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Stories from the Verse
Re Verse All
Chapter 93: Takano 42
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Previous chapter: Beam 88
Once her devices had finished updating, Tommy turned her attention to ordering some food. There was no requirement that she pay, which surprised her, but she wasn’t going to argue as if payment had been required she would be faced with trying to hack the payment system. The food was delivered inside of twenty minutes by something like a giant ant robot, and the sandwiches and onion rings were hot but the sodas cold.
Talking with Lauren was like talking to a superhero’s secret identity. She talked about fighting vampires, dinosaurs, and dragons, blowing up a spaceship, and living for centuries all nonchalantly, the way one might talk about having attended a party or a school dance or a football game or something. The things she could do, indeed had done, were like something from a comic book, or one of those animated movies. Yet the natural way in which she spoke of them left little doubt that they really happened.
Tommy wondered to what degree this presaged her future.
After a few hours of conversation during which Tommy had exhausted her stories but felt as if her companion were barely started, Lauren interrupted the telling and asked, “So, what do you think we should do from here?”
“Me? You’re the expert. I usually just wander aimlessly until I stumble into something that gets me killed.”
Lauren laughed. “I suppose that’s one way to do it.”
“Yeah, well, until I met Johnny Angel in the last world, I thought it was all a dream. A really weird often nightmarish dream. So this is the first time I’ve come into a world thinking that I was in a new world.”
“Well,” Lauren answered, “I always figure that God brings me to a world for a purpose, and that I’ll probably find that purpose pretty soon after my arrival.”
That struck Tommy as a very interesting way to see things.
“Since you’re the first thing I’ve found, I’m guessing my purpose has something to do with you--but there are some caveats. I could take you as a student, but I’m not sure what I could teach you. Psionics don’t seem to work well at all, and magic is wonky. You probably know more about computers and such than me, so that kind of leaves acrobatics and martial arts. But then, and forgive the racial implications, you might already know quite a bit in that area.”
Tommy laughed. “Not more acrobatics than one learns in high school gym class, and no martial arts at all. My grandparents immigrated from Japan, but I have never been seriously interested in anything Japanese--not even,” she giggled, “sushi.”
“Well,” Lauren said, “I can certainly teach you, if you wish.”
“Would I have to call you sensei?”
“I think we can dispense with formalities. The other issue, though, is that there is someone else--another verser--here somewhere, and my normal inclination is to find other versers and see what they know about the world that I don’t. Most of the versers I’ve met have been good people, amicable, and willing to fight alongside me in a good cause, although there was one group that proved ornery and dangerous. So I am inclined to keep moving to try to find whoever this is.
“Not today, though. I walked enough getting to you.”
Tommy thought for a moment. “I guess both of those sound like good plans. I gather that being able to fight is a good thing, and maybe picking up and learning to use some kind of weapon. And it couldn’t hurt to go find this other verser--makes more sense than camping here forever.”
“Great. Let me give you your first lesson in self-defense, then we’ll have some dinner, bed down for the night, and start our quest tomorrow.”
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 #388: Versers Climb. 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: