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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 92: Brown 31
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 91: Hastings 73
The question of leaving the compound proved far more controversial than Derek had ever anticipated. For one thing, the group had worked together for a long time even before spending the past ten years in this enclave. They all seemed to hold to the premise that they would all go or all stay. Even after Derek suggested that they could split up for a while, with some staying here to continue the school with the help of the most advanced students, it still seemed to be at the root of the discussion that the group expected to stick together. Then those who didn't want to leave suggested that those who did were abandoning the school. That went around several times before it was understood that the purpose of leaving was to learn more that could be brought back. Surprisingly, it was Grarg who suggested that it might be possible to find another place where a second school could be started, so that even more students could be reached, which created something of a stir at first but gradually caught everyone's fancy. The idea that they had started something that could go beyond them and change the entire world was at first shocking, then exciting, then compelling.
In the end, a group did leave the compound in search of another facility where they could found a new school and take advantage of different equipment. Qualick and Dorelle went with Derek, along with two students who were interested in helping start the new school. Meesha had put a lot of study into history and anthropology–particularly odd, Derek thought, as her ancestors were clearly monkeys, and she retained much of the size, build, and abilities they had; she used a telepathy very similar to Grarg's, and had some other mental abilities. Holger Theiss had proved a very capable mathematician and chemist, but his fame came from his marksmanship. Whenever he had an audience and a laser rifle, he would shoot a branch off a tree at a hundred yards, and then shoot it again before it hit the ground–a trick Derek envied and practiced, but never equaled.
They agreed to go south and east. This was largely because Derek was guessing that north would take them into worse climate, but also because none of the team had ever been that direction so it was most likely to reveal something new. They used a practiced caution, moving away from potential encounters with unrecognized creatures; but they did not flinch from speaking with any group of mixed creatures. Mixed groups, Meesha suggested, would be less likely to exhibit prejudices against specific types of creatures, and so posed less of a threat.
Derek generally took the lead and approached other groups. "It's not that I think any of you are afraid to die," he said, "but rather that I know I can't die, and will only find myself alive in another world, so it makes sense for me to take the risks. Besides, very few groups will fear a twelve-year-old human." He met quite a few people–using that word loosely, of course–and told them about the school, and their hopes to start a new one somewhere. He generally pushed his bicycle, but sometimes rode ahead and back, getting an idea of what was coming.
So it was that they began hearing rumors of a mysterious place of the ancients known as Cavalier. Some said they had looked for it but never found it, others that they had found what they thought was the entrance but never got inside, and still others that they knew people who had sought it who had never returned. All agreed that it was supposed to be in this direction, and that no one had ever reported entering it. That, they agreed, was a very promising location.
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 #113: Character Movements. 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: