else which you say is another planet.”

“Another universe.”

“Yeah, whatever.  Anyway, it seems that I can tell where my things are.  What else should I expect?”

Kondor looked across the desert sands as he spoke.  “If we’re more than a dozen yards or so apart,” he said, “you can probably detect which direction leads to me.”

“I can see where that might be handy.”

“Yes.  But if there were any other versers--people infected with scriff traveling between universes--you would probably also detect them, provided they were in range.  I haven’t figured out how far the range is, though.  I’ve never been able to tell other versers apart by that sense, though, so you might not know who is who.”

“Less useful, but not entirely useless.”

“Right.  If you get killed, you’ll jump to another world.  At first you’ll arrive asleep, and then wake up, but gradually as you get used to it you’ll be more aware of your surroundings when you arrive.  You might feel a twinge of pain from whatever killed you, but your body will be fully healed.  On the other hand, you can suffer injuries that stay with you, but I think that only happens if you don’t die and manage to recover.  Anyway, that’s how I got my eye.”

“‘Don’t die’ and ‘get fully healed’ sound like good things to me.”

“Yes, it’s not all bad.  But you repeatedly go through this part where you have no idea where you are or how to survive in the world.  Sometimes, like when I appeared in Colonel Roberts’ office, you have to think of a way to explain yourself very quickly.  Sometimes, like here, you’ve got to figure out how to survive against the elements, and whether there is any civilization anywhere.”

“So, sometimes you’re in places that don’t have any people?”

“I was only ever in one place where I didn’t find anyone at all, and I was later told that there were people there, but only a few and maybe a hundred miles from where I was when a robot killed me.  I have also been in worlds where the people weren’t human, but for some reason that seems to be the exception.”

“O.K.  So, how do we figure out where we are?”

“I have some ideas, but I’m open to suggestions.”

“That bad, huh?”

Kondor walked back toward Zeke.  “I’m not going to lie to you.  I’ve never been in a situation quite like this before, and I’m not sure what we’re going to do.  On the other hand, I travel with food and drink which will sustain us for at least a few days, the tent is large enough for two, and I’ve had some basic survival training and experience--not in a desert, but I know some of the tricks.  I also have equipment to test plants for toxins, so if we find any vegetation we’ll at least know whether we can eat it.”

Zeke nodded.  “So, what do we do first?”

Kondor looked back toward the horizon.  “I think we begin by getting comfortable and watching the sunset.  We don’t know how long the days or nights are, or how hot or cold they are likely to be, and so we don’t know whether we need to stay cool by day and travel by night, or stay warm by night and travel by day, or do all our traveling at dusk and dawn.

“Just to be safe, let’s pitch the tent.  I think it’s too late to set up a solar collector for water, but I’ll see whether I have the equipment for that.  We’ll also want to eat something in a few hours, but go slow on the liquid until we have a better idea of the climate.  From there, we’re going to have to choose a direction and look for some sign of civilization, and decide the best way to travel.”

Next chapter:  Chapter 112:  Slade 126
Table of Contents

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 #265:  Versers in Motion.  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:

Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel

Old Verses New

For Better or Verse

Stories from the Verse Main Page

The Original Introduction to Stories from the Verse

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