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Stories from the Verse
Chapter 94: Slade 120
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As they were dressing for dinner after the shower, Shella said, “M’lord?”
“Yes, love?” Slade answered.
“Do you think this is safe?”
He pondered a moment. “That’s a pretty good question, but then, it might depend what you mean by safe.” Since she offered no explanation, he continued. “Obviously, he can’t kill us. If it’s that kind of trap we’ll either defeat the attack or move to another world. Now, if he wants to kill us probably getting us out of his world is good enough--he probably doesn’t want trophies for his wall or something. But we aren’t really doing anything more here right now and have no important reason to stay. But--and this is going to sound really stupid, but I can’t think of another way to say it--apart from the pain, it doesn’t really hurt us to die. Perhaps more to the point, I’m pretty sure he has no intention of killing us. He recognizes that although we’re very dangerous, we’re not really a threat, if you see the difference. He has no particular reason to kill us.”
He paused, gathering his thoughts.
“I suppose he might want to arrest us, and might have arranged the dinner party so he could trap us, but again, I don’t think he’s going to do that. Being in prison is probably not something we want, particularly as we won’t die there, and we won’t get older, and there will eventually be questions. I also don’t expect that white prisoners of war get comfortable accommodations.
“It’s more likely, I suppose, that by staying here we open ourselves to the danger that someone else in the barracks might kill us. It really was different when we had Joe here--they were afraid of him, in a different way, that he might be someone important, someone official, who could get them in a lot of trouble if they crossed him. Without him, we might be fair game. And of course that gets more complicated, because if someone did attack us, we’d have to try not to kill him--Mlambo could not easily justify having us here if we killed one of his soldiers, even if we did it in self-defense. That would mean a trial, and the jury would not be sympathetic. So we’d want a way to stop the attacker that wouldn’t be fatal to him, and honestly I’m not really up on stunning and incapacitating attacks. They’ve never really seemed necessary or useful in my line of work.
She was, and they opened the door to the room to await the arrival of their escort. However, Slade pulled out his sword and attended to honing the blade while he waited. It was as ready for trouble as he felt he could reasonably be without offending the courtesy of his host.
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 #257: Verser Relationships. 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: