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Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 57: Brown 190
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 56: Slade 163
The door opened less and less frequently over the next hours. At one point Derek decided to dim the lights to ten percent of current level, which created a suitably dim room for sleeping, and he and Vashti snuggled under his blanket atop his sleeping bag on the bed. The next time the door opened, it opened several times in close succession, apparently as the guards were trying to determine what happened to the light. In the end, however, they left it alone, and the couple was able to get a decent stretch of sleep.
Food was still brought at what seemed almost random intervals; since to them there was not much difference between the meals themselves (that is, they were different, but nothing distinguished them as breakfast, lunch, or dinner) Derek was having a bit of difficulty determining what time of day their captors thought it was. It occurred to him that since they didnít control the lights and the computer didnít seem to be creating darker and brighter periods (at least in this part of the ship) they probably slept in shifts, perhaps eating when hungry and sleeping when tired, individually. On the other hand, the guard system and the feedings and even the troop they encountered initially all suggested some kind of tribal structure, so it might be that the tribe created its own day schedule, and had a few members assigned to guard during the sleep period. However, other than the delivery of food there wasnít much to suggest when the sleep period might be.
As he dozed, he considered that he now had adequate control of the computer that he could probably control the ship. The problem really was that he had no idea what to do with the ship, or indeed what to do with its occupants. He could easily take over, persuade the indigs he was some kind of wizard or deity or something, but that wasnít something he wanted to do, and he was pretty sure that it wasnít something the King would have wanted him to do.
The King--it had crossed his mind before, but now it returned to him that he must be here for a reason, that the King who had molded him and brought him to the world of the sprites to prevent a war there and then sent him to fight vampires, to study spy skills, and to meet Vashti, had a purpose for bringing him here to this world. He knew that Joe would reject that reasoning, but Joe didnít believe in the King, and Lauren and Bob would certainly agree that wherever he went he had been brought there for a purpose. The question was finding the purpose.
Well, this was obviously a lost colony spaceship. The answer should be obvious.
Donít jump to conclusions, he told himself. After all, while the obvious answer seems to be that I should get the ship back on course for a suitable inhabitable planet, what would these people do if delivered to such a place? When he and Lauren were in the mutant future world, they discovered a purpose in recovering lost knowledge, in teaching the indigs math and science and history and the other academic subjects along with engineering and computer science, beginning the restoration of an educated people in the midst of the chaos and devastation. The people here were more primitive than those he met there--assuming, of course, that there were not people here less primitive than those he already met, but Lauren would say that your first clue concerning your purpose probably can be found within minutes of your arrival, so it seemed likely that his purpose here had something to do with these people.
As he fell asleep, he was trying to find other possible purposes for his presence here.
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 #339: Verser Tensions. 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: