Unshielded engines were a spaceship’s weak point in combat. That and anyplace they predictably thinned the shields—like weapon hardpoints. Anyone who’d trained on spacecraft knew it. There were a host of techniques to minimizing your chances of dying—ranging from special shields to keeping changes of direction brief. It wasn’t as if you slowed down very quickly in space.
Most of the defenses were oriented toward spaceships though because any living being that attempted to sneak past working engines would quickly become well done.
I had every reason to hope that didn’t apply to Izzy. Continue reading Stardock: Part 30
A little more loudly than necessary, Jack said, “Jethro Tull is a group, not a person.”
Haley scowled. “Sorry. Just curious.”
Then she shut off the comm, and looked back at Flick. “I’m not going be able to talk to him much longer.”
“Sorry, hon, but you might like him better once he changes.”
To judge from Haley’s expression, she doubted that. “Once he changes into what?” Continue reading Picking Up Pieces: Part 4
Text appeared below the screen that showed our position and that of the other planes.
[You’re making yourself completely vulnerable. I’m not suggesting you attack, but landing and turning off your shields represents an unacceptable risk.]
I shut off the comm, and quietly asked, “What would you suggest?”
[If you have to appear vulnerable, lower the jet, but don’t land, and give me permission to turn on the shields whenever I think it’s necessary.]
“You need my permission?”
[Yes. My makers wanted artificial intelligences limited to minimize their risk.]
Continue reading Picking Up Pieces: Part 3
The good point about owning a “jet” created from the remains of alien spacecraft is that it does surprisingly well even in the presence of enormous explosions.
The engines, meant for sending the ship into orbit, shot us far out of the range of the blast. Its shields absorbed what little of the blast could reach us.
The ship’s inertial dampers did well enough that I felt a little pull, but kept standing as the ship shot forward, creating huge sonic booms.
Given that we were in northern Manitoba near Nunavut, the noise probably wasn’t bothering many people. We might have upset more polar bears. Continue reading Picking Up Pieces: Part 1
“Oh,” I said, looking over the instrument panel in preparation for take off, “by the way, we’re thinking that they’ve got psi-blocking devices all over.”
Alex said, “Well, that screws us over big time.”
“Yeah, we’re hoping to take them out, but if we’re lucky we won’t need to. Our first group’s got a good chance of getting Captain Commando out by themselves.”
“Good, because without teleporting, we’re not going to be much help. No one here can fly.”
So if we got in trouble, and couldn’t take out the psi-blockers, anyone coming to help us would have to do it the hard way. Continue reading Here We Come: Part 6
I thought about it a little more. No, my basic plan was still possible. We could have a rescue group and a distraction group. We just might have to join up afterward instead of having the distraction group get away quietly.
No, better yet, I thought—only risk the people who can take a lot of damage and whose powers allow them to get in and get out quickly.
“OK,” I said, “here’s the plan now that I’ve got an idea of what’s going on.”
Continue reading Here We Come: Part 5
Bits of light sparkled around the end of the barrel. I waited to see if it did it again. It didn’t.
Good. Then I didn’t have to put it back in the locker.
I put on a little speed, and joined everyone else by the jet. Haley had touched the door, and it opened, lowering to the ground, and altering to become a short stairway.
Sean looked down at the gun and said, “What’s that? You looked like you were talking to it.”
Not even waiting for me to answer, he reached out to take it.
Continue reading Ready or Not: Part 6
I didn’t even think about what I’d be hitting. I fired, holding the button down even though I knew it used more power.
I don’t think I panicked, but I can’t say I was thinking clearly.
Being rushed by someone who you know can kill you does that. Continue reading Targets: Part 24
Haley parked the car by the side of the road. As we got out, I couldn’t help but notice who wasn’t there–Jaclyn, Cassie and Julie. And that sucked because Cassie could have chopped them to pieces, Julie could have told them to stop, and had a pretty good chance that they’d listen, and Jaclyn…
Jaclyn could have done something. Physically, she was the only one of us who was in Prime’s army’s league. Plus she was a whole lot faster than any of them.
I couldn’t say that we were doomed, but part of me would have felt better knowing they were with us.
Continue reading Targets: Part 22
He lay on the road. Then he pulled himself up, and limped to the side.
He sat down in the front lawn of an old white house that hadn’t been painted in at least twenty years. Most of its paint had flaked off the wood.
With luck, no one lived there. Continue reading Targets: Part 20