In Version; Chapter 57, Slade 228

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Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 57:  Slade 228
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Beam 175

Slade was in the second hangar, where they had moved the ship Derek had downed and brought the one that had been shipped across the country.  He was helping Derek, who was just finishing the apparently difficult and delicate process of removing a ship’s transponder without damaging it.

“Thanks,” Derek said.

“Do you need help installing it in your ship?”

“I don’t think so,” Derek replied.  “I’ll call you if I do.”

“Right,” Slade said.  He tended to forget that Derek had a lot more practice at telepathy than he did, and the fact that he rarely used it was more from courtesy than from difficulty.

Stepping out of the saucer, they saw Joe standing in the still open hangar doors.  Slade called to him.

“Good morning!  Are you feeling any better?”

“Much, thank you,” Joe called back.  “Still have a bit of a headache, though.  But this is urgent, and I should be up to it.”

“Can I help?”

“Probably.  I need to run a test to make sure the engine I take is a good one–in fact, Derek, you know these ships and I don’t.  Can you do that?”

“Sure, Joe.  Give me a sec.”  Derek tucked something in what was apparently a pocket of his size-changing suit, and then returned to the ship he had just exited.  He had brought his laptop.  Joe caught up in time to see him connecting it to the ship’s computer.  They were then waiting, Joe not quite sure for what, but the laptop seemed to be working on something.

“The command paths on this ship are a little different from those on mine, and while I could probably operate it manually, for something like this I’d rather have the security of working through my computer.  O.K., running an all engines low power test.”

The ship trembled a bit and tilted.

“Interesting,” Derek said.  “It would be good to find out what they hit this with.  It seems that all the engines on the left side, including the front braking engine and the left side lifting engines, have been damaged.  They might be repairable, but for our purposes they’re scrap at present.  All of the right side engines and the top and rear ones appear to be working.”

“Excellent,” Joe said.  “I want the front right lift engine from underneath, just because it’s the one most likely to match the one I’m removing, if there’s any differences between them.”

“Sounds good,” Derek replied.  “Let it cool a bit first, though.  But you would know about that more than I would.  You worked in that field.  Well, Vashti is waiting at the other hangar to help me install this, so I’d better get there before she worries.”  He had already shut off the engines and disconnected his computer.  He headed for the hatch.  “Thanks again,” he concluded, and vanished.

“Well,” Joe said, “I guess have a seat.  We can’t start for at least a few minutes.”

They sat in silence for a bit, and looking for something to say, Slade said, “So, you’re really all better?  I mean, other than the headache.”

“Yeah, Derek’s little trick really made a difference.  Wouldn’t that be a useful skill to have?”

Slade shrugged.  “Not sure.  I feel like Odin wouldn’t approve of his warriors using magic for our wounds.  Don’t get me wrong–I would use it in minute to save Shella.  But I wouldn’t want her to use it on me.”

Joe seemed to ponder this, and then said, “That seems strange to me.  I’m sure I’ve seen you pray for aid in battle.  How would this be different?”

Slade shifted in his seat.  How could he explain this?  “Warriors of Odin are all about courage.  Skill, certainly, and determination, but at the root it’s the willingness to face pain and death that counts.  Being able to wipe those away with the wave of a hand, well, that would mean I wasn’t willing to face the pain but expected it to be magically removed.”

Joe shook his head.  “It seems inconsistent to me.  After all, I don’t think you objected to me bandaging your wounds or giving you medicine for pain.”

“Not at all the same.  If you treat me, you’re using human skill and knowledge and ability, and that’s part of what Odin expects, that we will work together and depend on each other.  I think if you had a psionic skill that could heal me, that would be fine as well, because it’s still you healing me.  But if I were to ask Idun, goddess of eternal youth, to take away pain and injuries I suffered in battle, I think Odin would be upset that I relied on the gods for something I should have relied on myself, or maybe you, for.”

“But Derek healed me.  How is that different?”

Slade laughed; he couldn’t help it.  “Derek didn’t heal you.  He prayed for you, that the King would heal you.  Derek’s God healed you; all Derek did was ask Him to.  You don’t get it?  No, of course you don’t.  Let me try this.”

Casting his mind back, he tried to simplify a complicated story.  He came to an answer.

“Many years ago I released a djinni from a bottle.  He offered to grant me a wish.  The story is more complicated than that, but I think you’ve ignored it before, and this is the important part.  I wished that he would make me the wealthy lord of a castle.  He did.  I don’t know for certain, but I think the castle sprang up from nothing in minutes, and the people to run it all were transported there with the understanding that they worked for me before I managed to get there.  Now, you could ask me to do that for you, but that would be meaningless; I couldn’t do that for myself.  I asked the djinni to do it, and because he felt an obligation to reward me, he did it.  Of course, I could see the djinni when I asked him.  But it’s not really different.  Derek didn’t heal you, and has no power to heal anyone, as far as I know.  What he did was ask someone who sometimes does favors for him to do him the favor of healing you, and that person, his God the King, did it.  But the King lives in the supernatural realm, like my djinni–but unlike my djinni he didn’t appear here to talk with Derek, but simply listened to him from, I don’t know, probably heaven.”

“Probably heaven?”

“Hey, the supernatural realms are pretty convoluted.  Gladsheim is neither Heaven nor Olympus nor Elysium.  What matters is that these are the supernatural realms, outside the multiverse.  The living don’t usually get to go there.”

I see,” Joe said unconvincingly.  “Well, let me show you what we have to do.  Mostly I need you to catch the engine when I’ve released the brackets from the inside.  Oh, can I use your tools?”

Next chapter:  Chapter 58:  Brown 258
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 #484:  Characters Maneuver.  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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