I looked around the room again, taking in the people unpacking, the streetlights and well-lit buildings going all the way to the ceiling of the cave.
It felt like a neighborhood in a big city more than it did a refugee camp, but it was still a refugee camp. All the people pulling their most valuable and portable possessions off the mobile platforms made that all too clear.
My implant sent me a notification and it wasn’t just to me. Kals sent it to everybody. “As soon as we’ve dropped off our luggage, we tell my mom about Maru.”
Jaclyn sent back, “That’s the plan.” Continue reading Retreat: Part 3
I don’t think that the colonists had ever seen a puppy before—not a “tiger terrier” puppy anyway. Maybe the adults didn’t bring them along and maybe it didn’t occur to them that the twenty or thirty-pound dog following us could possibly be related to the twelve-foot tall predators that lurked outside their fence.
The upshot of all this is that when the floating platforms came to take us all away, the dog was no problem. Even shoved into the corner of a platform with us and our luggage, it was friendly to the two families riding with us.
One of the kids, a blond-haired five-year-old boy asked, “What’s his name?” as the dog sniffed his hand. Continue reading Retreat: Part 2
I sent them to his house, Jadzen Akri’s and all over the council building while I was at it. I shared the process with everybody via implant.
As I maneuvered the bots through Jadzen’s house, bugging the common spaces as well as her office, I asked Kals, “Are you okay with it? We are bugging your house.”
Kals sat at the table, eyes glazed over like everyone else’s. “It’s my mom’s house and you have to. Maru’s over there all the time. Even if I didn’t want my mom’s privacy invaded, there are so many meetings there. It’s practically the unofficial council building.” Continue reading Complaints: Part 8
Hand moving an inch closer to the gun on her hip, Cassie said, “You’re a secret agent now? How do we know that?”
My implant created a translucent square above Crawls-Through-Desert. In appeared the words, “Sending ID. Accept and verify?”
I thought back, Yes. Continue reading Complaints: Part 7
“Uh huh.” Cassie gave Jadzen a small bow as the council members left the room, walking toward the exit via a different wing of the building.
I felt a stab of worry as they passed the doorway that led down to the dog, but they didn’t stop. Soon they were gone and we all went back to our suite. I sat down at the table along with Cassie and Kals. Marcus and Tikki sat next to each other on the couch while Jaclyn and Katuk each took one of the chairs across from the couch. Jaclyn found herself sitting next to Crawls-Through-Desert who had positioned himself in front of one of the windows, his leaves angled toward the sun. He still appeared to be dormant though. He hadn’t moved or said anything.
Marcus looked around the room. “I don’t want to start any trouble, but we’re not going to stop investigating, are we?” Continue reading Complaints: Part 5
With the volume of Alanna’s reply, Kals stepped backward. “What? No. I’ve never suspected you, but someone is.”
Geman sat in his chair, face blank of emotion, but his jaw muscles tightened. Speaking slowly as if were difficult, he rasped out, “I’m not… controlled. I’d remember… it.”
Everyone turned toward him—Jadzen, Maru, Alanna, the rest of them, and we, of course, were already looking toward the stage.
As the colony’s leadership had turned though, they’d all gone several shades paler. Geman stood up in his chair, saying, “I… I…” Continue reading Complaints: Part 4
Geman frowned but didn’t argue at Kals’ suggestion that he and Dalat used the meeting as an excuse to drink.
Maru’s mouth tightened, reminding me of a growling dog. “Kals, you may be assisting, but you can’t speak on their behalf.”
I spoke even as Kals began to open her mouth to respond, “It’s okay. She’s gotten everything right. I didn’t know about the meeting being an excuse to hang out and drink but it’s definitely true that we weren’t randomly searching people’s farms or property. We were just looking for Katuk. Our implants weren’t detecting him and we were worried that something had happened to him. It turned out that he was safe.” Continue reading Complaints: Part 3
When the colonists dropped off breakfast, Jaclyn took advantage of the fact that we were all together to tell everyone the story and then bring us all downstairs to show us the puppy. When we were all back up in the suite, Cassie shook her head and finished off the last bit of some kind of meat. Swallowing, she told Jaclyn, “That was so crazy and such a terrible idea that—“
“It’s like something you would do?” Jaclyn finished. Continue reading Complaints: Part 2
In the end though, it wasn’t something that I could do anything about aside from passing on the speculation to everyone else—that and the fact that Kals’ could get around our current defenses. Everyone’s response could be summarized in Jaclyn’s, “Are you kidding me? Why didn’t you tell us that before?”
“I didn’t know until just before you told us you’d found Katuk. Everyone was worried about that and I kind of forgot. Anyway, we were going to work on it tonight. Well, I was assuming we would, if that’s okay.” I looked over at Kals.
She gave a quick nod. “Whoever controls all of you controls all of us. I’m not going to let that happen.” Continue reading A Good Boy: Part 9
My connection to Hal froze for long enough to make me wonder if it had been dropped, but then he said, [The encryption is complex. It will take some time to decrypt it.]
[Unknown, but minutes, possibly hours instead of seconds.]
“Okay. Let me know when you’ve figured it out.”
[I will.] Continue reading A Good Boy: Part 7