“Redirecting?” I turned toward her and raised an eyebrow—which was completely hidden by my helmet.
“Pushing on the escape pod’s controls at exactly the right moment to keep him from going where he wanted to, and getting a message out to Lim. Lim called in one of the New York teams that didn’t get sent into space, and what do you know? One more captive alien.”
Rachel grinned below her white mask.
“Wow,” I said. “None of the aliens are supposed to be contacting us in the first place. The moment this gets out, the Hrrnna are in major trouble.”
Rachel shook her head. “Doubt it. My bet is they play the ‘we don’t know anything about that’ card, and pretend the Hrrnna here were acting on their own.”
Travis nodded. “That’s how it works.”
Continue reading Glory: Part 3
“Blue strained herself,” Jaclyn said, using the codename we’d used for her last time we’d gotten desperate for a codename.
Her current costume was actually a costume, and it did have some blue and yellow on it, but more black. It reminded me of Native American designs—which fit. She was at least partially Mexican, and a lot of them descended from native tribes.
“Whoa,” Vaughn said. “Her powers, you mean? She doesn’t look hurt.”
He landed near us. I felt the pull of the wind that kept him in the air stop.
Sean landed near him, and the Rocket suit didn’t miss a beat—no static, errors or anything. Either he was getting better at controlling himself, or the suit’s shielding worked like it was supposed to.
Continue reading Glory: Part 2
I felt Travis grab my arm as I stepped toward the door, and said, “Hang on!”
Jaclyn and Travis jumped with me as I gave the rockets fuel, and that was all for the best. The Rocket suit wasn’t meant to carry people. Sure, you could carry people. You could carry several people, but let’s put it this way—if a car were falling off a bridge, and I was the only chance for the people inside to survive… well… those people were likely to have a very short life.
This was bad for a whole lot of reasons, but mostly because it wasn’t at it’s best maneuvering while carrying three people, two from my right arm, one with my left. The right rockets had to compensate by putting out more force on that side just to keep us from listing to one side or the other.
This made all turns a little sluggish. If you hypothetically happened to be flying above the Hudson River while pieces of a spaceship fell from above, this was more than a little inconvenient.
The HUD said, [COLLISION ALERT].
Continue reading Glory: Part 1
My helmet adjusted to the lack of light at about the same time the ship dropped a few feet. A warning beeped, and I dropped a few feet, preparing for a landing. The Hrrnna must have had effective night vision because many of the remaining ones turned to aim their weapons at me.
I opened up everything I had at them, putting the few remaining killbots into efficiency mode—which meant that instead of exploding upon entering a body, they’d make holes in opponents initially and only explode if the opponent wouldn’t go down, or if they were nearly out of fuel.
I’d created a really elegant algorithm to calculate the best use of a group of bots on multiple targets. I felt proud if its efficiency, but I’d felt a little sick when I thought about what it actually did. Continue reading Stardock: Part 37
All of us looked at each other. I don’t know what the others were thinking, but in that moment I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t know how much force Vaughn and Sean could create between the two of them, but I doubted they could stop the ship from hitting the ground—not if it were under power at any rate.
If we knocked the power out, it was still an open question.
Not to mention that I remembered how they handled a ship during the training exercise. It wasn’t the same situation, but it was still a disaster with a big ship.
For a second, it seemed like the best option might be to see if the Hrrnna would give us a second chance at letting them go. Continue reading Stardock: Part 36
“Push the button, Control,” Haley talked at a normal volume, but the intensity in her voice made it seem louder.
Kayla’s voice came through. She started to say, “I…” hesitated, and said, “You’re all right there.”
“We’ll be fine,” Haley said, sounding just as intense as before. “Now!”
Man-machine’s voice came over the comm at almost the same time, “Now, dammit!”
Continue reading Stardock: Part 35
Izzy closed her eyes, opened them, and pointed toward the far end of the engine room. “Is it the middle, more on the left side than the right?”
Rachel turned, not saying anything. When she turned back to us, she said, “That’s it.”
Izzy’s mouth tightened. “They’re not coming for us. They’re gathering there. If we want to stop the ship, we’ll have to kill them.”
She stared ahead, “I hate this.”
Continue reading Stardock: Part 34
Jaclyn’s eyes flicked toward the fusion generator and then back to me. “You’re not going to ask me to smash it are you? Because that sounds like a bad idea.”
I shook my head. “No. I wasn’t thinking of doing that. We’d probably all die.”
Jaclyn eyed me. “You think? So how were you planning to trash their plant?”
“Well, there are emergency procedures in case you need to shut it off. This generator looks a lot like the jet’s. It should be easy.”
Jaclyn smiled. “Kind of like how Rook’s headquarters wasn’t supposed to contain nerve gas.” Continue reading Stardock: Part 33
I couldn’t understand a bit of the language—not that that surprised me.
Travis stepped through the hole in the exhaust tube, his form nearly transparent to me, and (I assumed) completely transparent to whatever was out there. In his place, I didn’t think I would have simply left.
Still, despite being hugely muscled and nearly seven feet tall, Travis could sneak around much better than I could. Throw invisibility in there, and I had to admit, he’d probably done the right thing. At any rate, he’d done one of a few possible “right things.”
I had no right to complain. We needed a scout then, and he was the best person to do it with Rachel scouting further up the ship.
Continue reading Stardock: Part 32
Opening a comm connection to Red Hex, I asked, “How long will the invisibility last?”
Samita took a breath. A quick check of her position showed that she’d been running. That was smart. “Five minutes.”
“Thanks,” I said, and cut off the connection. Five minutes was enough. By that time we’d be where we needed to be or we’d be dead—possibly both.
Burning light from the space ship continued to incinerate everything around the building including the aliens’ own dead.
Meanwhile, transparent forms disappeared into Portal’s gates bare instants before they would have been destroyed. I was pretty sure the people in the ship weren’t targeting them. They were targeting everything. Continue reading Stardock: Part 31