Jadzen frowned. “If one of the new colonists has something the Artificers made, we’re doomed—unless it’s the Xiniti somehow. They had ways of neutralizing Artificer technology when they fought the Abominators. The rumor I heard is that some Xiniti could connect to the artifacts like Abominators did.”
Maru nodded. “I heard that rumor.”
She took a breath. On the desk, her right hand clenched into a fist. “We’re going to have to trust that the Xiniti do know how to control Artificer equipment because the other rumor I heard is that they collect it.” Continue reading Complaints: Part 9
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
“No,” I told her. “I didn’t think to try that, but you know what I just thought of? I should be trying to listen in on them now.”
Ignoring her reply, I turned on the sonic receivers in the suit, setting them to focus on the buildings and hoping the walls weren’t thick enough to prevent sound from escaping.
I heard Dalat’s nasal tenor. “Do you think they can hear us? A lot of actives could probably still hear us.”
Geman replied in his much lower voice, “I don’t know, but if you’re worried, we should just use implants.”
After that, I didn’t hear anything. Continue reading Venus Spy Catcher: Part 7
Geman’s voice carried through a storm of technical details about the ansible network. “Are you okay?”
Dalat looked up at me. “You’re looking kind of white, kid? Did you just get an implant?”
“About a week and a half, maybe two weeks ago…” My voice trailed off as my implant gave me the exact number of seconds. I took a breath, concentrating on the process of breathing as I’d learned to do when meditating.
It was better. The roar of detail became background noise. Continue reading Venus Spy Catcher: Part 6
I wished we had Daniel there because given what I’d heard it sounded like someone was organizing people against us. Daniel could have sorted that out in seconds. Between Cassie and I, all we had going for us were our combined insight into people.
I might have been underestimating Cassie, but I wasn’t optimistic.
As Cassie waved at them (“Hey!”), I used the implant to ask her, “Did you overhear what he said before he turned around?” Continue reading Venus Spy Catcher: Part 5
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
I watched the beast walk up to one of the force fields, bat at the downed force field pole, turn, and follow the wall back the other direction.
It didn’t strike at the force field wall even though it did watch the workers behind it, throwing a few glances in our direction.
It had large teeth and a lot of them. How many pounds of force could it bite with?
I didn’t know off the top of my head but used the HUD to take measurements of its mouth and head and the underlying muscle structure.
The fact that it didn’t bother to strike at the force field argued that it might understand that it couldn’t get through. Continue reading Hideaway: Part 4
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
We walked deeper into the village, staying to the side to avoid the floating cargo platforms. Most of them carried boxes but the ones that didn’t carried what looked like pieces of the poles for the shield generators, blocks of the same white substance that the buildings were made of, and sometimes lower tech building materials—wood, rock, bricks, and even dirt.
“This place is busier than I’d have thought,” I said, watching a platform carrying bricks pass us. Continue reading Between: Part 10