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Stories from the Verse
Con Verse Lea
Chapter 36: Beam 135
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Late the next morning Beam fried eggs from the villa’s larder, over easy the way he liked them without asking Bron or Ashleigh what they would prefer. He missed having toast, but apparently wheat flour was not a thing here.
Bron asked, “How did you know they wouldn’t have an army here at daybreak again?”
He shrugged. “It was, I suppose, a calculated risk. I gave Dawn and Bob specific instructions to awaken us if there was trouble, but it seemed unlikely.”
Beam swallowed a bit of his egg before continuing. “I don’t take the enemy to be stupid. They tried hitting us in force yesterday, and it cost them dearly. Probably they’re still wondering how we managed to escape the explosion and show up here. The fact that in calling myself Emperor I am, in their minds, identified as a son of a god, complicates matters for them, because they don’t know what to believe about us. But I don’t think they’ll try another frontal assault until they’ve assessed us a bit better and think they know something about us. They can’t afford another catastrophic loss. We have at least a few days, and I have no idea what we’re going to do next.” He put another bite of egg in his mouth, and spoke around it while chewing, “Any suggestions?”
No one had any.
“More eggs?” he asked, and head shaking told him not.
“While we’re here,” he said, “I think we should grab a couple of their standard issue rifles and all the bullets we can find. We know that the ammo for our preferred guns is limited, but that if we use the local weapons we can find more of the local ammo. Maybe we’ll do some target shooting this afternoon to get used to them. I don’t think they’re as fast or as accurate or perhaps as deadly as the guns we’re using, but I think they would be useful. I guess they won’t have any of those pistols lying around?”
Realizing a beat late that this was addressed to her, Ashleigh was surprised. “Oh! No, I shouldn’t think so. The pistols are individually custom made for us, and we’re very careful to recover them if we lose someone. I can’t imagine they would have them here.”
“Too bad,” he said. “I think they’re quicker than the rifles, although not as accurate and less deadly. Of course, maybe I’ll get a look at their body armor. If it has a weakness, we might be able to exploit it, and if not, maybe I’ll find a set to fit me. Let me guess: that’s custom made, too, right?”
“How would it be otherwise?” Ashleigh asked.
“In a lot of the worlds we’ve visited they have what’s called mass production, assembly lines that roll off many identical objects. It’s a lot cheaper that way. But apparently you don’t do that here.”
She shook her head, but he really already knew that.
“All right, then, everyone get comfortable. We’ll be here a couple days, at least.”
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 #465: Characters Wander. 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: