In Version; Chapter 122, Kondor 250

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Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 122:  Kondor 250
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Beam 191

When Kondor awoke, the train was still and nearly silent, and there were noises outside of birds whistling in a somewhat agitated way.  He rose, donned his camos, and found his way outside.  They seemed to be in the middle of nowhere; he wondered if the train had broken down.  Spotting someone, he grabbed a language link and asked, “Is there a problem?”

The bird came over and whistled back, “Indeed, sir, there is.  We’re almost five miles from the town, but there’s a trestle over a valley just ahead, and it appears that the river beneath it flooded enough to break the supports and damage the track.  We can’t get the train over it.  There are railroad workers trying to fix it, but it will be at least a day, maybe several, before we can go forward.

Kondor did not relish waiting for several days with dwindling supplies.

“Is there another way into the town?”

“There’s a coast road, but it’s a good fifteen miles from the railroad stations in either direction.”

That wasn’t going to work.  He thought.

“Let me see the trestle,” he said.  The bird seemed to nod, and walked along the track with Kondor following.  There were some railroad company transport and equipment trains on the track between them and a roughly constructed stop fence before the edge of a valley.  Kondor ventured over to the edge.

The trestle ran about two hundred yards above a steep and fairly deep gorge at the bottom of which was a very muddy swifty-moving river which from the water marks was obviously considerably higher recently, but which also showed signs of tidal variation, water backing upstream when the tide rose and rushing out when it fell.  It was mostly wild, but there were signs of the remains of a few houses no longer standing along the banks.  More significantly, about half way across there was a section, he estimated perhaps ten feet, where supports had failed, cross ties had fallen out, and the rails were out of line.

It was only ten feet; but it might as well have been ten miles.

That wasn’t true, he realized.

Turning back to his guide, he said, “We have food, medicine, and supplies to deliver to those parakeets.  We need to find a way across--and I think I have one.  By now we have several empty boxcars.  We should be able to take wood from one of them, sides or flooring or roof, and build a simple bridge across the gap so that our people can walk across carrying the aid, hike into the town, and return the same way.”

“By the time we can do that,” the bird objected, “they might have the track fixed anyway.”

“They’d like you to think so, but look at it.  You’ve lost a piling. There are bent and broken support beams all the way up to the track, and the rails themselves are out of line.  They’ll be lucky if they can finish it this week.  We can have a simple bridge in place in,” he thought about it for a moment, “two hours, probably less, if we get started on it.  And the sooner we can get across that trestle and back, the sooner we can all go home.”

This last incentive seemed to get the bird’s attention.  He started whistling commands for others to help.  Kondor went back to his berth where he found Zeke just awakening.  “Breakfast?” he suggested.

“Sure,” the lieutenant replied.  “What’s happening out there?”

“Well, it looks like we’ve got a longer walk than usual,” Kondor said, “and I hope you’re not afraid of heights.

Next chapter:  Chapter 123:  Slade 244
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 #495:  World Crises.  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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M. J. Young Net

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