Category Archives: Book 9: Xiniti Gambit

Planet in the Middle: Part 7

Trenith exhaled and kept on watching as the Ascendant Guard members kept on walking through the forest, their shields keeping the flames away from their bodies. One screen showed a map of the forest. If there were any doubt they were walking in our direction, the map killed it.

Trenith’s eyes moved from one screen to another. “We don’t have long. The outer circle is mines. The inner circle is force fields and lasers. There isn’t anything else. We’d hoped to be able to evacuate to the nearest neighbor, but with all of their people coming, we just have to fight. There’s nowhere we can go that they can’t find us. So, I’d get outside the force fields and get ready to fight.”

“God,” Cassie said, “when I said ‘traps,’ I was imagining more than that. That’s practically nothing.” Continue reading Planet in the Middle: Part 7

Planet in the Middle: Part 6

Four Hands wasn’t anywhere to be seen in the group. I wasn’t sure what that meant. It wasn’t impossible that a motivator from the new group of Ascendancy soldiers had gotten him to confess, but it wasn’t likely. If he was as he seemed, a revolutionary in the making, he might be plotting with his people now.

I couldn’t assume it would do us any good, though.

Jaclyn glanced over at Kals and the tech as they talked with Jadzen. “If they’re not coming for her, I don’t know why they’re coming this way.” Continue reading Planet in the Middle: Part 6

Planet in the Middle: Part 5

I thanked HAL for the message, adding, “Tell me if any of them land near us.”

The group of us all had mats next to each other on the floor. The mats were both thin and surprisingly comfortable despite the fact that we were in a small shack with hard floors. I want to describe them as hardwood, but who knew what the materials were?

I glanced over at the holographic screens showing 3D representations of the world around the hideout. I saw animals, but no people. I wasn’t the only one looking at the screens either. Cassie, Jaclyn, and Marcus had all been woken up by HAL. Tikki slept on the mat next to Marcus’ mat. Whether she was truly sleeping was an open question, given her true nature. Continue reading Planet in the Middle: Part 5

Planet in the Middle: Part 4

In a maneuver that felt choreographed, the Xiniti ships all moved to the right side of the bottom of the Ascendancy battleship, firing bright beams at a spot three-quarters of the way down the battleship’s side.

Flame burst from the spot and the back of the ship. The battleship’s nose turned downward, aiming for the ground and hitting it, throwing up dirt, rocks, smoke, and flame. Continue reading Planet in the Middle: Part 4

Planet in the Middle: Part 3

I couldn’t tell whether the Xiniti or the Human Ascendancy was winning. The Human Ascendancy had more ships when you considered their fighters in addition to their battleships, but the Xiniti’s ships (even their battleships) were smaller and changed direction with no warning at all.

They’d turn on an angle, target an Ascendancy battleship with a large part of their firepower, inflict damage and change direction again, putting another battleship in the way of the first’s return fire. It didn’t always work out. Xiniti ships exploded too, but not as many as Ascendancy fighters. On the other hand, there weren’t as many Xiniti ships. Continue reading Planet in the Middle: Part 3

Planet in the Middle: Part 2

Nick, Hideaway

Hal didn’t know exactly when the fleets would enter the system, but he promised to keep me informed. I passed that on to Kals who sighed and said, “We’d better get moving.”

With that conversation over, Kals led me to where everyone else was waiting. It was only a few hundred feet further into the woods next to a thick clump of trees that stood so close to each other that only Marcus would have been able to make it between them.

Jaclyn looked over at Cassie, Marcus, and Tikki. “Are you ready?” Continue reading Planet in the Middle: Part 2

Planet in the Middle: Part 1

Lee, Excursion Keep (Artificer Ruins), Forbidden Space

It was over. They’d fought across millions of lightyears and at least ten different alternate universes. He’d killed Bakanan, using the device Kee designed to channel his power and so much more into a burning beam that crossed universes and expanded into more dimensions than the material creatures of this universe understood. The beam hit Bakanan’s true form, destroying him everywhere.

And now, Lee knew, there was one less of them. There hadn’t ever been very many by comparison to the short-lived races he’d been hiding among, but now there was one less. He couldn’t say he felt bad about killing Bakanan, but he did feel a twinge about bringing his species one step closer to extinction. Continue reading Planet in the Middle: Part 1

Unhidden: Part 17

Into my helmet, I asked, “Why?”

Cassie paused before answering. “I don’t know. We don’t really know this guy. He’s buttering you up, trying to make a connection because his people do tech stuff too?”

“To be fair, I did kind of ask him to butter me up.” Then I turned my attention to him. “Can you prevent your people from going after the colonists?” Continue reading Unhidden: Part 17