“They’re okay with that?” It seemed like something I could ask. The Galactic Alliance requirement that we couldn’t copy their technology had passed into general knowledge.
Dr. Strazinsky nodded. “The aliens aren’t as concerned about the math as the technology. I like to think that I’m exploiting a loophole in the system. Don’t tell anybody. The administration might get nervous.”
I thought about that. I’d heard of people doing that kind of thing in STEM courses. Our scientists and engineers seemed to be more bothered by the Alliance’s version of Star Trek’s Prime Directive than your average guy. Continue reading For His Own Good: Part 3
When class let out, I waited for everyone else to leave—which also meant waiting for five people with questions and others who wanted to add or drop the class. By the time that was done, the next class was already beginning to file into the room with their professor.
Dr. Strazinsky looked over at me as I stood there. “Would you mind walking to my office before we say anything about your quiz?”
I thought about it. “Sure.” Continue reading For His Own Good: Part 2
Dr. Strazinsky stood in front of the class, staring down at the pile of paper in his hands. Then he looked at me, making me wonder what I’d done.
This was my Calculus III class, one of the few prerequisites I hadn’t comped out of. I was only taking it during my Junior year because of some annoying scheduling issues between my double major in electrical engineering and chemistry.
The professor took a long breath and looked out at the class. From his appearance, I guessed that he had to be in his thirties, but he felt older. I didn’t know whether it was the tan suit jacket with tie and slacks, or the slightly balding hair.
Whatever it was, if you were hoping for a young, charismatic professor, this wasn’t your guy. Continue reading For His Own Good: Part 1
Possible responses hung in my head, most of them bad. I settled on, “I’m sorry. I wish we could have done something, but none of us are any good at healing.”
I thought back to my friend Alex. He was good at healing. It would have been nice if the Ghosts had grabbed him along with Rachel. He couldn’t have survived the trip without a spaceship, and everything I knew through my implant and Rachel said that they didn’t bother with them.
Kals shook her head. “Iolan could have done it if he had access to all his equipment. The Ascendancy killed her in more ways than one. I hate them. I don’t know how, but somehow we have to destroy them. Not everybody, but the Ascendant and the Ascendant Council, the Guard… It all needs to end.” Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 36
Four Hands looked into the camera or whatever he was using. It might just as easily have been an image captured from his brain by his implant.
He paused, giving all of us viewing a chance to look at him. Though I’d peg him as being in his late 20s (only a few years older than I was), he had bags under his eyes. I supposed that leading the Ascendancy forces after they’d been destroyed by us, followed by taking over the Ascendancy’s flagship, might be tiring and stressful.
“If any of the Cosmic Ghosts are listening, I ask you to save as many of my people as you can as you destroy the Ascendancy fleet. We’re not in charge, and we’re as susceptible to motivator commands as any human in the Ascendancy.” Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 35
Marcus pursed his lips. “There’s no chance that you’re pregnant, right? I mean, you said you’d had that… turned off, but I didn’t even know who you really were at the time, so…”
Kee’s face darkened, but she kept on talking. “I was telling the truth. In our true form, we’re not fertile with humans. I’m not sure you’d even recognize what we do to reproduce as sex, but when we embody ourselves, we have to create something that can connect back to our true selves.
“So we could have reproduced, but if we did, our child would have too much power for your world to handle, and too little to defend itself from the Destroy faction for a long, long time. I’d never risk that.” Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 34
Whatever my reservations, it didn’t matter. The bubble expanded to cover the entire battlefield and that included all the troops that had been waiting in the wings and beginning to charge.
Connected to Kee’s not-quite-telepathy, I could sense how far it went—more than one hundred yards away in every direction.
Past the edge, the Xiniti that had promised to show up and help stood, staring at the bubble. Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 33
“What I’m asking is probably simple for you—take out the people who are trying to kill us or hide all of us or maybe move us somewhere else? I don’t know. A teleport would be ideal.”
She didn’t say anything but I could feel flickers of her emotions, much as I felt Daniel’s when I was back home. It wasn’t a telepathic connection or maybe it was, but if it was it felt different—bigger—a forty room mansion instead of your standard four bedroom house.
That’s a terrible metaphor, but I don’t have anything better than “bigger.” Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 32
Jaclyn couldn’t take them all out, but she tried. She moved too quickly for me to see, but with the Xiniti implant, I processed her movements well enough to notice the blur of where she’d been.
Ordinary people didn’t even notice that and had to rely on the explosion of blood and the way the Ascendancy soldiers’ bodies toppled off their torsos to the ground.
That didn’t mean the Ascendancy soldiers couldn’t hit her though. One of them, an Ascendant Guardmember by the symbol on his chest, shot her in the thigh with a yellow beam.
She tumbled as he twisted to take another shot at her. Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 31
It didn’t take long to realize that the leader wasn’t obvious. With implants, you didn’t need to do anything visually to know who was running things. Plus, as my implant informed me, armies had policies for hiding who the officers were.
They didn’t have policies that hid what an aerial view from my bots showed. The colonists may have stalled the charge earlier, but now the army was massing close together. When they rushed us, they weren’t going to stop.
I contacted Crawls-Through-Desert who seemed to be acting as Captain Tolker’s lieutenant or something like it. Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 30