In Version; Chapter 33, Kondor 229

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Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 33:  Kondor 229
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Brown 252

Zeke answered Kondor’s call, and Kondor explained the situation to him as they walked briskly toward the university administrative offices.

“So they are attacking,” Zeke stated.

“We don’t know that for sure,” Kondor answered.  “They could be attempting to contact the birds, and have chosen these locations simply because they aren’t certain which ones would be right.”

“Aw, come on.  Seriously?  They’ve been studying the planet for a couple months now, and they dispatch ships to a whole bunch of critical locations, with a countdown, and you think it’s not going to be an attack?”

“I think we shouldn’t jump to any conclusions.  First of all, they are aliens, and they are unlikely to think the way we do or do what we would think best.  Derek is the one with the best chance of understanding them, and even he is limited here--after all, it’s obvious that his ship had left its home planet tens of thousands of years ago, and likely that these visitors did so as well, and the cultural changes in both groups are going to make them very different from each other.  I don’t think we know what they intend.”

“So, do we ask them?  Or do we think they’ll lie?”

Kondor stopped abruptly.  Of course they would.  If they were intending to attack, and they discovered we suspected it, they would try to mislead us so they could catch us off guard.

Not that it much mattered.  Their technology far outstrips ours.  They probably aren’t worried about us putting up much of a fight.

“What’s wrong?” Zeke asked.

“I hadn’t thought of that.  Thanks.”  He resumed walking.

No one stopped them or questioned them when they entered the administration building.  They, after all, were the ancient gods and the bringers of the new fire.  It wasn’t until he reached the Dean’s secretary that he realized he would need a language link, so he reached out for hers.  Latching onto it--it was getting easier--he explained briefly.

“We need to see the Dean urgently.”

“I can get you an appointment for tomorrow morning,” she replied.

“No,” Kondor sang, “he needs to see us right this moment.  The world has less than three days to get ready, and whatever he’s doing he has to drop and start working on this.”

You’d think that the Dean’s secretary would have an intercom; after all, they had been given the technology to do that.  However, she rose, knocked on the door behind her, and in a moment opened it.

“Doctor Kondor and Lieutenant Smith are here, sir; they seem to think it can’t wait.”

There was a pause, too long for merely hearing a response, but then she said, “You can go in now.”

Becoming impatient, Kondor nearly burst through the door.  He began trying to explain, but realized he was becoming jumbled.  Focus, he thought.  Start at the beginning.

“Something major is about to happen, and we don’t exactly know what, but whatever it is will change the situation with the visitors.”

“Go on,” the bird chirped.

“They have dispatched sixty-four ships to what they have apparently identified as important locations around the world, and started a countdown which probably has about sixty-two hours left on it.  We don’t know what those ships are going to do when the countdown reaches zero, but we need to get ready for it.  That means we have to contact all the world leaders and give them the list of locations and the time of the event.  I recommend that we prepare military defenses at all of them, but also be prepared in the event that they are trying to make peaceful contact.”

The Dean nodded.  “And the list?”

“Derek has it.  It currently uses the coordinates used by the visitors; he and Vashti are working on converting it to the grid used by your people.”

“I’ll expect it.  Meanwhile, I’ll contact a few people and let them know what’s happening, so they can be ready when I get the list.”

Departing, Kondor reverted to English and said, “Well, that’s about all we can do at this point.  Let’s swing by the hangar and see what’s happening, and then we probably should get some lunch--not much else for us for the moment.”

Indeed, as nerve-wracking as it was, there was little else that Kondor could do for the next forty hours.  Derek and Vashti worked with a professor for a couple hours converting all their numbers to the birds’ system, but then the professor took it to the Dean.  It was difficult to persuade Derek to sleep; he thought someone ought to monitor transmissions in case something changed.  Kondor agreed to sit up for a few hours, but said that they were just going to have to trust the computer to record it and look at it in the morning.  They held a meeting, but the six of them plus a few birds crowded into the shuttle.  Mostly they discussed the next step, and agreed concerning their initial attempt to contact the visitors.

Finally, as the countdown reached twenty-four alien hours, Derek sent the message on an open data channel:

“Interstellar visitors, please state your intentions.”

Next chapter:  Chapter 34:  Beam 169
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 #480:  Versers Think.  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

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The Online Games

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