“It’s complicated,” I said, and after a pause to put the story together in my head, I told her about Sandy and Emmy, Victor, the birthing chamber, the ansible, and the walk down the beach. I didn’t mention everything Kals had told me because if there were ever a time to go into that, it wasn’t now.
“So, basically,” I finished, “now everyone’s going to believe we’re an item or want to be.”
Jeremy looked up from grabbing two more pieces of pepperoni pizza. “I did my internship this summer at a physics lab near Chicago. I’m pretty sure nobody was having sex with anybody there and if they were, I don’t want to imagine it.” Continue reading Deeper In: Part 4
“I guess,” I said. “I think she’s on our side, but she kind of tricked me into doing what she wanted. I think I’d have been just as uncomfortable with having people think I was cheating on Haley if I’d known she was setting that up. She could have asked me.”
Vaughn glanced right and moved his car into the right lane, roaring past the three cars that had been ahead of us, hitting close to ninety miles per hour as he did it.
On a Saturday morning, the freeway would have been almost empty, but this was Friday around 7 pm in the middle of the city during one of the last weekends of summer.
There were cars—not as many as rush hour, but more than Saturday morning. Vaughn weaved back into the middle lane and I reminded myself that he’d only ever crashed cars when he was drinking and driving. Continue reading Deeper In: Part 3
Tiger sniffed his hand and leaned in to lick Jeremy’s face. Tiger had a large tongue, adding a layer of slobber to Jeremy’s right cheek and the side of his nose.
I’d have been worried that I’d just contaminated Jeremy with alien bacteria, but the Xiniti had already worked that out. We’d stopped by the Xiniti space station next to the Earth jump gate for debriefing and decontamination after we entered our solar system.
Bearing in mind that the Abominators terraformed the planets where they settled humans to use Earth species, the Xiniti had procedures for moving humans and animals from one to another without causing epidemics or dietary deficiencies. Continue reading For His Own Good: Part 9
“Okay,” I said. “I suppose I should ask what the name of the company I’ll be interning at is then.”
Lim grinned for a second. “No kidding. I like to think I do a better job briefing people than this, but here’s the basics. It’s called ‘Higher Ground’ which is both a reference to a song the founder liked and to the business’s mission—getting humanity into space no matter what that takes. It’s a startup that gets money from several sources, Hardwick Industries being the largest investor, but there are others. It’s also getting money from the Defense Department in addition to the alien technology they and other government agencies have collected.”
I rested my hand on my chin, thinking about that. “Why them? Why a startup? I’d half expect that they’d go to GE or some big firm.” Continue reading For His Own Good: Part 8
Even though I wasn’t sure that he was on our side, I decided to act as if I thought so. “How soon?”
He made a gurgling noise. “I can’t say—-”
Whatever he said after that turned into indecipherable noise, and then he hung up.
I stood there, smelling my own sweat and a faint burned smell that seemed familiar. Then I knew why. It reminded me of the smell my arm had given off when I’d been hit by dragon fire. Continue reading Revelations: Part 10
The alert also appeared on everyone’s phones, and most likely all of the city’s radio and television stations. After the beeping ended, the message said what they always said—stay in your house until we say it’s safe. Also, the following individuals were released from containment… It listed everyone in the gang we’d fought earlier that day—except for the woman who operated the Eagle suit.
That made sense. She was a normal human, and the city only had ten cells rated for superhuman containment. Why waste one?
I flipped through the pictures, noticing Haley doing the same. The last two pictures showed Alden and Philo, noting that they were the ones who’d broken the others out. Jillian didn’t make the list.
Maybe Alden hadn’t bitten her? Maybe she was resisting The Thing’s takeover process? Continue reading Splits: Part 10
Jeremy stood with his mouth open, but managed to start talking again. “Yeah. He’s in big trouble with the police. He’s one of the guys who’ve been robbing armored cars in town. Plus, last I heard, Alden was her ex-boyfriend. As in, she was giving information about him to the police.”
Sandra let her phone, and the hand she held it in, drop to her waist. “She didn’t tell me that. Jillian just said he got in trouble with the police. She didn’t say anything about robbing armored cars.”
She stopped talking and her eyes widened. “Aren’t those robbers all metas? Alden didn’t act like a meta. He never did anything weird or… What does he do?” Continue reading Splits: Part 9
“Not really,” I said. “Because he checks names off his kill list on a regular basis. He’s not going to kill you, but that’s only because he’s got faith in Daniel’s block. Um… But he still wants me to get Daniel to improve it.”
“Right,” Jeremy nodded along as I talked. “The bit where he kills people isn’t fun, but look, the online group I’m part of has been tracking him for years, and I’m right next to him. That’s amazing. It still doesn’t seem real.”
I stared at him without saying anything. “It’s just…” I stopped, trying to find the words. “He killed thirty people who worked for Syndicate L last year because they knew my name, and you walked in when he was talking about something that he’s more worried about getting out than that.”
Jeremy had been leaning back in his chair, but leaned forward as I talked. “I shouldn’t ask about that, should I?” Continue reading Splits: Part 8
“That’s my roommate, Jeremy. He’s already got the block, and he already knows who I am.” I hoped that would be enough to stop Lee from making any snap decisions.
As Jeremy came in, Lee had touched on the topic of who his people were. He’d probably killed people for knowing less, and to be fair, this was a potentially world ending secret if Jeremy figured it out. Worse, Jeremy had actually been part of an online discussion group about Lee. It wasn’t likely that he’d figure out much of anything from what he’d heard, but he had a better chance than 99% of the world’s population…
That was why I’d mentioned the block.
Looking me directly in the eye, Lee said, “Make sure it’s a good block.” Continue reading Splits: Part 7
I blinked, trying to think of what to ask next. That opened up too many questions.
Haley didn’t wait. “How low?”
Lee paused, making it either the first or the only time I could remember seeing him hesitate. “Let’s say that there are multiple factors involved.”
He leaned back in his chair, the red leather becoming more visible next to his shoulder length, black hair.
“Yeah? Like what?” I tried to sound interested, but not too interested.
Haley looked over at me. Lee chuckled. Continue reading Splits: Part 6