In Version; Chapter 80, Slade 234

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Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 80:  Slade 234
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Brown 265

“So, what are the rules?” Slade asked their Kelp companion as they approached the stage for their combat.

“Rules?” replied the apparently confused sentient seaweed.

“I rarely fight for sport; usually when I’m in combat it’s my life or the opponent’s, or sometimes both.”

“You can die and come back to life?” the Kelp said with a bit of awe in its voice.

“Yes, but not in a way that would be useful to you.  We’re versers.  If I’m killed I revive in another universe fully healed.  I got here because I was caught in an explosion on a spaceship, and this is where I landed.”

A bit less enthused, the Kelp said, “Continue.”

“Obviously in practice it doesn’t work that way.  A lot of that is sparring, just practicing forms and reactions; sometimes there’s scoring involved.  In either case, the fighters are expected to pull their punches, that is, what counts is that my sword touched him, but hopefully gently enough that he isn’t injured.

“Your sword?”

“Yeah, that’s another thing.  I never fight without weapons.  In lethal combat that includes my MK-12 blaster, but it’s not possible to turn that down and on a good shot with it I’ll kill an ordinary Chlorophyte or Parakeet, so I obviously don’t use it in sparring.  I’m assuming that in simulated fights I use my sword and dagger, but I don’t hit hard enough to hurt anyone.”

He wished he could tell whether the thing was nodding its head, but he waited for a response.  Just to clarify, he added, “I don’t fight weaponless.  Vashti does, I think, and Derek can but prefers not to.  Shella doesn’t really fight; she uses magic.”


The plant was displaying an unnerving talent for short questions.

“Yeah.  We haven’t been in your universe very long, so we don’t know what works, but as I understand it,” he said, thinking back to the primer Omigger had insisted he read years before, “it’s a way of summoning energy from outside the universe, in the supernatural realms.  It doesn’t always work, but when it does it often seems to break the ordinary laws of science.”

“Super natural?”

Slade decided to let that one lie, and waited.  The Kelp obliged.

“This is difficult.  We have medics standing by, so that when one of the combatants is killed he can be revived within minutes; but if as you say you go to another world when you are killed--”

“--then that obviously isn’t going to work,” Slade completed for him.

“On the other hand, some creatures are strong in battle because they have thick body coverings and high durability, so they are hard to hurt.  Others are frail, but agile, surviving by avoiding being hit.”

It seemed to be considering the problem.  Slade waited.  Finally it responded.

“Weapons, yes, but not energy weapons.  Kill or disable your opponent.  Do try to stay alive, or the data will be useless.”

Internally Slade laughed at this; he heard Vashti gasp.

Arriving at the site in a flying car, they were met by a medical team of four of the blue aliens who immediately began examining them.

“Making sure we’re healthy enough to do this?” Derek asked.

The confused Kelp took a moment to reply, “No, making sure they understand your physiology well enough to heal you when it’s over.”

Slade was sure that didn’t sit well with Vashti, but it was fine for him.  They moved to a room that was very like a small version of the Coliseum, at least from the movies, with a dirt field and stands around the outside.  He was to be first.

“This way, honored one,” a different Kelp addressed him, and he followed down some steps that adjusted to his stride even as he approached them.  After this, he went to a corridor and a pair of double doors.  “The fight begins when the watcher says ‘go’.”  With that the doors opened, and Slade stepped into the open space.

Fifty yards away there was another set of double doors, and through it emerged his opponent.  It was one of the Dvandar, and he studied it as they walked slowly toward each other, realizing that it was also studying him.  It had bright orange skin, smooth like a tree frog, and Slade hoped it wasn’t toxic.  The protrusions on its ears were spike-like, and appeared to be a defensive protection.  It was bipedal, standing very like a man but not quite, and Slade had at least a foot in height over it.  However, it was muscular, strong arms, visible muscles in its chest and thighs.  It was carrying a short spear, so Slade drew his dagger to his left hand.  It stopped about ten yards away, so Slade also stopped.  It appeared to be tensing its legs, perhaps preparing to charge.

A loud voice, probably amplified, said, “On go:  Go.”

The orange creature leapt, and was sailing through the air toward him, spearpoint first.

Next chapter:  Chapter 81:  Beam 180
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 #489:  Battle Worlds.  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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