In Version; Chapter 106, Slade 240

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Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 106:  Slade 240
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Kondor 246

Seven days later, with a second day for primitive weapons preliminaries, two days for the unarmed combat for which Derek had to be present for one, and the light powered weapons divisions that neither had entered but both watched, and two days for mandated rest, they rode together in a limo provided by 1942, who wanted to explain things prior to the event; their own cars would meet them there to return them home after they were finished.  The destination was a different arena, the Imperial Arena, about 9,000 miles away, but as Tournament contestants they had received permission to exceed the speed of sound significantly.  Otherwise it would have taken eighteen hours to fly there.  Instead, it took forty four minutes.

“Based on your performances in the preliminaries, you’ve both been ranked, which will affect your initial combats.  Your rank will change as you win or lose against opponents, but always you will face someone within 500 rankings of yourself.  The Honorable Robert Slade is ranked 4,790; the honorable Derek Brown is ranked 11,143 in Primitive Weapons, and 17,197 in Unarmed Combat.  You will not face each other probably for some time.”

“Face each other?” Vashti said with some concern in her voice.

“It might not happen.  The contest is quadruple elimination.  That is, you continue fighting until you have accumulated four losses.  Based on your performance and the performance of other contestants against whom you have won or lost, you will receive a final ranking.  Any questions?”

“Yes, two, maybe three,” Derek said.  “First, are there any Dracorex in the competition?”

“I believe so.  They are not excluded.  They automatically pass the Preliminary Trials.”

“Are they permitted to use their venom?”

“Yes, but there are medics standing by with antidote.”

“O.K., my remaining question is, if I’m in both divisions do I fight every day?”

“The rules say you only fight once per day, and have every fifth day off to rest.  This applies even if you are in two divisions.  Anything else?”

Slade couldn’t think of anything, although he was concerned about the possibility that a Dracorex could use venom against him.  He wondered if he had a satisfactory defense for that, and whether his armor would protect him.  But he didn’t have time to think about it, because they had arrived, and he would be fighting soon.

This arena gleamed a bright silvery color in the light.  When he commented on that, 1942 spoke.

“A platinum color.  The previous Emperor ordered the Imperial Arena’s construction with a tenth of an inch veneer of platinum.  Without light controls, looking at it would probably blind you.”

“How many?”

Derek’s Chombito friend answered his question.  There was an ‘I’ve seen the elephant’ vibe with him.

“Fourteen million, three hundred fifty seven thousand, eight hundred eleven, and now us.”  The flyer landed.  They got out, and Slade looked up.  While there might not be that many flying cars for a planet a thousand times the size of Earth, this was an exceptional moment.  He saw hundreds descending out of the air.  In the air he saw several of the giant balloons he had first seen at the College of Whistling Song.  Several enormous balloon cities formed an outer perimeter a couple miles up.

The sheer weight of the moment, of the knowledge that possibly millions of alien pairs or singles or triplets of eyes were right now watching him in that very instant threatened to unnerve him.

“Modi, I could use some of that courage now.”  He felt the worry about eyes watching him fade away.  He had a job to do, and he was the man to do it.  His gods were with him, and although he wanted to ask them questions, right now he had none.  This was the moment for war.  He led the way into the tunnel.  This time his group went alone.  In the background, he heard 1942 explaining that since the Anders never wanted to be second every group went through a tunnel alone.

Inside, he glanced up at the flying announcement board which redefined gaudy.  It was plated with gold, and studded with gems--somewhat tacky compared to the austere if overwhelming glory of the shining lines of the platinum arena, he noted.  But his thoughts quickly went back to what he wanted to know.

Lord Robert Elvis Slade, Thrice Honored Hero of the Caliphate, Rank 4,790: HUMAN


Choppity Chop Ku Gort, #21 Contestant on Ax War, Rank 4,642: TSO

A Chombito led him to one of the twelve arenas.  Across from him was a four foot tall being, holding two almost Frankish hand axes, and bouncing up and down in the air.  It was mostly humanoid, but had eyes on each side of its head like a bird, and its calves were avian rather than humanoid.  Its feet were like bird talons, wide spread.

It appeared to be trying to work up the crowd.  This worked to some degree.  There was a chant of ‘Chop Chop’ but it met another chant of ‘HOOOMAAAN’.  Despite all the showmanship, though, Slade could see that it always kept control of its axes, and worked them smoothly and swiftly even as it bounced up and down in the air.

“To have that rank, he has to be good.” Slade said to himself, and to his surprise the Chombito next to him snorted.

“Yes, that is possible.  It is also possible he utilized special monies.”

Bribery.  Well, he’d see if General Tso’s Chicken was any good.

Next chapter:  Chapter 107:  Beam 187
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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