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
I leaned back against the shed’s cool, smooth surface. “Wouldn’t your mom notice that you’re gone?”
She shook her head. “It doesn’t matter. She notices everything, but if we were home, I’d be living on my own, so she’s got no right to stop me. Besides, we do it all the time after parties. Sure, we’ve got the force fields, but some of the small animals that sneak in are as bad as the big ones. Walking home in the dark isn’t safe, so no one complains.” Continue reading A Good Boy: Part 6
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
Tikki pursed her lips without saying anything. “It is possible. All the motivators can tell people to do things, but it doesn’t change their minds and it wears off. They’d be able to tell people.” She stopped, frowned, and continued with, “And besides, the only motivator we have here is Jadzen. She’s one of the people who started the resistance and the colony. And she knows where the colony is, so if she were the spy, they’d be here already.”
Marcus nodded. “Okay, so not Jadzen, but there might be another motivator or someone with more invasive mind control powers.” Continue reading Hideaway: Part 9
One of the women, blond, fortyish, and wearing a blue utility jumpsuit, said, “You’ve been saying that since you got here two years ago.”
Iolan frowned. “I know you don’t believe me, but there have been signs. We’ve all heard about how the Ascendency managed to follow the ship this last time, how they were sure they’d lost them, but they showed up again, one blink from K’Tepolu. But that’s not all. I’ve checked with Geman and he agrees with me. There’s been more ansible activity before and after we send out a ship to collect more refugees—”
The woman said, “—Which could easily be explained by the work we have to do to re-contact our people and everything we have to do afterward to set up for them once they’re here. And it’s not as if you or Geman have been able to find any traffic that can’t be explained—” Continue reading Hideaway: Part 8
We did finish the game. Jaclyn won. The gun was disappointed to learn that you couldn’t raid other players’ property and burn down their buildings. To be fair, there wasn’t anything specifically forbidding that in the rules, but there also weren’t any rules for how you’d do it.
Cassie talked him down by volunteering to play a game with him that did involve weapons. With some grumbling, the gun quieted down.
As we sat at the table afterward, Jaclyn raised an eyebrow as she looked at Cassie. “I have no idea how you can live with that thing.” Continue reading Hideaway: Part 7
Marcus shifted back to normal, looked over at the three colonists near him. “Stand next to me and do it now.”
The colonists listened even if their eyes widened when his arms turned into tentacles and pulled them into one group. “Nick, you want to take us over?”
“Sure,” I ran over to him. He sprouted two more tentacles and grabbed my legs. Knowing what was needed, I activated the rockets and took to the air, slowing as I neared the end of the tentacles’ full length, and then flying upward slowly enough that Marcus could still hold on.
It didn’t take much to fly back over the wall. Continue reading Hideaway: Part 6
Answering my unasked question, the beast showed that it was smart enough to recognize that the force field was down by leaping at the group of us. I didn’t have time to grab the guy and fly away. Instead, I leapt forward, aiming myself at the animal’s chest, activating the rockets on my back to give myself speed.
It had me on mass, but I hoped I could give myself enough force to make up for it. Keeping in mind what Geman had said about the creatures going crazy when they smelled blood, I tried to knock it sideways into the back of the barricade. If I had to kill it, I would, but I didn’t want to make things worse if I didn’t have to. Continue reading Hideaway: Part 5
We all wore uniforms based on my current stealth suit technology—that’s to say thin armor that could shift into normal looking clothes as well as uniforms. Changing colors and mimicking some textures was part of the package.
For this mission, our default setting was silver with a Xiniti symbol—five orbs in a circle—on our chests. The orbs were supposed to represent both planets and clans at the same time.
For me, the uniform still acted as a flight suit for the rest of the Rocket armor, so I stepped into my room, stood on a block of ceramic, tapped out the activation sequence on my palm, and waited as my armor reformed around me.
It wasn’t the classic Rocket suit. Continue reading Hideaway: Part 3
When Hal finished, the gun said, “IT’S A GAME OF COMMERCE. INTERESTING.”
Keeping her voice low, Tikki asked, “Does it always shout?”
“I don’t know,” I said, “but my bet is yes.”
The scene changed. It was just like before in that Tikki, Cassie, Jaclyn, Marcus, Katuk and I were together in a room, but now we were around a dark stained wooden table. A Monopoly board lay in the middle of the table. Beyond the board, table, and chairs though, nothing else looked real. Continue reading Hideaway: Part 2