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Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 16: Hastings 175
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 15: Beam 45
Lauren, are you busy?
“Hang on a minute, Bob,” she said to her sparring partner. “Derek is calling.” Then turning to the telepathic link, she responded, Derek! Is anything wrong?
Oh, on the contrary. My mom always wanted me to call whenever I went away anywhere so she’d know I got there all right, and we actually got in yesterday evening, but I wasn’t feeling well and didn’t think of it until this morning. Of course, no one reminded me, because, well, they don’t have telephones or anything--but it occurred to me that I could call you telepathically and let you know we got here fine.
I do appreciate that, Derek. I’ll let the others know. So, how do you like the place?
Oh, I could live here. Part of me says it beats Mahwah, but then, you realize all the things that are normal there which are beyond luxury here--running water, showers, video games and television shows, light at the flip of a switch, climate control. These people have everything money can buy, but don’t have a lot of things ordinary people, even poor people, take for granted in our world. Still, gardens, a large indoor shallow pool for a bathtub, courtyards, beautiful tapestries and rugs and such, and of course being the husband of the daughter here the servants are always seeing to my needs.
I know what you mean. You know, I keep thinking that I should teach you some magic--the outer powers, the stuff of Merlin and such. Your prayer to the King that saved Vashti’s life sounds like you’ve started tapping some of that yourself, but it would probably help immensely to have a bit of training in what I know.
Sounds good. I kept forgetting to ask Shella, and to offer to teach her more psionics. She can read minds and do telepathy, but that’s about as far as she’s gotten, as far as I know. You might talk to her about what she wants to learn.
That’s a good idea. I’ll ask her. Anything else?
No, nothing comes to mind.
Well, I know people miss you here, but I’m glad you got there O.K. Call whenever. There’s not much happening here.
With that, Derek had dropped the link. Obviously Lauren’s face must have changed because Bob knew the conversation was finished. “So,” he said, “what did he want?”
“Only to let us know he arrived safely yesterday evening, and all is well. I think maybe he misses us, but then he’s only just arrived there and doesn’t really know anyone other than Vash, and since everyone there knows Vash they’re probably all trying to get their two minutes with her, and he can’t monopolize her time so he’s shut out a bit. But I’m guessing. He has no complaints.
“I suggested that when he returns I should teach him some magic, and he suggested that I should get together with Shella and teach her some psionics. Think she’d like that?”
“Probably. She’s sometimes mentioned it, but she’s so good at magic that she usually thinks of magic first. But yeah, ask her when you see her. Now, I think I was just getting the upper hand in our sparring match here--”
“Oh, do you? You wish. I think you were about to lose your secondary weapon. Ever think about carrying a second dagger, or even a second sword?”
“Oh, too difficult. Besides, in real combat I’m always trying to figure out how to juggle them so that I can draw the blaster. More than once I’ve left my dagger on the ground and had to come back to retrieve it.”
“All the more reason to have a second somewhere, if you can figure out where it would be accessible.”
“I guess. I’ll give it some thought. Of course, I’m particularly fond of my dagger--I know it intimately, its exact weight and balance. I’m not quite as good with any other.”
“Yes, I can see that. I’m probably still a tiny bit better with the steel kau sin ke than with either the plastic or the glass ones, because that’s the one I draw first and use most. But practice with another weapon and you’ll get as good eventually. All right, ready? Go.”
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with ten other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #323: Verser Crises. 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: