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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 99: Kondor 75
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It was the second man who took the blaster–not the one from the restaurant, and not the one who did most of the talking. He examined it quite thoroughly, even removing the power pack and replacing it.
"You want us to believe that this is a toy you picked up in your travels."
It seemed evident that they were not going to accept this explanation; Kondor was not at all certain what explanation they would accept. The truth was always better, but only insofar as people were likely to believe it.
"That's actually true. I'm probably stretching the meaning of the word toy significantly, but not in a way that it isn't stretched every day by people in my professions; plus, my travels have taken me to some rather incredible places. Given those two facts, it is certainly reasonable to say it's a toy I picked up in my travels."
"So, why don't you tell us where you were traveling, and what this toy actually does?"
"I gather that if I don't give you satisfactory answers, you will take me into custody."
The blank stares told him that indeed this was likely.
"Of course, it seems likely that if I do give you satisfactory answers, you will take me into custody."
Again, he was met with expressionless faces. There was nothing for it but to make the jump.
"I am not actually from your world. At some point many years ago I quite accidentally became a stowaway on a commercial space ship, and I took a job with them, first as a security officer and later as a medical officer. But again quite accidentally I wound up here; I brought with me several pieces of equipment, including some medical gear and that."
"So the talk of you being a descendant of the mythical hero in the museum was just a cover story?"
"It's much more complicated than that—but that part of it would make this a much longer and confusing story than anything on which you should waste your time. Suffice it that there is a connection between us, but that I am for the moment at least stranded here."
"So what is this thing."
Kondor took a deep breath. He was in it now–In for a penny, in for a pound, they would have said back in Sherwood. Of course, these people probably would not know any reason why a penny and a pound would be at all connected.
"It's a kinetic blaster."
There was something of a stunned silence.
"It's a weapon. It fires a wave of gravitic or kinetic force which impacts the target, much like an invisible cannon ball, or a thrown club. It is a rather standard weapon, a Mark Seven. It has a power supply which is rechargeable and replaceable, but I only have the one, and I don't know how to recharge it."
The room remained silent. Then the man from the restaurant started chuckling. The spokesman smiled broadly, and perhaps laughed a bit as well. Then he said, "No, really–"
But the third man was not laughing. He was gaping at the weapon in his hand, apparently beginning to fathom exactly what it was he was holding. He muttered fragments about energy storage capacity, bending space, directing force–he clearly understood something about the blaster which went beyond what Kondor knew.
"Mr. Kondor," he said, "I'm afraid we are going to have to ask you to come with us."
"You're joking, right?" the restaurant man said.
"I'm afraid not. This appears to have every possibility of being exactly what he says it is: a focused gravitic energy pulse generator. If that's what it is, it will revolutionize not merely our technology but our science, giving us new levels of information that take us beyond Denaxas' Theory of Relativity."
The questioner reacted. "But his story is–"
"Crazy?" the third man interrupted. "I certainly agree. On the other hand, I am holding in my hand something that cannot be explained by any technology known to us, or to the Sabrins, or to the Cordikans. Until we have some evidence that Mr. Kondor has perpetrated a remarkable hoax, we must assume that this is a device of extraplanetary origin which operates in ways we do not yet understand and manipulates an energy we cannot fully explain."
The lead officer stood up. "Mr. Kondor, I have the authority to place you under arrest if necessary. I would rather you came voluntarily. Please surrender your weapons, gather your things, and come with us."
"I'll have to pay the hotel bill before I go," Kondor said, "and I have some things in the hotel safe which may take a few minutes to collect."
"That's fine. Please surrender any weapons to Mr. Krenshaw," he indicated the man from the restaurant. "We will be taking you to a secure and secret facility, where this will be investigated more fully."
As Kondor packed, he thought that this secure and secret facility was going to be a lot less comfortable than the Hendrick Hotel. Meanwhile, he strained to hear the third man's conversation on his phone.
"Yes...no...it's remarkable...not over the phone, this line is not secure...more than we had expected...prepare for us, we're coming in."
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: