keeps this site and its author alive.
Stories from the Verse
For Better or Verse
Chapter 121: Brown 92
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 120: Hastings 133
This was not looking good. Lauren, Bethany, and Shella had obviously been fighting the unseen enemy on the opposite side of the wall, but then the wall had come down and the enemy was all too visible. Derek had not yet done the security lockouts on the computer, but it was obviously not time for that. He began firing as fast as he could manage at what appeared to be some sort of fantasy assault unit, mixing magic and machine guns.
His laser had passed harmlessly through Lauren's force shield, as it had done years before on the spaceship. He thought he'd killed one of them, although he couldn't be certain. They were still coming, and despite having hit them again and again he was running out of ammo without seeing a significant reduction in the enemy force. Lauren was thrown to the ground, Bob had been fought to a standstill, Bethany and Shella were doing all they could, and all Derek could think now was that someone was going to have to pull a rabbit out of a hat or they were finished.
Someone apparently pulled something from somewhere. Suddenly the form of a man appeared behind the advancing militia. It was not merely a man. He was dressed in the ancient garb of wizards, complete with the flowing robes and the pointed hat and the very long white beard. There had been a flash of light and smoke, and suddenly he was there.
Derek didn't even have time to wonder which side the new arrival was on before he started taking action. A few firm words in some mystic tongue shook things up quite a bit–to the point that the wall started to crack and sunlight began pouring into the room. The vampire force scattered, each member looking for cover from the sunlight; three or four were vaporized instantly, and another burst into flame as it fled the area. The wizard then turned his attention to those who remained, and began dealing with them singly, lifting one into the beaming sunlight with a wave of a hand, knocking two others to the floor with a nod of his head and a command, and creating such disarray that those who survived could not organize themselves for escape. Five fled; three more were left behind as the portal closed. Derek wondered what the wizard would do with these.
As it happened, the wizard did nothing. Bob Slade tore one of these to shreds with sword and dagger. Lauren put three bullets between the unprotected eyes of another. Bethany and Shella between them must have finished the third, who found his legs buried in the floor and his head removed by an invisible blade. The battle was over.
Lauren rushed over to the newcomer.
"I'm so glad you're here," she exclaimed. "You have no idea how much you're needed."
"Oh, I have some idea. It's a very strange place, being on the edge of the supernatural realm. You know all kinds of things about what's happening in the world, but they don't always make any sense. Still, I've been trying to follow events rather closely."
"I want you to meet someone. Bethany, this is Merlin."
Bethany had the look of a fan meeting a pop idol at a concert. "I'm really pleased to meet you, sir. I never thought to see this moment."
"Of course you did," he said. "That was quite brilliant, containing the portal in the acorn and then preserving the acorn. I imagine that Nimue's tree is long gone, and I'd have been trapped on the other side forever, were it not for that bit of magic. I do thank you."
The sorceress blushed. Lauren turned to Derek.
"This," she said, "is our computer hacker, Derek. I guess we'll have to explain about computers."
"The boy who is also a sprite. I was very interested in your story. You have a lot of potential, I'd say."
It was now his turn to be embarrassed. He was not at all sure how to answer. "Thanks" was all he said, or something like that.
Lauren continued. "And of course I mentioned Bob Slade, and this is his wife–" But Lauren was cut off, as Shella, staring at Merlin, finally found words with which to interrupt.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with ten other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #205: Verser Reunion. 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: