In Version; Chapter 97, Kondor 244

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Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 97:  Kondor 244
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Brown 269

The train drove through the night as all aboard rested under the care of its crew.  Despite the small beds both versers slept deeply, as exhaustion, both mental and physical, had claimed much of their energy.  The ticketmaster came through their area, waking them softly with tweets, and explaining that they had come to a block in the track an hour before dawn.  Looking out, Kondor could see the sun rising.  They must have been sitting on the track for over an hour.

Getting up he yearned for coffee (or at least its equivalent among the birds) as he uncreaked his back from the short bed.  He and Zeke went outside, and as on the day before began to remove the blockage.  This was not so severe as it was not locked between two hills, so in fifteen minutes the track was clear.  Knowing he could, he chose not to hike the short distance to get a better look at the oncoming town.  Instead, he went for breakfast on the train.

A thought he had heard expressed by a nice religious lady from his youth came back to him.  The trouble of the day is enough for the day.  Back then he had thought that foolish, but right now he could see her point.  They would arrive in town after breakfast, and whatever horrors he would see today could wait until he had to face them.

Thirty minutes later the train halted with many a loud whistle.  Zeke led the way out, and they both looked toward the town as they waited in line for supplies to be handed to them from a railroad car.  Already a system was being formed to make things faster, smoother, and more regular.

The town itself was placed on a short bluff, ten feet above what must have been a beach.  The tsunami had hit shallow waters in the bay, shattered what looked like five wooden piers, and smashed into the town.  All of the tall buildings, judging by their large foundations, had been shredded in the front leaving few bits of walls here and there standing, but that valiant barrier had saved some of the buildings halfway into the town.  A single light wooden house had been shoved a mile from the shore, he thought, as its design matched others closer to the town and it was tilted on its side.  Mud was everywhere, but several birds were walking the half mile to the train.  The track had run down to the shore and the piers, the train engineer told him.  It would need to be rebuilt.

Kondor walked forward with an ax and a shovel, a backpack full of crude bandages, and his medical kit.  Zeke came with him, loaded down as well.  They met a trio of birds from the town in the middle of a muddy field that had been some sort of crop.  The first bird to speak squawked, and was so upset that Kondor could not link to him.  So he linked to another, and heard the first squawk again.

“You’ve come to rob us.  Haven’t you?  No-good thieving murderous College people.”

Kondor was astonished, but he remembered that the Parakeets did have individual nations.  This was a different nation-state with very likely a troubled  history with the one he was from.

“No, we come bearing blankets and bandages and food,” he sang back.

“Poisoned.” the bird said.

In response, Kondor took out a bit of food from his backpack, broke it into three parts, and ate one himself while offering the other two parts to the other two parakeets.  He kept an eye on the bird.  It was irrational, and possibly suffering a mental breakdown.  Kondor felt pity.  No one, Human or Parakeet, wanted to see half their town blasted without warning.  At the same time, crazy people could be dangerous.

One of the birds, a hen, spoke.  “I never knew how much I could love dried biscuit.  Thank you.  I’m the chief clerkess and all that is left of the town hall government.  The mayor really enjoyed his view of the harbor from his third story window over the bluff.”  She sobbed a bit.

The other bird stepped up.  He had an air of command.  “I was with my crew taking a layover.  I was visiting a friend on the far side of town so I was lucky.  My crew, not so much.  I am Ship’s Captain–”  His name did not translate so Kondor just put each in his brain as Crazy Guy, Clerkess, and Ship’s Captain.  “I’m the closest thing to authority this town has other than the Clerkess.  How can we help you help us?”

Crazy Guy subsided, and accepted a biscuit as well.

“Could someone lead us to any buildings that are suspected of having survivors buried under them?  Meanwhile, Zeke is going to take you to the train and get you some medicine,” he said, pointing to Crazy Guy, then in English to Zeke, “Give him a medicinal bottle of strong liquor and explain the situation.  Then arrange with the engineer to bring in food, and to send some people to help me.”  Turning back to the others, he said, “Then Zeke will help you organize delivery of food, water, and supplies, and he can find me with the others.”

“We have some able-bodied birds that could help, if they had food,” the Clerkess suggested.

“Then perhaps you should show me where to start, and then round up those who can help and take them to the train for food and water to get them started.  We should probably start with those who need medical care; I’m a doctor.”

Everyone agreed with this, so the Ship’s Captain and Crazy Guy headed toward the train, and he followed the Clerkess over to a building on the back side of town.  It had been a pottery shop; now it was a communal living place.  Inside, he checked over everyone and bandaged several wounds.  Then he handed out biscuits.  Zeke reached him with workers before he had finished.

After those biscuits were eaten, a dozen birds proclaimed themselves sturdy enough to help.  Kondor had to refuse three of them who were wobbling too much, but he had his team.  Other birds he saw were already working in the town, and he came up to a group of five who were cautiously picking at one building.  These were the truly healthy ones, and they had been working hard–wet, covered in mud, but there was no stopping in their sharp eyes or firm talons.

Kondor gave them biscuits, and received a song from the team leader that the team had heard intermittent cries from deep inside the former two story building that was now a crumbled wreck.  Carefully, very carefully as he did not want to brainburn himself again, he extended his clairvoyance.  Zeke held him, even if it was not needed, the rescue Parakeets ate a second biscuit, and his mind’s eye slid through shattered fragments of wall, brick, gouts of mud, and broken pieces of timber, all soaked at one point, but mostly dry now.

After ten minutes of searching, he found a pair of Parakeets.  One was dead, but the other was drifting in and out of consciousness.  Sustained by dripping water from a tilted bathtub ten feet above its head, the living one was in bad shape.  He would not likely last the day–that is, if the bathtub did not crash through the broken timbers holding it up to crush the Parakeet lying beneath it.

Next chapter:  Chapter 98:  Slade 238
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 #493:  Verser Engagements.  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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