That was interesting, and not necessarily good. It wasn’t necessarily bad. It didn’t automatically mean Sean was planning to take out his fear and anxiety about his sister on me.
It didn’t mean he wasn’t either.
Vaughn saw him as Sean got closer. “Hey, he’s coming back–”
And then Sean was there, landing on the sidewalk with exactly the force required to stop, and not a bit more or less. I’d come to envy that. Sure, I’d worked out a landing command that did the same thing, but it wasn’t flexible. I needed to do manual landings a lot, and when I did, it was all too easy to drop a foot, or have to run a few steps before I could fully stop.
Despite the control he’d shown when landing, Sean slumped when he hit the ground.
Continue reading Glory: Part 5
I took the call, and Kayla’s voice came over the comm. “Rocket, Night Cat wanted me to tell you–” my stomach tightened, “–that we won. We survived. She’ll call you herself in a little while. We saw you popping in on our channel and thought you might want to know.”
I let out a breath that I hadn’t realized I’d been holding. “Everyone’s okay, then?”
Kayla’s breath caught. “No. It was terrifying. Sydney’s in this clinic Night Cat knows about, and she’s hurt. She’s not the only one, but she got it the worst. They’re talking about moving her to the hospital.”
I thought about Haley. Having her friend get hurt while she was leading the team would be awful. I knew I shouldn’t assume that she’d been leading, but it had sounded like she was in charge.
Then I realized something else. I’d have to tell Sean what had happened to Sydney. I knew now, and this wasn’t the kind of thing you hid. Continue reading Glory: Part 4
“Redirecting?” I turned toward her and raised an eyebrow—which was completely hidden by my helmet.
“Pushing on the escape pod’s controls at exactly the right moment to keep him from going where he wanted to, and getting a message out to Lim. Lim called in one of the New York teams that didn’t get sent into space, and what do you know? One more captive alien.”
Rachel grinned below her white mask.
“Wow,” I said. “None of the aliens are supposed to be contacting us in the first place. The moment this gets out, the Hrrnna are in major trouble.”
Rachel shook her head. “Doubt it. My bet is they play the ‘we don’t know anything about that’ card, and pretend the Hrrnna here were acting on their own.”
Travis nodded. “That’s how it works.”
Continue reading Glory: Part 3
“Blue strained herself,” Jaclyn said, using the codename we’d used for her last time we’d gotten desperate for a codename.
Her current costume was actually a costume, and it did have some blue and yellow on it, but more black. It reminded me of Native American designs—which fit. She was at least partially Mexican, and a lot of them descended from native tribes.
“Whoa,” Vaughn said. “Her powers, you mean? She doesn’t look hurt.”
He landed near us. I felt the pull of the wind that kept him in the air stop.
Sean landed near him, and the Rocket suit didn’t miss a beat—no static, errors or anything. Either he was getting better at controlling himself, or the suit’s shielding worked like it was supposed to.
Continue reading Glory: Part 2
I felt Travis grab my arm as I stepped toward the door, and said, “Hang on!”
Jaclyn and Travis jumped with me as I gave the rockets fuel, and that was all for the best. The Rocket suit wasn’t meant to carry people. Sure, you could carry people. You could carry several people, but let’s put it this way—if a car were falling off a bridge, and I was the only chance for the people inside to survive… well… those people were likely to have a very short life.
This was bad for a whole lot of reasons, but mostly because it wasn’t at it’s best maneuvering while carrying three people, two from my right arm, one with my left. The right rockets had to compensate by putting out more force on that side just to keep us from listing to one side or the other.
This made all turns a little sluggish. If you hypothetically happened to be flying above the Hudson River while pieces of a spaceship fell from above, this was more than a little inconvenient.
The HUD said, [COLLISION ALERT].
Continue reading Glory: Part 1
My helmet adjusted to the lack of light at about the same time the ship dropped a few feet. A warning beeped, and I dropped a few feet, preparing for a landing. The Hrrnna must have had effective night vision because many of the remaining ones turned to aim their weapons at me.
I opened up everything I had at them, putting the few remaining killbots into efficiency mode—which meant that instead of exploding upon entering a body, they’d make holes in opponents initially and only explode if the opponent wouldn’t go down, or if they were nearly out of fuel.
I’d created a really elegant algorithm to calculate the best use of a group of bots on multiple targets. I felt proud if its efficiency, but I’d felt a little sick when I thought about what it actually did. Continue reading Stardock: Part 37
All of us looked at each other. I don’t know what the others were thinking, but in that moment I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t know how much force Vaughn and Sean could create between the two of them, but I doubted they could stop the ship from hitting the ground—not if it were under power at any rate.
If we knocked the power out, it was still an open question.
Not to mention that I remembered how they handled a ship during the training exercise. It wasn’t the same situation, but it was still a disaster with a big ship.
For a second, it seemed like the best option might be to see if the Hrrnna would give us a second chance at letting them go. Continue reading Stardock: Part 36
“Push the button, Control,” Haley talked at a normal volume, but the intensity in her voice made it seem louder.
Kayla’s voice came through. She started to say, “I…” hesitated, and said, “You’re all right there.”
“We’ll be fine,” Haley said, sounding just as intense as before. “Now!”
Man-machine’s voice came over the comm at almost the same time, “Now, dammit!”
Continue reading Stardock: Part 35
Izzy closed her eyes, opened them, and pointed toward the far end of the engine room. “Is it the middle, more on the left side than the right?”
Rachel turned, not saying anything. When she turned back to us, she said, “That’s it.”
Izzy’s mouth tightened. “They’re not coming for us. They’re gathering there. If we want to stop the ship, we’ll have to kill them.”
She stared ahead, “I hate this.”
Continue reading Stardock: Part 34
Jaclyn’s eyes flicked toward the fusion generator and then back to me. “You’re not going to ask me to smash it are you? Because that sounds like a bad idea.”
I shook my head. “No. I wasn’t thinking of doing that. We’d probably all die.”
Jaclyn eyed me. “You think? So how were you planning to trash their plant?”
“Well, there are emergency procedures in case you need to shut it off. This generator looks a lot like the jet’s. It should be easy.”
Jaclyn smiled. “Kind of like how Rook’s headquarters wasn’t supposed to contain nerve gas.” Continue reading Stardock: Part 33