In Verse Proportion; Chapter 63, Kondor 193

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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 63:  Kondor 193
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Slade 188

When Kondor opened his eyes, Leah was already dressed, sitting on an ottoman, and looking like she hadn’t slept well.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

She nodded quietly.

Not sure what else to say, he just said, “Breakfast?”

Again she nodded.

“Give me a minute to dress.”

This morning he put on his desert camos, which were comfortable enough and had that feeling of familiarity.  He was dressed in a few minutes.

She walked beside him quietly and slowly, and didn’t say a word during breakfast.  She did accept one of his oranges when he offered it to her, but a nod substituted for thanks.

As they walked slowly back to the room, she suddenly said, “How do you know?”

Kondor realized he was genuinely married at this point.  He had often heard his parents, when his mother would suddenly ask his father a question which obviously arose from something she was thinking, as if he would know what that was.  It was a delicate situation, because of course Leah expected him to answer, but he had no context for the question.

“How do I know--what?” he asked cautiously.

“How do you know that there’s no Mithra?  I mean, just because you haven’t met him doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist.”

The back of his mind was counting his slow steps, two, three, four, seven, eight, time to say something.

“In my world,” he began, “there were many things our ancestors didn’t understand--things like why the sun appeared to travel across the sky.  So they made up explanations, imagining beings of great power that caused the rain or the snow or the heat or the cold, or moved the sun and the moon.  In one place, the god who moved the sun was Ra, and in another Apollo, and in yet another Mithra, and so on.  But eventually we started to figure out how the world really worked--ideas that sound crazy but turn out to be true.  And gradually we figured out that we had invented all these powerful beings, that they didn’t exist, and once we understood how everything worked we didn’t need them anymore.  So we stopped believing in them.”

Several steps of silence, and then she spoke.

“So, all your people have learned that there are no gods or spirits.”

He was in trouble now.  If he said that was correct, he would be lying, and she would find out eventually.  “Well,” he said hesitantly, “no.  Lauren, Bob, Shella, Derek--they all believe in gods.  I think Zeke does, too.  Not Mithra, specifically, but different gods--but I’m not sure they believe in the same gods.  So they sort of cancel each other out.  And most of our scientists--the people who study how the world works--most of them disbelieve in gods or spirits.”

“But not all of them?”

“I think that in my world most intelligent people believe there are no gods.”

“So Lauren, and Derek, and Bob, they’re not intelligent?”

This was getting complicated.

“Let’s say they’re exceptions.  Some intelligent people believe in gods.  But none of them are scientists.  They haven’t studied how the universe works.”

“I see.”  She continued another few steps.  “So, you’ve figured out why the sun goes across the sky, and that it isn’t being carried by a chariot.  And because your ancestors believed that there was a god driving a chariot, and you know it doesn’t work that way, you conclude that there is no god.  But then, just because Mithra isn’t carrying the sun across the sky in a chariot doesn’t mean that he doesn’t exist, or that he isn’t involved somehow in what the sun does.  Does it?”

“No, I suppose there could be someone somewhere named Mithra, and he might even have something to do with the sun.  I don’t believe it, but it’s difficult to prove that someone doesn’t exist, only that they don’t do what you always thought they did.”

More silence, then, “I don’t--I don’t want to be a bad wife.  Would you be upset if I asked one of the wise men about this?”

What was he going to say?  He certainly didn’t want to stifle her desire to learn, or suggest that no one else had any answers.

“You can ask them,” he said.  “I don’t think they’ll know, but you can always ask.”

They were silent the rest of the way to the room.

Next chapter:  Chapter 64:  Brown 216
Table of Contents

There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #440:  Changing Worlds.  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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