Re Verse All; Chapter 128, Beam 106

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Stories from the Verse
Re Verse All
Chapter 128:  Beam 106
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Hastings 224

As the crowd in the common area quieted, the first words that came into Beam’s head were ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.  He decided against that.

“Citizens of the Empire of Beam,” he chose instead, and immediately thought it silly, but having said it continued.  “I have been leading you up to what I tell you is the surface of the world.  None of you have ever seen it, and I am told some of you do not believe it exists.  I don’t know that I can prove to you that there is such a place until we get there, and I understand your skepticism.  This part of the world, though, has been maintained for generations by a computer, a machine built by your ancestors to provide you with a place to live, food to eat, water to drink, air to breathe.  It grows the food on the surface and brings it to us using those walking machines.

“I have reason to believe that that machine is starting to break, to malfunction.  The first clue was that it stopped keeping the rats out of our living areas.  Then there were the digging machines that started tearing apart what had been built, and the fact that the one walking transport could not avoid killing several people on the ramp, and that the repair systems did not fix the broken roadway we had to travel.  If I am right, things are going to get worse.  The food will stop coming, or will be unsafe to eat.  The water might be tainted, or cease to flow.  Dangerous malfunctioning machines will become more common.  This utopia is going to collapse on itself and become a death trap.  I am racing to reach the surface before that happens.  I have invited you to come with me because you have asked me to be your leader, and so I feel some responsibility for you--but I am not really responsible for you, and you have no obligation to follow me.  That’s entirely up to you.

“In an hour I will be leaving to head up to the next level.  We have together climbed eight levels, and we have nineteen to go to reach the surface if I am right.  I am inviting you to continue with me.  Any of you who thinks I am leading you foolishly can stay here.  Some of you have learned how to use the computers to order food, how to use the stoves to cook if necessary, how to make a life as long as the system keeps working.  We can hope that your bet on the system is right, that it continues doing what it was made to do, possibly recognizes its own fault and fixes it.

“I will have breakfast sandwiches and beverages delivered promptly, and then once I have eaten we will depart.”

He turned back to his apartment and heard the crowd murmuring before he was through the door.

He ordered the typical one hundred thirty breakfast sandwiches and fast food hash browns, milk, orange juice, and coffee.  For himself he ordered coffee and orange juice, three eggs over easy, scrapple, and hash browns with cheese.  He didn’t know how much longer the computer was going to cook for him, but he intended to enjoy it while it lasted.

Next chapter:  Chapter 129:  Takano 51
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 #403:  Versers Innovating.  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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