I thanked HAL for the message, adding, “Tell me if any of them land near us.”
The group of us all had mats next to each other on the floor. The mats were both thin and surprisingly comfortable despite the fact that we were in a small shack with hard floors. I want to describe them as hardwood, but who knew what the materials were?
I glanced over at the holographic screens showing 3D representations of the world around the hideout. I saw animals, but no people. I wasn’t the only one looking at the screens either. Cassie, Jaclyn, and Marcus had all been woken up by HAL. Tikki slept on the mat next to Marcus’ mat. Whether she was truly sleeping was an open question, given her true nature. Continue reading Planet in the Middle: Part 5
In a maneuver that felt choreographed, the Xiniti ships all moved to the right side of the bottom of the Ascendancy battleship, firing bright beams at a spot three-quarters of the way down the battleship’s side.
Flame burst from the spot and the back of the ship. The battleship’s nose turned downward, aiming for the ground and hitting it, throwing up dirt, rocks, smoke, and flame. Continue reading Planet in the Middle: Part 4
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
Lee, Excursion Keep (Artificer Ruins), Forbidden Space
It was over. They’d fought across millions of lightyears and at least ten different alternate universes. He’d killed Bakanan, using the device Kee designed to channel his power and so much more into a burning beam that crossed universes and expanded into more dimensions than the material creatures of this universe understood. The beam hit Bakanan’s true form, destroying him everywhere.
And now, Lee knew, there was one less of them. There hadn’t ever been very many by comparison to the short-lived races he’d been hiding among, but now there was one less. He couldn’t say he felt bad about killing Bakanan, but he did feel a twinge about bringing his species one step closer to extinction. Continue reading Planet in the Middle: Part 1
“What did you do for them?” He asked as I put the disc into a pouch on my belt.
I looked up. “We fought, but I paid for the medical bills of one of their people. I didn’t know that they knew. If anything I was expecting them to want to hunt me down.”
He gave a quick nod. “Why did you help them?” Continue reading Unhidden: Part 18
Into my helmet, I asked, “Why?”
Cassie paused before answering. “I don’t know. We don’t really know this guy. He’s buttering you up, trying to make a connection because his people do tech stuff too?”
“To be fair, I did kind of ask him to butter me up.” Then I turned my attention to him. “Can you prevent your people from going after the colonists?” Continue reading Unhidden: Part 17
For a moment, I heard silence as Jaclyn processed that. Then, “As long as you’re not being attacked we’re coming out ahead of what we expected. Keep us in the loop.”
“I’ll broadcast the conversation.”
“Okay.” Continue reading Unhidden: Part 16
“I don’t need to hear you out. The Human Ascendancy is horrible. They literally mind control their people, implant suggestions in their heads, force them to watch and betray people they care about… I literally saw someone’s head explode because she’d been manipulated by them. I don’t want to help you guys take over all of human space. I mean, honestly, that’s about the last thing I want.”
Even as I said it, I knew that that wasn’t the best answer possible. The best answer possible was one that would keep the conversation going indefinitely while everyone got into position. This answer amounted to shouting, “I’ll never join you!”
Shortly after that line, Darth Vader revealed himself to be Luke’s father and Luke jumped down an air shaft.
Um… Sorry for the really old spoiler? Continue reading Unhidden: Part 15
That blindsided me. It shouldn’t have. When you looked at it from the outside, it was logical. We used tech that looked like Xiniti tech, but if you were a techie, you’d notice the small details that would cue you into the fact that this was homebrewed instead of mass-produced.
Bearing that in mind, the question was whether denying it or admitting to it would lead to a more distracting conversation. I went with admitting to it. Talking shop with the guy might run the risk of telling him more about my armor than I wanted him to know, but the same was true in reverse. Continue reading Unhidden: Part 14