“Do it.” The turret popped out of the bottom of Crawls-Through-Desert’s pot.
Asan and Sian ran toward the nearest force field pole and the nearest section of wall stopped glowing. We all ran inside and the blue glow appeared behind us.
The plant waved a branch toward the hill. “Run into town. Once we get out of sight we’ll decide where we want to come out. Don’t go into any buildings without my permission.” Continue reading Release the Hounds: Part 9
I couldn’t do anything about the death and destruction now and I reminded myself that we’d done this because we didn’t have the ability to meet them in a fair fight without losing a lot of civilians.
Looking past the force fields, I saw that not everyone had died. One hundred, maybe two hundred of the Ascendancy’s people had run out the other side of the field and were watching as the last of the creatures ran across the field and out towards the forest and fields on the other side. Continue reading Release the Hounds: Part 8
As the creatures gained speed, I realized that I could hear their feet hitting the ground from the air. It was the sound a thousand bass drums might have made if they’d been played by elephants with a poor sense of rhythm, a cacophony of thumping noises that overlapped each other.
I’d worried that Cassie’s gun or my sonic weapons might warn the Human Ascendancy’s forces of our attack, but it didn’t matter. The creatures’ running drowned out everything we could have attempted. Continue reading Release the Hounds: Part 7
Thirty minutes later found us outside in the warm sun, standing upwind of a field that was inland and slightly to the north of the settlement.
The creatures in the field reminded me of both elephants and rhinoceroses. They had grey, wrinkled skins, tusks like elephants, but with the long, wide snout of the rhinoceros and a small horn on the top of the snout. Their upright, triangular ears made me think of wild boar. Their wide legs made me think of tree trunks.
They had all of an elephant’s size, and maybe more. I wasn’t sure how tall elephants were, but the smallest of these creatures had to be taller than 30 feet at the shoulder. Continue reading Release the Hounds: Part 5
“Now,” Jadzen said, moving her eyes across the group, “we have at least three different problems left. First, while there may be more of us than them, they’re all trained military and we aren’t. Second, they still have the shuttles, fighters, and military equipment. We don’t have much military equipment. Third, they had members of the Ascendant Guard, the First Ascendant’s elite forces, on the Annihilation—two of whom we’ve been told about—Neves and Kamia. There may be more. In addition, they have a motivator—Agent 957. We have members of the Xiniti nation, but they can’t solve all of our problems. We will have to fight along with them.
“Our plan is to make their numbers a disadvantage, damage or destroy their ships, and hope that between the Xiniti and ourselves, we can handle what’s left.” Continue reading Release the Hounds: Part 4
We stepped into the hallway. It was little more than walls of an indeterminate gray material broken up by one door after another, all of them leading to rooms just like mine.
As we walked toward the stairway, I asked Marcus, “What about Sydney? No one ever said anything, but when I’ve seen either of you in the last year, you’ve mostly been together.” Continue reading Release the Hounds: Part 3
I held my breath for a moment, thinking about how it would work. “Here’s my idea. You know how near space extends nearly to the planet? No one takes advantage of it because anyone with any sense sets up near space mines around the planet. It’s cheap and easy to do for most planetary governments. But here’s the thing, it’s not cheap or easy for a small colony like this, so you never did it, right?”
Jadzen didn’t say anything at first, but after frowning, she said, “No. We couldn’t afford it. The mines around the Lagrange point were all we could fit in the budget.” Continue reading Reap: Part 5
So I said, “I didn’t know that you knew that we were the ones who killed him. We didn’t even know that you were his child until we got here.”
Katuk looked between Jaclyn and I. “The Xiniti view it as appropriate that those who freed someone from the shame of their parent’s actions be involved in his passage into adulthood. Do you have different customs?”
Jaclyn blinked. “Yes. Very different.” Continue reading Reap: Part 3
The implant’s information on the channel was that it was used to make announcements—a one way channel that ran recorded warnings except on the rare occasions that matters moved too quickly for recorded emergency information to keep up.
“I’m recording it,” I told everyone. Everyone back in the cavern needed to see it too.
Jaclyn nodded while Katuk peered into the distance, watching his own copy of the same scene. Continue reading Reap: Part 2
Jaclyn spoke through the implant, “Do you see anything?”
As the person with the better overall view, I flew north of the town, avoiding the burning field where the starport had been. Flying upward, but still below 200 feet, I followed the land as it rose, but I didn’t have long before I did see something.
The starport field lay closest to the ocean, south of the long rocky cliff with the tunnels. On either side of the town lay open fields and more fields lay further inland, up the hill that Kals and I had climbed while looking for Katuk. In the fields between Landing, the town we’d stayed in and the colony’s other two towns, I saw the Human Ascendancy’s ships. Continue reading Retreat: Part 10