keeps this site and its author alive.
Stories from the Verse
Re Verse All
Chapter 88: Beam 86
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Hastings 214
As the white-haired man inattentively ate his food, he recognized that his next problem was finding a place for all these people to sleep. The restaurant was not large enough, even ignoring that there would undoubtedly be some kind of automated cleaning system coming through at some point. He could crowd people in the halls, but they would stretch quite a distance--and the halls were obviously used for deliveries from the surface, probably robotic trucks larger than anything they had yet seen. This was the distribution area, and they were right at the access ramp, so even at this depth they would undoubtedly encounter delivery vehicles of some sort.
There was only one thing for it. They would have to find the nearest residential blocks and commandeer three for the night. Actually, the common areas were large enough that they could crowd into one, but as long as they were commandeering sleeping space they might as well do so somewhat comfortably. It made tomorrow’s trip a bit longer, but in his present condition he did not see himself climbing more than one level per day. Besides, he didn’t know how fast the computer failure was progressing, but expected things to work better sooner than they would later.
As everyone was finishing, he gave instructions to prepare to move. He didn’t really know which way would take him to the nearest residential apartments, but he had no better guess than that the levels were roughly the same, and so if he headed toward their homes he should find similar ones. Passing a large variety of retail establishments, he soon reached the first residential address. Opening the door, he directed that residents from Empire North should make themselves comfortable for the night. Soon reaching a second door, he assigned this for Empire South, and so continued until he came to a third complex.
“Make everyone comfortable,” he instructed Varlax. “I’ll be in that first apartment.”
His guess concerning the layout proved accurate, and although it was an unfurnished apartment the beds were soft enough. He availed himself of the shower, running hot water down his overworked legs and using the pounding stream to massage his back. Then he collapsed mostly naked on the bed, and went to sleep.
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 #385: Characters Ascend. 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: