Reminding myself that the Stapledon Program’s secrecy wasn’t really my problem, I decided to concentrate on what was my problem—Blue Sky Lab’s current projects.
Isaac Lim had asked me to find out what they were, and intentionally or not, Dr. Griffin hadn’t answered my question about that. I hadn’t asked as directly as I might. I could change that.
As I was about to ask, Jenny’s voice sounded inside my helmet. “Brooke’s sending the prisoners to their cells. Stand back.”
I turned my head toward where Izzy, Jaclyn, and Cassie stood over the prisoners. Jenny stood a short distance away, acting as Brooke’s eyes no doubt. I didn’t know what they planned to do about the prisoners’ powered armor, but that wasn’t my problem.
All the same, working armor would make it way too easy to escape, but no armor meant that communicable diseases could be passed along.
Continue reading Stardock: Part 26
Fortunately for Dr. Griffin, most of the spray went to the soldier’s side, splattering everyone to his right.
Predictably, all the soldiers pointed their weapons at us, and began to fire back. Laser and plasma blasts shattered branches, started small fires, and with a thunderous crack destroyed the trunk of a tree.
It fell over.
Continue reading Stardock: Part 22
I didn’t need the observation bots to hear a familiar voice broadcast across the building’s clearing and into the woods.
“Humans, evacuate the building and put down your arms. Listen to us, and we may leave you and your young ones alive. It’s more than you’ve any right to expect.”
The warm, tenor voice sounded human, but too perfect. Even if I hadn’t noticed, the Rocket suit pegged the voice as artificial.
In fact, I’d recognized it as a very specific artificial voice–the leader (or at least spokesman) of the Hrrnna.
Continue reading Stardock: Part 21
Given that someone in that building was making competent use of technology created by aliens more evil than the ones trying to provoke genocide on us, it was hard to imagine any kind of good news.
“What?” I asked.
“The office building is owned by Blue Sky Labs, a small company owned by Dr. Valerie Griffin, an electrical engineer by training, but a specialist in alien artifacts for the last five years.”
Lim didn’t take a breath, continuing with, “But that’s not the bad part. She’s got grants and investments from all over, ranging from businesses to the government. That’s not a surprise considering what she’s doing, but here’s the bad part. The last time I saw any lab studying alien artifacts that was this well funded, it turned out they were being funded by the Nine. They didn’t even know it.”
Seeing the alien ships hammering the building’s shield, I wondered if that meant that the Nine had their own version.
If so, I hoped it wasn’t portable.
Continue reading Stardock: Part 20
It made me wonder who exactly was in that building. Finding Abominator tech wasn’t that hard if you knew where to look. There were a few well known archaeological sites. Well known to some people anyway–Grandpa being one of them. He’d been brought in to look at Abominator artifacts.
Most Abominator tech found that way didn’t actually work though. To get working Abominator tech, you either had to get lucky like Cassie or whoever had originally found her gun, or get access to one of the Abominator caches found in various spots in the solar system. Continue reading Stardock: Part 19
I didn’t pay much attention to the explosion beyond noting that it happened. We were gaining on the ships ahead of us.
I couldn’t say that for sure personally. All my HUD showed was the city at night plus blurry areas in the sky that looked very similar to the blurred areas in the sky that I’d normally see behind a jet or a truck.
In short, it was probably the two cloaked ships we’d been chasing. Or, it was some kind of cloaked drone that generated a disproportionate amount of sound in an effort to to mislead us.
That wasn’t impossible.
Continue reading Stardock: Part 18
In my HUD, Sean’s square started blinking. He wanted a private chat. Oh, great.
I let him talk anyway.
His voice came over the connection as a shout, or if it wasn’t a shout, it had the tone of one. “Are you trying to make me look bad?”
I muted him. Then, thinking better of it, I cut our connection entirely. There was no way that conversation could go anywhere useful.
Lim’s voice, still calm and collected, came over the Stapledon channel. “Then that’s it. We blow Stardock. Everyone retreat through the portal that will open next to Flame Legion. Rocket, Aurora Bees, Patriot Jr., and Izzy—you’re last. Also, Izzy, you need to pick a codename.”
I glanced over to where she hovered next to the building. She said, “I know.”
Continue reading Stardock: Part 17
Lim continued, “We’ll be using the strategies and tactics we practiced yesterday, so you shouldn’t have had time to forget them yet. There will be one additional wrinkle. We’re already evacuating Stardock just like we are the rest of the city. That means that if we do decide to blow Stardock, we won’t be looking for you to evacuate the people below. We’ll need you to watch out for each other. Don’t leave anyone in your unit behind.”
He paused, looked us all over, and then, when we thought he’d finished, he said, “There’s one more thing. Stardock isn’t the only alien technology in New York City. We fought the Abominators in the 1970’s, and we collected everything we could find. I’m not going to tell you where it is, but none of you should be surprised to discover that we’re studying it, or that we’re doing our best to reverse engineer it. When you fight, you need to use tools that can do the job. Our own tools won’t, so we’re getting better tools.That’s why we may redirect a few of you if we have to blow Stardock. Don’t hesitate if we call you in. Trust me, it will be important.
Continue reading Stardock: Part 11
Sean’s faced tightened up, and he said, “I still didn’t do it, and besides, he didn’t hurt you or anything. It was just a stupid prank.”
“It doesn’t matter,” I said. “Based on what happened last fall, anyone who looks at this is going to assume you told Jody to do it, and you’ll probably get kicked out. I know you didn’t. That’s why I’m not going to say anything unless it happens again. If it does, I’ll report it, and I’ll tell them about this one too.”
Sean gritted his teeth, and said, “Then let Jody go, okay? I’m done with this. Jody, you leave him alone.”
Jody held his hands in the air. “Okay, you got it.”
The Jenny nearest me said, “I’ll let him free,” in the same tone of voice that she might have used to say, “It’s your funeral.” Continue reading Stardock: Part 5
Sean wasn’t all wrong. When it came down to it, he really could be useful fighting anybody using advanced technology. One big electromagnetic pulse could take out computers—assuming they weren’t protected. The robots we fought were pretty resistant to EMP’s, as I remembered it. They weren’t entirely resistant though, and it might be that he could put more energy into a pulse than a roachbot had available.
For that matter, if the ships were made even partially of metal, he could throw them around, or possibly make them structurally unsound.
The only reason I wouldn’t put him on the front lines is because they could take him out practically instantly.
Continue reading Stardock: Part 4