Category Archives: Book 9: Xiniti Gambit

A Good Boy: Part 3

Kals stared at the table for a minute—which was the longest I’d yet heard her not talk when I’d been around her.

Finally she looked up. “The resistance has used this world as a hideout for years and Mom, Dad and Maru all spent time here on and off when I was growing up, but when Dad died, and we all had to disappear, Mom and Maru had a fight. I don’t know what they were fighting about. It was after we’d been here for a few weeks. I don’t know what it was about. They never talked about it again and when I asked, Mom wouldn’t say anything.”

“Come on,” Cassie crossed her arms over her chest. “You must have heard at least one word? Maybe a sentence?” Continue reading A Good Boy: Part 3

A Good Boy: Part 2

“Always listens to him anyway?” I followed the obvious line of reasoning. “He’s not a motivator too, is he?”

Kals shook her head. “Yes, but it’s not that simple. We’re mostly immune. If we weren’t, we’d never be able to use our power without following our own orders.”

As Cassie and I sat down at the table across from Kals, Cassie glanced over at me. “Mostly?” Continue reading A Good Boy: Part 2

A Good Boy: Part 1

Castle Rock Compound, Colorado, Earth

Haley sat next to Camille in the dining hall. The wide, grey rock room was nearly empty. A few people were inside but they sat in small clusters, none of the clusters anywhere near each other.

Camille leaned in,“You can talk about it. It’s normal.”

Haley eyed her, pausing before sticking her fork into a piece of rare steak. “Everybody knows I’m worried. Talking about it more won’t make me feel much better, but they’ll get sick of hearing about it soon if they aren’t already. And besides, it hasn’t even been two weeks yet. Lee said it would be at least two weeks, so they aren’t even late.” Continue reading A Good Boy: Part 1

Venus Spy Catcher: Part 10

Cassie raised an eyebrow. “And we’re supposed to believe that she’ll show up out of nowhere and demand that Nick flies her back to her old life even though she’s never done that before? Take it from someone with a difficult mom. I get sick of her, but I wouldn’t risk her life or the lives of all the people here.”

Maru frowned. “I’m sure that you’re not as difficult she is. She’s been determined to have her own way since she was a child and her mother and father indulged her too often.”

“Okay,” Cassie’s voice stayed low. “We’ve got it. She’s hard to deal with and you’re not impressed by her parents’ discipline methods. Is there anything else?” Continue reading Venus Spy Catcher: Part 10

Venus Spy Catcher: Part 9

Maru looked up at me, blinking, as the door opened. It wasn’t that he was especially short. It was just that the door to the ship was a couple feet off the ground.

As he stepped inside, I realized that, if anything, he might be taller than I was. The stealth suit in “silver fake Xiniti mode” gave me an inch or two.

He met my eyes or at least the part of the helmet and mirror shade lenses that covered them. “I’m sorry to interrupt. Jadzen heard that you’d talked to Iolan and then Geman and Dalat and then disappeared into your ship.

“Is anything wrong?” Continue reading Venus Spy Catcher: Part 9

Venus Spy Catcher: Part 8

My implant requested that it be allowed to present my identification as a Xiniti representative. I gave it my approval and added that I’d need to keep a connection to the ship’s AI as it was my assistant. Cassie must have had the same conversation because the door opened and we were both allowed to enter. A small glowing representation of the ship followed me just as a representation of the gun floated on her hip.

As we floated through the door, Cassie glanced over at me. “For a second I thought it wouldn’t let the gun in. Abominator tech sets off alarms for these peo… Uh… things.”

I didn’t reply as I was looking at the room we’d stepped into. Continue reading Venus Spy Catcher: Part 8

Venus Spy Catcher: Part 7

“No,” I told her. “I didn’t think to try that, but you know what I just thought of? I should be trying to listen in on them now.”

Ignoring her reply, I turned on the sonic receivers in the suit, setting them to focus on the buildings and hoping the walls weren’t thick enough to prevent sound from escaping.

They weren’t.

I heard Dalat’s nasal tenor. “Do you think they can hear us? A lot of actives could probably still hear us.”

Geman replied in his much lower voice, “I don’t know, but if you’re worried, we should just use implants.”

After that, I didn’t hear anything. Continue reading Venus Spy Catcher: Part 7

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