In Version; Chapter 19, Slade 218

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

Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 19:  Slade 218
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Brown 249

“Get Joe, and Vashti!” Slade shouted as he ran toward a bleeding Derek coming out the door of the hangar.

The Professor nodded, and then ran for help as if his life depended on it.  One of the fabled gods was injured.  He did not believe that the gods were actually gods.  They themselves denied it, but like Humans, Parakeets have different layers to their minds, and some parts don’t care about mainstream theories.  You see a man out of ancient legend, a hero, come back thousands of years later, and he can outfight anyone you’ve ever seen, and part of your avian brain says, God of War.  And when the god of war says ‘MOVE’, you moved.

Derek staggered, and Bob yelled at him as he closed, but Derek did not seem to notice.  And then his form shrank, and suddenly he was Ferris Hoffman, his gargoyle-sized self.  And then another shrink, and he was smaller still, and he, as Theian Toreinu Morach, was shooting into the sky with his wings beating in a flurry, leaving Slade behind.  He clearly was wearing that shrinkable suit of his since he was still clothed. 

Slade sprinted after him, wishing he could go faster.  He saw Morach already had his miniature bow and quiver of drugged arrows, and his expression was murderous.  He was heading south, and Slade could see that Vashti was running their way, and he faced a choice. Confer with Vashti and risk losing Morach, or run now.

He ran; but despite his splendid form, Morach as a spritish flyer was faster.

Slade saw a drip of blood on the grass that he passed.  He touched it as he ran, and it was still warm and liquid.  The boy was as angry as Slade had ever seen him, and he was bleeding, and yet still racing south.

With Morach getting out of range, Slade knew he needed to be faster.  What should he do?

“Sif, I could some help here.”  He prayed to one of the Norse gods, his gods, as he ran.  And a name fell into his mind, something he had read in passing in his ‘holy book’ the Viking Raiders, a fantasy adventure series by James Thompson, that he had read at his auto mechanic shop way back on Earth.

“Ullr, I hunt and my prey escapes.  Let the Norns guide my steps.”  He hoped for something more than just the Norns showing him the basic path.

And his eyes suddenly saw more.

There were hundreds of places he could put his foot down in the next step in the thick grass going up the rolling slope, but one best one.  He took it, and then the next likewise, and the next.  He found himself hurtling up the hill, and as he ran he found his body learning a better method to run.  For his feet to go precisely there, and then there, and then there, his body’s movements must change as well to be at ease and in conformity with his feet.

So he sped up further.

He ran as if he were a thousand-meter runner on a flat track making a world record pace as he went over the hilltop, and danced down the slight earthen cliff on the far side before setting out across a long vale to the next hill which Morach was already above.  Now he dug deeper.  Go faster he thought, and he pushed his muscles for more.  His pace increased more so that now he was keeping even with Morach.

Occasionally Morach vanished behind a hill, and Slade had moments of doubt, but he just pushed on even harder.  Soaked with sweat, he ran on, his lungs burning, and his legs beginning to burn, and he wondered how long he could keep up this pace.  But before he could find out, he saw Morach pop straight up in the air, and make a move, and then drop again.  A thunderous bahoom blasted out ahead, and Slade identified it as a cap-and-ball pistol, probably overloaded with excess gunpowder for more oomph.  Morach popped up again, and dropped, and more shots went out each time as he did the helicopter war method of pop up and shoot.

Pained in his ribs, and breathing hard, but still pushing, Slade came over the last hilltop, and saw Morach go up again, and loose a spritish arrow.  It became clear as a gun shot nearly caught him that Morach had trapped some enemy in the vale on the other side of the hill in front of them.  Morach did a fold wing and drop, and then caught himself before crashing by flaring his wings.

“Morach!” He shouted hoarsely, and Morach  spun and put an arrow into the air right at Slade.  But Slade had seen the battle fury in Morach’s eyes, and dove into a clumsy rolling dodge that got him out of the way of the needle.  He stood back up, and looked at  Morach with a ‘Really, man?!” look, arms wide.  Morach looked embarrassed as he fluttered just above the height of the grasses, slightly uphill from Slade.

“Sorry.”  Morach’s fury receded slightly.



Motioning for Morach to go on, Slade jogged up to the flying sprite.

“It's--I got ambushed by thieves.  One guy was really tough.  I don’t think they wanted to run.  But since they were discovered breaking into the spaceship, well, they grabbed what they could, which is my laptop, and legged it.”

Slade whistled.  Now he understood Morach’s fury.  His laptop.

“And they don’t realize that we can track our stuff.”

Morach nodded, and then winced.  His head was still bloody.

“Land,” Slade ordered, and held out a hand, palm up.  “I need to look at that.”  Morach landed in Slade’s palm, just over a foot tall, but the strong warrior did not move.  Instead, he used his off hand to prod at the clotting blood, and bit his lip as he tried to guess how badly Morach had been hurt.  Using his minimal medical skills, he glanced at the sprite’s pupils to see if one was larger than the other, which he remembered was a sign of a concussion.  As far as he could tell, Morach was fine.  Still, better to have Joe look at the wound.

“Hey, pal. I want you to do me a favor.”


“I have not had a good fight in a while.  Let me go handle these guys, okay?”

“You’ll kill them.”

“Not if they’re smart,” Slade joked.

Morach sighed.  “Now that I’m calming down, I have to admit I’m sometimes seeing two of you.  And my head really hurts.  And the stab in my leg, well only two inches like a needle, and I used psionic pain reduction on it, but it's starting to ache again.  Uh, there are three of them, or were.  I took one down with arrows.  He’s out.  And I got another one with one shot, but the leader, well, he knocked it off the guy very quickly so I think he only got a half dose.  And the little guys were just reloaders, but the chief guy, well he had a sash filled with ten or fifteen cap-and-ball pistols.”

“Good job.  Especially with blood occasionally dripping into your eye.  One tough guy, and one guy slowed down by a dart.  I can manage.  Joe and Vashti are going to be coming soon.  You good?”

“Get my laptop back, and I will be.”

Slade loosened his sword, and began walking up the hill toward the enemy on the other side.

Next chapter:  Chapter 20:  Kondor 226
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