Category Archives: Book 4: Alien Machines & Evil Beatniks

Cassie: Part 16

The metal looked wrong. Even rusted, the color shimmered between blue and green. Nick would have known the name of the metal, but I’d seen it before—in the engine room of the Heroes League’s “jet.”

Nick’s grandfather had scavenged the engines from an alien spaceship.

It put a new spin on everything in the room, and I had no way to read any of the clay tablets or anything. One of them might be the impregnator’s owner’s manual for all I knew. Continue reading Cassie: Part 16

Cassie: Part 15

Sam scried out the rooms behind the doors. Most of the place appeared to be a workroom—it was some kind of lab—but there were people locked in a storage room just off the main room.

There were seven of them, four girls, three guys, all around our age. A bucket sat in the corner. I couldn’t see details in the water basin, but I could guess what the bucket was for.

“I don’t like this,” Sam said. “The Nine? Without backup?”

“We can take them. It’s not like we’re storming their headquarters. This is a lab. Worst case scenario, we’re facing a bunch of guards, and maybe a scientist. Besides, we can’t leave them like that.” Continue reading Cassie: Part 15

Cassie: Part 14

A burst of light almost blinded me. The frog-things howled and held their arms in front of their eyes.

Sam shouted, “Both of you, come here!” She held the staff in both hands, keeping the top end high above her head. The tip of her staff blazed with light.

I didn’t hesitate, shielding my eyes from the light with my hand, and joining her. Within two of his steps Rod stood next to us.

I couldn’t see much of anything past Sam’s light, but within it, I could see everything like it was day. The frog-things backed away to the edges of the circle

“This is great. Why didn’t you do this before?”

“I’m not sure how long it will last.”

Continue reading Cassie: Part 14

Cassie: Part 13

The shark monster wasn’t alone. Frog-things stood all around it, but the closest four of them held poles with hooks on the far end. Shark prods?

Rod muttered something hard to understand, but it ended with “—it.”

“I’ll take the shark,” he said, and put Sam and I down near the wreck of an SUV. Most of its front had been bitten off. I could see the tooth marks in the metal.

The missing chunk of engine and hood lay in front of it, but no mangled people.

I liked to imagine that the driver had escaped—somehow.

I’m an optimist like that. Continue reading Cassie: Part 13

Cassie: Part 12

Rod swore. Sam said, “I know. I know, but we need to calm down and make a plan.”

I barely listened to her. I was busy looking out the window.

The frog-thing that had tried to open the car door wasn’t coming closer. Not that there was much closer to come. I mean, it stood maybe two feet from the car, breathing and making low moaning noise. The creature tried to open the door once, but Sam had locked it after I pulled it shut.

Even as it grabbed the door, it kept its eyes toward the ground, away from the car’s lights. Continue reading Cassie: Part 12

Cassie: Part 11

Sam and I made it to the side of the highway at about the same time.

Twenty feet below us on the ground, the streets and shops were empty. I doubted that was normal. On the other hand, they’d probably had sirens and alerts too.

Any sensible person would drive home after that, right? Not that we were driving home, but normal people would.

Sam stopped looking down. “Do you see anything? I don’t.” Continue reading Cassie: Part 11

Cassie: Part 10

“We’ll deal,” I said. “The Heroes League fought a legion of immortal soldiers last spring. This can’t be worse.”

“I don’t know,” Rod said. “This is D.C. Every superpowered nutcase in the world gets it his head to kidnap the president, or take over the country’s nukes at least once.”

“Seriously,” Sam said, “only the worst of it makes it into the papers. You’ve no idea how much I missed at Duke.”

“Double V doesn’t miss much though,” Rod said. “Follow their boards. You’ll see how crazy it gets.”

“You’re not saying we should go hide somewhere till it’s over, are you?” Because if he was, I’d walk. Continue reading Cassie: Part 10

Cassie: Part 8

“Meet Patriot Jr.,” Agent Lim said. “His father is Patriot, one of the Liberators. He’s in the Young Liberators, and of course, the two of you know him.” He nodded toward Troll and Red Hex.

“This is the new Captain Commando,” Lim gestured toward me, “and the problem was that those guys,” he pointed at the guys on the ground, “were trying to kidnap a couple people, but it’s over. She stopped them. We’re cleaning up.”

“Nice work,” he said, and smiled at me. “Who are they with?”

“No idea,” I said, “I’m hoping Agent Lim will figure it out.” Continue reading Cassie: Part 8

Cassie: Part 7

“We had to change,” Sam said. “You don’t want to risk exposing who you really are. And then I set up a ward that stopped people from noticing that we were here. That’s why no one else came down the alley.”

“It’s really cool,” Rod said. “Think of it as a Someone Else’s Problem field from Hitchhiker’s Guide.”

So right, another guy who would assume that I’d read that book—because Nick and Marcus weren’t enough.

Continue reading Cassie: Part 7