Re Verse All; Chapter 72, Beam 79

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Stories from the Verse
Re Verse All
Chapter 72:  Beam 79
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Takano 36

As Bron ushered the trio out, Beam returned to the living room computer.  He hoped he could do the basics from here.  He had a hundred people to register to individual rooms, and protocols to set so that they could access the common spaces but maintain security at the entrances.

“Dawn,” he called, “any idea which way is North?”

The juvenile killing machine came into the living room, turned her head as if she were seeing, or perhaps hearing, something he could not, and then pointed in the direction of the living room door.  Perfect.  That gave him a north-south corridor running just outside the main entrance, and apartments which he intended to commandeer north and south of him.  Making sure he had his bearings correct, he started attaching names.  He started by renaming their apartment complex ‘Empire of Beam’, and changing the name of the apartment to ‘Empire of Beam Palace’.  He then attached himself to the two adjacent apartment complexes, naming them appropriately ‘Northern Empire of Beam’ and ‘Southern Empire of Beam’.

His next step was to set the protocols such that anyone registered as a resident of any of the apartments could pass through the entry doors of any of the three compounds, but no one else could without being admitted, other than the delivery and service robots.  It was good so far, but he was not going to be able to finish everything today.  Still, he should get a start on it.

What time was it, anyway?  It had been a couple hours since they had delivered the pizza, and he was going to have to give these people something for dinner.  Hoagies, he decided, was the right choice, and individual cans of soda, various flavors.  He logged into the deli and placed the food order for another hour and a half away.  Then he realized he had done as much as he could do from here.  Logging out, he went to the door.

It seemed like chaos in the common area below, and the white haired man watched somewhat bemused for a few minutes.  Then people apparently noticed he was there, and started to quiet and give him their attention.  He hadn’t expected that, but wasn’t going to waste the opportunity.

“If my three leaders would join me, I’d like a progress report.  Meanwhile, let me fill you all in on what is happening tonight.”

He cleared his throat, unaccustomed to addressing crowds, and then continued.

“Everyone will be staying here tonight.  We will settle as many of you as possible into the apartments--eventually you will all be settled into apartments, but most of you will be in the adjacent areas, as there are too many of us to fit here comfortably.  I have food on the way for tonight, which you will share out here in the common room, and those who do not wind up in apartments by tonight will sleep out here.  Do not go out in the halls; the doors will not permit you to return until you are registered in one of the apartments.”

He saw that his trio was approaching, and cut his speech short to attend to them.  He focused on the woman.

“Let me get your name,” he said.

“Varlax,” she replied.

“No other name, just Varlax?”

She shrugged.

“Well, it should do, as long as it’s not a common name.  Do you have a family group?  Husband, children, siblings, anything like that?”

“Three children, their father is dead.  I have a sister, but she has her own family.”

“O.K., I think we’ll put you up this ramp in the three-bedroom apartment, make sure one room has bunk beds, and you can figure it out from there.  Call the kids.”

She called three names, but he wasn’t paying attention.  While the children were coming, he turned his attention to the other two leaders.

“You guys are going to be in charge of the Northern and Southern Empires, we’ll figure out which where tomorrow, so I can’t register you until we get there.  However, I want you to come along now and learn how the bathroom works while I get Varlax settled.”

Eager children, relatively young, having arrived, Beam said simply, “Come,” and headed up the ramp past the four-bedroom to the three-bedroom apartment.  He placed his hand on the door screen and ushered everyone inside as it opened.  He had been here before, but it took a moment for him to orient himself and locate the bathroom.

He realized how embarrassing this was, but there was nothing for it.

“The most important thing about this room,” he said, “is the toilet, also called the commode.  I don’t know how to put this delicately, but when your body needs to be rid of wastes, either liquid or solid, you pull down your pants and place your naked bottom on this seat.”  He chose not to demonstrate.  “When you are finished, you wipe yourself with the provided paper,” to which he pointed, then grabbing a piece and tossing it into the bowl, “and then push this lever to flush it all away to be cleaned.”  As he did this, the group jumped in surprise.

“You will probably use the sink fairly often,” he continued, moving to it.  “It provides hot and cold water for washing hands, face, teeth, and whatever you feel you can wash easily here.  You’ll want soap, but we’ll get there eventually.  The water is also potable--that means you can drink it, if you bring a clean cup.  Behind you,” he turned and faced it, “is a shower and tub combination.  Again, you have hot and cold water, be careful you don’t burn yourself, and this is for cleaning your body.  You can turn on the shower,” which he did, again getting a shocked response from his audience, “and stand naked in it, again using soap to wash your body, your hair, whatever, or you can close the bottom drain and fill the tub if you want to soak in it.

“If you have any questions, please ask.  You are going to be tasked with teaching those hundred people out there how to use these, and eventually everything else in these apartments.  I suggest you do what I’m doing, identifying maybe one person from each apartment and having him teach the rest of the family.  Otherwise, I think we’re done here, and I have to get Varlax and her children settled into their new home.  Varlax?  Come with me.”  He led her to the living room computer, and proceeded to register her, complete with handprint, as he had done with his own team.  Then he did the same with her children.

“One more thing to check,” he said, heading back into the bedrooms.  “Yes, it looks like you have a double in the main bedroom, plenty of space for you and your own bathroom, and then bunk beds in one of the other bedrooms, so you should be able to settle three kids in here comfortably.  Also, the doors will now let you come and go as you wish.  Oh, and I would expect a couple robots to show up as the welcome wagon with a lot of food and stuff to help you get started.  Good luck with that.  But of course, now comes the hard part.  You’ve got ten more apartments to fill, and I’ve got to register everyone, and you’ve got to teach them all how the bathrooms work.  So, any clue where you want to begin?”

He didn’t await her answer, instead heading back outside and down the ramp to his own quarters.  It was going to be a long day.

Next chapter:  Chapter 73:  Hastings 210
Table of Contents

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 #379:  Character Conundrums.  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:

Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel

Old Verses New

For Better or Verse

Spy Verses

Garden of Versers

Versers Versus Versers

Stories from the Verse Main Page

The Original Introduction to Stories from the Verse

Read the Stories

The Online Games

Books by the Author

Go to Other Links

M. J. Young Net

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