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Stories from the Verse
Page Five
by Bryant Andrew Stevens
Michael had, as I recall, found a robot just outside Lima's place, and activated it.  His skill in robotics wasn't so great, but he managed to restore it to function and ask it some questions; unfortunately, he got no answers worth having, and he wound up annoying Lima, who had shut the thing down intentionally because it bothered her.

If you're already confused, you might wish to check out the information about the Multiverser role playing game at the Valdron web site.  This new addition to the world of RPG's has a flexibility I've never before seen in a game system, and makes it possible for the same characters to have many different adventures in many different kinds of worlds--as these stories, taken from actual game sessions, demonstrate.

It didn't bother him.  He found it fascinating, even funny.  It was able to tell him what kind of robot it was, and that there were many other robots, many like it and others which were different.  However, the information which seemed to be in the forefront of the devices programming was, "I cut the grass"--which it proceeded to do with great efficiency and little concern for whatever it was Michael wanted to know.  He eventually reprogrammed it somewhat, and used it to help in various ways; however, he always called it, "Icut the Grass".

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Michael decided that he wanted to improve safety around the cottage, so he figured out how to access the security robot system.  For this, he found another bracelet which gave him access to more programs.  He called for the security robot; the first thing it did when it arrived was take Lima's gun away from her.  She was furious.  But Michael assured her that the robot would afford her a great deal more protection; and besides, she had another gun in the cottage she could use if it became necessary.

I've said how Michael and Lima met.  Gor and Kubak also became part of their group.  As Michael had guessed, the pillars which extended into the sky were conduits, elevators to carry people "above the sky and below the ground" multiple times.  Lima knew of at least four levels above and three below, although she had not been on all of these.  None of them had any concept of a world beyond what they knew here; this was the world, and no one had ever suggested otherwise.  But Roland was full of curiosity about this world.  He wanted to go up and down, to see what else there might be.  However, in the area around the elevators lived a pack of wolves--or they would have been wolves like their ancestors, but no longer were.  They were bipedal, intelligent, and organized even if primitive.  They were also vicious and brutal, carnivores who considered any creature which was not them to be food.  Michael wanted to get to the elevators; but more than this, he wanted to control the wolves.

Kubak and Gor both used a kind of broadcast thought projection to communicate; but there seemed to be other kinds of mental powers around, so Michael bet he could learn a few himself.  He began experimenting with little things he thought he might be able to do--observing by clairvoyance, examining the wolves to understand them.  He soon identified one female as the dominant one, the leader of the pack.  He tried to contact her telepathically, but she was not open to it.  Then he examined the others, and found another female who was very strong, who would probably be the leader if the leader were killed.  This one he contacted.

He told her he was a god.

Forgive me, I laughed when I heard it.  I could hardly believe his audacity, either that he would dare to call himself a god, or that he believed he could pull it off!  But he told her she was to be his priestess and his prophet, and he announced that he was going to bring a great storm to prove his power.

I neglected to mention that he had driven back to the edge of the world, to the great door, before he made this particular pronouncement.  He knew he had control of the weather through the computer, and he proceeded to do so.  He centered a major thunderstorm on the area of the wolf encampment, and let it run.  It was quite a storm, but the leader of the wolves would not back down.

The joke of it is that Lima's cottage was barely ten miles from the wolves.  Michael had no idea how much--or how little-control he really had over the storm.  The storm came, just as he said, right on time, centered almost exactly where he wanted it; but the lightning covered a larger area than he had anticipated.  He blew a hole in the roof of the cottage with one bolt, and another fried his precious combat robot.  Lima was not happy about the roof; but she was very pleased to see what happened to the robot.

As a matter of fact, Michael does at times seem a bit god-like.  He's extremely powerful, and has many tricks up his sleeve, psionic, magical, and technological.  People are often in awe of him.  But never Lima.  Every time he comes up with a scheme to do something, she says, "As long as it isn't lightning again", and he gives everything a second thought.  He's said that one of the things he finds most attractive about her is the fact that she doesn't believe his super-human image, but she still likes him.

So this was the beginning of a series of stunts, psionic and technological tricks to convince the wolves that he was their god.  But he was also learning about them--such things as that they could not feel pain, even if they were critically injured.  He was learning every day that the world was filled with intelligent creatures, most of whom had been animals a few short generations before.  The wolves he would raise up as his army to conquer the world.  Then he would organize it, find out where he really was, and get these creatures out into the rest of world.

To this end, on one occasion he lifted the pack leader into the air and dropped her.  She was unwilling to share her authority with his chosen priestess, or acknowledge that the priestess was anything other than a usurper attempting to seize power.  So he focused on her clairvoyantly, and telekinetically hoisted her about thirty feet and dropped her.  They're tough creatures, and she survived with minimal injuries (she wouldn't have known it if she had been hurt), so the conflict wasn't immediately ended.  It seems there were quite a lot of psionic powers running through creatures in that world, and a few simple psi tricks weren't going to prove as much as he wanted.  But he kept after them, and was winning converts slowly.

Meanwhile, he took Lima and Kubak with him, and continued in the direction he had named "south", skirting the area of the wolves.  Here he came upon what seemed a suburban community of empty modular homes built around a large lake.  He explored one or two of these; there was not much to them.  But beyond them he saw what could best be described as the down town area.  This was his next destination.

Here he was like a kid in a candy store.  He had collected a couple more bracelets, and could access a fair number of doors, although there were many he could not open.  Many of these required the combination of the right color bracelet and the right sequence of buttons, and spending the time to crack these combinations was not on his priorities list.  He went through sections of the hospital, the security offices, the engineering department, and a set of environmental labs.  Being inside, he didn't notice the day/night cycle of the outside area, and kept going for hour after hour.  He suddenly realized that he and his companions had neither eaten nor slept for a day and a half.  He was tired, and he was hungry, and he hadn't brought any food.

It seemed like another opportunity to experiment.  Stepping outside the building, he attempted to focus his telepathic abilities into calling an animal to come, something he could cook for his companions.  It worked, sort of--a rather large snake came crawling directly toward him.  Well, feeling extremely potent at that moment, he thought he would try to kill the snake with a focused force of mental power, an entirely new technique for him; imagining the image of a sword blade in his mind, he thrust the thought downward--and drove his invisible force right into his food, severely injuring himself.

Pulling himself together reasonably, he drew his real sword and killed the snake with it.  He then apologized--aloud--to the sword for not relying on it in the first place.  Picking up the dead snake, he took it back inside, where he gave it to Lima to cook while he turned to his injuries.  As if the last mistake meant nothing to him, he proceeded to try to heal his own injuries by an act of mental focus--he'd never done this before either.  The effect was dreadful; his condition was worsened significantly, and he decided there was only one thing left to do:  he would have to get some sleep, and allow his body to heal itself.  Already sitting on the floor of the environmental compound, he laid down and closed his eyes.

When he awoke, he was in another world.  He had pushed his companions to the limits and beyond.  Lima, concerned about his condition, sent Kubak to find Gor, hoping that the bear would have some medicine he could use to help restore Michael to health.  After the extraordinary owl was gone, Lima herself fell asleep from exhaustion, passing out beside him on the floor.  Infected with his scriff and willing to follow him nearly anywhere, she went with him.

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