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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 123: Kondor 83
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Despite Dr. Breyer's assertion that there was still much to do on this project, Kondor couldn't help feeling that his part was over. He had found a way to recharge his blaster, and built a portable solar recharger for it. He had gotten two new power packs for it, so that he could replace it like clips. The secrets of how it worked were revealed, and he now understood how artificial gravity was generated. The icing on the cake was a degree, a recognition on paper from one world that he deserved the title doctor. It was a title he had assumed for himself, building a hospital years ago in Sherwood Forest and again working on the sailing vessel Mary Piper, but always there was a bit of bluff to it, a bit of pretense in claiming a title which perhaps he deserved in that context but had never earned. He would never feel it inappropriate to call himself doctor again.
He wasn't especially interested in building a space station or a manned space mission. He had been to space in a world in which it was commonplace, making a living on a space ship as a security guard and a medic, and it held no more wonder for him now than driving holds for a fifty year old long haul trucker. He would work with them, he supposed, while he was here, but there wasn't really that much more to do–they had built a gravity floor which was comparable in a crude way to what he remembered of his time in space, and needed only to refine the process.
What he realized was that at this point he once again did not know what he was going to do next. It was always so easy for Lauren and Slade, he thought. She just believed that her god was going let her know why she was wherever she was when she needed to know it, and went about the business of living until something happened along that she could identify as her god's will for her. Slade, similarly, expected there to be a war, or a battle, or some cause needing his sword or his blaster, in preparation to serve his god in the ultimate battle at Ragnorak. They were deluded of course. His view was much more realistic–but it meant that he came to these moments when he had to figure out what there was to do, and choose something. This was one of those moments. He decided to talk to Dr. Breyer, and made an appointment to meet with him the next afternoon.
He explained to Dr. Breyer that he wasn't certain how he could be of further help, now that the primary work was finished; the doctor replied that no one was ever fully certain what they were likely to contribute next, and he had contributed so much to the project to date that they would hate to lose him. It wasn't really a question of losing him, Kondor said; he didn't really have anywhere else to go or anything to do, and he had put so much time and effort into learning everything, but now there wasn't too much he didn't know. Certainly he could work with the accelerator and try to learn more about particle physics—but he'd already read all the major texts in that field, and the equipment here was rather small and not up to the task of research in that direction. In short, he was happy to stay with the project, but he wanted to feel as if he were contributing something, or gaining something, while he was here.
Dr. Breyer had an interesting thought. Perhaps Kondor would be interested in advancing his studies in medicine while he was here. There was a medical college not far from the compound, and it would not take much effort to enroll him part time. The school often ran part-time programs for practicing physicians to expand their knowledge through advanced courses, and even though Kondor couldn't produce documentation of a medical degree, that was a technicality that could be glossed by a few papers indicating the top secret nature of his credentials.
He liked the idea; he had been piecing together his medical background a bit here and there, and so his knowledge was very uneven, and this might give him the chance to fill in the gaps. He asked Dr. Breyer to get him whatever paperwork he needed to enroll.
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 #122: Character Partings. 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: