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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 145: Brown 49
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After an early dinner that evening, which Lauren had ready for them when they came in, they began their mutual education society. Derek coined the phrase, and started the lessons. He gave them a basic introduction to computers. Joe already knew quite a bit more than Lauren, which was to be expected, but Derek said the first step was for the teacher to figure out what the student already knew, so he could build from there. Joe then gave them lessons in the development of primitive antibiotics, the most useful medicine in most primitive worlds. Derek had heard that penicillin was made from mold, but wasn't certain he'd believed it until Joe explained why and how it was done.
Lauren went last. She said she had to go last, because in some ways hers was the most dangerous lesson. When she was done, she would have opened a door to a new way of using thought. She started with Derek, who was already familiar with some of her abilities, and as she stood looking at him he suddenly felt a pattern, an idea, forming in his mind, as if he suddenly knew how to read someone else's mind. A moment later she told him to try it; with no trouble at all, he looked into Joe's mind–who was thinking it was all a bit silly and probably wouldn't work, because Lauren had a gift, and you couldn't teach that kind of thing. Derek laughed.
"What?" Joe said.
"Nothing," Lauren said. "It's your turn."
"This is silly."
"I know. Just relax a moment." Derek had a thought, and tuned his mind in to what Lauren was thinking. As he watched, he saw how she focused her mind on Joe's, and then projected to Joe the technique of reading another mind. "That should do it," she said. "Try it."
"You said that. Of course it is. Try it anyway."
Apparently Joe tried it. His eyes widened. "Wow," he said. "I never thought...."
"That's all right. There's a lot more to learn, but I think one thing a day is good. Oh–and try not to abuse this; it's easy to make enemies, or even just scare people, if they realize you know what they're thinking."
"I would guess so," Joe said.
"Now," Lauren suggested, "we should all get some sleep, and try something else tomorrow."
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 #142: Characters Unite. 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: