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Stories from the Verse
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Chapter 40: Hastings 199
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By morning Lauren had decided to talk with the leaders and explain to them what she could do, and what the hazards were. Since Gojo was her squad leader she found him, and explained only that she had some ideas, but they were not without risk, and she wanted to talk to all the leaders about them. Gojo said he would arrange it.
The leadership tent was still up, and Lauren took her telekinetic capture rod with her. Tiras, Sheegoka, Gojo, Malacon, and Taz were waiting.
“I have several devices,” she began, “which might be helpful, depending on your plan. If you decide you want to carve stairs or a ramp to the bottom, I have a psionic cutting tool, but I think that would take a very long time unless you have a way to do it that I haven’t seen. The alternative is of course that I can fly, and I have this.” She indicated the six-foot pole with the large emerald-like trapezoid at one end. “It enables me to encase a target in a forcefield and telekinetically move it. I have only once flown with a person inside the field, but I have never dropped anything I was holding—which is not to say that I never will, and that’s probably the danger here. I could probably take one of the mules, but I can’t promise I wouldn’t drop it, particularly if it panicked, which I think it probably would. I would suggest putting a sack over its head, and having someone with skill handling animals hold its lead and keep it calm. That’s still no guarantee that I wouldn’t drop both of them. I might be able to catch one, but I probably couldn’t catch both.
“Anyway, that’s the best idea I have, and of course I don’t think I should shuttle everyone down that way because the more times I do it the greater the odds that I’ll drop someone.”
Everyone was silent for a moment, then Tiras looked at the others. “That’s a promising idea,” he said, “and the best I’ve heard so far, but we should find out what everyone else is thinking.”
There was collective nodding and a bit of murmuring.
“Thank you, Lauren,” Tiras said. “I think it likely that we will have you help us some, depending on what other options are suggested.”
That seemed her cue to leave, so she did. Taz came out with her, and made an announcement. “Anyone who has any suggestions on how to get to the bottom here, either themselves or someone else, or the animals and equipment, please come now.” Several people put down what they were doing and headed over toward the tent, and Taz was getting them organized into something like a line.
It was over an hour before the leaders got through everyone who had ideas, and even after that they apparently were discussing the options for quite a while. Lauren used the time to read her Bible by the light she called to her fingers, and to pray and sing a bit. Then the group emerged, and Tiras said, “Everyone gather; we think we have a plan.”
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with five other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #365: Characters Travel. 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: