Category Archives: Arc 10.2.0: Dealing With It

Dealing With It: Part 9

Knowing that people sometimes noticed when the implant threw me a lot of information, I steeled myself for the onslaught and did my best to keep my face neutral.

The implant informed me that I had more than 30 messages to download. The majority were from the Xiniti High Command, informing me of military actions that the Xiniti had taken part in and how monitoring the Human Quarantine was going. According to Xiniti intelligence, the loss of a noticeable percentage of their fleet had caused the Human Ascendancy to withdraw from a number of worlds they’d been threatening to occupy.

In addition, the Ascendancy’s internal resistance had been gathering steam. Continue reading Dealing With It: Part 9

Dealing With It: Part 8

That was new information. “I didn’t know he was married.”

Stephanie glanced over toward the lines of cubicles and back to me. “Office rumor says that she’s in California most of the time and I happen to have met her on one of her visits here, so I can confirm that. For the record, her name’s April and I kind of like her.

“Funny how Sandy can do the awkward geeky guy thing at the same time he does the executive screwing the secretary thing. I never thought it was impossible, but I wasn’t looking for an example.”

“I know I wasn’t.” As I spoke, movement caught my eye and I turned to notice a taller guy standing up from his cubicle. Continue reading Dealing With It: Part 8

Dealing With It: Part 7

“Don’t forget it,” Russ said. “No business can survive without good people. You and your father have both been good influences in his life.”

The sound of helicopter blades ended that conversation as everyone in the crowd turned to watch the copter land.

As it came down, Vaughn’s mom turned to me and tapped my shoulder. “Good to see you, Nick.”

I managed to get out, “Good to see you too,” but not much more. The noise made conversation impossible and I was fine with that. It’s not that I disliked her, but the last real conversation I’d had with her involved her informing me that she knew I was the Rocket and that she didn’t want Vaughn to be involved with the new version of the Heroes’ League in any way. Continue reading Dealing With It: Part 7

Dealing With It: Part 6

I couldn’t argue with her. We stood at the nexus of humanity’s extinction by the True, the possibility that Higher Ground’s mission to understand alien technology would kick off humanity’s genocide by the Xiniti, and the more day to day menace of the Nine and their attempts at worldwide influence.

By this time we ought to be used to it. Things we’d done during the summer had the potential to affect the fate of far-flung human and alien civilizations that spanned the galaxy around us—not to mention becoming peripherally involved a civil war between Lee’s people that had lasted for millions, possibly billions of years.

The difference being, of course, that the stakes felt higher when they affected the city where you lived. Continue reading Dealing With It: Part 6

Dealing With It: Part 5

I tried to think of ways I could stop the True’s creation without leaving a trail. The best option that came to mind was one I’d thought of earlier. Cassie had been cloned from her father’s DNA plus an X chromosome from an unknown source and a structure in her brain that allowed her to control Abominator technology.

She’d be able to turn off the birthing machine or better, set it to almost, but not quite, follow directions.

The only problem was that she’d been created by Dr. Mind, Nazi brain in a jar, and enemy of her father, Captain Commando. Dr. Mind had either played a role in founding the Nine or they’d acquired his equipment and records. The Nine had been looking for her for years and putting her within their grasp wasn’t the brightest of all possible moves. Continue reading Dealing With It: Part 5

Dealing With It: Part 4

The meeting didn’t last too much longer. We agreed that Stephanie and I would coordinate what we were doing and keep everyone informed—especially Vaughn. He’d be in a better position to help or be hurt than anyone else.

Haley and I went out for a walk after that, coming back later to talk and play with the dog.

Agent Lim called while we were sitting in my lab. We’d been waiting for him. I’d passed an audio file of Tara’s story over to him with her permission. Continue reading Dealing With It: Part 4

Dealing With It: Part 3

“That’s more than we knew.” I looked over at her and Tara smiled at me. “Do you have any idea when that happened? The year? Or if we’re lucky, maybe a specific date?”

Tara’s expression went blank again for a few seconds. “No, but a lot of the stories sound like they could take place in this year. My mother’s and father’s stories both include mentions of the Heroes’ League as one of the first groups to face the True.”

“Cool,” Vaughn grinned and asked Tara, “how did we do?”

Tara frowned. “You all died—not all at once, but eventually.” Continue reading Dealing With It: Part 3

Dealing With It: Part 2

Tara frowned, but then her face went blank as her brain went into whatever state allowed her to predict opponents’ moves before they made them and recognize patterns of human behavior by connecting details no one else remembered.

Then she took a breath and relaxed, becoming the Tara I was more used to. “The True aren’t historians. We could have kept everything about the story if we’d wanted to, but it’s important to the leaders of the True to revere the Designer as the one who decided what it meant to be one of the True.

“My parents each told me their battalion’s version of the story and then I heard half a dozen different versions wherever we moved in Infinity City. Every group of the True has their own and they’ll tell it to anyone willing to listen.

“I don’t know which one is real. Maybe all of them are. I don’t know enough to figure that out, but I can tell you what’s common to all the versions I know. Maybe that will be close enough.” Continue reading Dealing With It: Part 2

Dealing With It: Part 1

“It makes sense,” Haley pulled her chair out from under the table and sat down next to me. “It’s the right thing to do, but I don’t like it.”

Short with black hair and olive skin, Haley frowned. We’d been going out since my senior year of high school and after years of being together, I knew her well enough that I knew both what bothered her and that she’d be telling me aloud anyway.

“She and her boyfriend stole our plans and then handed it over to the Coffeeshop Illuminati. From what I heard, she’s the one with the connection to the Illuminati.” Continue reading Dealing With It: Part 1