In Version; Chapter 127, Slade 245

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Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 127:  Slade 245
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Kondor 251

Slade had not expected that he would tire of fighting every day, but the competition had now been going--he didn’t know, but Shella said six weeks.  He was somewhere in the top two hundred--because your rank depended on both your own wins and losses and those of other contestants, you could walk out of a battle with one rank and return the next day to fight again with another.  It must be tougher for Derek, he thought, because the kid was in two categories and so had two ranks, but Slade was pretty sure that at this point he was in the top thousand, at least, in both.

Thus far he had not lost a bout.  He had taken a few serious injuries against some very tough opponents, and had prayed for strength more than once.  He wondered about the appropriateness of praying for strength to win in a game, but then, there was something about this that suggested it was not a game, or not just a game.

Six weeks was something like forty days, and four fights every five days meant something like thirty fights so far.  Was Ragnorak going to be something like this, fighting every day for eternity?  Is this what he had to look forward to?

He shook the thought from his head.  This was his day off; he was supposed to relax.  He would visit Derek, but at some point their days off had gotten out of synch--he couldn’t now remember which one of them had three fight days and a day off, but now they were never free on the same day.  Still, the fights weren’t generally that long themselves; far more time went into the preparation and transportation.  Depending on what time Derek was slated to fight, he would be home in plenty of time for dinner--probably.  Slade remembered more than one day that he sat around the arena until after nightfall and then fought.  He won one of those, he suspected, simply because his opponent had tired himself out waiting.

The door chimed.  He rose to answer it, and found Kelp 1942.

“What’s up?” he asked.

The Kelp apparently took that as an invitation to enter and floated into the apartment.

“I just wanted to see if you were all right.”

“As good as might be expected,” he shrugged.  “The living conditions are rather Spartan, but we’ve started to learn what food is good.  You?”

“We are well.  You and Derek have won us a lot of money.  Derek has now lost three unarmed fights, but we anticipated two of those and bet against him; he has also lost one primitive weapons fight, which we had also anticipated, as that opponent had clearly been underrated.”

Slade felt as if there was something the seaweed wasn’t saying.  “But?”

Hesitantly 1942 continued.  “There have been allegations of fight fixing by certain criminal elements, and we were concerned.”

“Don’t worry about us,” Slade said.  “We’ve both been approached and made it quite clear that we were not going to be persuaded.”

He wasn’t certain whether 1942 was reassured by that, and wondered whether thugs had attempted to pressure their Kelp benefactors to get them to influence him.  Of course, that wouldn’t work very easily--the Kelp were too passive to put any pressure on them.

“By the way,” he asked, “what happens after the contest?”

“It may in part depend on how you finish.  There are significant prizes for many of those who compete, and that will be yours.  We will continue to negotiate contracts in the future, if nothing else for your stories.  There might be another combat like this next year, and if you are interested there are other contests you could enter.”

He nodded.  He was still concerned, but less able to articulate those concerns.

The door called, and he excused himself to answer it.  It was Derek.

“C’mon in,” Slade said.  “1942 is here.”

“I was just leaving,” the Kelp suggested.  “Good to see you, and congratulations on your performance so far.”

“Uh--thanks,” Derek said, and the Kelp was out the door.  “What did he want?” Derek asked.

“Not exactly sure,” Slade said.  “He was concerned about criminal efforts to fix fights.  It might just have been that he was worried about it affecting the odds, but I told him we were good.”

Derek just nodded, and asked if Slade had anything to drink, so they agreed to order something and headed for the screen.

Next chapter:  Chapter 128:  Beam 193
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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