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Stories from the Verse
Garden of Versers
Chapter 96: Beam 26
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 95: Brown 174
The compound was considerably larger than Beam would have expected, not large enough to be a base but probably sufficient for a field headquarters. They had moved some distance through the halls before they found anything other than empty furnished and unfurnished rooms. Finally Bron opened a different kind of door.
“Why is it cold in there?” He asked. Beam answered.
“It’s what’s called a walk-in, which is short for walk-in refrigerator or freezer. It uses electrical power to create cold air to keep things fresh, usually food, although sometimes they use it for other things like flowers or chemicals or dead bodies. Let’s see what you’ve got.”
He felt for a light switch, and soon found it. There were cases stacked all around the room.
“Well, it looks like dinner is served.” He opened a case and tossed one of the one pound plastic-like packages to Bron, and another to Sophia.
“What is it?” Bron asked.
“They might have another name for it in this world, but I’d say it’s their version of an MRE.”
“Yeah, it stands for ‘Meal, Ready to Eat’.”
Sophia spoke. “They left out the ‘T’.”
“I wouldn’t know; I haven’t opened mine. Sometimes they contain coffee, but Americans aren’t big on tea.”
“Never mind,” the redhead said, as if talking to an idiot. “I can’t eat this.”
“Why not? Allergies?”
“It’s not food.”
Beam shrugged. “Suit yourself. It might be the best we find for quite a while. If you prefer, you can wait until we kill an enemy combatant, and ask Bob if he’ll share the brains with you, or maybe try barbecuing some ribs.”
She stared at him, and he tried not to smirk. Opening the package and removing one of the contained packets, he found a bar of something chewy, and as he took a bite he decided it contained roast chicken. Checking the other packets that came in the same pack, he found mashed potatoes with chicken gravy, and a heavy pressed cardboard spoon, a bag of carrots, and a jelly-like fruity substance he took to be dessert. “Beverages,” he said. “There’s got to be something here to drink.” He hunted around the room until he found cases of foil-like packages of fruit juice. He also found a rolling trolley. He proceeded to stack six cases of food and eight of beverage on this.
He looked at Sophia. “We’re going to have to find you a backpack or duffel or something.”
“Because you’re going to have to carry some of the gear. This is a good hundred fifty pounds of food plus almost two hundred pounds of liquid, and I suspect when we go outside we’re not going to have good roads, so we’re going to have to carry food with us.”
“And why do I have to carry it?”
“Because everyone who can carry something has to carry something. We’re going to need food. We’re also going to need weapons, and if we’re lucky we’re going to find ourselves trying to decide what to take with us and what to leave behind.”
Bron said, “We could consider staying here.” Beam looked at him questioningly. “Well, we’ve got food and water, the place seems safe enough, and at the moment we don’t have a good reason to leave.
Beam nodded. There was sense in that. He’d have to consider it an option. “Maybe. For the moment, let’s keep searching.”
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twelve other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #306: Versers Refocused. 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: