Relative Uncertainty: Part 9

Daniel lowered his head, nodding, “I get it, but I felt like it wasn’t fair to hide that I knew you would be in more danger when I knew that it would benefit me.”

Uncle Steve let out a breath, “I get it. I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to let me decide for myself. I don’t think I have much of a choice though. I can’t survive at the expense of my sister, any of your parents who were my childhood friends, or you kids.”

I wanted to say the same in return, but in my case telling him to take the safest route might theoretically kill everyone else I cared about. Continue reading Relative Uncertainty: Part 9

Relative Uncertainty: Part 8

“Huh,” I considered that. “It seems as if whoever’s sending people after Uncle Steve might be using it to terrorize us? Because there’s no need to bother all the rest of you if they want Uncle Steve. They only need to go after my mom and dad—though I suppose going after everyone else’s might be insurance.”

Daniel nodded, “That’s what I was thinking, but there’s a wrinkle to it. I think they knew enough to target our families, but I don’t think they know why.”

“Magnus,” Tara’s face became expressionless. “He knows who you are. He’s made no effort to share it, but he has a reason to keep you distracted—the tablets Cassie translated.” Continue reading Relative Uncertainty: Part 8

Relative Uncertainty: Part 7

“That’s what we’ve been worrying about for the last few weeks. They really could be. They’ve had years to get into place. We don’t know where. We can’t trust our government contacts too far and even outside, any organization could have a silent observer from the Nine or the Dominators.”

I stopped, unsure of how far to go. For all I knew, Sean might unwillingly be one of the Nine’s brainwashed pawns. Continue reading Relative Uncertainty: Part 7

Relative Uncertainty: Part 6

I took the call even though my history with Sean wasn’t great. Aside from being a bully to me until it was clear to him that he’d be kicked out of the Stapledon program unless he stopped, he was Haley’s ex-boyfriend, the kind that she’d had to use her poison claw on to stop him from pushing to do more physically than she wanted to.

He’d apologized to me about that, but I wasn’t sure he’d ever apologized to her. Continue reading Relative Uncertainty: Part 6

Relative Uncertainty: Part 5

Vaughn frowned, “What about the other engineers? Should we warn them? They warned Steve. I know they’re not good people, but should we let all the other ones die? Maybe we have to go after the Nine’s people first?”

I felt my jaw drop, “Yeah. I was just thinking about keeping Uncle Steve safe. We ought to do something.”

Uncle Steve shook his head, “That’s going to be hard if not impossible. I don’t go by Steve Vander Sloot on my government jobs. I use different names every time and so do the rest of them—the ones that work for supervillains with any regularity.”

I thought about that, “How do you get jobs if no one knows each other’s name?” Continue reading Relative Uncertainty: Part 5

Relative Uncertainty: Part 4

Remembering back to when we’d been on Renewal Island and bugging Armory’s lab, I’d seen one of the True alongside a clone of Cassie’s father visiting to check on mechs Armory was building for the Nine.

“I do,” I told him, watching his expression. “Tara is the daughter of people who defected from the True.”

His eyebrows furrowed, “The True?” Continue reading Relative Uncertainty: Part 4

Relative Uncertainty: Part 3

Uncle Steve nodded, “They’re the biggest that I know of. I’m asking you for help because my father was the Rocket and I’ve suspected that you’re the current Rocket ever since the suit’s first reappearance.”

“Huh,” I said, “that’s quite a guess if it’s true.”

Uncle Steve smiled while Vaughn managed a surprisingly credible poker face. Continue reading Relative Uncertainty: Part 3

Relative Uncertainty: Part 2

I considered asking him if visiting my house would help him. In my “brilliant kid who’s starting his own engineering firm” identity, it made sense. Why would he come to visit me in the first place? I couldn’t help him.

That would have led to questions that I didn’t want to answer over the phone, especially if he’d known that my grandpa, his father, was the Rocket.

“Sure,” I said, “most of us are home tonight. So at least you won’t be alone.” Continue reading Relative Uncertainty: Part 2

Relative Uncertainty: Part 1

I put my dishes into the dishwasher, letting the door shut with a click. Despite the 80s look, which included big silvery plastic buttons surrounded by fake wood grain, it still worked. It worked better than my parents’ dishwasher in fact. Theirs tended to leave bits of food if you didn’t rinse the dishes before putting them inside.

It didn’t seem likely that 80s dishwashers were that much better (or longer lasting) than present-day appliances. I’d never taken it apart, but I wouldn’t have put it past my grandfather to stick alien tech or his own tech inside. It beat having to fix or replace the dishwasher. Continue reading Relative Uncertainty: Part 1

From Far Away: Part 11

“I’ve known Magnus for a long time. He trusts me to handle the details he doesn’t have time for,” Colette said, her voice catching as she talked.

I couldn’t help but suspect that even though she answered Kals’ questions, she was screaming inside.

Kals sighed, “What kind of things do you do? I need to know more details.” Continue reading From Far Away: Part 11

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