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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 83: Brown 28
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"Wow," Qualick said. "I'd heard that when her life was threatened she just teleported away, but that's impressive."
Derek walked to the front of the room. There was a pile of dirt right about where he last saw her. She hadn't teleported, he knew; but she wasn't really dead, either. There wasn't any way he could explain that to them. He stood facing the board on which she had been writing her notes.
"Do you think she'll come back?" Qualick asked.
"Not likely," Derek said. "The way I heard it, she has no idea where she is right now, and she was never terribly clear about where this place was, so I don't see her finding her way back to us anytime soon."
He turned away from the board. "But as much as we'll miss her, we can continue her work. She changed the world, if we keep this going. And wherever she is, you can bet she's changing the world again."
It was a strange thing for him to say; but having said it, he realized it was true. Lauren had said that God sent her into this world for a purpose, and that in some way she would help someone or make some difference, or else learn something she could use to help someone in another world. She had stayed long enough to make that difference, and was now gone. It looked like she was right.
That was a very interesting thought, because if it was true for her, it was probably true for him. He must be here for a reason; and he must have survived when she was killed because there was more for him to do. It might be little more than continue learning what he could and keep the school going, or it might be something else, but he was going to have to pay attention to the possibilities and maybe try talking to God the way Lauren always did.
At dinner it was agreed that Qualick would take over Lauren's classes, and everything would continue much as it had. It was suggested that Derek should oversee all the organizational problems to which she had tended, but he insisted that the task required someone older who could command more respect from new students. Thus Starson Coombrick became what Derek now began calling the principal.
He still didn't know why he was here; but since "here" was now a school, learning was a good guess. After all, he was a seventh grader when he died, and that was still five years short of a high school diploma. So he continued learning, practicing his skills and reading more. He expanded his interests; computing led him to a deeper interest in math, and electronics led him deeper into physics. He moved beyond these things, sitting in on Grarg's history classes and Qualick's philosophy and theology. Finding a copy on the Internet, he started reading the Bible.
He also found himself teaching more classes. Initially all he had taught was how to use computers to access the Internet; now he knew so much more about them that was useful, and he taught repair, programming, even computer design. He was turning out a generation of hackers who began to understand that what their ancestors had done was nothing magical or even particularly difficult. They could do it, too.
To his surprise, he discovered that he truly enjoyed learning and teaching.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with eight other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #110: Character Redirects. 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: