In Version; Chapter 112, Brown 273

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Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 112:  Brown 273
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Beam 188

They had different dwellings, homes a hundred feet down in Undercity #3.  All of the Undercities were numbered based on date of completion with one through five being underneath the Imperial Area, of which the platinum-plated Imperial Arena was the part with which he was most familiar.  Somewhere, supposedly within twenty miles of Derek, the Dracorex Emperor of Throne World, the ruler of over two hundred billion sentients, sat or stood or whatever Dracorex did.  He had not seen one yet.

The room was spacious enough that he did not feel unduly deprived--just one large room plus a privacy zone.  He could tell Vashti missed her ‘I designed it’ dream apartment in the swamp, but commuting nine thousand miles would be excessive, even for this city which sometimes defined ‘over the top’.

His first unarmed combat had been easy.  There were more unarmed combatants than armed unpowered ones, and he had been ranked about 17,000.  His opponent, a tan bipedal being with moving strands amidst its hair, a Vrai (whom he eventually learned were one of the lowest ranked warrior races for combat effectiveness), had taken one look at him with his doubled up fists, and yelled one word, “HOOMAN,” before turning about and running from the fighting ring.  Perhaps gutting that other alien the day before with his knives had made an impression.  And he had heard Slade had ‘nearly decapitated a high ranking holovideo star of some combat show’.  Slade had just shook his head and laughed at his question about that one.

Now, he was ranked 16,250 in Unarmed Combat and 9,705 in Primitive Unpowered Combat.  Seeing as Vashti was out shopping, he thought it a good time to practice with his new knife.  He pulled it out, and began his slashes and thrusts.  Thirty minutes later, slick with sweat, he heard the front door open, and turned to see Vashti with a basket bot behind her.  Unlike the pillarbots, the basket bots rolled on four trackballs and had a shorter, much stouter, central column, and a large basket where a human’s stomach would be.  A thin pole held a visual sensor on top.  He wondered why it was so obvious.  Maybe that was the reason.  Clearly, the Empire could be a total surveillance state, but they were not.

The basket bot brought the items inside, and used its single arm to unload the boxes from the basket onto the floor of the hotel room.  Then it left, closing the door behind it.  By this time he had sheathed his knife and was ready to listen to his wife describe what she had bought, the way his mother use to do.  Instead, she turned to him with a troubled face.

“Derek, a strange alien came up to me as I was visiting a clothing shop.  He mentioned that the apartment we have in the swamp was only ours for three months.  I swear, I did not say anything.  Then he said ‘But that can be fixed.  If, for example, your husband would be willing to lose one fight in the Primitive Weapons, which he said would not hurt because you had four to lose, we could have the apartment for life.”

She looked troubled, and her lower lip trembled, and he scooped her up in his arms even as he considered that ‘the rest of your life’ might not be very long if they were dealing with Alien Mafia.  Vashti snuffled, and then, sounding chiding, she spoke.

“I shouldn’t be upset.  I lived at court.  Such problems occur in the courts of the emirates.  But I thought not to see them here.  I should have known better.”

“And you thought the apartment was yours.”

“Yes, I did.”  She sniffled as if she were just finishing crying.  Meanwhile, Derek thought.  An obvious solution would be for him and Slade to go have a talk with these mafiosi, and by talk, he meant leave them in pieces on the street.  They had been polite to his wife, but he did not like that they had talked to her at all.  He was sure Slade would have no problem with this plan, but that did not mean it was the best idea.

“Show me what you spent our money on,” he said.  Brightening, she began to show him blouses and skirts made of fabrics with which he was unfamiliar.

Next chapter:  Chapter 113:  Kondor 248
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 #494:  Warring 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

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The Online Games

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