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Stories from the Verse
Garden of Versers
Chapter 120: Beam 35
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Previous chapter: Chapter 119: Hastings 170
That feeling led finally to a collection of their own possessions. Beam had apparently brought most his to the wedding; whether it was because his alter ego had decided to pack it all for the honeymoon or because he had planned some sort of escape that never happened he could only guess. However, the Pyronics was here, and his blanket.
Also here were quite a few things belonging to Sophia, including some bedding stacked with the blanket and a sort of carpet bag containing clothes. She looked at these, and glanced at the badly soiled white lace wedding dress she was still wearing, then glanced around the open area.
“Looking for a place to change?” Beam asked. She only nodded. “Well, we’ll find somewhere. That outfit isn’t the most practical for wilderness excursions and guerilla combat.”
Twenty feet from Beam and Sophia’s gear were Bron’s clothes and such, and a short distance beyond that a number of his tools, including a small wheeled cart in which he sometimes hauled a few things when he had to do work that couldn’t come to him. As Beam looked at everything, he formed an image in his mind of the house they had shared, recognizing that Sophia must have moved into his room with him, but Bron was in the next room, and the workshop was beyond that. The layout of the room could overlay the locations of the various objects found, suggesting that there was method to the madness, that their possessions stayed in the same geographical relationships to each other in the new world as they had been in the old. That was at least useful to know, or could be.
Bron and Sophia packed their things; Beam collected his blanket and stuffed it into his already full pack.
“Dawn, do we have a way to recharge that thing?” he said, indicating the Pyronics.
“Sir, yes, sir.”
Don’t get frustrated, he reminded himself. She is programmed to answer what you ask, not what you meant to ask.
“What is the simplest way for us in our present situation to recharge it?”
“Sir, we should take it back to the bunker and connect it to the power supply there.”
“Will it be compatible?” Having recognized that electronic devices designed for use in Europe didn’t work on American electrical systems, he imagined that the differences between worlds would be even greater.
“Sir, the Pyronics is designed with an adaptive charging system to take advantage of whatever power sources are found in the field.”
He nodded. “Well, then, we should keep it.” He looked around at his now rather fully laden companions, and found someone with free limbs. “Bob, can you bring it?”
This one will carry the weapon.
“Excellent. Now we just have to figure out how to find our way back to that bunker.”
“J.D.?” Bron ventured, and Beam turned to acknowledge him. “I think I can feel where the bunker is.”
“Well, I left my hammer wedged in the door. Didn’t really mean to, but as we walked away from it I realized that I had this feeling in two directions, and one of them was back toward the bunker.”
“So probably you can feel your hammer, still stuck in the door back there.”
“That’s what I’m guessing.”
“Well, we’ll count that serendipitous, and let you show us the way back. Lead on.”
Bron began walking back in the direction they came, dragging his handcart behind him, shotgun on its strap over his shoulder. Beam saw the Pyronics rise off the ground and move toward Bob, and then as Bob started floating along with them the weapon floated by his side. Sophia came over to him, the food crawler following her, and somewhat hesitantly took hold of his left hand. With Dawn and the weapons crawler in the rear, they started the return journey.
“Bron,” Beam said, “you probably want to take us at least a bit off course. I already see carrion birds circling the area where we killed the wolves, and we probably would rather go around than through that part.”
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: