In Version; Chapter 18, Brown 249

Your contribution via
PayPal Me
keeps this site and its author alive.
Thank you.

Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 18:  Brown 249
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Beam 164

As Derek entered the hangar, he noted that the shuttle had a light on near it.  This should not be.  He turned to the robot, and gave orders for it to go around to the other entrance to make sure no one escaped.  After it turned and left, he waited two minutes while he calmed himself and breathed softly.  Soon he was sure the robot had taken up its position at the big hangar doors.  Silently he began to creep closer.

As he stepped over an open metal toolbox on the padded dirt of the hangar floor, he reminded himself to scold the Parakeets again.  They would be flying, and things not tied down could get into propellers and engines.  Better to build the habits now.

Speaking of which, he focused on his hearing.  Due to his experiences as a sprite, and to training, he was able to intensify it.  More practice would be good.  The wind pushed against the walls of the hangar making the tall building crack and crinkle just a touch.  Winds blew off the grass-covered hills south of the college, and over the airport, which was not yet christened but they had already chosen the flat long site.  An air sock on a wooden pole outside snapped in the wind.  But most of all he could hear two Parakeets twittering to each other, and moving about underneath his flying saucer.

He had given no Parakeet permission to be there without him or another verser present.  The local society of indigs, the indigenous peoples, the Parakeets were just now getting a handle on long distance communication via electricity and telegraph.  The devices and principles of the space shuttle with its gravity drive and repulsor beams and artificial gravity was beyond him (something Joe understood), and he was a former resident of several hi tech civilizations.  The only thing the Parakeets could do was harm themselves, or break something.

He slipped closer, and smiled to himself.  He understood the impulse to hack, to poke one’s nose into areas that someone else had decided for inexplicable reasons were off limits.  He would give the duo the scare of the year, and send them back to their dorm with a scolding that would set their tail feathers on fire.

The flying saucer lay before him, and he reached out to the first of the two he saw laying on their backs underneath it, working with a hammer and chisel–one of the new engineering students, he thought, and he reached out with his mind seeking their speech center.  He knew, just barely, the modern version of Parakeet, but in order to really sling the sorrow, he was going to need to be more or less fluent in the bipedal avian’s language.

An out of place noise, a rustle of feathers, faint, but he had been listening, and it was behind him.  Without considering how silly he was going to look when it turned out to be a mistake, he dove backwards into a tumble.  A ten foot long spar for the planned airfoil whistled right through where his head had been.

“What?” he squawked.

A heavy-set Avian he did not recognize nor feel like he had as much as seen before glared down at him before shortening its grip on the pole to bash Derek as he lay on the ground.  Stuck between the unusually beefy Avian with the stick and the flying saucer, Derek rolled backwards again, and came to his feet.  He was just in time to catch a quarterstaff strike to his ribs.

“Come help!  Now, you idiots,” the bigger Avian squawked, and the other two stuck their beaked heads out in confusion.

“Oh, no,” one yelled in Parakeet.  The other just looked shocked.

Even as the larger Avian, which he decided to call Big Boy, charged him in a weird hopping step that he recognized as a trained skill, it yelled at the other two.

“Circle around behind him.  We can’t let him escape.”

Derek sidestepped the oncoming staff, held now like a spear, only for the next hop to have Big Boy jab a taloned foot right above his knee about two inches.  It hurt as the sharp toe went in and then was roughly yanked out.

Realizing that Big Boy did not know he understood their language, and that running away was a great idea since he had dozens of allies nearby, left just the problem of disengaging.  The smaller two were still uncertainly moving to circle him, but at maybe forty percent of their top speed.  They were not trained fighters.  Big Boy was.

“These gods are a pain. That shot would have dropped one of us.  Even permanently crippled one of us if we were unlucky.  But you just stand there, and bleed a bit.  Well, no one said the job was easy.”  Big Boy spoke to himself, psyching himself up for another go, or trying to get Derek to give the students enough time to encircle him.  It was clear he did not believe Derek could hear him as the tone was of a being talking to himself.

Despite wishing to hear more, Derek fled.  He dove to the side into a one handed cartwheel, something he had never done before, but he was carrying his precious laptop.  And he aimed himself right at one of the smaller ones with hope and a plan.

The bird dove out of the way despite the screaming command from Big Boy to ‘stand there, you–”  Then coming to his feet, clear of the trio, he ran for the back door of the hangar through which he had just entered a few minutes before.

However, as he leapt over the open toolbox at a run, a whistling sound through the air came down toward him.  He flung himself out of the way as much as he could, but he was airborne, and stuck on a path.  The spar, now a spear, instead of crashing into the back of his spine hit him on the right shoulder, and put a spin on him. Coming down, he rolled into the fall getting up again, and shook all over, and ran face first into a cart after a loose wrench slid under his right foot.  Falling back, he rolled again, and this was harder as he was dazed, and he was still trying to protect his laptop.

He was continuing his roll, getting back to his feet, but slowly as the roll had not been smooth, when one of the smaller ones with commendable enthusiasm jumped at him for a high kick.  The kick missed, but the bird following the talon did not. And this time, Derek went down flat with a bird atop him.  He still managed to half roll.  Struggling, he tried to roll the bird off him, and it wanted to get off too, but its clumsy struggles were just as good as a skilled fighter’s moves to keep it atop him.  This would have been resolved in Derek’s favor, but Big Boy arrived with a hammer in his hand.

“Let’s see if I can figure where to hit one so you don't kill it.  Can’t have the tweepers investigating a murder,” he said musingly as he swung the hammer down at Derek’s head.  And with that, things went dark for a while.

Next chapter:  Chapter 19:  Slade 217
Table of Contents

There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with eleven other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #478:  Character Conflicts.  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

Re Verse All

In Verse Proportion

Con Verse Lea
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

See what's special right now at Valdron