Category Archives: Arc 6.4: Stardock

Stardock: Part 27

In moments like that, you can play it cool, or drop all pretenses, and say exactly what you’re thinking. Professional spies could likely have managed the former without effort.

I stopped, staring at the artificial wombs. Dr Griffin couldn’t have noticed the staring through the Rocket suit’s helmet, but she noticed that I stopped.

“I know,” she said. “It’s amazing. We don’t know where it came from. We got it along with a grant from the government, but they wouldn’t tell us where they got it. We’ve dated some residue within the tanks to roughly seven thousand years ago.”

“No kidding,” I said. Weren’t the Sumerians getting big around then? Continue reading Stardock: Part 27

Stardock: Part 26

Reminding myself that the Stapledon Program’s secrecy wasn’t really my problem, I decided to concentrate on what was my problem—Blue Sky Lab’s current projects.

Isaac Lim had asked me to find out what they were, and intentionally or not, Dr. Griffin hadn’t answered my question about that. I hadn’t asked as directly as I might. I could change that.

As I was about to ask, Jenny’s voice sounded inside my helmet. “Brooke’s sending the prisoners to their cells. Stand back.”

I turned my head toward where Izzy, Jaclyn, and Cassie stood over the prisoners. Jenny stood a short distance away, acting as Brooke’s eyes no doubt. I didn’t know what they planned to do about the prisoners’ powered armor, but that wasn’t my problem.

All the same, working armor would make it way too easy to escape, but no armor meant that communicable diseases could be passed along.

Continue reading Stardock: Part 26

Stardock: Part 25

I spoke over the comm to Bloodmaiden. “Lim’s going to send Paladin here. That or he’s going to bring you to Paladin. Either way, you’re getting help soon.”

“Thanks.” It was a little hard to make out the word.

Switching away to our general channel, I addressed everyone. “Could someone make sure Bloodmaiden’s comfortable?”

“I’m better off than you think,” she said.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her push herself up into a sitting position on the brown grass. She gave a little gasp as she became fully upright.

Jaclyn turned her head away from the prisoners on the ground to look at her. “Don’t do that. You’re only making things worse.” Continue reading Stardock: Part 25

Stardock: Part 24

Through my observation bots, I watched Bloodmaiden take to the air. I knew she could fly, but from her motion, it looked more like she’d jumped. One leg bent in a step, and the other straight, her pose reminded me of early Superman comics, and how Jaclyn jumped.

If she used her ability to fly to cushion her landing, I didn’t notice it. Her boots sank into the ground next to Jaclyn.

She’d jumped over the building. I knew she wasn’t this strong normally. Continue reading Stardock: Part 24

Stardock: Part 23

Of course, if I stood there and worried about whether or not we’d lose, we probably would.

Instead I decided to help Izzy. Hiding among a new group of trees, I held out my arms and fired off a few more “killbots.” It seemed like a good enough name for bots that would cut through armor and then explode.

If I was honest with myself, they weren’t good for much else.

Well actually, they might be useful for mining–not that I was planning to do any.

Continue reading Stardock: Part 23

Stardock: Part 22

Fortunately for Dr. Griffin, most of the spray went to the soldier’s side, splattering everyone to his right.

Predictably, all the soldiers pointed their weapons at us, and began to fire back. Laser and plasma blasts shattered branches, started small fires, and with a thunderous crack destroyed the trunk of a tree.

It fell over.

Continue reading Stardock: Part 22

Stardock: Part 21

I didn’t need the observation bots to hear a familiar voice broadcast across the building’s clearing and into the woods.

“Humans, evacuate the building and put down your arms. Listen to us, and we may leave you and your young ones alive. It’s more than you’ve any right to expect.”

The warm, tenor voice sounded human, but too perfect. Even if I hadn’t noticed, the Rocket suit pegged the voice as artificial.

In fact, I’d recognized it as a very specific artificial voice–the leader (or at least spokesman) of the Hrrnna.

Continue reading Stardock: Part 21

Stardock: Part 20

Given that someone in that building was making competent use of technology created by aliens more evil than the ones trying to provoke genocide on us, it was hard to imagine any kind of good news.

“What?” I asked.

“The office building is owned by Blue Sky Labs, a small company owned by Dr. Valerie Griffin, an electrical engineer by training, but a specialist in alien artifacts for the last five years.”

Lim didn’t take a breath, continuing with, “But that’s not the bad part. She’s got grants and investments from all over, ranging from businesses to the government. That’s not a surprise considering what she’s doing, but here’s the bad part. The last time I saw any lab studying alien artifacts that was this well funded, it turned out they were being funded by the Nine. They didn’t even know it.”

Seeing the alien ships hammering the building’s shield, I wondered if that meant that the Nine had their own version.

If so, I hoped it wasn’t portable.

Continue reading Stardock: Part 20

Stardock: Part 19

It made me wonder who exactly was in that building. Finding Abominator tech wasn’t that hard if you knew where to look. There were a few well known archaeological sites. Well known to some people anyway–Grandpa being one of them. He’d been brought in to look at Abominator artifacts.

Most Abominator tech found that way didn’t actually work though. To get working Abominator tech, you either had to get lucky like Cassie or whoever had originally found her gun, or get access to one of the Abominator caches found in various spots in the solar system. Continue reading Stardock: Part 19

Stardock: Part 18

I didn’t pay much attention to the explosion beyond noting that it happened. We were gaining on the ships ahead of us.

I couldn’t say that for sure personally. All my HUD showed was the city at night plus blurry areas in the sky that looked very similar to the blurred areas in the sky that I’d normally see behind a jet or a truck.

In short, it was probably the two cloaked ships we’d been chasing. Or, it was some kind of cloaked drone that generated a disproportionate amount of sound in an effort to to mislead us.

That wasn’t impossible.

Continue reading Stardock: Part 18