All posts by Jim Zoetewey

Claws & Eyes: Part 5

On the bright side, I was an intern. Interns are inexperienced and haven’t absorbed how things are done in the workplace. That meant that as long as I wasn’t too obnoxious about it, I could ask anything.

Provided I wasn’t too obvious about my prying, the worst that people would think was that I was naive.

“I’m not sure I heard this right,” I began, “but I thought you were coming next week.” Continue reading Claws & Eyes: Part 5

Claws & Eyes: Part 4

Vaughn and I took his car to Hardwick Industries downtown offices and the helipad after class. It felt a little showy to ride there in a Porsche, but it wasn’t my Porsche.

It had the additional advantage of not leaving my van where it could be inspected by Hardwick’s people. The van passed as a normal van, but if anyone started poking and prodding it, they’d discover that the material wasn’t quite metal. If someone who knew the model of van it was supposed to be measured it, they’d discover that the measurements weren’t quite right. Worse, they might figure out that most of what you could see underneath was a facade. Continue reading Claws & Eyes: Part 4

Claws & Eyes: Part 3

Hours went by. I lost track of time as I worked. I’d redesigned the remote control for my bots. Though I’d recreated it as software in the Rocket suit, my new version acted as an interface between my implant and the bots, allowing me to control them directly with my brain.

I probably could have figured out a way for the implant to connect to the bots directly either by imitating their control signals or creating a system for the bots that connected to the implant, but this was easier. Continue reading Claws & Eyes: Part 3

Claws & Eyes: Part 2

“That would explain the coincidence, but it’s so weird that Higher Ground would include people who actively murder people. I’d have pegged them for the kind of people who do it indirectly by working with the Nine—because if they hand over their research to the Nine, the Nine will use it to kill people.”

Tara shrugged. “I told you I don’t have enough information to really do my thing well. If I could talk to someone else who worked there, I’d be able to make more connections. Like maybe if Stephanie came over here again and I asked her questions…” Continue reading Claws & Eyes: Part 2

Claws & Eyes: Part 1

My lab hummed with the sound of 3D printers and other machines putting together more bots, some of them from new designs. I didn’t know how sophisticated Higher Ground’s security was, but I’d have to beat it if I wanted to learn more.

Off the top of my head, I listed what I wanted to find out more about and wrote them on a piece of paper, numbering them, but not in order of importance. Continue reading Claws & Eyes: Part 1

Deeper In: Part 10

When I came back on Wednesday, Emmy wasn’t at the front desk. That gave me pause and I wasn’t alone in worrying. I’d kept Vaughn informed of everything I’d seen. So it wasn’t a surprise when he leaned over the counter to her desk, moving the computer mouse.

“Her name’s still the most recent log in.” He pushed himself off the counter. “I don’t know if the medical division’s got rules about dating other employees, but technically, she’d have been dating someone from another company. So she shouldn’t get fired for that. On the other hand, I bet there’s something in the Employee Handbook that would let them fire her for dating a married guy. I wonder where she is?”

“No idea.” We walked together until we came to Vaughn’s office.  Continue reading Deeper In: Part 10

Deeper In: Part 9

“Wait. What do you think they’re likely to do? From my experience they’re likely to break in and look at the birthing chambers or worse.”

She raised an eyebrow and looked up at me, saying nothing.

“Their minds had been messed with, but they weren’t puppets. Whatever the Mayor told them, they decided on their own that it was worth trying to take out the whole Heroes’ League at once—including Jaclyn. Even untrained, she’s out of their league. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was only the second time that they were doing it under the Mayor’s control. The first time, I think they did it of their own free will.” Continue reading Deeper In: Part 9

Deeper In: Part 8

After looking around for a moment to find the source of my voice amid the chatter mechanical hums of the lab, Victor stood up in his cube and faced me. “Breakthroughs with the user interface? No. And believe me, I’d know. That would bring everything in the lab to a stop. Why do you ask?”

Now that was something I hadn’t thought through. Why would I be asking about the user interface, something I wouldn’t be working with at all? “Well, you’d said that that you were having people from that other lab come here. I didn’t phrase it well, but where do we need the help? Is it the user interface? Does it need power? Something else?” Continue reading Deeper In: Part 8

Deeper In: Part 7

“Uh-huh,” I said, wondering if I’d just seen the beginning of a crime.

His smile widened. “You’ve never worked at the high levels of a business—any business, I bet, given your age. Trust me, there are things that are normal in a business that look scary to outsiders. That guy I talked to? He’s not going to go rob somebody. He’d go to jail, right? No, he’s going to think creatively now. That’s part of what being a manager means, knowing what will motivate your people to do their best. He needs a kick in the pants.

“Now before we were interrupted, I’d asked you what you’re interested in professionally. What’s your answer? Remember, there’s no shame in thinking big.” Continue reading Deeper In: Part 7

Deeper In: Part 6

When I walked into Higher Ground’s office, I had two minutes in front of my desk to check email before Stephanie all but dragged me away to the lab. I’d literally just clicked on an email she’d written to me. The subject? “COME TO THE LAB NOW!”

Even as I logged out of my computer and stood up from my chair, I heard the door open and Stephanie grabbed my arm and led me out the door to the lab.

Letting go of my arm as the door shut behind us, she said, “You’re meeting with  Ryan McCall. He’s the lab’s chief scientist.”

Walking next to her on the path to the lab, I managed to get out an, “Uh-huh.” Continue reading Deeper In: Part 6