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Stories from the Verse
Garden of Versers
Chapter 111: Beam 31
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 110: Slade 152
They had no trouble reaching the exit. Although there were security doors at every level, none had been secured, and anyway they were all designed to secure against people trying to get farther in, and they were trying to get out. The crawlers had less trouble negotiating stairs than the old man did, but soon enough he was huffing by the secure heavy door they took to be the exit they sought.
However, it was secured.
Once again the white-haired man was faced with trying to solve how to get such a door open. This time he checked the immediate area for a scratched code, but without any luck. He tried the code that opened the armory, but knew before he did so that it was unlikely. He was going to have to fool the system into opening; he had no ideas.
He took out a cigarette, lit it, and took a long drag. As he held the smoke, he stared at the butt, then slowly let his lungs exhale.
“Smoke detectors,” he said.
“What?” Bron asked.
“Dawn, we need to get the fire suppression system to think there’s a fire in here so it will release the door and let us out. Can you do that?”
The girl scanned the walls and ceiling, and then walked to the crawler cart following her. She checked a couple of boxes and soon removed what Beam took to be some kind of grenade, walked to a corner away from the exit, and fit it into a protruding piece of a light fixture.
“Everyone get ready,” Beam said. Dawn pushed a button on the device and walked back toward the exit. “Oh, and maybe cover your ears and look away?” He added, and she nodded.
There was a loud bang and a bright flash, and smoke started filling the far side of the room, spreading rapidly. An alarm sounded and red lights flashed. Beam hit what he called the “enter” button on the keypad, and the door slid open. “Everybody out,” he said, and sent Dawn first, followed by Bob, Bron, Sophia, and himself. He stopped when his crawler was still in the doorway.
“I’m not sure how to keep this door from closing,” he said.
Bron dropped his hammer into the track such that the head was seated against the frame, and as Beam’s crawler came out there was a pause and the door closed against the head of the hammer, and stopped.
“Good thinking,” Beam said. Bron shrugged. They were out.
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 #313: Verser Solutions. 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: