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
I walked through the spartan hallways of the flagship under pale blue lights. End of the hall, a hexagonal automatic door hissed open. I stepped on the lift. A young woman in a command jacket moved over, smiled, called me captain. Long brown hair, blue eyes. The same as mine. That’s what I hate about coming home – hard to tell who I’m related to. Half the crew probably shares a little DNA with me.
“Yes sir.” She pressed the button. Continue reading April Fools!
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
Jaclyn spoke through the implant, “Do you see anything?”
As the person with the better overall view, I flew north of the town, avoiding the burning field where the starport had been. Flying upward, but still below 200 feet, I followed the land as it rose, but I didn’t have long before I did see something.
The starport field lay closest to the ocean, south of the long rocky cliff with the tunnels. On either side of the town lay open fields and more fields lay further inland, up the hill that Kals and I had climbed while looking for Katuk. In the fields between Landing, the town we’d stayed in and the colony’s other two towns, I saw the Human Ascendancy’s ships. Continue reading Retreat: Part 10
It took time to fly through the tunnels, trailing Jaclyn and Katuk. The sheer size of the tunnels made it easier even if it made me think again about the tunnels’ origins. The planet had megafauna everywhere and while the creatures that created the tunnels might be long dead, they could easily be used by something big on and off—possibly even descendants of the original creators.
All the same, we didn’t see any evidence of anything like that on the way out. Continue reading Retreat: Part 9