Re Verse All; Chapter 98, Beam 91

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Stories from the Verse
Re Verse All
Chapter 98:  Beam 91
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Takano 43

Beam was about three quarters of the way up the ramp to level twenty-three and breathing heavily when he heard a sound amidst the noise.

“Do you hear that?” he asked Sophia.

“Hear what?” she replied.

“Trouble.”  He stopped walking and held up a hand, hoping that the line behind would also stop.

“Which side?” he said aloud to himself.  “Maybe the NA at the beginning of the address stands for North America.  Vehicles use the right side of the road there.  In fact, I think they use the right side of the road everywhere in the world except Great Britain and Australia, but I don’t know about a lot of places.  Let’s bet on the right.”

Then he shouted back at the people behind him, “Everybody hug the right wall,” and he did so himself to show which side he meant.  Sophia and Bob gave him puzzled expressions, but these did not last long as a giant insectoid mechanical crawler appeared on the road ahead coming toward them.

It obligingly shifted to its right side, aiming for the lane Beam was trying to create to their left.  He knew that he couldn’t control the mass of people behind him--he couldn’t even see them all, and wasn’t certain whether they were all on the ramp yet and whether they were actually following the half-hallway protocol as he had directed.  For the moment all he could do was hug the wall and hope that the people figured it out.

It was five minutes later that he heard a new sound, screaming echoing up the hall.  Don't panic, he thought.  There's nothing you can do about it anyway, and it might be no more than expressions of fear as the machine passes so close to the people.  Once things calm, Sophia and I--no, Bron and I--well anyway, two of us will walk down the other side and see what we’ve got.

The walking down notion did not please him.  He had climbed three quarters of the way, and he might have to walk all the way to the bottom.  He had always disdained those electric riding shopping carts, and the usually quarter-ton people who rode them through stores who probably really could have used the exercise, but about now he thought a ride would be good.  Of course, it would be a computer controlled ride, and he was trusting the computer less and less.  Could he blame this on the computer, or was this the fault of his people?  He probably would never know, and perhaps he didn’t want to.

“Sophia, keep the line here,” he directed.  “Bron, let’s go take a look at the damages.”

“Are you all right to do this, J.D.?” Bron asked.

“No,” he replied, “but it has to be done, and I’m probably the only one who can do it.  If we don’t make level twenty-three today, so be it.  Let’s find out whether we all survived.”

Next chapter:  Chapter 99:  Hastings 217
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 #390:  World Facilities.  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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