Castle Rock Compound, Colorado, Earth
She’d been dreaming of flying through space, the stars blurring and stretching as she flew. She’d dreamt of this before but this time it felt real. The cold of space didn’t hurt her while intangible, but she knew it was out there waiting for her or anyone else who made the mistake of phasing into reality.
That was one of the other differences from past dreams. In the past, she’d suspected that others were there too and even thought she’d heard voices but this time she knew it for sure. The voices were as clear as anyone’s she’d ever spoken to. Continue reading Warriors: Part 2
Agent 957, Hideaway, Landing Starport
It had been an utter disaster. Agent 957 couldn’t see it any other way.
The sun beat down as he stood at the edge of the field, outwardly supervising the marines and the few spacers who’d survived as they ransacked the ships, trying his best not to let anything show.
If the marines had lost respect for him, he didn’t see it, but helmets covered their heads so it wasn’t as if he could read their facial expressions. Besides that, Ascendancy policy was to keep soldiers as compliant with authority as possible. They could be screaming inside and he’d only know it if he deliberately asked.
The spacers were allowed a little more agency, but not much. Continue reading Warriors: Part 1
Moments like that cause you to rethink what you’ve been doing. I’d left 60 bots out of my calculations. In addition to the others, I had 20 observation bots, 20 spybots and 20 EMP bots. I’d left out the observation bots and spybots because they weren’t much use in a fight and the EMP bots because I’d been assuming Ascendancy soldiers would be using equipment hardened against EMP bots at my tech level.
When I considered the question in that moment, the implant gave me the Ascendancy equipment’s known specs and I compared them to my bots.
Instants later, I fired off ten of the 20 EMP bots, targeting all the nearest soldiers. On Earth, I might have used one, but now I knew what would work here. Continue reading Release the Hounds: Part 12
Then I let go of his other leg and stood up, leaving him stuck to the ground.
I checked my HUD for threats, seeing more Ascendancy soldiers dropping in from above. One dropped off to my right, clearly expecting that I wouldn’t be ready to fight yet. I didn’t hesitate. As he turned to rake me with his claws, I punched him in the chest—hard. The armor gave and he flew backward, tumbling a few times and not getting up off the street.
I turned my attention back to our group, finding that the townspeople had retreated into Tikki’s globe—which had expanded a good ten feet in diameter. Continue reading Release The Hounds: Part 11
I sent everyone a picture of the troops jumping from one eggshell to another along with the thought, “Are we upwind or downwind of them?”
It wasn’t as if I could feel that inside the suit.
“No wind,” Cassie sent back, pointing her gun upward and shouting, “Incoming!”
My bots showed the Ascendancy troops two rows off from us, but that didn’t matter. They knew where we were and they were leaping between the houses in the nearest row to get at us. Continue reading Release the Hounds: Part 10
“Do it.” The turret popped out of the bottom of Crawls-Through-Desert’s pot.
Asan and Sian ran toward the nearest force field pole and the nearest section of wall stopped glowing. We all ran inside and the blue glow appeared behind us.
The plant waved a branch toward the hill. “Run into town. Once we get out of sight we’ll decide where we want to come out. Don’t go into any buildings without my permission.” Continue reading Release the Hounds: Part 9
I couldn’t do anything about the death and destruction now and I reminded myself that we’d done this because we didn’t have the ability to meet them in a fair fight without losing a lot of civilians.
Looking past the force fields, I saw that not everyone had died. One hundred, maybe two hundred of the Ascendancy’s people had run out the other side of the field and were watching as the last of the creatures ran across the field and out towards the forest and fields on the other side. Continue reading Release the Hounds: Part 8
As the creatures gained speed, I realized that I could hear their feet hitting the ground from the air. It was the sound a thousand bass drums might have made if they’d been played by elephants with a poor sense of rhythm, a cacophony of thumping noises that overlapped each other.
I’d worried that Cassie’s gun or my sonic weapons might warn the Human Ascendancy’s forces of our attack, but it didn’t matter. The creatures’ running drowned out everything we could have attempted. Continue reading Release the Hounds: Part 7
The shouting didn’t do anything. A few of the giant elephant/rhinoceros things looked over at us without much interest. The ones nearest the dog made grunting noises and began to sniff the wind, a good idea except that we were upwind. Then a few began to move forward, away from the barking, swinging their heads around to look for the noise.
When they saw the dog, one of them made a deep noise somewhere between a growl and a roar. Some of the smaller ones bolted away, but the large one turned toward us.
We weren’t intimidating enough, and why would we be? Judging from the Rocket suit’s readouts, the nearby creatures ranged from two to thirty tons. Continue reading Release the Hounds: Part 6
Thirty minutes later found us outside in the warm sun, standing upwind of a field that was inland and slightly to the north of the settlement.
The creatures in the field reminded me of both elephants and rhinoceroses. They had grey, wrinkled skins, tusks like elephants, but with the long, wide snout of the rhinoceros and a small horn on the top of the snout. Their upright, triangular ears made me think of wild boar. Their wide legs made me think of tree trunks.
They had all of an elephant’s size, and maybe more. I wasn’t sure how tall elephants were, but the smallest of these creatures had to be taller than 30 feet at the shoulder. Continue reading Release the Hounds: Part 5