My helmet dimmed the light as the lightning leapt from Vaughn’s black gloved hand, outlining the Eagle suit in sparks. The woman in red must have been struck too because she convulsed, even if she didn’t fall out of the air.
The Eagle suit did fall. It landed on the edge of one of the Escalades’ hoods, crumpling the metal underneath, but simultaneously jumping lightly to the ground. Then she flipped the Escalade onto its side.
Whoever was inside obviously hadn’t been hurt, but the wings had. One hung loosely, almost touching the ground. The other had retracted into a straight line that hung behind the suit’s back. A little smoke rose from the metal casing between the wings. Continue reading Crisscross: Part 4
“Going visible,” I said, and took the stealth suit out of camouflage mode. Now the stealth suit appeared in “classic” mode—all black with silver helmet and a silver “R” on the chest.
Waving with my right hand, I tried to get their attention while checking the comm to see if they were listed as using the common Heroes Alliance protocols. They appeared on the list as “PF AFS Unit 1” and “PF AFS Unit 2,” but they weren’t the only Protection Force people on the list. I didn’t have time to count, but there were at least ten, maybe twenty more. Continue reading Crisscross: Part 3
I dropped my books off in my dorm room—as in I literally dumped the books (and notebooks) from my backpack on the floor, shut the door, and ran up the steps to the top floor of the dorm. I made a quick check for people in the little alcove under the hatch to the roof.
Assisted by the stealth suit that was hidden under my clothes, I crawled up the ladder more quickly than I would have normally, and flipped the hatch open to find Vaughn, Camille, and Haley already there and in costume.
I pulled myself up, shut the hatch. “I didn’t expect to be last.” Continue reading Crisscross: Part 2
“Huh. Does that happen a lot? I’d think that they’d want you to succeed.”
Amy smirked. “You’d think that, but a lot of them think I should be staying out of this fight and keeping myself safe so that I can return home. Their logic is that you’ve got people who can handle it, and the kingdom needs me. Why risk the Bloodmaiden for this world?”
I thought about it. “They do kind of have a point.” Continue reading Crisscross: Part 1
“Looks like Haley would like us in the main room,” I said, putting my phone back into my pocket.
“Yeah,” Chris said, checking his own phone.
There wasn’t much of a need to reply since she’d be able to see when we left the lab. She might well be able to hear our conversation about leaving or our footsteps as we walked out the door.
One of these days, I needed to test the limits of her abilities, and maybe everybody’s. One of these days knowing it might save our lives, or maybe just not kill them through ignorance. Either way, the Stapledon program had tested all of us–back on our first official weekend in the program.
I wondered where that information was kept and who had access to it. Continue reading Share The Love: Part 10
Another thought popped into my head. “Oh, and if we can manage it, we need to come up with some way to track it even though it looks exactly like a normal human when it’s not transformed and the only way a person can know the difference is with magic.”
Chris shook his head. “So what you’re saying is that we just have to do the impossible? Got it.” Continue reading Share The Love: Part 9
“I’m sure,” Lee said. “Now that doesn’t mean I can’t help at all. All I’m saying is that The Thing can’t see me in action. I’ll be happy to give you advice. I wasn’t directly involved in creating our deadly toys, but I know that typically our creatures go to ground and try to grow in secret. If they can, they’ll hide until they can attack with overwhelming force. The sooner you find it, the better for everyone.”
“I already started on that, but without magic, I can’t automate my system for detecting it.”
Lee laughed. “I’m confident you’ll figure something out. In my experience, there’s more than one way to solve most problems. Anyway, if you want my advice, I’m only a phone call away.” Continue reading Share The Love: Part 8
What was left of the night didn’t go well. I sent an email to everybody with a link that would allow them to view the entire conversation with Vengeance. We recorded everything going on in the downtown office but didn’t keep it unless we needed to.
This, I kept.
We took the van back to HQ and slept on cots for the night. At first, I tried to think about how I could use the roachbots to detect The Thing That Eats, but the roachbots couldn’t detect magic.
In the end, I gave up, hoping that The Thing That Eats had possessed someone from the Cabal and would activate if they noticed someone running faster than a normal human–which is what I’d set the bots to watch for anyway. Continue reading Share The Love: Part 7
I thought about my parents, all of our parents, and all of the other people in Grand Lake who had no idea what they were facing. Then I thought about Amy’s story and not the most recent one about how she came to be here. I thought about the Bloodmaiden’s discovery of The Thing That Eats and how it had eaten everyone in the kingdom of Rheged.
“You’re going to need to make an exception in your quarantine. The Thing that Eats is an enemy of Bloodmaiden. She knows how to fight it and how to catch it. She made the wards that caught it the first time.”
Taking a step toward the door, Vengeance said, “For someone who practices blood magic?” His lip curled and there was no mistaking the disgust in his voice. “Never. I’ve met blood mages and some of them seemed like decent people at first. But I’ve never met one that wasn’t eventually corrupted by the magic that they thought served them.” Continue reading Share The Love: Part 6
Haley took advantage of his pause to interject, “Wait. We didn’t loose anything. We captured a creature in Turkmenistan. It only got away after Reliquary took it somewhere, and it doesn’t sound like he let it loose either. It sounds like he was attacked.”
Vengeance turned to look at her. “We know he was attacked. Our people were with him. Funny how the prodigal son comes back for help when he can’t handle it alone—”
Haley interrupted. “It doesn’t sound like your people handled it.” Continue reading Share The Love: Part 5