I stared at him. “Seriously? I’m supposed to help them do it? Isn’t there a point at which we intervene?”
Lim frowned. “There is. When we know before someone might die, we intervene, but even then we try to do it without blowing our cover if it’s possible. Right here, we don’t have that. We’ve got a body that might be be connected and we are following up on that. We don’t need you to do it.
“We’ve also got a problem that has destroyed humanity in alternate universe and that puts this whole operation on a lot of people’s watch lists for a lot of different reasons. The problem is that some of the people whose watch list it’s on are not in it for the right reasons.” Continue reading Claws & Eyes: Part 8
After Vaughn and I went back to the house, I headed immediately down to my lab because I wanted to talk with Isaac Lim. I’d told Vaughn about how I’d now become the “lead” and only programmer on Higher Ground’s birthing chamber remote control project (or whatever it was called).
He’d stared at me long enough that I worried that he wasn’t paying attention to the road. “Let me get this straight—you’re duplicating Cassie’s Abominator Citizen’s Mark with a psi helmet?”
Shaking my head and looking forward, hoping Vaughn would take the hint, I said, “Not exactly. I think her Citizen’s Mark gives her total control of the device. From what I understand, the psi helmet would give the user the default level of access the Abominators gave normal users. I suspect that would still be more than we’re comfortable with.” Continue reading Claws & Eyes: Part 7
Dr. Griffin laughed. “I’ve seen that look before. What were you thinking about?”
“I…” I considered lying, but decided to go with the truth because that might allow me to lie with credibility later. “I think I understand the basic system for how it works.”
“And what’s that?” She pulled a blank piece of paper out of a small printer in the corner. “Can you diagram it?”
“I can try.” I took the pen she passed me along with the paper and started, explaining as I went. Continue reading Claws & Eyes: Part 6
Vaughn and I took his car to Hardwick Industries downtown offices and the helipad after class. It felt a little showy to ride there in a Porsche, but it wasn’t my Porsche.
It had the additional advantage of not leaving my van where it could be inspected by Hardwick’s people. The van passed as a normal van, but if anyone started poking and prodding it, they’d discover that the material wasn’t quite metal. If someone who knew the model of van it was supposed to be measured it, they’d discover that the measurements weren’t quite right. Worse, they might figure out that most of what you could see underneath was a facade. Continue reading Claws & Eyes: Part 4
When I came back on Wednesday, Emmy wasn’t at the front desk. That gave me pause and I wasn’t alone in worrying. I’d kept Vaughn informed of everything I’d seen. So it wasn’t a surprise when he leaned over the counter to her desk, moving the computer mouse.
“Her name’s still the most recent log in.” He pushed himself off the counter. “I don’t know if the medical division’s got rules about dating other employees, but technically, she’d have been dating someone from another company. So she shouldn’t get fired for that. On the other hand, I bet there’s something in the Employee Handbook that would let them fire her for dating a married guy. I wonder where she is?”
“No idea.” We walked together until we came to Vaughn’s office. Continue reading Deeper In: Part 10
“It’s complicated,” I said, and after a pause to put the story together in my head, I told her about Sandy and Emmy, Victor, the birthing chamber, the ansible, and the walk down the beach. I didn’t mention everything Kals had told me because if there were ever a time to go into that, it wasn’t now.
“So, basically,” I finished, “now everyone’s going to believe we’re an item or want to be.”
Jeremy looked up from grabbing two more pieces of pepperoni pizza. “I did my internship this summer at a physics lab near Chicago. I’m pretty sure nobody was having sex with anybody there and if they were, I don’t want to imagine it.” Continue reading Deeper In: Part 4
“I guess,” I said. “I think she’s on our side, but she kind of tricked me into doing what she wanted. I think I’d have been just as uncomfortable with having people think I was cheating on Haley if I’d known she was setting that up. She could have asked me.”
Vaughn glanced right and moved his car into the right lane, roaring past the three cars that had been ahead of us, hitting close to ninety miles per hour as he did it.
On a Saturday morning, the freeway would have been almost empty, but this was Friday around 7 pm in the middle of the city during one of the last weekends of summer.
There were cars—not as many as rush hour, but more than Saturday morning. Vaughn weaved back into the middle lane and I reminded myself that he’d only ever crashed cars when he was drinking and driving. Continue reading Deeper In: Part 3
Stephanie stopped walking, letting a wave wash across her feet. “Dammit. Look, I didn’t tell you not to tell him, so that’s on me, but I wish you hadn’t. The guy’s been dropping unsubtle hints ever since I started working here.”
“Oh. I’m sorry.” I searched her face to try to figure out how angry she was at me and how much at the situation. She scowled more as she talked about Victor than when she was telling me she wished I hadn’t said anything.
“It’s not your fault.” Continue reading Deeper In: Part 2
By the end of the day, I’d been shown everything I’d need to know to start work. At any rate, I knew how to get at my files, what programs I’d need, and been told multiple variations on, “You can’t tell anyone about this.”
Around five I got a text from Vaughn saying, “Copter’s leaving late—6:30. Execs going to old hotel to get hammered.”
I texted back, “Are you going with them?”
“No choice. Family. Higher Ground’s going too. U?”
“Don’t know. I’ll ask.” Continue reading Deeper In: Part 1
“Don’t forget it,” Russ said. “No business can survive without good people. You and your father have both been good influences in his life.”
The sound of helicopter blades ended that conversation as everyone in the crowd turned to watch the copter land.
As it came down, Vaughn’s mom turned to me and tapped my shoulder. “Good to see you, Nick.”
I managed to get out, “Good to see you too,” but not much more. The noise made conversation impossible and I was fine with that. It’s not that I disliked her, but the last real conversation I’d had with her involved her informing me that she knew I was the Rocket and that she didn’t want Vaughn to be involved with the new version of the Heroes’ League in any way. Continue reading Dealing With It: Part 7