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Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 21: Hastings 176
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 20: Beam 46
Hang on a minute, Derek, she answered the telepathic message as she tried to signal the others that she was hearing from him without interrupting too abruptly.
Don’t have a minute. Been shot.
“Shot!?” she said aloud from the surprise, then returned to the telepathy. Shot?
I’m plunging. Versers, half a dozen, one not human, approaching Vashti’s home.
“Shot?” Slade said. “Who’s been shot?”
“Hush,” Lauren answered, waving a hand at him.
Coming from east.
That was the end. Derek? Lauren inquired, then aloud, “Derek?” She stood in shock for a moment, then started moving. “We’ve got to go. Derek’s been shot.”
“Lauren,” Joe said sternly. “Get hold of yourself.”
“What? Derek’s been shot. We’ve got to get there.”
“Then you need a plan,” Joe said.
“What did he tell you?” Bob asked.
“Um--it was jumbled. He had been shot, and was falling from the sky. There were half a dozen versers, one of them not human, and they were coming toward Vashti’s place from the east.”
“East is bad,” Bob said. “They must be working with that Amir who was supporting the bandits.”
“Allegedly supporting the bandits,” Joe said. “I feel someone that direction, but if he’s right, I wouldn’t be able to recognize Derek as different from the other versers.”
“If he was falling and then went silent, he probably hit the ground,” Bob suggested.
“But he might still be alive,” Lauren answered. “I’ve got to get to him.”
“Maybe,” Joe said. “On the other hand, this might have been diversionary, to draw us away from here so that we can’t get back in time to fight an attack here.”
Bob nodded. “Someone should go, to find out what happened. Someone should stay here.”
“Whoever goes should be someone who was at the wedding,” Joe said, “so that the Amir will recognize them. It also has to be someone who can open a gate and get us there, even though we’ve never been there. Only Lauren and Shella can open a gate.”
“And one of them has to stay here,” Bob added, “so that if we have to move everyone else there we can.”
Lauren insisted, “I have to go. I’m the only one who can heal him.”
“I beg your pardon,” Joe said. “I’m the doctor here.”
“Yes, you’re right, I’m sorry. I’m sure you’ve done quite well. But what if he’s beyond your help?”
“O.K.,” Bob said, “Joe will go with Zeke and Lauren, Shella and I will stay here, you will contact us telepathically as soon as you arrive, and again as soon as you know anything.”
“Let me get my gear,” Lauren said, and Joe replied.
“We’ve got to kit up, too, but should be ready shortly.”
They agreed to leave from the gym, as it would be roomy enough to accommodate their movement with their equipment but not too public. Slade and Shella left to inform the Caliph.
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: