I watched the beast walk up to one of the force fields, bat at the downed force field pole, turn, and follow the wall back the other direction.
It didn’t strike at the force field wall even though it did watch the workers behind it, throwing a few glances in our direction.
It had large teeth and a lot of them. How many pounds of force could it bite with?
I didn’t know off the top of my head but used the HUD to take measurements of its mouth and head and the underlying muscle structure.
The fact that it didn’t bother to strike at the force field argued that it might understand that it couldn’t get through. Continue reading Hideaway: Part 4
We all wore uniforms based on my current stealth suit technology—that’s to say thin armor that could shift into normal looking clothes as well as uniforms. Changing colors and mimicking some textures was part of the package.
For this mission, our default setting was silver with a Xiniti symbol—five orbs in a circle—on our chests. The orbs were supposed to represent both planets and clans at the same time.
For me, the uniform still acted as a flight suit for the rest of the Rocket armor, so I stepped into my room, stood on a block of ceramic, tapped out the activation sequence on my palm, and waited as my armor reformed around me.
It wasn’t the classic Rocket suit. Continue reading Hideaway: Part 3
When Hal finished, the gun said, “IT’S A GAME OF COMMERCE. INTERESTING.”
Keeping her voice low, Tikki asked, “Does it always shout?”
“I don’t know,” I said, “but my bet is yes.”
The scene changed. It was just like before in that Tikki, Cassie, Jaclyn, Marcus, Katuk and I were together in a room, but now we were around a dark stained wooden table. A Monopoly board lay in the middle of the table. Beyond the board, table, and chairs though, nothing else looked real. Continue reading Hideaway: Part 2
Agent 957, H’Spar System
Agent 957 couldn’t find them. He’d set the fighter’s computer to run simulations to find out where they could have gone. None of the simulations made any sense. Agent 957 knew why. The ship used a standard hull, one commonly used to create groups of small gunboats for planetary defense.
Nothing else about the ship was standard. Continue reading Hideaway: Part 1
We walked deeper into the village, staying to the side to avoid the floating cargo platforms. Most of them carried boxes but the ones that didn’t carried what looked like pieces of the poles for the shield generators, blocks of the same white substance that the buildings were made of, and sometimes lower tech building materials—wood, rock, bricks, and even dirt.
“This place is busier than I’d have thought,” I said, watching a platform carrying bricks pass us. Continue reading Between: Part 10
Cassie walked next to him. “How many of you are there?”
His mouth twisted and he cocked his head. “About… five or six thousand. We’ve got three different colonies on this world, all pretty close. I can’t say exact numbers for all of them, but that’s about right. We’ve been sneaking people out for about a decade now.”
Raising my voice since I was behind him, I said, “I’d heard you only needed about two hundred people to get almost all of humanity’s genetic diversity, and you’ve got that.”
Geman turned to stare at me. “Where are you people from?” Continue reading Between: Part 9
Katuk glanced toward the poles with no noticeable interest, his dark eyes flicking from one to the other. “They’re low energy use, air permeable shields optimized for worlds with large, ground dwelling animals. You’ll note that they’ve also made use of the air protection as well.”
I looked up. Glittering lines ran between the poles. From what I could see, they hadn’t filled in between the lines. So they weren’t afraid of normal sized flyers—only big ones. I supposed that might be good news.
Katuk stared at the ground. “If I remember correctly, they can be configured so that the lower ten feet are permeable to smaller creatures but not permeable to larger ones.”
I thought about it. “Can they be configured to work against aerial bombardment?” Continue reading Between: Part 8
I checked with the ship and could see Crawls-Through-Desert next to the refrigerator sized box in the ship’s cabin. In a moment, it was floating out the hatch next to him. I could see that as good news given how much space it freed up, but at the same time, I’d never meant to bring him here and I didn’t know what was in the box.
We all turned to see the plant on the box floating in the air next to the ship.
“Hey,” I used the stealth suit’s speakers to give me some volume. “What’s in the box?” Continue reading Between: Part 7
Jadzen blinked and her mouth tightened. I guessed that people didn’t argue with her under normal circumstances. Before I could say anything, Jaclyn started talking.
“We don’t want to argue, but we’ve got our orders. We’re supposed to escort you here, but we’re also supposed to stay until reinforcements come. My understanding is that they’ll come soon.”
Standing straight and looking Jadzen in the eye, Jaclyn acted as if this were a meeting of equals instead of whatever Jadzen thought it was. Continue reading Between: Part 6
Of course, they hadn’t mined the entire solar system—just the best places to come out of jump space. We’d appeared on the dark side of the planet. Mines surrounded the area in a sphere. Unlike a normal minefield, the people hadn’t designed the pattern to hide the mines. They’d designed it to make them extremely obvious.
Checking the sensors showed that that the mines weren’t close to us. A ship large enough for a jump or blink drive would have had enough space to turn around and jump out. So, this wasn’t so much an attempt to kill as much as a pointed invitation to leave. I imagined that all the nearest jump points had been mined. Continue reading Between: Part 5