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Stories from the Verse
Verse Three, Chapter One
Chapter 73: Slade 24
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Previous chapter: Chapter 72: Kondor 24
"Well," Slade began, "I'm all in favor of freedom. And I'm not afraid to die--by Odin, I've done that before, and I'll do it again. And I'm about ready for another good fight; I haven't really had the opportunity to go head to head with anything since I attacked that efriiti some thirty years back. But, and don't get me wrong, I've got skills, but I don't know that I have the kind of skills which would be much use here."
And he began to talk about training with Torelle, learning to use sword and dagger and mace and many other primitive weapons. He continued with some of what he learned from Omigger, and from the books he inherited when the wizard died. After that, he talked about Filp, climbing walls, picking locks, sneaking through hallways.
"And before that, I was an auto mechanic." Again, he realized that these people were as clueless regarding what that was as his friends from the last world. "I used to fix cars with gasoline engines, and sometimes diesel, too, and the stuff that goes with them. And I guess I can do plumbing and carpentry and some electrical--I don't care for electrical work, got killed doing that once."
The crew was still staring rather blankly at him.
"Yeah, that's what I figured. Tell you what, let me wander around the ship a bit and find all my stuff, and then you can dump me wherever you want."
Still they stared. Then they looked at each other, and finally at the captain. Finally he spoke.
"Goodness, no. I wouldn't think of it. I'm sure Burly can use help in engineering, and an extra man who can handle a weapon and knows how to be quiet has to be a benefit on the ground."
Ishara walked out of the room, saying as he left, "Let me know when you change your mind. I'll kill him for you."
"Don't worry about him," the captain said. "He has problems with intimacy."
"Seriously," Ann Parker added, "welcome aboard."
Finding his gear wasn't at all difficult. Tom Titus went with him, and asked him how he managed to get his stuff into the odd places in which it was found. Several times Slade told him he really had no control of where the stuff went. As soon as he found the toothpicks he placed one in his mouth. His escort was clearly curious about this. "I use to smoke," he explained, but it obviously didn't enlighten him any. "Nevermind--there's no way I can explain it that will make the slightest bit of sense."
The second spot to which he was attracted was indeed on a lower deck. There he found a chest in which he had placed his favorite bits from his treasure--notably the djinni bottle, but also a beautiful necklace with an emerald about the size of a golf ball, a carved gold ring with a fancy raised "S", a jeweled dagger--in all about twenty pounds of various recognizable pieces, plus the fancily carved, overlaid, and gem-studded chest. Slade was very pleased to see it; Titus was impressed as well.
"So," Slade asked, "where do I sleep? I don't know what time it is here, but it was getting near midnight where I was, and I'm tired."
And with a little help, he moved all his gear into his new home, a room on a rebel spaceship somewhere in the near arm of the galaxy.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with five other sequential chapters of the novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #50: Stories Progress. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.
As to the old stories that have long been here: