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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 148: Brown 50
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Lauren had said she knew how to get them to the ship. Derek knew that if Lauren thought she could do something, she was usually right. He just didn't know what she had in mind.
While she was gone, Joe asked him what kind of ship it was. Derek asked why that mattered, and Joe said that he could get detailed floor plans and schematics and tech specs on a very large variety of ships, and it would help them immensely if they knew where they were going. Derek quickly pulled up the information again, and Joe then found details for that kind of ship, which he loaded into his handheld just as Lauren returned.
"Derek," she said, "I need to know what this ship looks like, and which direction it is, and maybe about how far."
Joe showed her a picture of the exterior of the ship. "Where should we enter it?" she asked.
"It would be safest to come in here," he said, pointing to an exterior hatch. "Atmosphere will be good there, but it's a low security area."
Derek had taken a moment to get his bearings, and then pointed toward one of the walls of the room. "It's that direction. It's still a few million miles away, but closing fast."
Lauren closed her eyes; Derek wondered what she was doing, and so decided to read her mind. As he watched, she formed an image of space beyond the walls; a tiny spot in the distance soon became the focus of her attention. The picture zoomed in rapidly, taking the form of a space ship, until her mind was filled with the image of the hatch on the bottom. In another moment it was as if her eyes passed through the hatch; they were looking at the dim interior of the spaceship. The image shifted, turning slightly, and Derek could feel that she was looking for details, something that would make this particular room unique in all the universe. She settled on a nasty stain on one of the walls, giving a great deal of attention to its exact shape.
Then she opened her eyes, with the image still in her mind, extended her hand, and said, "Knock, and the door shall be opened," or something like that. A mist slowly began to appear in front of her, growing into a cloud.
Raeph suddenly entered the room. Lauren turned toward him. "I never had the chance to tell you about eternal life," she said. "But whatever happens in your life, always remember that somewhere in all the worlds that might be there is an immortal being who will never forget your kindness to her." She turned back toward the mist, and spoke again, but not to him. "Walk with me now," she said.
As the three of them stepped into the mist, the room around them faded and vanished. "Where are we?" Joe asked.
"The people who taught me how to do this had many names for this place. Some said it was hyperspace. Most called it the Twilight. It doesn't matter where it is; what matters is that we can travel it."
As they walked, Derek saw an image of the room, identical to the one he had just seen in Lauren's mind, and particularly identical in the shape of the dark stain on the wall, forming in the mist. Soon they were standing in that room. Lauren repeated her words, and stepped forward, fading into the image. Derek followed her, and heard Joe behind him. The mist vanished; they were standing in a room which a moment before was only known to him as an image in Lauren's head.
They weren't exactly standing. There was no gravity in this room, and they were drifting upward.
"Gravity is out," Joe said. "We are going to have to fix that first."
"Is that really so important, Joe?" Lauren asked.
"It is essential, for a lot of reasons. If there is no gravity, heat doesn't rise, and if heat doesn't rise, we don't get atmospheric circulation in a vessel like this. We could walk from an air pocket that is blistering our skin to one that would freeze us instantly, because there are no convection currents. But perhaps more importantly, not one of us is trained to fight in zero G—and judging from that stain on the wall, I would say we have to be ready to fight. I don't know what the weapon was, but the person whose blood made that stain was hit hard by something."
"You're the leader, Joe. We'll follow you."
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: