In Version; Chapter 132, Beam 194

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Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 132:  Beam 194
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Slade 246

The accommodations were not luxurious, and the white-haired man was not certain whether little green men coming in the night to kill him was less of a worry than zombies coming in the night to kill him, although as between the two he supposed that the LGMs were the lesser threat.  Dawn could finish off a squadron of them in a minute or less, and zombies had proven themselves a bit tougher than that.  He was, as ever, up during the night, checking with Dawn on watch in the hall; there was a pair of LGM sentries down the hall, assigned by Malacon, whom Beam decided weren’t quite worthless, as they would make suitable errand boys at need.  The beds were, predictably, too small, so he and his two brides had spread their bedding on the floor in one room; Bob and Bron were across the hall, and he had not checked whether the burly blacksmith had attempted to squeeze into a bed which might barely have accommodated Dawn or similarly spread out on the floor.  He mused that in some ways their camp in the wilderness had been more comfortable; at least the ground was a bit more pliable.  With nowhere else to go, he went to bed.

In the morning he waited for his full team to be awake.  Bron was last up, but it had been a tiring day and he wasn’t worried about it.  He told everyone to leave luggage behind and bring only what they needed to defend themselves and eat breakfast provided by someone else, and then asked their errand boys, assisted by Bob’s telepathy, to escort them to breakfast.  He was not surprised to see that Dawn’s bare essentials included the weapons crawler, as given their situation it was probably not a mistake.

He had one of the errand boys help them get a decent breakfast while he sent the other to alert whoever was currently in charge (don’t wake anyone unnecessarily, just make sure they know) that they were up and in the breakfast room.  He had barely started eating the almost recognizable meal on his plate (it included eggs of some sort) when Captain Malacon entered.  He asked whether he had permission to enter, which was a formality Beam decided should be maintained, and at the indication of a hand he sat at the table on one of the uncomfortably small chairs.

“What news?” Beam asked.  It occurred to him that ‘Report’ would have been the better way to say that, but since he was communicating through Bob and the telepath knew what he was thinking, he figured it would probably go through well enough.

One of our technicians believes he might have an answer to your question.

“Which one?”

His name is--

“No, which question.”

Oh!  Where one might be able to operate the ship other than from the bridge.  Beam waited, and the Captain obligingly continued.  There is a training room, a simulator used to teach pilots and navigators and other bridge crew their jobs without risking the ship.  He believes that someone who knew what they were doing might be able to configure that to operate the ship itself.

“Believes that someone?”

He couldn’t do it himself, but the equipment there is identical to that on the bridge, and it might be that someone who knew the system extremely well and could override security protocols could control the ship from there.

He was becoming more impressed with this verser hacker they had, and wondered which of them it was.  Maybe the one who shot him.

“So, has the room been secured?”

No, sir.  It didn’t sound like a credible threat, so we were awaiting your orders.

Beam stood--somewhat awkwardly out of the low seat.  “Come people,” he said.  “We’ve got work to do.  Captain, it is the most credible threat we have been able to identify, and even if Norax has no one who could take control of the ship from the training room, he doesn’t need anyone--the pilot who crashed the ship into the ocean obviously configured the system for that, and probably did not change it before he made his escape.”

He put one last bite of something in his mouth while his companions were getting organized, and then continued.  “Get a strike team; we might need backup, if Norax is already there.”

What could he do?

“That’s just it--we don’t know.  He was a bridge officer, and if he has control of something that acts like the bridge--well, let’s just say we don’t want that.  Let’s go.”

As they exited the breakfast room, Malacon gave orders to some subordinates waiting in the hall, and then led them presumably toward their destination.

Next chapter:  Chapter 133:  Brown 278
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

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