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
I tried to think of ways I could stop the True’s creation without leaving a trail. The best option that came to mind was one I’d thought of earlier. Cassie had been cloned from her father’s DNA plus an X chromosome from an unknown source and a structure in her brain that allowed her to control Abominator technology.
She’d be able to turn off the birthing machine or better, set it to almost, but not quite, follow directions.
The only problem was that she’d been created by Dr. Mind, Nazi brain in a jar, and enemy of her father, Captain Commando. Dr. Mind had either played a role in founding the Nine or they’d acquired his equipment and records. The Nine had been looking for her for years and putting her within their grasp wasn’t the brightest of all possible moves. Continue reading Dealing With It: Part 5
The meeting didn’t last too much longer. We agreed that Stephanie and I would coordinate what we were doing and keep everyone informed—especially Vaughn. He’d be in a better position to help or be hurt than anyone else.
Haley and I went out for a walk after that, coming back later to talk and play with the dog.
Agent Lim called while we were sitting in my lab. We’d been waiting for him. I’d passed an audio file of Tara’s story over to him with her permission. Continue reading Dealing With It: Part 4
“Okay,” I said. “I suppose I should ask what the name of the company I’ll be interning at is then.”
Lim grinned for a second. “No kidding. I like to think I do a better job briefing people than this, but here’s the basics. It’s called ‘Higher Ground’ which is both a reference to a song the founder liked and to the business’s mission—getting humanity into space no matter what that takes. It’s a startup that gets money from several sources, Hardwick Industries being the largest investor, but there are others. It’s also getting money from the Defense Department in addition to the alien technology they and other government agencies have collected.”
I rested my hand on my chin, thinking about that. “Why them? Why a startup? I’d half expect that they’d go to GE or some big firm.” Continue reading For His Own Good: Part 8
The corners of Lim’s mouth went up in what was almost a smile. “I’m glad. You’ve seemed a bit down lately and I wasn’t sure you’d be up for it. I would have been okay if you’d said no. I wouldn’t have been excited about it, but we’d try another route to get at them. You can still say no, by the way. I’ve been in combat and even when you win, it still takes time to heal, physically and mentally.”
I thought about it. “I think I’m okay. I had a period where I didn’t want to put on the suit after I got back, but this isn’t putting on the suit. It’s kind of the opposite. So, I’ll be okay.” Continue reading For His Own Good: Part 7
That left me alone in the lab with tools, tables, the machines I used to fabricate parts, and the computers I used to design and monitor the machines.
I reached out and used the nearest mouse to click to accept the call.
The picture changed from the FBI seal to Agent Lim’s actual FBI office—which could have passed for a professor’s. By that I’m not talking about Dr. Strazinsky’s which was organized and clean, I’m talking about the sort of professor where you have to take books or piles of paper off one of the chairs if you want to sit down. Continue reading For His Own Good: Part 6
Isaac switched to another card, frowning for a moment as he paused.
“With that said, it’s time to talk about this year. In the past we’ve done extended training in the summer, but only for students who are already enrolled. From now on, this will be new students’ introductions to the program.
“Additionally, in the past, the Stapledon program would pay for any college or university in the United States, we are now limiting that to specific universities or colleges within a certain distance of those universities. That still represents a wide selection of educational institutions.
“The reason for this is that we’ll be instituting daily training, and don’t want anyone to have to travel too far.
Continue reading Fresh Meat: Part 2
Reed showed us to our rooms, let us drop off our luggage, and led us to the cafeteria before leaving us to meet the buses.
“Find a table,” he said as he opened the door to walk out, “the buses are here. You’ll be seeing all your friends in minutes.”
I believed him. Except for us, the room was empty of students, but it was full of staff. The tables had been set. The staff were placing food on four different tables that barely seemed to have room for more.
On the stage in front of the room, a man said, “Testing, testing?” into the microphone on the podium until someone called him on the phone. Then he said, “Good,” and left the stage and room. Continue reading Fresh Meat: Part 1
Lim walked a couple steps more up the ramp, and joined me. “Keep on moving. I’ve got to get in there to thank everybody in person, and to assure them that their friends are getting the best medical care available—which is true by the way.”
I turned around, and started following Daniel for a few steps before turning back toward Lim to ask, “About those rights and responsibilities—“
Lim interrupted me. “We’re looking into it, but in the end you may have to flat out ask them. Of course, you may have a few more resources than most of us. Use them and you’ll have a head start.” Continue reading Glory: Part 7
That was interesting, and not necessarily good. It wasn’t necessarily bad. It didn’t automatically mean Sean was planning to take out his fear and anxiety about his sister on me.
It didn’t mean he wasn’t either.
Vaughn saw him as Sean got closer. “Hey, he’s coming back–”
And then Sean was there, landing on the sidewalk with exactly the force required to stop, and not a bit more or less. I’d come to envy that. Sure, I’d worked out a landing command that did the same thing, but it wasn’t flexible. I needed to do manual landings a lot, and when I did, it was all too easy to drop a foot, or have to run a few steps before I could fully stop.
Despite the control he’d shown when landing, Sean slumped when he hit the ground.
Continue reading Glory: Part 5