“Mostly good,” I said. “The Xiniti are here and the first of the Cosmic Ghosts are here. In fact, technically we’re done. The leader of the unit that came to Jadzen Akri’s shelter told me that we’d done what we were supposed to and that we could go. He didn’t want to risk us in this fight—the Ascendancy has fresh troops and ships.”
Katuk froze. “I’ve missed a great deal. The unit leader said we should withdraw? It makes sense. The Xiniti nation prefers not to waste lives. As inexperienced as we currently are, we might prove to be a drag on resources due to our lack of experience in war.” Continue reading Planet in the Middle: Part 16
Rachel looked toward Cassie. “You’ve got a plan? What is it?”
“No,” Cassie shook her head. “We don’t have a plan, but I’m assuming that whatever plan we have will turn out to be more complicated than we expect.”
Shrugging, Rachel said, “That’s how plans go. I don’t want to slow you down. Let’s go find whoever it is you’re going to find. And while we’re at it, I should meet the new people. Continue reading Planet in the Middle: Part 15
Kals looked Rachel up and down. “Your sister?” Then she said, “It’s not that I’m not pleased to meet you, but how did you get here? Have you been staying on the ship?”
Rachel glanced to the right and left, barely moving her head. I couldn’t give her a full costume like I had everyone else, but I had been able to improve hers. That glance had been enough to use her HUD to check around nearby.
“This isn’t the sort of thing you should tell people about, but I have to tell you and this is as good as anywhere. You called for help from the Cosmic Ghosts and it turns out that Nick and I are indirectly descended from the Ghosts through Grandma Vander Sloot.” Continue reading Planet in the Middle: Part 14
I raised my eyebrow. “Because you think we’re going to fix this?”
She shrugged. “Maybe? The Xiniti and the Alliance have been fighting the Ascendancy for ages. You may not be able to fight them alone, but at least you’ll be trying something different. I’m sure none of them tried making a deal with Four Hands and I’m not sure he’d have tried with anyone but you.”
“That’s a weird thought. I think you’re right because he kind of said that, but we aren’t exactly best buddies. I feel like he’s loyal to his people and no one else—maybe even to the point that he trusted me because I might be distantly descended from his people.” Continue reading Planet in the Middle: Part 13
Castle Rock Compound, Colorado, Earth
She’d been dreaming of flying through space, the stars blurring and stretching as she flew. She’d dreamt of this before but this time it felt real. The cold of space didn’t hurt her while intangible, but she knew it was out there waiting for her or anyone else who made the mistake of phasing into reality.
That was one of the other differences from past dreams. In the past, she’d suspected that others were there too and even thought she’d heard voices but this time she knew it for sure. The voices were as clear as anyone’s she’d ever spoken to. Continue reading Warriors: Part 2
Jump Space, Waroo Huntship, Great Bounty
Rrr’graka knew that he wasn’t flying through space in body like the all-powerful gods, but he enjoyed the illusion. He could feel the cold of jump space on his snout and smell the trail almost as he might in real space. Implants—some of his people saw them as unnecessary, others as unworthy of warriors, but he saw them as what they were—tools.
They made operating a huntship easier, practically an extension of his own body, as much a part of him as his own snout and eight furred limbs. No, they were damned useful for a huntship traveling far from Waroo Free Worlds. They’d been low on cash at K’Tepolu, their ship needed repairs, and they had no clan to take them in. The only other waroo on the station had been merchants, none of them with any need for mercenaries. Continue reading Reap: Part 1
Castle Rock Compound, Colorado, Earth
A figure stood alone in the dark on the edge of a small cliff. Leaning on the railing, she looked out on the houses, streets, and lawns. Except for the stone walls and mountains that surrounded the town on all sides, it could have been any suburb in the United States.
Haley brushed a lock of brown hair out of her eyes, wondering if she should go with a short haircut next time. It would be easier in a fight. Except then Night Cat would have to wear a wig since it wouldn’t be smart for both of her identities to get the same haircut at the same time.
Her eyes drifted upward, above the walls to the night sky and stars beyond. Continue reading Birthright: Part 1
I flew past the hotel, a thirty-three-floor needle of mirrored glass that stood near a parking structure to its left and a rust colored 19th century building to its right—though a path that led to an old bridge stood between them.
I might be ready to disappear to an alternate world, but maybe I could do something.
The dinos swarmed down the wide sidewalk overlooking the river, but without the enthusiasm, I’d seen before. A few of them pointed at me and shrunk closer to the building. Continue reading A Day in The Life: Part 20
The Rocket cocked his head. “Are there a lot of small details that you have to see?”
C laughed. “Or put another way, will my blindness kill you all? Don’t worry. I’m going to show Control, you and Two, how to operate it right now. It’s not hard. It was made to be used by people who don’t understand how it works.”
He gestured almost in the “starplate’s” direction. “Come on. Railgun, take Control’s station. The rest of you can do whatever you want, but it wouldn’t hurt if a few of you checked the spybots’ feeds. You never know what might appear.” Continue reading A Day in The Life: Part 14
A few people laughed, but Amy stopped moving, expression blank, finally managing to say, “That’s the plan.”
Samita stood up and walked up to the front. Dressed in a green blouse and khaki pants, it was one of the few times I’d seen her out of costume. With black hair and brown skin, she looked like she might be from southeast Asia, and her parents were. She’d been born in the US.
She stood in front of the group as Amy moved to the side and stood next to the wall. Samita’s eyes darted from one of us to another. In combination with the straightness of her stance, she gave the impression of a highly motivated student hoping for an “A.” Continue reading Everybody’s Got One: Part 6