In Version; Chapter 86, Slade 235

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Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 86:  Slade 235
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Kondor 241

Slade watched as the door opened and Derek entered the arena.  To Slade’s eyes, the Dvander who entered through the opposite door was not in any way different from the one he had just fought; it even carried the same type spear.  As to Derek, he wore his chain around his waist and carried in his right hand a butcher knife and in his left a cast iron frying pan.  We’ve got to get that boy some better weapons, he thought.

Slade didn’t play a lot of chess, just the occasional game mostly in junior high, but it seemed that almost every player always opened by advancing the pawn in front of the queen two squares to the middle of the board.  It struck him to wonder whether the Dvandar similarly had a default opening move.  It was a good one--dramatic and potent, could easily catch an opponent off guard and end the game quickly.  He wondered whether he should try to warn Derek--but the kid having reached the starting point had raised the frypan slightly, clearly prepared to block with it.  He hoped the Dvandar hadn’t read that sign as well.

The go was called, and indeed the Dvandar made the expected leap.  Derek was not as fast as Slade, but he was fast enough to get the frying pan in front of the spear and to lean into it.  The spear hit it, and snapped from the impact, although Derek was knocked backwards.  He smoothly rolled heels over head and returned to his feet while the orange opponent was still scrambling in the dirt.

Derek didn’t wait for it to get to its feet, but swiftly closed the gap and put a gash in an exposed lower leg. He had been aiming for a thigh, but the Dvandar’s fast reflexes had saved it from an incapacitating strike. The creature flinched but kept moving.  When it stood, it was limping, and examining the shaft of its broken spear as if trying to decide its best course.  Derek didn’t wait for it to figure that out, but dropped his frying pan and whipped his chain from his waist, lashing out in a high strike that hit the Dvandar in the face, then pulling back and around in a wide swing that came over his head as he scampered forward and then swung down to wrap around the knees. This move clearly befuddled the Dvandar. A sharp pull brought the fighter down on its back again, and Derek once more moved in striking the other calf.  But the Dvandar was resourceful, and hurled the broken spear shaft into Derek’s right shoulder.

It took Slade a moment to realize that this was not so serious an injury as would have been expected:  Derek was left-handed.  He had been using the frying pan, and now the chain, in his strong hand, the knife as his support weapon.  Still, the pain must have been severe--Derek closed his eyes for an instant.  However, he didn’t have them closed long enough for the Dvandar to take advantage, and within seconds the boy had gotten around to the head, and as it sat up the chain went around its neck and pulled tight.  It struggled for perhaps a full minute before it blacked out, presumably from lack of air.

Blue medics scurried into the arena, tending Derek’s wound and the several wounds inflicted on the Dvandar.

Kelp 1942 said to Slade, “You humans are very impressive fighters.”

“Do you have enough data for your simulations?” Slade responded.

“Well, I would like to see you face Anders, but--”

“But it’s not necessary for the simulations.”

“No, I suppose not.  We will be analyzing these recordings for a while, but you Humans are very impressive.  What of the other two?”

“I don’t think they would be entering a combat competition.  I suppose if you want, you can ask Shella if she wants to try it.”

“I’d just as soon not, m’lord,” she said.  “I haven’t had the chance to test anything yet, and I wouldn’t want to rely on something that doesn’t work.”

“Fair enough.  Derek and I are your fighters.  You can bet on us.”

Next chapter:  Chapter 87:  Brown 267
Table of Contents

There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with ten other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #491:  Verser Ventures.  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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