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Stories from the Verse
Con Verse Lea
Chapter 14: Beam 124
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Hastings 236
Beam, Bron, and Ashleigh reunited with Bob and Dawn, who of course knew they were coming, Bob because he was listening to their thought, Dawn because she was always hyperaware. They regrouped on the uphill border of the village, and followed the road toward the next settlement. Beam decided there wasn’t much point in explaining where they were going, because Bob already knew and Dawn didn’t care.
As they hiked, Beam mused to himself that by now he ought to be used to climbing slopes. Somehow it had not really gotten easier. Maybe it had; it was still more work than he cared to do.
Perhaps twenty minutes outside town both Bob and Dawn stopped, with alert looks on their faces.
“I’m guessing we need to get off the road,” Beam said, and headed toward the trees where it looked like they would be secluded. As they slipped into cover the sound of something like a motorbike approached.
“How did you know?” Ashleigh asked.
Beam looked at her, not certain how to explain.
“You’ll get used to it,” he said. “Bob knows because he always hears all the thoughts of anyone for miles around, but closer thoughts are louder, or something like that. Dawn knows because she has hyper-acute senses; she was built to be a military killing machine, I think. I knew because I’ve learned to pay attention to them. Now, I think quiet is called for?”
His wife nodded, and turned to watch the road with him.
A vehicle came into view. It was three-wheeled, two in front and one behind, about the size of a large motorcycle and ridden by one person. It had no handlebars, and appeared to be controlled entirely by foot pedals. The rider was one of those soldiers, swords at the belt and rifle across the back, with the vest plus the extra body protection including the full helmet that only a few wore at the warehouse. He sped past, and the noise began fading in the distance. Beam stepped back out onto the road and gazed after him.
“I’ve got to get one of those.”
“What, you don’t think I can afford it?”
“Afford it?” she said with a surprised sound to her voice. “If you were seen driving one of those motricycles, they would kill you. Only commanders are permitted to have them.”
That was a surprise. Well, maybe he could fix that.
“So I guess raiding the factory to steal one is not a solution.”
“What’s a factory?”
This world was getting stranger and stranger.
“A place where goods are mass-produced, usually on an assembly line?”
Her stare told him that these were all foreign concepts to her.
“Well, they say that travel broadens the mind. Obviously things are different here. How do you get things, like the ice box and the wood stove in your mother’s kitchen, and the pipes that carry water?”
“You get a craftsman to make them for you.”
“And the same with those, what did you call them, motricycles?”
He wasn’t about to make one. He was going to have to steal one.
They continued up the slope toward the village.
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: