In Version; Chapter 137, Brown 279

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Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 137:  Brown 279
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Beam 195

Derek stared at the four-armed opponent standing opposite him in the ring.  He had met one at that party--what did they call it, a Zo-Ark or something?  He resisted the urge to look up at the sign, which as Bob had suggested to him was a distraction they didn’t need.  Knowing what the creature was called probably would mean something to a fighter who had read up on all the other creature types and remembered details about them, but they weren’t going to be able to do that (there were over fifty) and were going to have to work based on what they knew about what they saw.

It struck him that this very well might be that same Xoark he had met at that party.  After all, the party had been given for the top remaining contestants, and even if there were a thousand guests from fifty-eight races, that would only be, he quickly did the math, an average of seventeen and a quarter from each--more than that, he realized, as he had not accounted for the pacifist and non-fighting races, but still, there would be more Dracorex and Anders than most other creatures.

What bothered him more, though, was that in addition to the two short slightly curved swords it had at its waist it was carrying three spears.  Why three? he wondered.  Why not four?  Don’t ask stupid questions, he thought, just be grateful for small favors.  Maybe it needs the fourth arm to balance.  Maybe it grabs its opponent with one hand and stabs with the other three.  With those talons, would it even need a spear?

Of course it would.  The spear is a throwing weapon; the sword gives it reach, and keeps its arms away from the enemy weapon.  He should expect to have to dodge the spears and then face the swords.

Two could play at that.

As the go was called, he drew his butcher knife and skillfully threw it directly at the center of the alien’s gut.  It flew straight--but then seemed to curve away and sail past its target.

Derek did not have time to be confused about this, as three spears were headed his direction.  He realized that a good fighter could put all three where he stood, but a smart fighter would anticipate that he would dodge--one would target to his left, another to his right, and the third up the middle.  The middle one would be aimed slightly high, so that if he jumped or backed away it might still hit him.

He dove into a forward roll under the incoming barrage and up onto his feet, his frying pan in his right hand.  He was nearly atop the Xoark, and so he smashed its lower left hand with the frying pan as it was trying to draw its sword, and drew his new knife.  That was why one of the hands had been empty; it would be able to draw the sword more quickly.  But the Xoark grabbed his left arm and squeezed the wrist, loosening his grip on the knife, and drew its sword with its other left hand.

Derek spied the fallen butcher knife.  He could not have thrown it that far off course.  This Xoark had tampered with something mentally--maybe distorted the light, or warped space, or most likely simply used some kind of telekinesis to push it off course.  He could do that, too, he decided, and pulled the blade toward him.  Turning it point-first, he steered it into the back of the Xoark.

It screamed, probably more from surprise than pain as Derek had put neither the speed nor the force on it to do serious injury--but it dropped him as it whirled around to look behind it.  That gave Derek the opportunity to push his combat knife deep into that less-protected back until it vanished in the lengthy fur.  He then used the same telekinetic trick to bring one of the spears to himself, and although by the time it reached his hands the other fighter had managed to turn back to face him, he was able to force the weapon into that gut he had targeted with his original throw.

The Xoark went down.  The referee called for the medics.  They attended to his wrist, and returned his knives to him, and he found the exit to the cries of “Hoo-man, hoo-man”.  He hoped he wouldn’t be disqualified.

Next chapter:  Chapter 138:  Slade 248
Table of Contents

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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