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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 131: Kondor 86
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Previous chapter: Chapter 130: Hastings 85
Kondor awoke alone in Derek's room. Apparently the boy had realized that they were not on the same schedule and let him sleep while he went to work. He gave himself the tour, found the bathroom, and saw that some food had been left out for him with a note. Make yourself comfortable, it said. I'll be in to check on you around lunch time. Kondor decided that a shower would make him considerably more comfortable, and proceeded to take one.
When he got out of the shower, Derek was waiting. "I figured you probably needed the sleep. After all, I've never been killed in an explosion before, but I've been electrocuted, lasered, shot, stabbed twice, and lasered again, so I know that dying is not the most comfortable moment in life."
Kondor laughed. "Yes, I don't think I had thought of it that way. Let's see; I was electrocuted, crushed a couple of times, caught in a couple of explosions, killed by primitive weapons–actually, I remember three explosions, a grenade I caught, a keg of gunpowder I used to sink a ship, and this artillery sized kinetic blaster. So I guess explosions are the way I go most often. Oh, I took a crossbow bolt to the throat once; that hurt."
"I told my boss about you," Derek said. "He seems to believe me about me, although he's a bit skeptical about the idea that two dimensional travelers might accidentally arrive in the same place at the same time–says the odds are against it."
"Actually, I've been forming a theory about that since it happened to me with Lauren and Slade."
"Good. You can explain it to him over brunch. He's meeting us at a place not far from here. He's in charge of all computer systems on the station, so if we can convince him we're probably in good shape."
"Let me get dressed." Kondor stepped into the bedroom area and picked up clean desert fatigues. "Oh–there are three things I should probably ask. First, I usually carry a weapon. I've got a couple of slug throwers from my army days, rifle and pistol, and my kinetic blaster, which is pistol-sized, plus a mace, and I recently acquired a bowie knife. Is it inappropriate or illegal or anything to carry such things?"
"I don't think so. I was picked up with a laser rifle, and they must have known it was a weapon, but they gave it back to me without saying anything. But people don't generally have them, so I don't carry it with me. I suspect if you normally go around like that walking arsenal you were last night, you'd attract attention and maybe get some police questions, but it would probably not be more than a day's inconvenience."
"I've got a lot of valuables. I guess most of the stuff I have is valuable in some sense–the sextant is the work of a craftsman of remarkable skill, and the medical kit is difficult to restock. But in particular I've got a lot of gold, coins and jewelry, plus a crate of gemstones, mostly emeralds. Are they worth anything in this world?"
"I haven't really paid that much attention; I've only been here a few days, and didn't have anything like that myself. Their money is all in the computer, though, so coins might not mean anything to them. Of course, gold is a very useful metal, but I don't know that it's worth much, and gems have industrial uses. I suppose we could ask Raeph–he's my boss."
"That's a good idea. Meanwhile, will they be safe here in the apartment, or is there somewhere I should lock them up?"
"Oh, I think they'll be safe here. I've only ever heard of one break in, and that was me–and the police were on me before I could as much as get a cover off a panel. So I'd say no one is going to steal anything from here."
Kondor finished buttoning his shirt and put on the cap. He tucked the pistol in its holster and put on some of the gold chains from the duffel. It wasn't that he didn't believe the boy, but thought it better not to have all his valuables in one place. "I'm ready," he said, and followed Derek into the hall.
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 #128: Character Gatherings. 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: