Birthright: Part 6

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.

Cassie leaned forward, putting her arms on the table. “I think she’s exaggerating. I mean, sure, it’ll mess things up for the Human Ascendancy and all the other Abominator humans, but not very quickly unless they breed like rabbits. By they time the colony’s a problem for the Ascendancy, the whole situation could be different. The Alliance might let Earth’s ships use the gate.”

Marcus shook his head. “Wow. Tikki kind of told me that, but we skipped the part where sex could bring about the end of civilization.”

Shaking her head, Jaclyn said, “That might be the reason they aren’t letting us leave Earth. If we’d mess up the human civilizations around us that much, well, I get it. It might be that we’d be better off developing to the point that we’re too powerful to keep penned into one system before we leave. If you think about it, Earth’s in the middle of the worst neighbors you could get.”

At that, Katuk nodded slowly. “That is the Xiniti hope for the people of Earth, that when they leave their system that they’re strong enough to survive.”

Jaclyn looked over at him. “I hope they’re not part of the reason that our ships never qualify to be allowed to leave our solar system.”

His dark eyes gave nothing away. “I can’t speak to that as I was not personally involved.”

Jaclyn raised an eyebrow and turned back to the rest of us. “Did anybody get any leads that might tell us who is behind messing with the force field generators?”

“Not any good leads, but,” Cassie raised her hand to emphasize her point, “I can tell you that they’re spooked. They’ve never had that happen before. Iolan has said he’s seen evidence of sabotage before, but this is the first time that it’s this obvious. They’re not sure that it really happened here before the most recent ship of refugees, but it definitely has happened after.”

“Which means that it might be that the person came on the ship this time,” I said, “or it means that someone was already here, but maybe someone came in with the most recent ship that made them decide they had the necessary support to make their campaign more noticeable. So basically, two spies.”

“‘Always there are two,” Marcus said, “‘the master and the apprentice’.”

Katuk eyed him. “My classes in counter-espionage did not make that claim. Could you elaborate?”

I shook my head. “He’s making a joke. He’s quoting from a movie and probably the worst movie in that series.”

Marcus shrugged. “Phantom Menace was the first Star Wars movie I saw. I liked it.”

Before I could reply, Jaclyn started talking. “Before this derails into nerdery, does anyone have any suspects?”

“The plant?” Cassie glanced over at me. “He might have arranged that attack on Tikki to look good and get on board. I’ve been talking to people and he’s sold a lot of stuff. If that does more than he says, he has something everywhere.”

I thought about the possibilities. Information gathering is the obvious one, but if they could remotely do stuff (like detonate?), we could have a huge problem on our hands.

Jaclyn nodded. “Anyone else?”

“Well,” I said. “There’s Kals. She doesn’t want to be here at all. I can’t quite believe she’d betray her mom and her friends to be somewhere more interesting.”

“Plus,” Marcus said, “she wasn’t on the ship. She was here. Tikki told me that Jadzen Akri leaves this place to pick up new people every so often, but she doesn’t bring Kals. So that wouldn’t explain the fleet that nearly caught us on the way here. We don’t know that that was because of espionage, but it would be easier if it were.”

Cassie held up a hand, getting our attention. “Hey, one more possibility: Tikki. She was on the ship. She doesn’t have family, no friends among the rest of the people, and she managed to set things up so that she became familiar with us and how we do things—“

Marcus shook his head. “No. That was accidental. She couldn’t have known we’d come looking for her. Plus, how could she sabotage the force field generators? She was with us that night and only saw them after they malfunctioned.”

Voice low, Katuk spoke as Marcus took a breath. “That is where Nick’s theory of a second spy would explain access to the force field generators.”

Frowning, Marcus muttered, “Crap.”

19 thoughts on “Birthright: Part 6”

  1. Was Marcus meant to interrupt Cassie when talking about breeding?

    And, “Plus, how could sabotage”. Should be “Plus, how could she sabotage”

  2. Maybe my kindle borked this bit:
    {Cassie leaned forward, putting her arms on the table. “I think she’s exaggerating. I mean, sure, it’ll mess things up for the Human Ascendancy and all the other Abominator humans, but not very quickly unless

    Marcus shook his head. “Wow. Tikki kind of told me that, but we skipped the part where sex could bring about the end of civilization.”

    they breed like rabbits. By they time the colony’s a problem for the Ascendancy, the whole situation could be different. The Alliance might let Earth’s ships use the gate.”}
    It seems out of order.

    1. I’ve got that on my Mac too. I’d seen that it didn’t quite work, but with it in the middle of the rest of the story, I just thought it was something missing at the start of the 3rd paragraph not something that could have been solved by merging 1st and 3rd and moving 2nd in front of that…

    1. Between Monopoly and this, I would love nothing harder than to see a situation where Marcus encounters a situation where it makes sense to shapeshift into a rat. Wherever I am, I promise I would stand up and cheer for that! XD

  3. So what must i do now ? Anything else i can read ? This will make it the 3rd serial that i have to wait for. Super powerds star child and LoN. Sigh.

    1. The Gods are Bastards, Mother of Learning, and Practical Guide to Evil are all A+ excellent. If you like this story you’ll like those too.

      I didn’t like Star Child all that much. It had it’s moments, sure, but it seems much less well written than most of the stories on TWF, like a rough draft of a good story, more than anything.

      I haven’t read or heard of Curveball, I’ll check that out!

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