Talk about loaded questions, and not one I could lie about either. Haley could tell when I was lying by smelling my reactions and hearing my heart speed up.
Izzy, I knew, had a sense of hearing that could substitute for sight, and not just sight—X-Ray vision. I couldn’t lie. I also couldn’t tell the truth. This was Daniel’s relationship. He should talk about it with her.
As I thought about it, my heart sped up. Haley gave me a sidelong glance, and frowned.
I said, “He’s talked about you. I can’t say much about it since he told me in confidence, but yes.”
That was pretty much the ideal response. She couldn’t demand I tell her what he’d said. Well, not politely anyhow.
Continue reading Chancy Connections: Part 16
Haley swung forward, and at first it looked as if she might hit the ground, but she retracted the line, giving her more space. Then more quickly than I could see, she set the line to detach, retracted the line entirely, holstered the gun, and hit the ground in a series of flips.
At any rate, she had to have done that. I missed it because once the line detached, I flipped myself over, using the rocket pack to slow down, and finally hover in place.
I saw Haley’s last couple flips, and then she came to a stop standing, facing the trees.
Clearly the years she’d spent in gymnastics hadn’t gone to waste.
Still feeling a little disoriented from my own aerial acrobatics, I glanced at the HUD. The feeds from the roachbots showed that the remaining two machines had driven through the clouds of my bots, destroying a few.
The moment they cleared the trees, they were firing. Continue reading Chancy Connections: Part 15
They hit me several times even as I gave the rocket pack more fuel, and twisted, shooting upward and unpredictably (I hoped) to the left.
Meanwhile, I gave each of them a full blast of the sonics, hoping that the way I’d tweaked my grandfather’s algorithm would find a resonant frequency that would break alien tech.
Nothing started smoking, and that was bad because Haley needed help.
She hadn’t stayed inside the van. She’d ducked around the corner, using the van for cover—which wasn’t a bad idea. It was better than staying inside until the alien machine burned through, but it didn’t stop the machine from hammering the van and everywhere around it with lasers.
I had no idea how she survived, but she rolled out from under the van on the near side—away from the road.
Continue reading Chancy Connections: Part 14
“Okay,” I said, “but, they can practically disintegrate you with a shot, and I’m thinking they’re machines, so their reaction times are going to be faster than we’d expect. Plus sneaking past them will be harder. I mean, it depends on their design, but—“
Haley sighed, sounding more irritated than anything else. “I know. I’ll be fine.”
I wasn’t going to change her mind. “So,” I said, “I guess I’ll fly out and get their attention, and you’ve got the van and everything in it to work with after that?”
She gave a brief smile. “Don’t worry about it. Go. I’ll help if you get in trouble.”
I’d noticed before that she seemed more confident after she’d fully transformed.
“Alright.” I put my hand on the door, and we looked at each other.
“Good luck,” I said.
Continue reading Chancy Connections: Part 13
They’d be here in seconds, and at the speeds they were moving, we’d have no chance of outrunning them. My modifications to the van would help with off-roading, but not with speed. And yes, I’d made it so the van could fly a little, but the conversion took time, and we couldn’t fly that fast or that long, and at the speeds our pursuers were moving, we’d never outfly them.
We had absolutely no chance to escape.
I pulled to the side of the road, and put on the brakes. The van’s tires rumbled as we crossed the white line.
When we came to a complete stop, I pressed the screen, starting one of the protections that I’d built into the van.
The boring one. Boring but vital. Continue reading Chancy Connections: Part 12
“No way of knowing,” Daniel said. “I couldn’t read their thoughts very well. I got brief flashes of what happened to their home world—which was horrible. I can see why they’d hate the people who did it, but we’re not them.”
In a low voice, Izzy said, “They were telling the truth, then. Genocide?”
Daniel nodded. “Technically xenocide, but yes. Coming here does make sense in that light. As long as we’re around, the Abominators’ former servants can’t come here.”
“Except there really are aliens who want to destroy us just because the Abominators used us as a genetic base to create their servants,” I said. “So we can’t rule out the possibility that the Hrrnna are among them, but as they said, they’re here. I suppose they might be willing to destroy all life on a planet they’re living on, but I’d do it from a distance myself.”
Haley pursed her lips. “What did the creatures that killed them look like?”
Continue reading Chancy Connections: Part 11
Haley didn’t get angry, but I did sense she might be tired of the subject.
She only sent back. I’ll show you later.
Then I felt Izzy’s dawning realization of what Haley had to mean. Of course she’d realized it. Haley and I had both been on national (and probably international) television more than once.
I hope you’re not worried about how you look. There’s nothing wrong with it.
Haley thought, No, it’s not that. Well, it’s not just that. It’s what goes along with it. When the Hrrnna turned, part of me wanted to chase it. That kind of thing happens all the time, okay? And not just with alien horses—small animals too. Squirrels. I don’t want to be the kind of person who chases squirrels.
I didn’t ask what kind of person that was.
Continue reading Chancy Connections: Part 10
Haley froze as the horse-like alien wheeled around and ran back toward the trees.
The lead alien grunted, chirped, and soon the translation device started again. “Pardon our compatriot. Some of us are old enough to remember our people’s near extinction personally. To answer your question, yes, it was a dangerous journey, but this is a place of safety, possibly the only one.”
Still watching the alien that had run toward the trees, Haley said, “That makes sense, and I’m sorry if I scared your friend somehow.”
“There is no offense taken.”
Haley nodded, barely moving.
So Haley, and probably her grandfather, must have some connection to whatever destroyed these creatures’ home planet. I wanted to ask Haley about it but this wasn’t the time.
Continue reading Chancy Connections: Part 9
He frowned, and looked at us. “They’re trying to stay hidden, so I’m going to send you there myself.”
Chancy’s eyes fell on me. “I suppose you’ve got a GPS, and it can’t be taken out?”
I said, “Yes,” not pointing out that we all had GPS and most people had them built into their phones these days.
“Well, don’t tell anybody where they are. They’re trying to stay hidden, and if someone kills them all it’s on your head.”
Before I could argue with him, the scene changed. We weren’t in Chicago anymore. Part of me wanted to joke that we weren’t in Kansas either, but I didn’t.
According to my GPS, we were in Kansas.
Continue reading Chancy Connections: Part 8
I shut the van’s back doors behind me, ran around the van, onto the sidewalk and up the stairs.
This was not good for the stairs. The worn, lightly stained wood cracked on my first step. I didn’t go all the way through, but only because I noticed.
I couldn’t say it surprised me. Four hundred pounds in combination between the suit and myself, plus the ability to create tons of force meant that I lived in a world made of cardboard.
I took the next few steps a little slower, hearing Daniel’s voice in my head. Don’t worry about it. He’s waiting for us. Continue reading Chancy Connections: Part 7