Re Verse All; Chapter 146, Hastings 229

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Stories from the Verse
Re Verse All
Chapter 146:  Hastings 229
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Beam 114

Being the rear guard had a number of advantages and not many disadvantages, as far as Lauren could tell.  For one thing, the slow-moving procession was not apt to leave them behind.  There were no turns on the ramp, and the plan was to get off at the next exit and find the nearest eatery, which was usually within sight of the ramp.  That meant they could take their time and do other things.  Tommy continued decorating the walls, trying new icons as they went.

Lauren also practiced with her kau sin ke, and showed Tommy more techniques easily adaptable to the kawanaga, such as holding two points and swinging both ends, the hook and the weight, without getting them entangled in each other.  There were no overhead pipes or beams for grappling or climbing, but there were still many things to learn and practice.

Lauren also practiced her basic acrobatics, tumbling, handsprings, cartwheels, flips, on which she relied particularly in combat situations, dodging and striking.  She decided that the stone sloped floors were not particularly conducive to training Tommy in these, but did have her practice her rolls and falls.

The restaurant by the ramp on level seven was a large buffet, and it was occupied by probably sixty people.  Several men guarded the door, apparently, because by the time Lauren and Tommy reached the level Beam was in a heated argument about being denied access to the place.

“I know you think this is your food,” he was saying, “but there’s plenty of it, and when you eat it, it gets replaced.  We could all eat it, and there would still be more.”

“Food runs out,” one of the others said.  “I have to make sure my people have food.  When it runs out here, we’ll look for food somewhere else.  Meanwhile, we are camped here where there is food, and we protect our food.”

Lauren wondered whether it would come to a fight.  She didn’t have to wonder about the outcome of such a fight--never mind that the Empire of Beam outnumbered whoever these squatters were two to one, she had seen the girl Dawn fight, and saw that Beam had given bows and arrows to most of his people, and their people were armed sparingly with bits of plastic pipe and rebar.  She couldn’t be sure that the white-haired man wouldn’t attack, drive the others from the buffet.  It seemed foolish to her.  After all, even though that was a large restaurant, there was almost always another nearby, and even if not they knew how to order delivery.

The notion that there ought to be another restaurant nearby got her looking down the hall in the opposite direction.  There was a women’s clothing store and a furniture store, and then she spotted a hamburger joint.  It wasn’t the buffet, but she was willing to bet that these people were more interested in eating something than in dining lavishly.  She walked over to it, figured out the screen ordering system, and got herself a burger, fried potatoes, and a black-and-white milk shake.  “What’ll you have?” she asked Tommy, but the girl had already started ordering on the adjacent screen.  As their food was delivered, Lauren called back up the hall, “Lunch time!  Come and get it!”  Then she stepped out of the way and waited for the troop to descend on them.  There were a few tables with benches, and she dragged her cart over next to one and settled down to eat, Tommy joining her.

The fast food was not as fast as perhaps the buffet would have been; it only served six people at a time, although some of them had the good sense to submit group orders, particularly mothers with children.  Lauren and Tommy were finished long before everyone had ordered, although Lauren was nursing her milkshake.  “I suppose,” Lauren said, “that we should abandon our table for others to use.”  Looking at the crowd of people holding food and scanning the area, Tommy nodded agreement and rose.  Lauren pulled the cart back out into the hall, and Tommy took the time to paint the walls a bit more.

“I’m going to need more paint,” she said.

“Shouldn’t be hard to get,” Lauren answered.  “You can order it delivered wherever we stay tonight.”

“Yeah, but where are we going to stay tonight?  This is the second time we’ve encountered a large group of people, and when we reach level six I would bet that there are going to be more.”

Lauren nodded.

“Also,” Tommy continued, “have you thought about what we’re going to do when we get out?  This world is designed so that the people all live in the caves.  We probably can’t get food delivered outside.  Do you hunt?”

“I’ve lived off the land,” Lauren answered, “but mostly ate fruits and vegetables on a tropical island.”

“So even if we were able to kill a deer--a deer which probably wouldn’t be enough meat for half of these people--neither of us would know how to clean and butcher it, right?”

“Right,” Lauren said.  “But I would bet that that Bron fellow would know.  He seems to come from a world in which you had to do that.  Also, I notice that every one of Beam’s followers knows how to use the computers to order food, and that the group we found in the restaurant has no clue--they were there because it was a buffet, so all they had to do was take the food and it would be replaced.”


“So that means Beam teaches these people the skills they need to survive.  He got them bows; he intends to teach them to hunt, and to clean and prepare their food.  I don’t know whether he knows how to do any of that, but he has Bron, and I gather from their stories that Sophia also comes from that kind of world so she probably knows quite a bit about preparing game.  We can learn; more importantly, all these people can learn.  The question will be, what will be up there to hunt?”

Lauren wondered what other problems they would face up there, but decided at this point she should focus on how they were going to settle on level six.

Next chapter:  Chapter 147:  Takano 56
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 #409:  Characters Cooperate.  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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