Con Verse Lea; Chapter 22, Beam 128

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Stories from the Verse
Con Verse Lea
Chapter 22:  Beam 128
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Hastings 238

It was some hours later.  They had rejoined the others and were in the woods.

“So,” Beam ventured, “about last night.”

Ashleigh seemed to try to duck.  “I should be working in the rice paddies,” she said.

“Uh-huh,” he responded.  “That can wait.  Obviously, I know that you are part of some secret organization of outlaws.  It’s obvious that this means you get sent on missions from time to time.”

“Do you want me to stop?”

“Geesh no,” he said.  “The reason you married me was to forge an alliance between my people and yours, and it would defeat the purpose if you were no longer one of them, even if your father is the chief.”

She cringed.  Apparently she didn’t realize he knew that, but that was just a bit stupid.  After all, the guy was apparently in charge, and he had said Viper, who was Ashleigh, was his daughter.  She just wasn’t thinking.

“I gather they have a secret way of contacting you--perhaps a stone out of place or a broken twig--which calls you to a secret meeting at a secret place.  Probably you aren’t supposed to tell anyone any of this, and that includes me.  Of course, Bob knows, but he can’t say much because he can’t talk well, so it’s almost as good as him not knowing.”

“And you’re all right with that?”

The white-haired man shrugged.  “No, but to some degree I’m going to have to be.  I’d rather you weren’t risking your life”--she snickered; it seemed she didn’t believe she was in any actual danger--“and I would prefer to know where you’re going, and even that we went with you.  I’m guessing those things are not going to happen, and you probably can’t tell me where you were or what you did after the fact, either.  That’s all understandable, given what you are and what you do.  But it does seem to me that it makes it more difficult for us to have either an alliance or a marriage if you’re not telling me anything and I’m not aware of, never mind involved in, what you’re doing.”

He let that sink in.  Everyone was silent for a few minutes.  Bron appeared to be about to say something, but Beam silenced him with a hand motion and continued to wait quietly.

It occurred to him that he wasn’t usually this patient.  On the other hand, this new wife of his was a lot more dangerous than the other two, and he wanted to stay on her good side for the present, at least.

“Yes, I have a contact, one of only a few outlaws who know who I am when I’m not Viper.  He leaves a mark, and I change to being Viper and go to my rendezvous point.  At that point the mission is explained, and I decide whether to go.”

“If you don’t?”

“Generally the mission doesn’t happen unless everyone asked agrees.  It’s safer that way.”

He nodded.  “Go on.”

“Last night we were raiding a caravan carrying bullets.”


“Yes, soldier craftsmen know the secrets of making bullets.  They make them for the soldier long guns, in only a few well-protected places.  We make our short guns to use their bullets, and steal bullets from them.  Last night we stopped a truck carrying bullets and stole a few crates.”

Cocking his head in puzzlement, Beam asked, “Why didn’t you just kill all the guards and steal the whole truck?”

She stared into the canopy.  “There would be reprisals.  If we kill only a few guards and steal only a little, they will hunt for us but will give up when the trail goes cold.  After a hit like you describe, they will kill innocent villagers trying to get information no one has and ravage the land seeking vengeance.  It’s a balance.  Both sides need the good will of the people.  The Son of the Goddess would not allow the soldiers to harm many people over a few deaths and a few crates of bullets, but were we to overstep the limits He would not be so restrained.”

Interesting.  Complicated.  He himself had always favored the scorched earth policy, to be the baddest monster in the dungeon so no one would fight back, and between Dawn and Bob he had the power to do that, usually.  But the dynamic here was complex, and something more subtle seemed to be the order of the day.  He was still trying to figure out how to fit in this world, and this was a significant data point.  He thought in silence for several minutes.  Again he waved a hand at Bron for quiet.  It wasn’t really an easy problem.

“How,” he finally said, “do I get a meeting with your father?”

Next chapter:  Chapter 23:  Takano 65
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 #463:  Characters Unsettled.  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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