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Stories from the Verse
Chapter 33: Kondor 104
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 32: Brown 111
Kondor spent the afternoon working on a new charger for his power packs. His solar charger was working, but the interior lights did not provide much energy outside the visible spectrum (a very efficient design, he noted, but not very useful for his purpose), so it was taking a long time to charge. As he expected, the parts he needed were all available in the repair section, and he asked permission to use the tools. He had been spoiled by Derek's toolkit, which had everything he could want for this kind of work, but the workshop tools were to be preferred over trying to solder components with a laser scalpel or positioning them with hemostats.
Designing it to identify the properties of the incoming current and adapt them to the right output took a while; but he thought that if Derek had done it for Bob's blaster, it was probably something he could do. Derek beat him hands down in computers and security systems, but he was the expert on grav systems and kinetic force generators, and in electronics they were really about equal. He worked out circuitry that could handle a fairly wide variation in input voltage and still charge his power packs. He also set it up so that he could do one, two, or all three at once. He tested the output, and was satisfied, and then returned to his quarters to put it to use.
It was almost time for dinner at this point; he decided to wait for his food before taking a much-needed shower. Bob had given him quite a workout that morning with the mace, and showed him some things that were going to be quite helpful if he ever was forced to rely on the weapon again. That seemed unlikely; he had plenty of bullets in his suitcase to reload his guns, and the quartermaster here was providing good quality ammunition for him to use now. Still, he'd been in a number of worlds where bullets were not easily obtained, and would undoubtedly see more of these in the future, so having alternative weapons was a good thing. The blaster, with its solar charger, gave him one option. The mace was another.
After dinner, he took his tray back to the mess and dropped it off. Once again it was quiet there. It was also quiet at Slade's quarters, so he decided to call it a night himself and talk to them in the morning. With darkness came quiet; the whites didn't attack at night. He got his shower and went to bed.
Lying in the stillness of his room, he wondered what lay ahead. He knew that things were wrong in this world, very wrong; he did not know how to fix them. Should he fix them? Did he have a responsibility to put right what was wrong? He was a stranger here. That wasn't to say he didn't understand, or didn't know what was right; it was to say that he was sticking his nose into someone else's business. This wasn't his war.
In the darkness his own words came back to him. It had been decades before; he had been in England, talking to a legend, offering to help against an oppressive dictatorship. Freedom and justice are everybody's war, he had said then, and told Robin Hood that he was there to help in whatever way he could. He helped then by tending the sick and advancing their medicine hundreds of years. This time he had other things to do. This time bringing freedom and justice was going to be a greater challenge than he had undertaken yet. He had never attempted to do anything so grand. It would cost his life, certainly--it had cost his life to tend the sick in Sherwood Forest, but it had been worth it.
Besides, he was not alone this time. Bob wasn't brilliant, perhaps, but he had spotted that weakness in the bunker's defenses. Bob had courage beyond the understanding of most men, and he had skill in combat that was unrivaled. Shella was pretty smart, too. She didn't know much about this kind of world, but in some ways that was less important than her ability to think. He didn't know how she could help--at this point, he didn't know what any of them could do--but he suspected she was going to prove herself an asset in this before it was over.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #226: Versers Adapt. 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: