Marcus flapped his wings and glided down the tunnel. “If we were in a movie, you and I would probably be okay.”
“And why is that?” We’d slowed to a point that I was mostly upright.
“Here’s the deal: you’re the guy who gathered everyone together. I mean, yeah, you didn’t try to, but in the movies that’s the main character. Pretty much all his friends die, but he’s okay. I’m okay because the gunfighter who falls in love with the local girl survives too. Jaclyn would be in trouble though because she didn’t get romantically involved. She got attached to a dog. In most versions, a gunfighter connects with the kids, but a dog’s close enough. She’d end up dying to defend the animal.” Continue reading Reap: Part 10
They’d taken one of the better positions possible. They were far enough behind us that turning around and firing didn’t give us a good chance of hitting while being close enough that if they kept on firing, they might hit us in the rear where the shields were open for our engines.
I kept up evasive maneuvers, but since I was going back to the planet, I also didn’t want them to follow the ship down to the surface where I hoped to hide it. Continue reading Reap: Part 9
At least I could take them in video games. Hal had thrown ships from the Human Ascendancy, the Alliance, machine race clans, various independent human groups from inside the Quarantine, and Abominators (just in case) against me.
I tried to think about fighting in near-space. It was weird because your weapons didn’t hit as hard because they leaked into other realities—including ours—in small amounts. You could fly through starships and even asteroids If they were small enough. Plus, you’d eventually be moving faster than light, allowing your battles to cross the solar system, while also allowing you to get close enough to planets to use their features to hide your ship—within limits. If you got too close, a planets’ gravity would pull you out of near-space and into real-space.
What was the practical application of all that? I flew straight toward the system’s gas giant. It had upwards of 10 moons. I hadn’t counted them all, but it was enough to hide behind. The only bad point about the idea was that we’d have to dodge weapons during the trip. On the bright side, it would only take us eight minutes to get there—longer since I’d be taking evasive maneuvers the entire way. Continue reading Reap: Part 8
Knowing that most battleships had sensors that extended into near-space, and that my ship’s stealth was more an accidental product of the shields than intentional, I stayed in near-space until I was just past the Annihilation, flipping over when I was past the rear of the ship.
Marcus had started charging the main gun the moment the ship came in sight, so when I transitioned out of near-space and into real space, I felt the shields thin near the nose of our ship and the main gun released a blast of white light. Meanwhile, our other guns targeted the guns in guard position to protect the engine exhaust. Continue reading Reap: Part 7
I walked to the front of the ship, sitting down in one of the chairs in the cockpit and connecting to the ship with my implant, feeling my surroundings as if I were the ship—the weight of the water around me, the lightness of the air above me, and the buzzing noise of encrypted communications between the battleship above and the ships on the ground.
I sensed Marcus come online, taking over the weapons and shields, leaving me with piloting, monitoring the engines, and repairing them if it came to that. Continue reading Reap: Part 6
I held my breath for a moment, thinking about how it would work. “Here’s my idea. You know how near space extends nearly to the planet? No one takes advantage of it because anyone with any sense sets up near space mines around the planet. It’s cheap and easy to do for most planetary governments. But here’s the thing, it’s not cheap or easy for a small colony like this, so you never did it, right?”
Jadzen didn’t say anything at first, but after frowning, she said, “No. We couldn’t afford it. The mines around the Lagrange point were all we could fit in the budget.” Continue reading Reap: Part 5
Sleeping in the Rocket armor wouldn’t be completely uncomfortable, but I didn’t want to do it. I clicked and the full Rocket suit sloughed off me, reforming into a block behind my legs, leaving me dressed in the current version of the stealth suit.
Overall, it was extremely convenient. I could sit on the block and did, leaning my back against the wall and looking out the rooms front window at the glowing lights and empty streets of the colony’s underground hideaway.
Cassie laughed. “Well, that’s nice. A built-in chair.”
I shrugged. “It should have been a built-in bed. Wake me up if I fall asleep.” Continue reading Reap: Part 4
So I said, “I didn’t know that you knew that we were the ones who killed him. We didn’t even know that you were his child until we got here.”
Katuk looked between Jaclyn and I. “The Xiniti view it as appropriate that those who freed someone from the shame of their parent’s actions be involved in his passage into adulthood. Do you have different customs?”
Jaclyn blinked. “Yes. Very different.” Continue reading Reap: Part 3
The implant’s information on the channel was that it was used to make announcements—a one way channel that ran recorded warnings except on the rare occasions that matters moved too quickly for recorded emergency information to keep up.
“I’m recording it,” I told everyone. Everyone back in the cavern needed to see it too.
Jaclyn nodded while Katuk peered into the distance, watching his own copy of the same scene. Continue reading Reap: Part 2
Jump Space, Waroo Huntship, Great Bounty
Rrr’graka knew that he wasn’t flying through space in body like the all-powerful gods, but he enjoyed the illusion. He could feel the cold of jump space on his snout and smell the trail almost as he might in real space. Implants—some of his people saw them as unnecessary, others as unworthy of warriors, but he saw them as what they were—tools.
They made operating a huntship easier, practically an extension of his own body, as much a part of him as his own snout and eight furred limbs. No, they were damned useful for a huntship traveling far from Waroo Free Worlds. They’d been low on cash at K’Tepolu, their ship needed repairs, and they had no clan to take them in. The only other waroo on the station had been merchants, none of them with any need for mercenaries. Continue reading Reap: Part 1