Trenith exhaled and kept on watching as the Ascendant Guard members kept on walking through the forest, their shields keeping the flames away from their bodies. One screen showed a map of the forest. If there were any doubt they were walking in our direction, the map killed it.
Trenith’s eyes moved from one screen to another. “We don’t have long. The outer circle is mines. The inner circle is force fields and lasers. There isn’t anything else. We’d hoped to be able to evacuate to the nearest neighbor, but with all of their people coming, we just have to fight. There’s nowhere we can go that they can’t find us. So, I’d get outside the force fields and get ready to fight.”
“God,” Cassie said, “when I said ‘traps,’ I was imagining more than that. That’s practically nothing.” Continue reading Planet in the Middle: Part 7
Four Hands wasn’t anywhere to be seen in the group. I wasn’t sure what that meant. It wasn’t impossible that a motivator from the new group of Ascendancy soldiers had gotten him to confess, but it wasn’t likely. If he was as he seemed, a revolutionary in the making, he might be plotting with his people now.
I couldn’t assume it would do us any good, though.
Jaclyn glanced over at Kals and the tech as they talked with Jadzen. “If they’re not coming for her, I don’t know why they’re coming this way.” Continue reading Planet in the Middle: Part 6
I couldn’t tell whether the Xiniti or the Human Ascendancy was winning. The Human Ascendancy had more ships when you considered their fighters in addition to their battleships, but the Xiniti’s ships (even their battleships) were smaller and changed direction with no warning at all.
They’d turn on an angle, target an Ascendancy battleship with a large part of their firepower, inflict damage and change direction again, putting another battleship in the way of the first’s return fire. It didn’t always work out. Xiniti ships exploded too, but not as many as Ascendancy fighters. On the other hand, there weren’t as many Xiniti ships. Continue reading Planet in the Middle: Part 3
Hal didn’t know exactly when the fleets would enter the system, but he promised to keep me informed. I passed that on to Kals who sighed and said, “We’d better get moving.”
With that conversation over, Kals led me to where everyone else was waiting. It was only a few hundred feet further into the woods next to a thick clump of trees that stood so close to each other that only Marcus would have been able to make it between them.
Jaclyn looked over at Cassie, Marcus, and Tikki. “Are you ready?” Continue reading Planet in the Middle: Part 2
Marcus looked toward the cavern’s opening. “That’s loud. I can hear it through your bot feed, but I don’t need to. It’s just as loud in here.”
I hadn’t noticed, but when I thought about it, he was right.
“We can hear it too,” Jacklyn said. “Does he seriously think he’s fooling anybody?” Continue reading Unhidden: Part 12
She took a long breath. “I’m not in the best of shape. Don’t get me wrong, I can still fight, but I’m burned all over. The new costume did some good but it didn’t stop everything. If we’re going to fight these guys more often, I’m going to need better protection against heat and light.”
Marcus cut into the conversation. “Me too. I nearly died a couple minutes ago.”
The volume of Jaclyn’s reply made the speakers crackle. “What? Nick, you need to watch him better.” Continue reading Unhidden: Part 11
In a little while, I turned around to find Marcus standing, his costume fully repaired. Tikki stood beside him. They were holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes, all but glowing. I didn’t see any hint of regret or anxiety in her smile, meaning that Kee had submerged herself into Tikki again, or that she was too good an actor for me to read.
When you considered that Kee predated the human species and possibly our universe, she’d had billions of years to gain the skills necessary to fool me. Continue reading Unhidden: Part 10
Turning back to Marcus, she said, “He’s close to death, but not there. I can bring him back by reversing time.”
That didn’t surprise me. It fit with everything else. If she could slow people or speed up herself, why couldn’t she move backward in time? Then another thought struck me, “You could have brought back Maru or Alanna.” Continue reading Unhidden: Part 9
In seconds, Agent 957’s armor fell to the ground, expelling a cloud. Some of the grey particles floated in the air, others fell out of the bottom of his helmet, creating a small pile. It made me grateful that the Rocket suit filtered the air. It wouldn’t do me harm, but I didn’t like the idea of breathing him in.
The four-handers ran away, deeper into the tunnels, unwilling to take the chance that we wouldn’t kill them. Given that there were more than 20 bodies on the ground, most of them killed by me, I couldn’t blame them.
I turned to check on Marcus. He looked worse than I’d realized. Continue reading Unhidden: Part 8
The beam hit Marcus’ chest, but it didn’t get through his new costume. While I hadn’t been planning to go to war, I knew that he and Jaclyn were more vulnerable to heat and lasers than they were to anything physical.
I designed their costumes to disperse heat and reflect lasers.
In Marcus’ case, I designed his to adjust to shapeshifting to the degree that it could—which sometimes worked against protecting him. Continue reading Unhidden: Part 7