In Version; Chapter 125, Brown 276

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Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 125:  Brown 276
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Beam 192

Derek looked up at the gaudy gold flying sign for his third unarmed fight.

Commander Derek Brown, Twice-Honored Hero of the Caliphate, Unarmed Combat, Rank 13,263: HUMAN


Atouk, Winner of Pub Smash for Sector 23, Unarmed Combat, Rank 12,859: CHOMBITO

“Yes, ah, sir,” Ystrang spoke quickly as an Anders guide brusquely motioned him forward.  “Pub Smash means he’s a bouncer for a drinking house.  He will know many dirty tricks.  Be careful.  And hit the larger black spots.  They are more sensitive.”

“Thanks,” Derek said, and quickly hiked forward to the Anders who led him through the arena to his circular fighting ring.  Across the ring from him was a Chombito, heavier-set than Ystrang, with multiple scars on his bare chest.  Given the skill of the medics, that had to be a deliberate choice.  He had kept his scars.

Derek stepped into the ring, and the alien bouncer did as well.  The pillarbot went over the rules quickly.  Derek noted that there was no provision for a Chombito being knocked out, but there was a provision for full body spasm for the Chombito.  Different biologies, he reminded himself.

Looking objectively at the appearance of the pair, even Derek would have predicted the Chombito would win.  They were close to the same height, but the Chombito was layers of hardened muscle atop each other.  And its skin was the consistency of sandpaper.  But Derek knew a few things.  The Chombito suffered from having too much muscle compared to too little fat.  They were not as bad as the hyper Dvandar, but their endurance was poor.  And their skin was covered with black dots, which hurt when hit.

As the Chombito approached, Derek faded to the side.  This continued for another four fades, and then the Chombito called out to the pillarbot referee.

“Opponent is showing undue cowardice, and should be ruled a loss.”

The pillarbot spoke.

“Counter argument?”

Realizing that meant him, Derek considered not saying anything--but no, his opponent was an experienced fighter, and evidently a rules lawyer as well.  His strategy of tiring out the Chombito had to be obvious.

“I am attempting to cause my opponent to lose his wind, after which, he will be an easier target.”

“Human combatant is warned.  This is the first of three warnings.  Undue cowardice.”


“You lost, kid,” the Chombito said, and charged at him.  Derek faded back but, worried that this would be interpreted as cowardice, he did not go as fast as he might.  The Chombito suddenly shifted from his charge, and dove into an airborne tackle to the left right at Derek.  Derek threw up his arms, but the block had no chance.  The Chombito landed on him, and one punch to the face, two punches, three punches--

“Hold, hold,” the pillarbot was yelling, and the Chombito leaned back on his knees above Derek with a smile on his face.  Derek tried to get up, but his head was spinning, and there were three pillarbots looking down on him.

“Chombito Atouk wins the match.”  Medics ran in, and began fixing him up, and soon enough he was back to par.  The Chombito was still there.  He looked down at Derek.

“Kid, you’re a good fighter.  Just not sneaky enough.  Yes, and I know you weren’t being cowardly.  No one who tells off a mid boss from the undercities like you did last night, or even better stomps a pair of Dracorex petty nobles like that, is cowardly, and I like that about you.  Keep those scum out.  But I knew you were playing me.  There’s the game and the Game, y’see.”  And with these somewhat cryptic words of wisdom, the bouncer walked off.

That was his first loss in either unarmed or primitive weapons, and he dreaded looking at his new rank, but he did so anyway.  It was Rank 13,572.  His body was fine, but his spirit hurt.

Next chapter:  Chapter 126:  Kondor 251
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

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The Online Games

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