In Version; Chapter 35, Slade 222

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Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 35:  Slade 222
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Beam 169

Derek had sent the message, as they had agreed.  The six versers were all crowded in the spaceship.  Slade finally couldn’t take the suspense.

“What’s happening?”

Derek seemed to be checking a few things, and then answered.  “They seem to be shutting down transmissions; I’m not sure what it means.  The countdown is still--no, wait, that was the last thing, but I’m no longer receiving it.”

“So did they stop it, do you think?” Joe asked.

“No way to be sure, really.  They might still be counting, but simply cut the transmission so we couldn’t hear it.  But it doesn’t really matter--my systems are still counting at the same rate, so we’ll know when it would have reached zero.  Wait, there’s something coming through.”

“What does it say?” Shella asked.

“It says, ‘Who is this?’”

Everyone looked around at each other; Zeke was the first to speak.  “What are you gonna tell’em?”

Turning back to the keyboard, Derek spoke as he typed, “Commander Derek Jacob Brown, First Officer, The Wanderer.”  He glanced at the others with a questioning look.

“That sounds good to me,” Vashti encouraged.  “Send it.”

He hit the enter key.  Then he started typing again.

“What are you typing now?” Slade asked.

“I’m asking them to identify themselves.”

“Good thinking.  So, what did they say?”

“They haven’t, yet.  Wait, here it comes.  Lieutenant Commander Goren Gulb Blimmoss, Chief Communications Officer aboard The Seeker.”

“Obviously another colony ship,” Joe suggested, and Derek nodded in agreement.

“Wait.  They want to know why I’m here, and where The Wanderer is,” and again he was typing.

When he had finished typing, Slade prompted him again.  “So?”

“Oh.  Well, I told them basically that I’m on a diplomatic mission to the indigenous life forms on this planet, and that the Wanderer left me here while it continued its mission.  When we’re done we will follow them.”

Another message came through, and Derek answered it.  Slade was eyeing him expectantly when he turned back around, and he responded.  “They wanted to know what I meant by ‘we’, so I kept it vague and told them that my delegation included our Second Officer Commander Vashti Brown, Amira.  I’ll let them guess about the rest.”

Everything remained quiet for several minutes.  Finally Shella asked, “What now?”

Several of them shrugged.  “I guess now we wait,” Joe said.  “We’ll have to have someone by the radio all day, but it’s less than a day before the countdown reaches zero, so we’ll know soon what they’ve decided.”

Derek nodded.  “I’ll take the first shift.  Vashti, you’d better get some sleep, then come relieve me when you’re ready.”

“I can take a shift,” Zeke said.  “I might not understand this computer stuff, but I can certainly type, and I know about radios.  Besides, I can honestly tell them that I’m Lieutenant Ezekiel Smith.”

“I’ll sit with Zeke,” Joe said.  “Of course, I’ll be Doctor, not Captain.”

“Sounds good.  Everyone go get some rest; someone bring me some dinner, and maybe some of that beverage they drink to help them stay awake.”

Gradually they filed out.  Slade put his arm around Shella, and as they started back toward their house, he said, “Now we find out.”

Next chapter:  Chapter 36:  Kondor 230
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

Read the Stories

The Online Games

Books by the Author

Go to Other Links

M. J. Young Net

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