In Version; Chapter 129, Brown 277

Your contribution via
PayPal Me
keeps this site and its author alive.
Thank you.

Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 129:  Brown 277
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Beam 193

Getting ready for his next Primitive Weapons contest, Derek reviewed his last hand to hand fight against a Dvandar.  It had lunged terrifically fast, talons out, and he had done a forward roll into its legs, taking them out.  But instead of rising, which the Dvandar would do quicker than he, he had just rolled back into the Dvandar.  After he got a dominant position, he had begun pounding down with his left fist on the back of the orange alien.  Both its ears had spikes on them which had lashed his restraining and attacking arms and face, but in the end, he had done it.

The crowd had shouted ‘HOOMAAN’ many times, and it seemed to have a more bloodthirsty note than it did when he began so many weeks ago.  He had begun to see aliens with headbands or armbands or legbands with the numbers 50/12 on them, for fiftieth Lesser Race, and twelfth warrior race, or Human.  There was no question, but his fame was increasing.  In fact, he possibly was more famous than Neil Armstrong, Louis Armstrong, and JRR Tolkien combined--at least in name recognition.  With two hundred billion beings on Throne World, even if only a fourth paid attention to the tournament, that meant at least half of those had heard of him, so a potential fan base of twenty five billion was not too shabby, he told himself with a self-deprecatory smile.

Checking his chain, two knives, and trusty frying pan, he rose with a quick kiss for Vashti.  Summoned by this day’s guide, a Tivoci in its bioshell, he followed it to the arena.  The Tivoci were the only known race to live in deep space, and contrary to his expectation, they were rather small.  All of their body and clothes in their regular environment were composed of a brain, an asteroid shell dug out, a digger/digester filament like a snake with teeth along its body, and solar sails that also functioned as solar cells.  The weight of the whole creature was only seven pounds, most of that being brain.  At full extension, its sails were twenty yards across, but they seemed perfectly happy in their pill-shaped shiny metal bioshells that came to Derek’s waist and ran on trackballs like the bots.  Inside the shell it was zero gravity with a temperature a few degrees above absolute zero.  No one quite knew how they maintained a living brain with so little expenditure of electricity.  Their reply of ‘we think to ourselves’ did little to clarify things.

They were the third pacifist race, and they had no problem with the tourney, he had been told, because they simply did not understand it.  A Tivoci spent ninety percent of its life floating in the dark of space.  Despite that, they seemed quite social--the ones who had joined the Throne World empire, that is.  No one knew how many were out there, floating around other suns, doing whatever a floating brain did.  But things change.

Derek bumped into the shell slightly on the way, and the Tivoci stopped as he turned to apologize.

Mind speaker?  Are you a Psion as well?  Humans can be Psi.  Oh, Derek Jacob Brown, verser, wow, what an interesting life you’ve led.  Other universes?  We speculated as to such when we talked with each other.  But still, Wow.  I mean, hey, I want to talk to you after the dance thing, but right now, I need to send out a message to all the locals on the smushed gas giant, and to the rest of my species.  This may take a while.  I will make a grand new release on the Tivoci Mental Net:  Let’s see, headline it ‘New Species Discovered with Psi Powers, and Confirmation by Mental Deep Probe of the Existence of Other Universes:  A Scientific Paper by Flavor of Gravitons, Emissary to the Planetbound’, and I’ll be sure to give you credit as the information source, Derek Jacob Brown.  Thank you.

The words burst into his head, all of them at the same time, and he felt his mind being rapidly rifled through at the same moment.  It was overwhelming, and he began twitching and shaking.  He could hear the others around him, and as his back arched, and muscles threatened to tear themselves loose, or break his bones in a convulsive frenzy.  Despite or because of all this activity, he could not talk.  Gradually control returned to his body even as he figured out what had happened.

His brain had been given dozens of data requests at the same moment.  Exactly at that same instant his brain had received many data bits, also simultaneously, and had done the heroic work of getting the comments pieced together in a way that made sense.  The experience had felt like what he assumed parallel processing would feel like to a computer, or perhaps a distributed denial of service attack.  The first was a very fast way of having different parts of a computer do different work at the same time.  If the Tivoci brain was set up that way, that would mean it was not an attack.  No, it just meant that was how they operated.  Instead of electronic transfer of energy through their brain, they relied on psionic transfer of information inside their own head--which meant the little space brains were probably doing 10 to the 20th or whatever psionic operations every second.

