keeps this site and its author alive.
Stories from the Verse
Re Verse All
Chapter 60: Beam 75
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Takano 32
As soon as he was in the apartment, Beam started giving directions as he himself went to the computer console in the living room.
“Dawn, stay by the door and make sure those people don’t give Bron any trouble. Soph, set up the kitchen table so that we’ve got four chairs between the table and the door for our guests, and two for us with our backs to the kitchen. I’m getting pizza; it’s quick.”
He put in one order for two large pies, one pepperoni and the other extra cheese, to be delivered to the apartment. Then he put in another order for fifteen pies, making each one different, to be delivered to the common area. He also ordered a hundred fifty single-serve sodas in a variety of flavors before joining Sophia in the kitchen.
“We should offer them beer or wine with the pizza. Do we have any soda?”
“I think there are a couple bottles in the--the re, frigerator,” she said.
“That’ll do. Frankly, I’d rather they drank something alcoholic, because it will relax them and make them easier to manage, but if they’ve never had anything they might not like it. You pick the wine; I’ll get the beer.”
By the time they had finished this and Beam had thought to get a roll of paper towels to use as napkins and plates, Bron was coming with three of the strangers--the woman and man who had spoken, and a third whom Beam recognized as the surviving ‘tennan’, whatever that was. By the time they’d reached the kitchen, the first pizza delivery had reached the front door.
“Bring the pizza to the kitchen,” he called, mindful that the delivery robots seemed to understand that kind of instruction. He put the two pies on the table.
“Pepperoni and extra cheese,” he said, which he realized was either unnecessary or unfathomable, but he took a slice of the former with one of the paper towels and sat in one of the chairs on his side. “Beer or wine?” he said as he popped the pull tab on his beer. The visitors just stared at each other for a moment.
“What I’m having,” he said, “which is beer, or what she’s having, which is wine.” He noticed that the wine she had poured herself was a rosé, which he thought was probably a good choice for its appearance, although he wasn’t sure it was the right wine for pizza.
Tentatively the two men chose beer and the woman wine, and they helped themselves to slices of the pizza. Settling back, Beam began.
“So, you’ve wandered into my empire. If you want to live here, you live by my rules. If you don’t like that, there are empty apartments around here and you can relocate your people into one of them. What will it be?”
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 #373: Nervous Characters. 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: