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Glory: Part 5

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

Glory: Part 4

I took the call, and Kayla’s voice came over the comm. “Rocket, Night Cat wanted me to tell you,” she said, and my stomach felt very tight, “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

Glory: Part 3

“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

Glory: Part 2

“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

Glory: Part 1

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

Stardock: Part 29

Lim answered the phone, and from his tone I could tell he sounded a little better than he had before.

“Rocket, who do you need? Right now, almost everyone’s free, so you’ve got your pick.”

“Everyone?” That seemed unlikely.

“You got stuck with the largest group. Most of the rest had to deal with four people at a time. I’m not saying people didn’t get hurt, but we haven’t had any deaths yet. Plus, we just had help show up–mercenaries.”

“Who? Protection Force?” Continue reading Stardock: Part 29

Stardock: Part 17

In my HUD, Sean’s square started blinking. He wanted a private chat. Oh, great.

I let him talk anyway.

His voice came over the connection as a shout, or if it wasn’t a shout, it had the tone of one. “Are you trying to make me look bad?”

I muted him. Then, thinking better of it, I cut our connection entirely. There was no way that conversation could go anywhere useful.

Lim’s voice, still calm and collected, came over the Stapledon channel. “Then that’s it. We blow Stardock. Everyone retreat through the portal that will open next to Flame Legion. Rocket, Aurora Bees, Patriot Jr., and Izzy—you’re last. Also, Izzy, you need to pick a codename.”

I glanced over to where she hovered next to the building. She said, “I know.”

Continue reading Stardock: Part 17

Stardock: Part 15

I’d noticed clouds forming since the fight started, and as I was about to press Theo on exactly how bad he felt, lightning erupted in front of the building.

Travis had told the glass cannons (mobile artillery, if you wanted to be formal) to help us, and now they were. I’d have taken help earlier, but Daniel was in the group, and he’d probably been responsible for the timing. That meant that this was probably the best possible moment, whatever I might think.

Thanks to my observation bots, I had three different perspectives available. All of them showed essentially the same scene.

As our group dived behind the old factory to get out of the machine race soldiers’ line of fire, the remaining robots split into two groups, some of them heading for the building that we’d started at, and the rest spreading out as they aimed for our building. No matter what direction we turned toward we’d be in some robot’s sights.

At least that’s the way it would have gone. Continue reading Stardock: Part 15

Stardock: Part 13

I wanted to keep on listening to Haley, but became distracted by the scene in front of me. A long, basically rectangular object appeared above Stardock. I say “basically” rectangular because it was thinner at the front than the back. On the whole, it reminded me of a troop transport vehicle, or possibly of those D-day landing craft?

It didn’t seem to have much for weapons, just one turret near the back.

Of course, it didn’t need much when you considered the company it kept. Machine race warriors appeared next to it. I say “machine race warriors” because that’s still faster than referring to them as members of the “Shiny Searchers for Extra Value Meals Clan” or whatever it was.

Continue reading Stardock: Part 13

Picking Up Pieces: Part 5

Jaclyn paused, and then said, “What happens next?”

Flick said, “Well, then we have to decide whether we take them in as soon as we can, or whether we watch them, and hope they’ll lead us to other people the Nine hired.”

The tone of her voice turned sarcastic as she said, “But that’s not the best part. The best part is the committee monitoring how we do it, and second guessing whether watching him without taking him in is really worth it. Plus with this we’ll get to discuss at any moment whether what we do will cause an international incident.

“Look forward to it kids, this is what you’re training for.”

Continue reading Picking Up Pieces: Part 5