Jaclyn followed Izzy in through the door. Izzy said, “Hi” as she moved out of Jaclyn’s way, and met people’s eyes as she did it–including Daniel’s. I didn’t hear any anger in her voice either. She did talk quietly, but she always did that when we were together as a group. My theory was that she still didn’t quite feel comfortable with everyone.
All the same, the fact that she was here at all hinted that whatever they’d talked about last wasn’t irreparable.
She’s not just nervous about being with the group, Daniel thought at me. It’s more complicated than that.
He glanced over at her. What’s going on with us is complicated too, but I don’t want to go into that right now.
Jaclyn lifted up her print out of the plan, a small sheaf of paper. “We’re here to talk about this, right? What did you think of it?”
She caught my eye, “What do you think of it?”
Continue reading Stardock: Part 3
Isaac led us through the facility, explaining generally what was going on on each floor. I would have asked a lot of questions except I knew better. He didn’t know anything worth knowing about how anything worked. Sure, he could tell us what the major activities on each floor were, but I could guess that.
What I wanted to know was what techniques they were using and if they’d made any advances over the Alliance’s standard ships.
I didn’t need Isaac to figure that one out either. All I had to do was to observe. The spaceships around me in various stages of construction weren’t quite designed to human specifications. Take the big spaceship at the bottom of the hole. When we walked through it, it was obvious to me that whatever race it had been designed for was on average about seven feet tall. Bearing in mind variation, they’d designed the size to allow people (beings?) as large as eight feet tall.
Continue reading Stardock: Part 2
My grandfather told me once that war was long periods of boredom broken up by moments of terror. From the stories that the original League told about World War 2 and their experiences afterward, it sounded right.
Knowing that, it’s not so much of a surprise to learn that after the Hrnnna’s disappearance, the Xiniti’s trip through the gate they normally guarded, the annual inspection of the Jay and Kay, and my own frantic call to Agent Lim saying that I had Figured It All Out nothing happened at all.
I went through the week wondering if we’d be invaded, or worse, bombed from space.
Neither occured, and we ended the week with a normal Stapledon weekend.
Well, normal for the fairly loose definition of normal I’d been living under during the last few years–the kind of normal that puts you in a position to fight evil alien space horses.
Continue reading Stardock: Part 1
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
“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