Tara frowned, but then her face went blank as her brain went into whatever state allowed her to predict opponents’ moves before they made them and recognize patterns of human behavior by connecting details no one else remembered.
Then she took a breath and relaxed, becoming the Tara I was more used to. “The True aren’t historians. We could have kept everything about the story if we’d wanted to, but it’s important to the leaders of the True to revere the Designer as the one who decided what it meant to be one of the True.
“My parents each told me their battalion’s version of the story and then I heard half a dozen different versions wherever we moved in Infinity City. Every group of the True has their own and they’ll tell it to anyone willing to listen.
“I don’t know which one is real. Maybe all of them are. I don’t know enough to figure that out, but I can tell you what’s common to all the versions I know. Maybe that will be close enough.” Continue reading Dealing With It: Part 2
“It makes sense,” Haley pulled her chair out from under the table and sat down next to me. “It’s the right thing to do, but I don’t like it.”
Short with black hair and olive skin, Haley frowned. We’d been going out since my senior year of high school and after years of being together, I knew her well enough that I knew both what bothered her and that she’d be telling me aloud anyway.
“She and her boyfriend stole our plans and then handed it over to the Coffeeshop Illuminati. From what I heard, she’s the one with the connection to the Illuminati.” Continue reading Dealing With It: Part 1
“Okay,” I thought through my options. “It sounds like we’re going to get a lot more out of this if we work together. We’ll have to hash out something. I don’t know when. Where are you staying? Obviously, we don’t have time to do it now.”
She glanced toward the door again. “We don’t. It’s not as if they have any reason to be suspicious, but if we take too much longer they’ll remember this later if either of us ever does something suspicious.”
Turning her head back to me, she crossed her arms over her chest. “I’m staying here in the employee housing. I’ve got my equipment hidden in my car and off campus.”
“Okay. I’m in Grand Lake. Is there any chance you could drive south and meet with us? I can give you an address.” Continue reading Hardwick Industries: Part 10
Stephanie stood next to me, watching and wearing an expression I guessed to be somewhere between concern and fear.
I glanced over at the buildings, wondering if they had any way to hear what we were saying. Then I pulled a control pad out from inside my sleeve and into my palm, setting my sonics to produce white noise loud enough that it would obscure what we were saying. I’d tested it with a variety of shotgun microphones and Haley’s hearing.
“You can’t tell anyone about this,” I told her. “Especially not the Coffeeshop Illuminati or Gordon.” Continue reading Hardwick Industries: Part 9
I had to come up with a response that fit her opening, but I didn’t know what her cover was. I decided to be vague and let her lead. “I didn’t expect to run into you here.”
No doubt guessing what I was doing, she gave a catlike grin. “I graduated. After you graduate you have to get a job and I got lucky enough to get one here.”
Emmy looked from one of us to the other. “How do you know each other?” Continue reading Hardwick Industries: Part 8
“Yeah,” I tried to think of something to say. “That would be great.”
Even as I said it, I thought that sounded kind of stupid, but Sandy kept on smiling, so I guessed that it was close enough to an appropriate answer.
His smile faltered. “I’m sorry I can’t take you over to the labs today. There’s been some kind of snag with your security clearance. They tell me it’s coming but it’s not here yet. It’ll be okay, though. The stuff we work with is so secret that almost every single one of our clearances has had a snag somewhere in the process. It would be strange if one didn’t.”
“I hope there’s no problem…” I let the sentence trail off. I wasn’t worried. If I knew anything about Isaac Lim over the past four years of working with him, it was that he knew what he was doing. If they had problems with clearances, he’d have made sure they had one with me. Continue reading Hardwick Industries: Part 7
I had a bad feeling the creature wouldn’t be on my side, and the fact that it was outside the wards made me suspect it was magic.
I desperately needed to tell people that it was there as soon as the fight was over.
Well, assuming it was real, and not the result of staring at a HUD filled with shades of grey (but not the sexy kind). I zoomed in, and saw nothing in that space.
I checked on Stephanie, finding her still covered with goo. She’d pulled out a knife, and was trying to cut the strands connecting her to the ground. Continue reading Demo: Part 21
Wind hit me, and a lot of it. It wasn’t a well considered blast either, throwing me toward the bleachers.
I hit the force field hard. Unsurprisingly, I could see it coming at me better with sonar than I would have with my eyes. With my eyes it was almost transparent. With sonar, it was simply a wall.
The field gave a little as I hit it, but not much. I bounced off, and since I was still pointing in the direction of team one’s flag, I kept on going. Continue reading Demo: Part 19
Rachel raised an eyebrow. “What’s going on now?”
Tara crossed her arms. “I noticed you weren’t listening earlier. Is it the same thing we talked about before?”
Rachel took a breath and sighed. Jaclyn pulled her feet out of the holes she’d created when she landed, and shook her head. “I knew that was going to come back to haunt us.”
Remembering how little I could hear during the fight, I said, “I told Hal to update you if he had something that needed action on our part. So far it hasn’t, but I could tell him to update you anyway?”
“Rocket,” Rachel said, looking me directly in the eyes, “this is something that we all need to be kept updated on.” Continue reading Demo: Part 16
The flash worked better on the audience than anyone else. All around me, people were saying things like, “Can you see what’s happening?”
Amy shook her head. Tara, like me, appeared to be unaffected.
She’d probably anticipated the explosion.
Not that that mattered. What mattered was that the blast hadn’t affected Gordon either. Either his hood or something in his mask had blocked the light. Continue reading Demo: Part 13