All posts by Jim Zoetewey

Venus Spy Catcher: Part 6

Geman’s voice carried through a storm of technical details about the ansible network. “Are you okay?”

Dalat looked up at me. “You’re looking kind of white, kid? Did you just get an implant?”

“About a week and a half, maybe two weeks ago…” My voice trailed off as my implant gave me the exact number of seconds. I took a breath, concentrating on the process of breathing as I’d learned to do when meditating.

It was better. The roar of detail became background noise. Continue reading Venus Spy Catcher: Part 6

Venus Spy Catcher: Part 5

I wished we had Daniel there because given what I’d heard it sounded like someone was organizing people against us. Daniel could have sorted that out in seconds. Between Cassie and I, all we had going for us were our combined insight into people.

I might have been underestimating Cassie, but I wasn’t optimistic.

As Cassie waved at them (“Hey!”), I used the implant to ask her, “Did you overhear what he said before he turned around?” Continue reading Venus Spy Catcher: Part 5

Venus Spy Catcher: Part 4

Cassie and I both looked at him, but I spoke first. “Your entire stock? I’m hoping it’s gone in the multitudes of happy customers sense and not in the swarms of unhappy villagers with pitchforks chasing us sense.”

It drew its branches upright and spoke with the air of someone whose pride had been touched. “I’m a respectable businessman. I only deliver the best service and this sort of place is the exact sort of client I specialize in.”

“Captive?” Cassie grinned, winking at me. Continue reading Venus Spy Catcher: Part 4

Venus Spy Catcher: Part 3

Back in our rooms at the council building half an hour later, we sat across from each other at the table, all of us thinking over what we’d been doing.

I looked over everyone. “I don’t know about you, but I feel like I have less direction than I had before we talked to Iolan. I mean, it sounds like Iolan’s already got the ansible under investigation and he didn’t offer to let me in. Plus, we’ve got a population that’s ready to freak out either because we can breed with anyone or because the Dominators might come for them. Also, I don’t feel like we got much of a direction from that party the other night.” Continue reading Venus Spy Catcher: Part 3

Venus Spy Catcher: Part 2

I stood next to one of the counters in Iolan Mekus’ lab, considering sitting on it but then reconsidering when I noticed the same kind of square chips that had absorbed our biological samples.

Standing then, I asked, “So okay… If you think they’re using admin accounts to communicate and then deleting the specific logs of their ansible use, then who are the admins?”

Iolan grinned, but barely. “I see where you’re going, but it’s not that easy. That was my first thought. The other two admins are Geman, who is no fan of the Ascendancy government and Dalat, the other pilot, who is in his own world. I know anybody could be a traitor, but the two of them are poor candidates. I’ve been forced to look elsewhere.” Continue reading Venus Spy Catcher: Part 2

Venus Spy Catcher: Part 1

Department for the Analysis of Alien Artifacts, K’Kassa, Issakass Homeworld

The being that sometimes called itself Lee reformed in front of the building. A body formed around him with barely a thought, so little that he took a moment to check what form he wore. It wasn’t anything special. For the moment, he was bipedal with four limbs, blue-green scaled hide, and while he couldn’t see all of his face, it was obvious that he had a long snout.

He wore a short robe with a tool belt.

He was, he recognized, a typical, lower caste Issakass male, the sort of being that would never be noticed walking into a government building—not that it mattered. Continue reading Venus Spy Catcher: Part 1

Birthright: Part 9

That was a lot to absorb. Marcus had Abominator DNA? If it was from his dad’s side of the family (and it almost certainly was) then Haley and Travis did as well. And what he’d said about me needed a lot more detail. I could guess at it, but—

Marcus talked over my thoughts, holding up his right hand and waving it a little. “Whoa, whoa, whoa… Wait a second. Abominator DNA? What’s going on there?”

Iolan shrugged. “It shouldn’t be a surprise. You’re a shapeshifter. They were shapeshifters. They knew where to get that characteristic. They put it into several different lines. The gene lines they optimized for repairing machinery had it. So did several soldier lines that they didn’t want to look like soldiers.” Continue reading Birthright: Part 9

Birthright: Part 8

The next day found the group of us in Iolan Mekus’ office and lab. It was another of the egg-shaped buildings. This one was set at a distance from the main settlement—which I’d just learned had one of the least interesting names possible.

Marcus stared at Iolan. “You call it ‘Landing’? I get it. It’s right next to where you’ve got the starships, but I’d have gone with something more, you know, inspiring. It’s significant—the beginning of a human colony on this world. That’s crazy and amazing.” Continue reading Birthright: Part 8