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Stories from the Verse
Re Verse All
Chapter 113: Takano 47
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They walked in silence for a while. Tommy wasn’t sure about the silence. She preferred to talk, but the hiking was sure to sap her breath, and she wasn’t sure whether it was better to talk now or save her breath now. The best choice, really, would be to induce Lauren to talk, so she could listen.
She wasn’t certain whether that was why she spoke, but the question came to her so she asked, “Assuming we find him, what do we do?”
“Hmm?” Lauren startled as if pulled from some realm of thought. “Oh, the other verser? Well, I guess it depends who we find.”
There was again silence, until Tommy eventually had to say, “Go on.”
“Well, I know a few versers I would call friends--family almost. I would recognize these on sight. I also met a few I would recognize on sight who were trouble when we met, and I’d have to approach those with caution or possibly retreat from them. Otherwise, well, I’ve heard tales of other versers, most good, some dangerous, and if I introduce myself maybe they’ll do the same--some versers are funny about revealing who they are, but usually you can get a name they use. If it’s someone I’ve heard of, well, I’ll know something about them, and we can go from there. If it isn’t, I suppose if they’re friendly enough to introduce themselves, that’s a good start. Or did you have a different idea?”
“Oh, me? No. I just didn’t really know how we expected our hike to end.”
“Hopefully well,” Lauren said. “Speaking of hike, I think maybe I’m not giving you enough rest breaks. We should--what’s this?”
She came to an abrupt halt in front of a different kind of door. Most of the places they had been had had opaque doors, standing open at retail and restaurant spaces, closed at residential areas. This, though, had closed transparent doors through which could be seen greenery, along with benches, maybe a cupola or a gazebo, and what might be picnic tables.
“I think,” she said, “we’ve found some kind of park or garden. Time for a break?”
Tommy was quite happy with the idea of a break, but somehow didn’t want to seem like she was already tired even if she was, so she said, “We should certainly investigate, and take advantage of this unusual find.
Nodding, Lauren tried the door, which opened freely and emitted a burst of warm humid air. “It seems like a greenhouse,” she said, “but designed to entertain visitors.”
In they went. Without the cool temperatures of the cave-like corridors, Tommy began to sweat almost before she reached a bench. “I’m not sure it’s the most comfortable environment,” she said. “You could picnic here, but I can imagine better conditions for a picnic.”
A bee flew past. Tommy flinched. She didn’t really like bees, or most insects, really.
“You’re not allergic, are you?” the apparently observant Lauren asked.
“No, just nervous. Don’t like to be stung.”
“No one likes to be stung, I expect, but generally you have to do something to make the bee angry before it will sting you. Wasps are different, I think, or maybe that’s hornets. I've never really known the difference between them. But with all these plants, something has to do the pollinating, and I don’t suppose even in this robotic world they could come up with a machine that does it more efficiently than the insects God made for the job.”
Tommy nodded. That made sense. If you wanted a machine that would pollinate plants, you would wind up building something very like a bee, and why build something that you already had? Much easier just to harness the bees. She was sure her vegan friend Megan would object, but then, it seemed to Tommy that bees liked the job, and it would almost be cruel not to allow them to do it.
The hard part really was controlling the environment in a way that supported it all, and given the humidity someone seemed to have figured that out.
Again, though, the humidity wasn’t particularly comfortable.
“Lauren?” Tommy said. “I think maybe it’s time to get out of this heat and back on the road.”
“Sounds good. Rested enough?”
“About as much as I’m going to be in this heat.” And she stood and headed back to the door and out into the hall, Lauren behind her with her cart.
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 #395: Character Obstacles. 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: