Then I let go of his other leg and stood up, leaving him stuck to the ground.
I checked my HUD for threats, seeing more Ascendancy soldiers dropping in from above. One dropped off to my right, clearly expecting that I wouldn’t be ready to fight yet. I didn’t hesitate. As he turned to rake me with his claws, I punched him in the chest—hard. The armor gave and he flew backward, tumbling a few times and not getting up off the street.
I turned my attention back to our group, finding that the townspeople had retreated into Tikki’s globe—which had expanded a good ten feet in diameter. Continue reading Release The Hounds: Part 11
I sent everyone a picture of the troops jumping from one eggshell to another along with the thought, “Are we upwind or downwind of them?”
It wasn’t as if I could feel that inside the suit.
“No wind,” Cassie sent back, pointing her gun upward and shouting, “Incoming!”
My bots showed the Ascendancy troops two rows off from us, but that didn’t matter. They knew where we were and they were leaping between the houses in the nearest row to get at us. Continue reading Release the Hounds: Part 10
“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
The shouting didn’t do anything. A few of the giant elephant/rhinoceros things looked over at us without much interest. The ones nearest the dog made grunting noises and began to sniff the wind, a good idea except that we were upwind. Then a few began to move forward, away from the barking, swinging their heads around to look for the noise.
When they saw the dog, one of them made a deep noise somewhere between a growl and a roar. Some of the smaller ones bolted away, but the large one turned toward us.
We weren’t intimidating enough, and why would we be? Judging from the Rocket suit’s readouts, the nearby creatures ranged from two to thirty tons. Continue reading Release the Hounds: Part 6
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
“What do we need to do to contact them?” Jaclyn pushed her way to the front, looking between Katuk and the plant. “I’m assuming that when you said ‘summon’ you meant calling them though the ansible. You’d didn’t mean some sort of magic ritual.” She paused. “Did you?”
Katuk blinked, an odd visual given his black eyes and gray skin. “When our race was younger, I believe that some did attempt to summon them with ritual magic. I don’t know if anyone does any longer. My intention was to access the ansible and send a message to an address that we’ve been given.” Continue reading Retreat: Part 8
“I’ll have to show you,” Kals said, but she sent a message through her bracelet to my implant. “I need the footage of Maru talking to Geman and Dalat.”
I sent it to her.
You know how you sometimes know something is wrong, but don’t know why you know? Some people believe it’s magic, and others something psychic. I believe that for most people, most of the time, it’s the brain recognizing a pattern that it can’t put a name to. Continue reading Retreat: Part 4
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
I sent them to his house, Jadzen Akri’s and all over the council building while I was at it. I shared the process with everybody via implant.
As I maneuvered the bots through Jadzen’s house, bugging the common spaces as well as her office, I asked Kals, “Are you okay with it? We are bugging your house.”
Kals sat at the table, eyes glazed over like everyone else’s. “It’s my mom’s house and you have to. Maru’s over there all the time. Even if I didn’t want my mom’s privacy invaded, there are so many meetings there. It’s practically the unofficial council building.” Continue reading Complaints: Part 8