Department for the Analysis of Alien Artifacts, K’Kassa, Issakass Homeworld
The being that sometimes called itself Lee reformed in front of the building. A body formed around him with barely a thought, so little that he took a moment to check what form he wore. It wasn’t anything special. For the moment, he was bipedal with four limbs, blue-green scaled hide, and while he couldn’t see all of his face, it was obvious that he had a long snout.
He wore a short robe with a tool belt.
He was, he recognized, a typical, lower caste Issakass male, the sort of being that would never be noticed walking into a government building—not that it mattered. Continue reading Venus Spy Catcher: Part 1
Thinking back to how I’d pulled on Lee’s power in some way to summon a sword, I knew I wasn’t completely without powers, but I knew Amy’s magic had bridged some gap to allow me to do it.
Eyeing Iolan, I said, “So, if I have ancient, mysterious DNA, but can’t do anything with it, why is that?” Continue reading Birthright: Part 10
That was a lot to absorb. Marcus had Abominator DNA? If it was from his dad’s side of the family (and it almost certainly was) then Haley and Travis did as well. And what he’d said about me needed a lot more detail. I could guess at it, but—
Marcus talked over my thoughts, holding up his right hand and waving it a little. “Whoa, whoa, whoa… Wait a second. Abominator DNA? What’s going on there?”
Iolan shrugged. “It shouldn’t be a surprise. You’re a shapeshifter. They were shapeshifters. They knew where to get that characteristic. They put it into several different lines. The gene lines they optimized for repairing machinery had it. So did several soldier lines that they didn’t want to look like soldiers.” Continue reading Birthright: Part 9
The next day found the group of us in Iolan Mekus’ office and lab. It was another of the egg-shaped buildings. This one was set at a distance from the main settlement—which I’d just learned had one of the least interesting names possible.
Marcus stared at Iolan. “You call it ‘Landing’? I get it. It’s right next to where you’ve got the starships, but I’d have gone with something more, you know, inspiring. It’s significant—the beginning of a human colony on this world. That’s crazy and amazing.” Continue reading Birthright: Part 8
Then he shook his head. “I still can’t see her working for the Human Ascendancy though. They killed her parents. They took her brothers and sisters away when they were two or three. I can see how she might hate them, but I can’t see how she’d work for them.”
Cassie shrugged. “People lie—”
“Yeah,” Marcus said, “but people here know her and her parents.”
“Right,” Cassie started talking the moment he stopped, “but they could still have something she wants—maybe her parents aren’t dead or they’re willing to let a brother or sister go? Look, if someone had your family would you let them die? You’d do something, maybe even betraying a bunch of people you only kind of know.”
Marcus exhaled. “I don’t buy it. It’s got to be someone else.” Continue reading Birthright: Part 7
Jaclyn gave him a sidelong glance, but didn’t say anything. “The main point of having people over tonight was to get to know people and pick up leads for who might be passing along information to the Human Ascendancy. We’ve been talking about what we learned. Marcus, did you find out anything?”
He gave a brief grin. “Tikki and I kind of got distracted and we left, but I learned about her childhood and what it’s like to grow up a breeder in the Human Ascendancy. That was interesting. Technically, her gene line is ‘active’ but because the Ascendancy doesn’t have much use for it by itself, they’re used as breeders—which meant that both of her parents had to pass their genes along. She’s got half a dozen half brothers and sisters and she’s never met any of them. Crazy, right?”
I nodded. “It is, but it fits with what I found out.” Whereupon I explained what Kals had told me. Continue reading Birthright: Part 6
“Maybe Tikki’s accepting calls?” I asked as Kals touched the bracelet on her left wrist.
“We tried that,” Jaclyn said. “No.”
“Did you leave messages?”
Her sigh was audible even over the implant. “Yes, but not about not touching. You should call them.”
Would Tikki even need to be told? She shouldn’t—except that she’d had a week to discover that there were no issues with touching us at all. I hadn’t remembered it coming up, but she might not have told us if it had. Continue reading Birthright: Part 5
I felt my eyes widen. “What?”
Kals shook her head. “If we’re going to talk about this, we should find someplace where we won’t be heard.” Then she pointed to the door outside.
“Sure,” I said, and we stepped out into the dark. The council building rose above us, the cluster egg-shaped sections shining in the streetlights.
Kals looked up and down the street. “I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but you could destroy all of human civilization.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Um… That does sound overly dramatic.” Continue reading Birthright: Part 4
Trying not to be distracted by my thoughts, I told Kals, “That’s right. I’m Nick.”
She gave a hint of smile and then asked, “What do you do for the group?”
I shrugged. “I pilot our spaceship and keep our stuff working.”
Nodding, she said. “You keep everything working? From the ship’s drives to the computers to your suits and weapons? And you pilot?” Continue reading Birthright: Part 3
I caught Marcus’ eye, keeping my voice low. “I’m not worried that it’s illegal. I’m more worried about the Council deciding that we’re ‘corrupting the youth’ or something. Plus they might have a problem with a party here.” Glancing over at Jaclyn, I added, “They might not have noticed yet.”
Jaclyn watched something outside the window and shook her head. “They’d have to be blind not to notice.”
Through the window, I saw a floating platform come to a stop in front of the doorway. Two guys pulled a keg off the back and walked in, carrying it between them.
“Huh.” I watched them add it to the bottles on the table and join the group. Continue reading Birthright: Part 2