It made me wonder who exactly was in that building. Finding Abominator tech wasn’t that hard if you knew where to look. There were a few well known archaeological sites. Well known to some people anyway–Grandpa being one of them. He’d been brought in to look at Abominator artifacts.
Most Abominator tech found that way didn’t actually work though. To get working Abominator tech, you either had to get lucky like Cassie or whoever had originally found her gun, or get access to one of the Abominator caches found in various spots in the solar system.
The other possibility is that you might find broken Abominator equipment and then reverse engineer or fix it, a somewhat unnerving possibility for a whole lot of reasons.
Actually, there was one other possibility which was equally unnerving–that someone had enough interstellar connections to buy Abominator equipment.
The Nine were an obvious possibility, as well as the government.
I doubted that it was a government facility because I was pretty sure Lim would have said something. On the other hand, agent Lim wouldn’t know the location of every government Abominator research facility.
I called him.
A few taps with my fingers brought up his name, and one more made the call.
He answered. The video feed showed that he’d changed out of his suit and into camouflage and a dark vest with the letters FBI in white, and a military style helmet.
From the looks of his seat, and the moving background, he appeared to be riding in a vehicle, probably a hummer, through the city.
“Rocket,” he said, “what have you got?”
“We’re currently at an amusement park called ‘Boomers’. Nothing’s going on here, but in the next clearing over, the aliens just discovered that the office building there has an Abominator entropy shield.”
Lim took a breath. “That’s… not good. Are there hints who’s in there?”
“No idea. Either someone who’s brilliant or someone with a lot of money. I was hoping you’d know.”
Lim shook his head. “Sorry. I’m not aware of anything that far down Long Island. I’m going to hang up and ask some questions. Don’t go in on your own, but be thinking about who you want. I’ll try to get them to you.”
Then he hung up.
I sighed. The whole thing with asking for who I wanted? It assumed that I was leading some kind of raid on something.
I didn’t even know who I’d be helping. If the building over there belonged to the Nine and their people, you could make an argument that I’d be doing some good if I let the aliens destroy everything.
It wasn’t an argument I believed, but who would want to help the Nine?
I checked the roachbots’ view of the building next door.
The aliens didn’t seem to have any better plan for handling the shield than I would have.
They were spreading out on the lawn, probably so they couldn’t all be destroyed at once, getting no closer to the building than fifty feet.
Given that their fellow soldier hadn’t been killed till he practically touched the building, it seemed like overkill.
Over the comm, Jenny asked, “Hey Rocket, how are things going in roachbot land?”
Jenny could have looked more comfortable as Izzy held her, but given the lightness of her tone, she wasn’t that badly off.
“Could be better,” I said, “but actually, not much is happening.”
I explained what I’d seen, and what Isaac had said.
When I was done, Jenny said, “I don’t suppose we’ll be lucky enough that they’ll both destroy each other?”
“That passed through my mind,” I said.
Izzy shook her head. “We’re going to have to go in. Is it really true that the Xiniti will have to destroy the planet if someone proves that we’re using alien technology?”
I shrugged, or tried to under the armor. Guessing she couldn’t see the gesture, I followed it up with, “That’s what I’ve been told. I can’t say for sure either way.”
Ignoring my qualification, she floated closer to me. “But you understand what that means, don’t you? We can’t leave any of them alive. If we do, and even one of them gets back, and can prove what they’ve seen, the entire world dies.”
“No,” I began, “that’s…”
My voice trailed off as I thought about it. She was right. She wasn’t completely right because we could probably imprison them if we could capture them. Actually, if we handed them over to the Xiniti, we probably wouldn’t have to worry about them either because–
I stopped, and thought about that.
Because the Xiniti didn’t want to kill us. They’d probably execute every alien we handed over to them to avoid it.
The Xiniti on the ground argued that something else might be going on. Either I was looking at a mad Xiniti or there were more on the ships.
I could guess what that would mean, but I didn’t like it.
I looked over at Izzy. “Crap. You’re right.”
Izzy said, “I don’t want to do it, but I don’t see any way we can avoid it.”
Jenny turned her head to look at each of us in turn. “I know.”
I thought back to the hangar. Lim had said so, but it hadn’t seemed as real then.
In my HUD, a light flashed. I’d kept a window open to the roachbots, and that section of my screen had turned into nothing but unbearably bright light.
Well, okay, bearably bright light because the suit toned it down, but still bright.
I expected that Izzy and Jenny would start in with questions about what had happened, but they didn’t need to.
The aliens had apparently decided to go with the, “Let’s run down the battery,” approach to taking down the shield. They were firing the ships’ guns.
Bright, white light rained down, making the ships the most visible objects in the sky. Sure, they were still mostly covered in dark black shields that hid their actual shape, but a black rectangle in the sky that fired streams of light couldn’t be missed.
As it hit the building, the light turned that entire area into a light show.
“Wow,” Jenny said.
Behind her, people began to run out of the park, and get into cars. Well, mostly. Some stopped to stare at the light and at us. Some pointed their cell phones at us.
At first I couldn’t believe there were people in the park. I hadn’t even realized it was open. Except then I noticed the large building on the north side. They must have been in there.
Lim’s icon began to blink in my HUD. I clicked on it, and he said, “You’re not going to like this.”