“Not okay, how?” Haley asked?
“I’ve got fifteen Protection Force people following me. They can’t keep up, but I think one of them might have an Abominator weapon and I think he might catch me.”
Kayla’s voice came over the comm. “Should I have your repair pods cover you?”
I thought about it. “Yes, but don’t start firing yet.”
Haley sighed. “Don’t make her wait too long.”
Saying only, “Yeah,” I took a glance backward and saw that Jared was still gaining. She wasn’t wrong but if they took out my only way to repair the suit mid-fight, that wouldn’t be a good thing either. Past experience indicated that this might not be my only fight tonight.
Haley sighed again, but didn’t argue.
I took another look. There was no question that he was gaining on me. I fired off a goobot toward his face. It flew straight through him and not like a bullet might have.
He glowed a brighter purple and the blob of gray goo shot through him as if he didn’t even exist and nothing inhabited thet space except for air.
That’s where my implant started sending me information. The glow and being intangible both had a connection to Abominator history. At one point, the Abominators came to the attention of an alien race known only as the Cosmic Ghosts. When the Abominators clashed with them, the Abominators lost.
Being the inventors that they were, they created a biological device that integrated into a biological entity and imitated the Ghosts’ ability to fly and turn both invisible and inatangible. What was cool about that was that I knew exactly how to deal with it. What was less cool was that it was a device that prevented someone from going intangible and I didn’t have it along or even in the repair pods.
My grandfather had created it to catch my grandmother back when she’d been a Nazi super and I’d used it to help against my sister Rachel in fighting competitions at Stapledon.
It hadn’t occurred to me that we’d need it. Anyway, the Cosmic Ghosts acted as a kind of galactic police force and technically Rachel and I were related to them just like we were related to the Ghosts considerably more sinister relatives, the Artificers.
It wasn’t as if I expected to fight them. The Ghosts were on my side.
My confidence of that was too bad. A bit of irrational paranoia would have helped. I’d have been protected—which would have been worth something since now Jared a was only twenty feet away.
It surprised me that he wasn’t firing at me, but then I watched him draw his knife from his belt. it wasn’t a small one either. It was at least a foot long and that bothered me because I knew that one of my grandmother’s fighting techniques had been to use her intangibility to push a knife straight past armor and let go. The knife would then solidify.
It left the knife sharing space with the armor—which often exploded around the spot where the two interpenetrated each other. It also shared space with whatever happened to be inside the armor—skin, bone, muscle, organs, veins, arteries, and blood. They exploded too, but with less force.
My grandfather had been lucky to survive meeting my grandmother for the first time.
I began to weave even as Jared disappeared, knife in hand. The suit’s sensors showed nothing even as I adjusted settings to give emphasis to the radar, sonar, or thermal. Looking at them alone didn’t give any more clarity than the composite gave.
My implant offered a probable path based on the armor’s speed and direction before disappearing. I was above Hardwick Industries by then, noticing that two people standing on top of the lab with rifles. They weren’t firing. Their rifles hung by their sides.
From their size and the glint of light on their armor, I guessed they were True.
Ignoring all the disquiet brought up by that thought, I waited as the implant counted down in my head, counting down the seconds til Jared came within reach with his knife.
With three seconds to go and no good reason to think so, I felt that the implant was wrong. I couldn’t see it but I sensed a presence almost close enough to strike.
It wasn’t like hearing Obi Wan Kenobi’s voice telling me to use the Force. It had to be my ability to sense Lee in whatever form he chose along with other Artificers if I met them.
Jared’s presence felt similar, but not quite the same, and that’s why instead of trusting the implant, I turned right. It wasn’t any right. It was a hard right and as I turned, I felt something else. I knew what telepathy felt like and this wasn’t it. This felt similar, but not quite the same. The best I can say was that that it felt like it was on a different frequency and that not one that human telepaths used, one that drew from a deeper well of power.
It felt warm and cold all at once and carried with it a sense of many presences rather than one, a sea of consciousness.
Within that sea, one of them felt like it was directing me to reach within myself to a source of power and I knew that power. The last time I’d used it, I’d created a flaming sword out of nothing and as side effect had to leave Earth in a scheme to prevent Lee’s people from realizing Lee was here.
It didn’t sound like a good idea. They’d notice the second time and then, well, it might be the end of the world.
Without words, the presence was insistent, sending a feeling of cold through me. It could teach me to survive this.
Meanwhile, my rockets roared and I felt that even though my turn had thrown him off, Jared was gaining again.