In Version; Chapter 40, Brown 254

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Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 40:  Brown 254
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Beam 170

Derek slept for a couple hours, but couldn’t relax well.  He was soon back to the hangar, where Joe was manning the system.

“All quiet,” the soldier reported, and Derek nodded.  Derek, still tired, sat in the co-pilot’s chair.

“What’s the countdown?”

“Six hours.”

“Our hours or theirs?”

“Um--theirs.  I believe evacuation of the campus has begun; Slade and Shella and Zeke are all resting.  Vashti?”

“She’s asleep.  I figured I wasn’t really sleeping, so I should be here.”

Joe nodded, and the two sat in silence.

“Well,” Joe said as he started to rise, “I should--”

There was a beep.

“That will be a message on the frequency we’ve been using,” Derek said.  “Let me see it.”

Joe gingerly passed the laptop to him, being careful not to disrupt the connections.

“What’s it say?”

“They want to know why Wanderer didn’t conquer the planet and settle it.”

“Interesting question.  Why didn’t it?”

“Well, that wasn’t the mission directive.  We were supposed to find a habitable planet and settle it.  There was nothing about displacing native populations.”

“Tell them that.”

Derek typed it, and waited.

The response came:  The directive is to find a habitable planet and settle it.  We recognized that a suitable habitable planet might be inhabited, but to fulfill the mission we should displace the inhabitants if necessary.

Derek responded, That seems an unwarranted extrapolation.  Why should we kill creatures as intelligent as ourselves?

These appear to be inferior creatures.  Their development is far behind even our remote ancestors.

Yet they are advancing very rapidly, are easily taught, have a strong curiosity and willingness to work.  They are probably every bit as promising as our own remote ancestors, and will probably be building ships like Seeker and Wanderer within--

He caught himself.  They wouldn’t speak of centuries.

Joe interrupted his thoughts.

“What’s happening?”

“Oh!” he startled.  “We’re arguing the ethics of wiping out the native population.”


“Yeah.  Hang on, I have to figure out their equivalent of a century.”

“Well, it would be, what, one,” he paused to calculate, “four four in base eight, yes?”

“Yeah, but that’s not what I mean.  I mean, they wouldn’t say something would happen within a century, they’d say something else.  Something that means sixty-four years,  but I’m not sure what to type to get that word.”

“Then don’t use it.”

He continued typing, within sixty-four years.

There was another pause.

Who cares? was the answer.  They aren’t anywhere near that now.  We’re taking over.

“What about a compromise?” Derek said to Joe.

“What are you thinking?”

“Maybe we can persuade everyone to share the planet?”

He shrugged.  “Go for it.”

He typed, I don’t know whether these people will agree to this, but you don’t have more than a few million colonists aboard and most of them are accustomed to living in small apartments.  The planet has space, and its people could probably establish a location where you could build your society.  Or in the alternative, you could integrate into their society.  I have been in contact with some of the leaders, and could serve as mediator in this negotiation.

This time there was a long break.  Finally the answer came back.

Our captain believes that the creatures will make satisfactory slaves.  Tell them they can avoid war if they surrender unconditionally.

“It’s not going well,” Derek says.  “Apparently the captain wants to conquer.”

One more line came:  Or livestock.

Next chapter:  Chapter 41:  Kondor 231
Table of Contents

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

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 #482:  Versers Engage.  Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.  It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.


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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