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Stories from the Verse
Verse Three, Chapter One
Chapter 98: Slade 32
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 97: Hastings 34
"George," Slade began, "you guys have a lot of extra stuff lying around here, right? Do you think I could maybe have one of those ray guns you use?"
George appeared uncertain. "Ray guns? Oh, you mean the MK-12 high energy inertial blaster? I'm sure we've got a couple to spare around here. I'll see what I can find."
"Um," Slade added, "do you think you could show me how it works?"
George laughed. "What, a skilled warrior like you doesn't know how to use an MK-12?"
"Well, the closest thing they had to that at home was a Playstation Guncon, and that really wouldn't be much help around here."
"Sure, no problem, I'll teach you."
The MK-12 wasn't very different from the Guncon. It was a one-handed weapon which was well balanced despite having a somewhat long and thick barrel. Perhaps those years wasted playing video games wouldn't be completely wasted after all--he had some skill with this thing already. The grip was designed intelligently, so that the weapon pointed the same direction as your finger would were it extended. The trigger was rather typical, and the safety could be reached with the thumb of the same hand if needed. It was a simple weapon, firing twenty shots from a single battery, what George called a power cell, and the power cells could be replaced quickly and easily with the other hand. It fired a pulse of what they called kinetic energy, something like gravity in reverse. You couldn't see it, but it traveled as fast as light and impacted something like a high speed baseball.
Over the next week, Slade spent about an hour each day practicing with the new weapon. The rechargeable power cells were a nice feature, and he realized that one of the things he would have to be able to do was change these quickly, so that was part of his routine. It didn't take long for him to become a good shot--he even practiced firing while dodging--but the cell changes were still slow and a bit awkward, and were going to take some time.
He also spent about an hour each day working with his sword and dagger. There was no one here for a sparring partner, so he had to focus on practiced moves, but he wanted to stay in form. He didn't know what the next mission would be, but he wanted to be ready for it.
And there was one more thing on his mind. He had learned a great deal from Filp about picking locks, but they were locks of a simpler time. He had a lot of catching up to do if he was going to bypass security systems; and Tom was just the man to teach him. But it took some persuading. Eventually Slade wore him down, and started getting a few lessons in locks.
Whatever the next mission would be, he hoped he would be able to do more than anachronistic swashbuckling, as much fun as that was. As things were going, he probably would.
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 #59: Verser Lives and Deaths. 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: