Re Verse All; Chapter 102, Beam 93

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Stories from the Verse
Re Verse All
Chapter 102:  Beam 93
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Takano 44

The white-haired man soon reached the front of the line; the medical treatment he had received had him breathing freely, and he quickly got people up (many had sat on the ground) and moving.

As he reached level twenty-three, he realized that he was moving more swiftly than normal, and he was still breathing well.  He should take one of these med bots with him, he thought, but set the thought aside as impossible and moved to his next question:  given his present condition, could he make it to level twenty-two?  It was certainly worth the try.  He was of course risking another truck, but with word of the incident traveling through the group he thought it likely that they would manage to avoid another collision.

He was slowing and tiring by the time he reached level twenty-two, but not regretting his choice.  Pausing to catch his breath and get his bearings, he decided to look for somewhere different for food.  He saw a seafood restaurant, but he despised seafood; friends joked that when they took him to one of the best seafood restaurants in the state, one which had its own Atlantic fleet and served fresh caught fish every day, he ordered the fried chicken.  Well, maybe they would have fried chicken there, and he was starting to tire.  He led the crowd into the place.  It was not large enough, though, and he wound up dividing the people into those who wanted to try the seafood and those who wanted the pizza and pasta from another restaurant down the hall.  He was hard pressed to choose, but decided that there would be something at the seafood restaurant that was meat, and he’d just had Italian.

As they got settled, Bron asked, “What’s good?”

“Don’t ask me,” Beam replied.  “I hate seafood.  I’m hoping they have a decent steak, but I’ll go for a burger or fried chicken or something.”

“So why did you come here?”

“It was close, it was something different, and I’d just had Italian.”  He flipped through the menu screen seeking something that wasn’t oceanic while he tried to answer Bron’s other question.  “Lobster is supposed to be the top of the line in seafood, broiled with butter, but if it isn’t cooked right it winds up tough.  Shrimp and scallops are also popular.  None of that is kosher, which of course doesn’t matter, but I hear mackerel and mahi-mahi and striper are all good, and salmon and tuna are very different.  As I said before, though, I don’t eat fish, I don’t cook fish, so if you want to taste fish now is your chance.”

He wound up with a bacon cheeseburger heavily dressed, coleslaw and onion rings, and also got a beer, followed by three more.

As he settled into his meal, he said to Bron, “Do you think you can get the names of the three who died?  When we get to quarters I’m going to want to say something about them.  Apparently we don’t get to have funerals in this world, which makes sense because where are the cemeteries?  But we should have some kind of brief memorial.”

Bron started to rise.

“No, don’t go now.  Eat.  We have time.”

Gradually people finished and began gathering in the hall; Bron wandered away, talking to people in the crowd.  Getting his bearings, Beam led them to the nearest apartment group, and had them all file into the courtyard.  He then climbed the ramp, wearily, to the level of the first apartment, and waited until Bron caught up.  He carefully repeated the three names as Bron gave them to him, and then turned his attention to addressing the crowd.

“Citizens of the Empire,” he began loudly enough that they began to quiet.  He continued, not as loudly.  “We had a tragedy today.  Michael Benning, Jaena Martok, and Villie Winch were trampled to death by one of the large transport vehicles on the ramp.  We are not here to assign blame, but it is apparent that these people, and several others, were not following our directions to stay to one side and out of the way of oncoming traffic.  Again, there may have been reasons for this, and we probably will never know how it happened.  My concern is that it not happen again.  The instruction to stay to one side on the ramps and in the halls is for your safety, to keep you alive and uninjured in the event that we encounter such vehicles.  Be assured that before we reach our destination we will encounter more of them, and some of them may well be malfunctioning, unable to avoid you or stay in their proper places.  We will survive better if we do not panic.

“Our sympathy goes to those who were close to the deceased.  It is hardest on you.”

He paused, then started a new subject.

“We will camp here tonight.  Varlax’ group will take these apartments; our other two groups should follow me up the hall where we will find other apartments for them.”

He turned away from the group and found his team waiting.  “Bron, Sophie, get us set up in this apartment for tonight; Bob, stay with them.  Dawn, you’re with me.”  So saying, he headed down the ramp and led his people back into the hall and down to find apartments for them.

Next chapter:  Chapter 103:  Hastings 218
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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