In Version; Chapter 118, Kondor 249

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Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 118:  Kondor 249
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Slade 243

Gaslights lit the dining car as Zeke and Kondor shared a lighter supper than either would have liked.  Supplies were dwindling, but as the train backed back up the track toward the last junction they had agreed to bring the last of their aid to one more town.

“I thought more supplies were going to be sent,” Kondor commented.

“You an’ me both, Cap,” Zeke answered.  “I suppose I should get this radio working and see what I can find out.”

“I should have thought of that.”

“Well, maybe; but I’m the radio tech.  You’re only the commanding officer, what would you know?”

Kondor smiled at this typical military humor.

Zeke finished up, and said, “I’m going to go see to that radio.  Coming?”

Looking at his bare plate, he replied, “I think I’ll nurse this cup of wants-to-be-coffee and think for a bit.  You can give me your report when I get back there, Lieutenant,” he kidded in response.

“Aye, Cap,” and Zeke headed back toward their berths.

Staring at the dark murky liquid in his mug and wishing that there were something like milk in this world, Kondor pondered the situation.  They were almost out of everything--not only food for the dining car, but supplies for the survivors.  The first great Parakeet relief effort was about to fizzle, he suspected.  What was it that these birds didn’t have that humans did have that made the difference?

A small voice in his head said, they don’t have the church.

That’s ridiculous, he told himself.  Why should religion matter to humanitarian efforts?  In our world there are a lot of humanitarian organizations that have no religious connections at all.

Think about it, though.  The church invented hospitals.  The church founded all the colleges and universities in the European world for centuries.  The church spearheaded free education for children.  Most of the earliest charitable organizations were offshoots of the church.  Indeed, the very word ‘charity’ was a Christian concept, about love for people you didn’t know.  There was something about the teachings of the church that encouraged people to give to others in need--and that something didn’t exist in this world.  Somehow, the idea that others needed help and that the birds should pool their resources to meet the needs of parakeets around the world just didn’t seem to catch on.

It seemed ridiculous, but it was difficult to refute.  He stared at the liquid once more, set down the mug, and slowly walked back to their berths, the idea still nagging at his mind.

“So, what’s the word?” he asked Zeke, who was packing up the radio.

“Nothing’s on its way,” he said.  “Apparently everyone who has anything is using it to rebuild following the alien attacks, including the university.”

Indeed, everyone had been harmed, and those who had been harmed some were not going to suffer more to help those who had been harmed worse.

Yes, came an unbidden thought.  It is a godless world.

With that plaguing his mind, he went to bed, and into an uncomfortable sleep.

Next chapter:  Chapter 119:  Beam 190
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

Read the Stories

The Online Games

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Go to Other Links

M. J. Young Net

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