In Version; Chapter 98, Slade 238

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Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 98:  Slade 238
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Kondor 244

Derek and Vashti invited Slade and Shella over for dinner that night.  The robot told him what to order from the Chlorophytes foods and prepared dinner for them with one of the recipes gleaned from the Wanderer’s computer.  Slade was impressed that the alien food was at least palatable.

“Yeah, the robot had some practice as we tried to come up with things Vashti and I would like.”

Derek then told him about his excursion, about the eerie peaceful feeling he had while among the Ichthoi.  He suggested maybe Slade would appreciate it.

Scrunching his face a bit, Slade responded, “I think not.  I try to be alert at all times; practicing being fully relaxed?  That wouldn’t be right at all.”

“I suppose,” Derek said.  “But then, what happens after Ragnorak?  I mean, assuming you win and the giants are destroyed, once there are no more battles, is that when you relax?”

He hadn’t thought about that.  What did happen?  If he fell at Ragnorak, would he cease to exist?  What would that be like--or is that question nonsense?  If the gods won, would there then be peace--and what would it be like for anyone, Thor, Heimdall, himself, not to have a war to fight?  If they lost, would they be forever enslaved by the giants?  Or would the giants imprison them forever, or simply end their existence?

Or did Ragnorak just continue forever?

“Would you like some more?  Bob?”  Vashti interrupted his ponderings, and he sort of snapped back to the dinner.  So much for being perpetually alert, he thought.

“Um--thank you, n--you know what, yes, I’ll have a bit more of--of that,” he said pointing at the meat.  “It’s very good.”

“Save room for dessert,” Derek said.

“A good piece of meat is sweeter than any dessert,” Slade answered, and wondered whether that was a silly thing to say.

“Well, we’ll give you a little bit more.  Derek’s right; the robot makes a good--whatever it is.  I guess pudding is the best word for it.”

Slade was finishing the extra slice of the meat and thinking that he was going to be overfull and should skip dessert when the robot delivered it to the table.  It looked good, and the look on Shella’s face as she tasted it told him it was good, so he relented and had some.

“Oh, that’s very good,” he said.  “Remind me if we ever have a dinner party to borrow your robot to help with the cooking.”  Shella glared at him.  “I said help,” he protested.  “You’re an excellent cook, and getting better, but if we had company I’d rather have you mingling with the guests.  You’re much better at that than I am.  And why should you be trapped in the kitchen when you could be having fun in the living room?”

That seemed to mollify her, and Slade had another bite of the dessert.  It really was very good, but he realized he could make himself sick if he ate too much of it.  “Thank you; this is really, really good, but I’d better stop now.  Honey, do you want the rest of mine?”

Shella snapped it up greedily.  He couldn’t blame her.  It was like--what was that food of the gods?  Ambrosia.  He almost asked if it had a name, but then, if it did it would be in Chlorophyte.  To him, it would be ambrosia.

Finishing dinner and retiring to their own apartment, Slade’s thoughts returned to Ragnorak.  He suddenly had a lot of unanswered questions he had never asked, and no one to give him answers.

Next chapter:  Chapter 99:  Beam 185
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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