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
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
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
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
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
Thinking back to how I’d pulled on Lee’s power in some way to summon a sword, I knew I wasn’t completely without powers, but I knew Amy’s magic had bridged some gap to allow me to do it.
Eyeing Iolan, I said, “So, if I have ancient, mysterious DNA, but can’t do anything with it, why is that?” Continue reading Birthright: Part 10
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
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
Then he shook his head. “I still can’t see her working for the Human Ascendancy though. They killed her parents. They took her brothers and sisters away when they were two or three. I can see how she might hate them, but I can’t see how she’d work for them.”
Cassie shrugged. “People lie—”
“Yeah,” Marcus said, “but people here know her and her parents.”
“Right,” Cassie started talking the moment he stopped, “but they could still have something she wants—maybe her parents aren’t dead or they’re willing to let a brother or sister go? Look, if someone had your family would you let them die? You’d do something, maybe even betraying a bunch of people you only kind of know.”
Marcus exhaled. “I don’t buy it. It’s got to be someone else.” Continue reading Birthright: Part 7
Jaclyn gave him a sidelong glance, but didn’t say anything. “The main point of having people over tonight was to get to know people and pick up leads for who might be passing along information to the Human Ascendancy. We’ve been talking about what we learned. Marcus, did you find out anything?”
He gave a brief grin. “Tikki and I kind of got distracted and we left, but I learned about her childhood and what it’s like to grow up a breeder in the Human Ascendancy. That was interesting. Technically, her gene line is ‘active’ but because the Ascendancy doesn’t have much use for it by itself, they’re used as breeders—which meant that both of her parents had to pass their genes along. She’s got half a dozen half brothers and sisters and she’s never met any of them. Crazy, right?”
I nodded. “It is, but it fits with what I found out.” Whereupon I explained what Kals had told me. Continue reading Birthright: Part 6