I don’t think that the colonists had ever seen a puppy before—not a “tiger terrier” puppy anyway. Maybe the adults didn’t bring them along and maybe it didn’t occur to them that the twenty or thirty-pound dog following us could possibly be related to the twelve-foot tall predators that lurked outside their fence.
The upshot of all this is that when the floating platforms came to take us all away, the dog was no problem. Even shoved into the corner of a platform with us and our luggage, it was friendly to the two families riding with us.
One of the kids, a blond-haired five-year-old boy asked, “What’s his name?” as the dog sniffed his hand. Continue reading Retreat: Part 2
Outside the council building, alarms went off. At the very same time, a message that the implant informed me was a “local emergency notification” appeared in my head.
A flat, artificial voice sounded. “A Human Ascendancy warship and heavy fighter have exited jump space. Assemble your evacuation kit and be ready to leave.”
Marcus and Katuk sat up in their beds, Katuk going further and making it to the floor in the same motion. Marcus turned toward the light taps as Katuk’s feet touched the floor. Continue reading Complaints: Part 10
Hand moving an inch closer to the gun on her hip, Cassie said, “You’re a secret agent now? How do we know that?”
My implant created a translucent square above Crawls-Through-Desert. In appeared the words, “Sending ID. Accept and verify?”
I thought back, Yes. Continue reading Complaints: Part 7
“Uh huh.” Cassie gave Jadzen a small bow as the council members left the room, walking toward the exit via a different wing of the building.
I felt a stab of worry as they passed the doorway that led down to the dog, but they didn’t stop. Soon they were gone and we all went back to our suite. I sat down at the table along with Cassie and Kals. Marcus and Tikki sat next to each other on the couch while Jaclyn and Katuk each took one of the chairs across from the couch. Jaclyn found herself sitting next to Crawls-Through-Desert who had positioned himself in front of one of the windows, his leaves angled toward the sun. He still appeared to be dormant though. He hadn’t moved or said anything.
Marcus looked around the room. “I don’t want to start any trouble, but we’re not going to stop investigating, are we?” Continue reading Complaints: Part 5
With the volume of Alanna’s reply, Kals stepped backward. “What? No. I’ve never suspected you, but someone is.”
Geman sat in his chair, face blank of emotion, but his jaw muscles tightened. Speaking slowly as if were difficult, he rasped out, “I’m not… controlled. I’d remember… it.”
Everyone turned toward him—Jadzen, Maru, Alanna, the rest of them, and we, of course, were already looking toward the stage.
As the colony’s leadership had turned though, they’d all gone several shades paler. Geman stood up in his chair, saying, “I… I…” Continue reading Complaints: Part 4
Geman frowned but didn’t argue at Kals’ suggestion that he and Dalat used the meeting as an excuse to drink.
Maru’s mouth tightened, reminding me of a growling dog. “Kals, you may be assisting, but you can’t speak on their behalf.”
I spoke even as Kals began to open her mouth to respond, “It’s okay. She’s gotten everything right. I didn’t know about the meeting being an excuse to hang out and drink but it’s definitely true that we weren’t randomly searching people’s farms or property. We were just looking for Katuk. Our implants weren’t detecting him and we were worried that something had happened to him. It turned out that he was safe.” Continue reading Complaints: Part 3
When the colonists dropped off breakfast, Jaclyn took advantage of the fact that we were all together to tell everyone the story and then bring us all downstairs to show us the puppy. When we were all back up in the suite, Cassie shook her head and finished off the last bit of some kind of meat. Swallowing, she told Jaclyn, “That was so crazy and such a terrible idea that—“
“It’s like something you would do?” Jaclyn finished. Continue reading Complaints: Part 2
Wondering if I should check with the others before I did anything, I decided it was most likely Jaclyn, Cassie, Tikki, or Kals and if not, I could probably tell the rest via implant.
In fact, I was being too paranoid already. The most likely possibility was that one of them had opted to use one of the bathrooms outside our suite rather than risking waking everyone else up. The toilet was kind of noisy.
As I walked through the door that led into the main area of the council building, I reflected that if that were true, explaining what I was doing was going to be awkward. Well, if I did find that the footsteps led to one of the other bathrooms, I’d do my best to sneak away before they got out. Continue reading A Good Boy: Part 10
In the end though, it wasn’t something that I could do anything about aside from passing on the speculation to everyone else—that and the fact that Kals’ could get around our current defenses. Everyone’s response could be summarized in Jaclyn’s, “Are you kidding me? Why didn’t you tell us that before?”
“I didn’t know until just before you told us you’d found Katuk. Everyone was worried about that and I kind of forgot. Anyway, we were going to work on it tonight. Well, I was assuming we would, if that’s okay.” I looked over at Kals.
She gave a quick nod. “Whoever controls all of you controls all of us. I’m not going to let that happen.” Continue reading A Good Boy: Part 9
I couldn’t argue with him. I didn’t know what the vegetables or the meat were, but I liked them. I wasn’t sure that they were good enough that my life would be fulfilled if I got killed by an angry Xiniti after supper, but as Marcus implied, it was better than dying hungry.
“So what do you think?” Marcus asked, “You think they told him?”
Jaclyn paused with her fork in the air. “How would he not know something like that? It was a big enough deal to make us Xiniti citizens. That can’t happen every day. How would he not hear about it?”
“Easy,” Cassie raised her hand, waving it to get our attention. “They’re a military culture. If you don’t need to know, they don’t tell you.” Continue reading A Good Boy: Part 8