For His Own Good: Part 6

That left me alone in the lab with tools, tables, the machines I used to fabricate parts, and the screens I used to design the parts and monitor the machines.

I reached out and used the nearest mouse to click to accept the call.

The picture changed from the FBI seal to Agent Lim’s actual FBI office—which could have passed for a professor’s. By that I’m not talking about Dr. Strazinsky’s which was organized and clean, I’m talking about the sort of professor where you have to take books or piles of paper off one of the chairs if you want to sit down. Continue reading For His Own Good: Part 6

For His Own Good: Part 5

Tara nodded. “I hope so. At first, when you got back, you didn’t have any enthusiasm for anything but going to your lab. You did everything Lee asked you to, but only just enough. And you left as soon as you could after the class ended.”

I remembered it from another angle. After we’d gotten back, it was hard not to see our fighting lessons for what they were—a way to keep us alive and take the other guy out of the fight.

If you’d asked me before I’d left, I would have said the same thing, but at the time I hadn’t seen people die because they’d made a mistake or felt how close the line was between death and survival. Continue reading For His Own Good: Part 5

For His Own Good: Part 4

And like all of the True, Tara stood out a lot. Unlike most superheroes, she had the physique women have in comic books—thin but with larger than average breasts, a look few women have in real life without plastic surgery. Female martial artists, for example, tended to be thin everywhere—though the ones that did look like Tara got a lot of attention online.

All of which is a long way to say that if I had to bet, I’d bet that the True’s designer was a straight guy.

On the other hand, I supposed that if the men were just as attractive, the designer might have been a gay man or a straight woman, making a female True’s appearance accidental. Continue reading For His Own Good: Part 4

For His Own Good: Part 3

“They’re okay with that?” It seemed like something I could ask. The Galactic Alliance requirement that we couldn’t copy their technology had passed into general knowledge.

Dr. Strazinsky nodded. “The aliens aren’t as concerned about the math as the technology. I like to think that I’m exploiting a loophole in the system. Don’t tell anybody. The administration might get nervous.”

I thought about that. I’d heard of people doing that kind of thing in STEM courses. Our scientists and engineers seemed to be more bothered by the Alliance’s version of Star Trek’s Prime Directive than your average guy. Continue reading For His Own Good: Part 3

For His Own Good: Part 2

When class let out, I waited for everyone else to leave—which also meant waiting for five people with questions and others who wanted to add or drop the class. By the time that was done, the next class was already beginning to file into the room with their professor.

Dr. Strazinsky looked over at me as I stood there. “Would you mind walking to my office before we say anything about your quiz?”

I thought about it. “Sure.” Continue reading For His Own Good: Part 2

For His Own Good: Part 1

Dr. Strazinsky stood in front of the class, staring down at the pile of paper in his hands. Then he looked at me, making me wonder what I’d done.

This was my Calculus III class, one of the few prerequisites I hadn’t comped out of. I was only taking it during my Junior year because of some annoying scheduling issues between my double major in electrical engineering and chemistry.

The professor took a long breath and looked out at the class. From his appearance, I guessed that he had to be in his thirties, but he felt older. I didn’t know whether it was the tan suit jacket with tie and slacks, or the slightly balding hair.

Whatever it was, if you were hoping for a young, charismatic professor, this wasn’t your guy. Continue reading For His Own Good: Part 1

Trees & Shields: Part 36

Possible responses hung in my head, most of them bad. I settled on, “I’m sorry.   I wish we could have done something, but none of us are any good at healing.”

I thought back to my friend Alex. He was good at healing. It would have been nice if the Ghosts had grabbed him along with Rachel. He couldn’t have survived the trip without a spaceship, and everything I knew through my implant and Rachel said that they didn’t bother with them.

Kals shook her head. “Iolan could have done it if he had access to all his equipment. The Ascendancy killed her in more ways than one. I hate them. I don’t know how, but somehow we have to destroy them. Not everybody, but the Ascendant and the Ascendant Council, the Guard… It all needs to end.” Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 36

Trees & Shields: Part 35

Four Hands looked into the camera or whatever he was using. It might just as easily have been an image captured from his brain by his implant.

He paused, giving all of us viewing a chance to look at him. Though I’d peg him as being in his late 20s (only a few years older than I was), he had bags under his eyes. I supposed that leading the Ascendancy forces after they’d been destroyed by us, followed by taking over the Ascendancy’s flagship, might be tiring and stressful.

“If any of the Cosmic Ghosts are listening, I ask you to save as many of my people as you can as you destroy the Ascendancy fleet. We’re not in charge, and we’re as susceptible to motivator commands as any human in the Ascendancy.” Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 35

Trees & Shields: Part 34

Marcus pursed his lips. “There’s no chance that you’re pregnant, right? I mean, you said you’d had that… turned off, but I didn’t even know who you really were at the time, so…”

Kee’s face darkened, but she kept on talking. “I was telling the truth. In our true form, we’re not fertile with humans. I’m not sure you’d even recognize what we do to reproduce as sex, but when we embody ourselves, we have to create something that can connect back to our true selves.

“So we could have reproduced, but if we did, our child would have too much power for your world to handle, and too little to defend itself from the Destroy faction for a long, long time. I’d never risk that.” Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 34

Trees & Shields: Part 33

Whatever my reservations, it didn’t matter. The bubble expanded to cover the entire battlefield and that included all the troops that had been waiting in the wings and beginning to charge.

Connected to Kee’s not-quite-telepathy, I could sense how far it went—more than one hundred yards away in every direction.

Past the edge, the Xiniti that had promised to show up and help stood, staring at the bubble. Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 33

The Legion of Nothing: A Series of Online Superhero Novels (Updates Monday and Thursday)