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Stories from the Verse
Con Verse Lea
Chapter 11: Takano 62
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Previous chapter: Beam 122
They had to forage farther afield for supper, but there was still plenty, and although in a sense it was more of the same it was true that spinach, broccoli, and bean pods were different tasting vegetables, and Lauren was right that it was an abundance of food. Even though it was still a fading daylight when Lauren suggested they get settled for sleep, Tommy was tired enough and the bed adequately comfortable for the purpose.
When she awoke, Tommy found that Lauren had already collected a full pot of vegetables to share. She also had gathered the six leaders--well, the three leaders of the groups plus the other three who seemed to think themselves someone. She got them settled and waited for Tommy to join them.
“Good morning,” she began. “I hope you’ve all eaten and slept well enough. We have some work to do.”
She looked from one to another of them, as if gauging their attention.
“I want to send out scouting parties. We need to know what is near enough to us that we could travel there. I realize that this is a daunting task, as most of you have never seen half of everything we want to know, but it has to be done, and I don’t think I can do it efficiently. So I’m going to keep Varlax, Gram, and Torin here to keep the people organized, and send Peep, Boronir, and Sylwi out as scouts.”
She shifted, seeming to try to organize her thoughts.
“Each of you should take at least two other people, but not more than ten, I think. I would take weapons, and take food if you can. You should each pick a different direction, and probably stick to the road as much as possible. Travel as far as you think you can without getting lost or too hungry, then return to tell us everything you found.
“The first thing we want to find is water. It would nice to find a lake or a river, but you don’t know what those are, so look for water on the ground and plan to describe it, whether it’s moving, how big it is, all that. We also want to know whatever you can tell us about plants and animals, and if there are buildings,” and here she pointed at the warehouse, “see if you can tell what they are, what they are for, what they contain. We’ll also want to know if you run into hills or mountains, or--”
At this point Lauren stopped, and even Tommy could tell that the hearers were baffled, having no idea what any of these things are.
“I could go,” Tommy said.
Maybe that was a smirk that crossed Lauren’s face.
“I might need you here,” she said. “Anyway, these people have to learn how to explore their world, and these three are going to be our lead explorers, so we will send them, and hope they can find something we can use. I hope,” she said to the leaders, “that you will all return within three days. If not,” and at this point she dug into her pocket and pulled out a folded packet of money. She handed one bill to each of her exploration team leaders. “Keep this with you. I can find those anywhere in the world, and if you don’t return I will come looking for you.”
It took Tommy a moment to realize that Lauren had just given them what might be called worthless equipment, money she had brought from another world that had no value but that it contained scriff, scriff attuned to Lauren, so that Lauren could track it, find it, wherever it went. That was a clever idea. She should remember it.
“O.K.,” Lauren concluded. “Gather your teams, pack your gear, and decide which direction each of you will be going so you’re not going the same way. Say good-bye before you leave, but let’s get you moving.”
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 #460: Versers Reorganize. 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: