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Stories from the Verse
Page Six
by Bryant Andrew Stevens
When I built Umak Tek, I did not expect that I was building a home for my family; however, it seems to have been much that way.  I was not there at the time, but my second and third sons, Ian and Trevor, arrived in Umak Tek after I was gone.  Also, a couple of guys who played role playing games at my house sometimes arrived very nearly at the same time.

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.

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I was once asked why so many of the first non-military versers came from were known to me.  I would be speculating.  I live in what is by population the smallest and the most rural county of the most urban state in the nation.  I wonder why we have two nuclear generating stations, and a hazardous waste disposal site, and a military base.  About the only undesirable thing we don't have is a prison.  Some of my neighbors would have said that because we are such a small number of voters, the state feels it can force us to accept anything that voters in more densely populated areas don't want.  I tend to think better of our legislators than that; but it would explain why scriff was found in devices in our county long before it got into other parts of the country.  A small group of voters easily gets singled out as the guinea pigs for any experiment in questionable fields.

Brichton rhymes with Titan, or close enough that big Bill, a high school football player, drew the nickname "Bill Brichton, the friendly titan".

They all came in right near Michael's Foxhole.  I had so named the interesting man-made cave in which the first versers had lived when they first arrived, and had left within a note inviting visitors to Umak Tek.  Seeing my signature at the bottom, these friends of mine, accepted this, and came one at a time (although Trevor, about eight years old at the time, stayed close to George).

There was one oddity which taught me much about the nature of the multiverse.  Although these friends and family members of mine knew me and recognized my signature, in the world from which they came I still lived.  That told me that all worlds might exist, and that any time something happened in one world, there was theoretically another world in which the same thing did not happen.  An unimaginably vast number of possibilities results in an unimaginably vast number of divergent worlds.

Once they were all together, they attacked the concept of being in the verse with a vengeance.  Bill set up an exercise program, designing weights and equipment for himself, and began to coach the others in strength and endurance training.  George had studied the basics of a couple oriental martial arts styles, and practiced these while at the same time teaching them to his companions.  They made suitable blunt weapons from plastic steel, and several of them constructed protective armor.  They also built houses and began to expand on what we had done.  Bill wanted to practice fiighting in water, so he began to build a large above-ground swimming pool.  (Although he did not finish it at this time, others continued the work later.)  They were preparing themselves for whatever they might encounter in other worlds.

Then Dylan showed up.  He was more pleased to see his brothers than I think he had ever been at home, and eager to show off some of what he had learned.  Paul had shown them the psionic device museum, and they had had some luck with these; but Dylan taught them some of the telepathic and telekinetic skills he had developed, giving them a good start on psionic skills.  They were raring to go.  And soon they all went.

I couldn't say who went first; I think it was George.  He had been told that the Dar Koni had bases in the hills, and that although we had an unofficial truce with them, they had a strong tendency to shoot first and identify the target later, and they frequently left booby traps.  I believe he triggered a trap when he was scavenging what he took to be abandoned scrap, and blew himself up.

Bill was taken out by the spiders.  I suspect that he was getting cocky; he took out one of the coral bushes without a scratch, creating a perfect technique for destroying them, and perhaps he thought he could do the same with the spiders.  In fact, he had survived a night in the glass city, and been in and escaped from one of its most insidious traps.  He had observed that the spiders never left the city, and wondered what would happen if they did.  So during their dormant phase, he hauled one out of the city about fifty yards, and stood in front of it.  Dylan had come along, but he was not willing to stay that close to the thing.  He dug a hole for basic shelter, and waited.  The instant the spider awoke, it killed Bill with a single strike, and ran back to the city.  Dylan waited for the coral bushes to shut down, and flew back to Umak Tek.

Trevor--I feel sorry for Trevor.  He had gotten Dylan to show him how to do pyrogenesis, but hadn't been able to make it work.  While Dylan was gone, he stepped outside the city and tried again.  This time, he really botched, setting himself on fire, and being burned alive.  I once spilled flaming oil on my hand, and knew few pains worse (although the pain of being ripped apart as I enter the scriff is similarly excruciating).  It is difficult to imagine what he must have felt at that moment.  I don't believe he has played with fire since.

Ian stayed at Umak Tek long enough to challenge the length of my own stay (I lasted two hundred earth days; he was very near that mark, from what I understand).  The others were gone, and then ten-year-old Ian was a bit bored with the company of the grown-ups who lived there.  Dylan was still around, but was always off on other projects.  I think he may have gone off to see if he could find his Dar Koni friends, but whatever he did, he left Ian to his own devices.  Thus my number two son decided to explore the hills (no one knew what had happened to George, but that he had gone some time before and not come back), and was mistakenly shot by the Dar Koni when he surprised them at a missile base.

Where did they all go?  Different places; that's the way of the verse--you're together for a time, and then you're apart, and then you get back together.  I'll tell you some of the stories of each of them; they've taken very different paths from there.

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