His shudders ceased, and he looked down at the Tivoci with awe.

“Mass Spectrum of Apologies, Human.  We will talk later,” and it rolled off leaving him to find his own way to the arena where a scornful Anders waited its turn.  Shook, rattled, and almost rolled, he walked toward the arena, trying to recapture the pre battle mindset that had been knocked out of him by meeting something really weird.  He had not caught everything, or even more than a little, in the other’s brain, but even now he could recall with icy crystal clarity what it felt like to orbit a blue-white dwarf at ten Astronomical Units for an orbit of 458 years.  The words “a vast and splendid isolation” really did not do it justice.  At the same time, Flavor of Graviton had conducted psionic conversations with dozens of friends orbiting that star or others nearby.

Put it aside, he told himself as he stepped into the ring.  He had never faced an Anders in the Primitive Weapons division yet, and they were reputed to be tough.  Even as the referee pillarbot went over the rules, he studied his opponent.  Eight feet tall, thin, short hair on all its body where it was not covered by plastic shields over the center of its chest in a flat bottomed V-shape that did not reach the sides, and its knees and eyes.  Hmmm--his kicking the Dracorex in the knee might have gotten around.  The Anders carried a rough-carved dark cherrywood cane in its right hand.

Quickly, Derek glanced at the floating fight sign.

Idagant, Cane Fighter Old Man Style Yellow Rank.

Yellow Rank was higher than Green or Blue Rank in the martial arts communities that used that ranking.  But what was Old Man Style?  He guessed he would find out as he heard the ‘On go:  go’.

The Anders flopped forward, and leaned its weight heavily on the cane.  Derek took a hesitant half step forward; it went right, but then back again even as Derek closed in.  Throwing up one hand as if to shield its eyes, it released the cane entirely.  Immediately it began to fall forward and almost smashed itself in the face with the cane.  Boggled, Derek paused, and then saw the Anders straighten up and the bottom of the cane was flipped up and driven into his stomach.

Gasping, he staggered back, and the Anders came at him, weaving wildly to the right and left, lurching, and each time bringing the cane head end smashing down toward Derek’s head.  He dodged back twice, and then tried to block the cane with his new knife.  The Anders yanked the cane to the right with a twist which stripped the knife from his hand.  His blade had cut into the wood, and lodged there.  Now he was down one blade, as the Anders very, very carefully, acting like he was about to pick up a poisonous snake, removed the knife.  It then tossed it clear of the ring before giving Derek a broad, flat-toothed, goofy smile.

But Derek had ceased being taken in by the Old Man act.  When the over the top strike came again, he deflected it with his frying pan.  After that he lunged with his butcher knife, aiming for the ribs on the Ander’s left side.  The Anders caught his wrist with its own off hand, and Derek perceived himself to be in trouble.

Looking for solutions, it occurred to him that he could probably levitate his good knife back to him; but he wasn’t sure that stabbing with a telekinetically-manipulated weapon would be permitted.  Instead, he did the one thing he thought his opponent could not anticipate.

He transformed into Ferris Hoffman.

Of course, his wrists and hands were smaller in this gargoyle-like form, and before the Anders could adjust its grip he had pulled free and rolled back.  He had now dropped both knives and had only the frying pan, but he wasn’t done yet.  The crowd was screaming, but he shut out the noise, pulled the miniature bow and arrows from his pocket, and transformed into Theian Toreinu Morach.  With a leap he was airborne, flying around his opponent sufficiently out of reach as to put the attacker off balance.  Were missile weapons permitted?  He had had opponents throw knives and axes at him; he had not faced a bow.  He didn’t want to lose on a technicality, so he took an arrow in his left hand, dove onto the back of the tall brute, and stabbed it in the neck.  It tried to swat him, but swooned, teetered, and fell forward onto its face, Derek lifting off the shoulders as they descended.  He landed and transformed back into Ferris, grateful that there was enough magic in this world that he didn’t need the calorie supplement to do this, and then returned to being Derek.  The medics descended on them, and attended to his injuries before he walked from the field to cheers of “Hoo-man, hoo-man, hoo-man.”

Next chapter:  Chapter 130:  Kondor 252
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

-Books by the Author

Go to Other Links

M. J. Young Net

See what's special right now at Valdron