When I came back on Wednesday, Emmy wasn’t at the front desk. That gave me pause and I wasn’t alone in worrying. I’d kept Vaughn informed of everything I’d seen. So it wasn’t a surprise when he leaned over the counter to her desk, moving the computer mouse.
“Her name’s still the most recent log in.” He pushed himself off the counter. “I don’t know if the medical division’s got rules about dating other employees, but technically, she’d have been dating someone from another company. So she shouldn’t get fired for that. On the other hand, I bet there’s something in the Employee Handbook that would let them fire her for dating a married guy. I wonder where she is?”
“No idea.” We walked together until we came to Vaughn’s office. Continue reading Deeper In: Part 10
“Wait. What do you think they’re likely to do? From my experience they’re likely to break in and look at the birthing chambers or worse.”
She raised an eyebrow and looked up at me, saying nothing.
“Their minds had been messed with, but they weren’t puppets. Whatever the Mayor told them, they decided on their own that it was worth trying to take out the whole Heroes’ League at once—including Jaclyn. Even untrained, she’s out of their league. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was only the second time that they were doing it under the Mayor’s control. The first time, I think they did it of their own free will.” Continue reading Deeper In: Part 9
“Don’t forget it,” Russ said. “No business can survive without good people. You and your father have both been good influences in his life.”
The sound of helicopter blades ended that conversation as everyone in the crowd turned to watch the copter land.
As it came down, Vaughn’s mom turned to me and tapped my shoulder. “Good to see you, Nick.”
I managed to get out, “Good to see you too,” but not much more. The noise made conversation impossible and I was fine with that. It’s not that I disliked her, but the last real conversation I’d had with her involved her informing me that she knew I was the Rocket and that she didn’t want Vaughn to be involved with the new version of the Heroes’ League in any way. Continue reading Dealing With It: Part 7
“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
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
“When you say they’re similar to you in little ways, do you mean that it’s not obvious that you’re related just by looking at you?” That seemed like an okay way to get at the main question on my mind—whether she might be part of a cell of True and somehow not realize it.
It struck me as I asked that one of the True might well pick up that I knew what they were.
So maybe it wasn’t the best question, but if she recognized what I was after, she never showed it. She gave me a wide smile. “Not at all—well, they do look like me a little. You can see it in our faces, but my biological brother and sister look like our mother or our father, but I look like a mix. I wouldn’t have guessed we were related without online DNA websites. We’re a mix of everything around the Mediterranean—Italian, Greek, Northern Africa, Arabic, all of it.” Continue reading Hardwick Industries: Part 6
That’s what I understood from Tara, anyway. In her parents’ worlds, the True destroyed and replaced humanity before falling into disputes among themselves as to which groups best followed the values of the True.
She couldn’t know the full story, though. The True weren’t historians. They were soldiers. And anyway, both of her parents were born after their bands of True had escaped their own realities by relocating to Infinity City, a city that existed in an Infinity of worlds.
In some, the True followed a nation or world conqueror faithfully. In others, they destroyed humanity in a rebellion or fell sick from a virus they were especially vulnerable to. Continue reading Hardwick Industries: Part 5
Internal policy? That was an interesting detail. Sensing my interest, the implant gave me more information. Ever since the Xiniti had freed the members of the Galactic Alliance from servitude to the Abominators, they’d been policing the Human Quarantine area. Galactic Alliance policy was to alert them if people on Earth, the birthplace of humanity, acquired alien technology, particularly that of the Artificers and the Abominators.
If that were to happen, the Galactic Alliance might decide to eliminate all life on Earth. Continue reading Hardwick Industries: Part 4