I clicked on the email.
All it said was “You know what to do,” and underneath that sentence there was a link to a Dropbox folder. I hesitated for a moment and then clicked on it. It opened to a web page that listed only one file in folder. It was called “Exposure.mpv.”
I’d heard of the video format. It only ran on the associated player and only worked once. No one knew who had designed it. The Double V forums were certain it was a known tech genius, but couldn’t agree on who.
Daniel’s bed creaked, and I heard him walk up behind me as I sat at the desk. “Maybe we should get Izzy. It’s only going to play once, and she’s got a great memory for sounds.” Continue reading Faerieland: Part 48
A second look gave me a few clues I’d missed when I’d first seen what I’d thought was Adam. “Adam” had the same thin build and overall look, but he seemed taller than normal. It wasn’t by much.
Haley bent down, obviously getting a closer look. “Is she okay?”
Daniel stared at “Adam’s” face briefly. “I think so. There’s no way of knowing how she’ll take this later, but she didn’t kill anybody, or even hurt anyone. She relayed Artaxus’ orders to Hunter and the fae. That’s all. It’s not out of the question that being mind controlled might still traumatize her, but she didn’t do anything particularly terrible under his influence. She was more of a glorified gofer.” Continue reading Faerieland: Part 47
“If you think you can do it, I’m all for it,” I said.
Alex grinned. “Trust me. I’ve seen worse, and it worked out. Now, can you take off your glove?”
I thought about it, checking my HUD for alerts. There weren’t any left. “Assuming the repair systems worked, yes.”
I used my right glove to set the left gauntlet to split and be absorbed into the left forearm. It worked. That didn’t surprise me and it shouldn’t have. It wasn’t the first time I’d tried it after all, but it was the first time I’d tried it after the suit took massive damage.
“Oh,” Haley said, staring at my hand. Continue reading Faerieland: Part 46
Taking a risk, but not much of one, I switched the view from sonar to computer enhanced night vision. That gave Haley and me an excellent view of the dragon running down a street in between big suburban houses, unknowingly tearing up flowerbeds, and smashing a Volkswagen Beetle.
As Artaxus smashed a silvery, reflecting ball on a pillar, the air in front of him began to shimmer.
In the next moment, the shimmering had spread across the road, and solidified into a half circle. The dragon blocked much of the view, but I could see a grassy field and a castle wall towering over it. Continue reading Faerieland: Part 45
My armor threw out a long series of errors and red alerts about my gauntlet and all the control mechanisms inside it. Essentially, it was useless, and so were the weapons systems on that arm. Plus, the life support systems informed me the temperature inside the gauntlet was hot enough that my arm had “probably been damaged.”
Given the pain in my arm, and faint scent of cooked pork that certainly had to be me, I would have made some nasty comments about the idiot who wrote the error messages except that was also me.
Well, a past version of me at least, a version who hadn’t had his hand turned into–
“Cooked meat,” Artaxus said. “Was that enough to break the Bloodmaiden’s spell, I wonder?” Continue reading Faerieland: Part 44
I wondered how she intended to distract him. I had ideas, but I couldn’t know for sure till she tried something. We’d have to watch outside for a chance to escape–preferably without looking Artaxus in the eye. Amy had agreed that that was a bad idea back in the hallway behind the store–and we were already under her protection spell then.
Standing next to the hatch that was normally on the mech’s roof, and currently on its side, Haley rested the particle accelerator rifle on her shoulder. “What did Rachel say?”
“That she’s going to try something, and we should run if we get the chance. Do you think you’ll be able to tell without–” Continue reading Faerieland: Part 43
A tap with my tongue accepted the private connection. I replied, “Artaxus grabbed us.”
“I’m coming.” Rachel didn’t give me a chance to respond.
I didn’t have time for that anyway. The mech had begun to make the kind of low pitched squeaks that made me think of houses settling or boats on the water, but with more strain as the body shuddered. Somewhere, something cracked.
I hoped it wasn’t important, and it must not have been. The mech didn’t fire off a major alert-just a few minor ones. Of course, that didn’t mean that I was going to stick around and find out if Artaxus could actually crush the mech. Continue reading Faerieland: Part 42
Artaxus pulled himself entirely on to the ledge before I’d worked out a plan for our dive. I knew I didn’t want to get in reach of the dragon’s claws or in range of his breath.
“Laser?” I asked Haley.
She muttered the word, “Aiming,” only barely loud enough for me to hear, followed by the crackle and hum of the laser firing.
It hit the dragon’s back like her other shots had, destroying the creature’s scales, and cutting into its hide, cauterizing the wound even as it made it.
Artaxus’ head whipped around and he blew flame at us, but we were too far away and moving too quickly for the fire to do any real damage. Continue reading Faerieland: Part 41
The cabin and indirectly the Rocket suit felt like an oven. Then the fans came on, the air conditioning running stronger than it would in any normal van.
I felt the mech begin to sink even as error messages began scrolling down the screen on the dashboard. Tapping on the screen, I learned more details. The dragon’s breath hadn’t destroyed all of the gravitic panels. It had burned through a spot in the mech’s body which happened to carry electricity to the one of the panels. This was good news. The van’s self-repair systems could handle broken conducting material fairly quickly. Repairing even a small section of panel would be slow. Replacing one would be impossible.
So that was the good news. The bad news? We were falling. Continue reading Faerieland: Part 40
I assumed Artaxus was roaring out of frustration. If so, it was understandable. He probably couldn’t see very much. I couldn’t see much either.
In the time we’d taken to get the van and transform it, Vaughn must have created a fog bank. It surrounded the park, or at least the portion of it that people were in, reaching the nearest shops, turning the streetlights’ illumination into a diffused glow.
It wasn’t a bad idea. At the very least, it took arrows out of the equation. Goblins could still shoot, but they couldn’t deliberately target anybody.
Well, not unless they had amazing hearing—which I couldn’t rule out.
Continue reading Faerieland: Part 39