In moments like that, you can play it cool, or drop all pretenses, and say exactly what you’re thinking. Professional spies could likely have managed the former without effort.
I stopped, staring at the artificial wombs. Dr Griffin couldn’t have noticed the staring through the Rocket suit’s helmet, but she noticed that I stopped.
“I know,” she said. “It’s amazing. We don’t know where it came from. We got it along with a grant from the government, but they wouldn’t tell us where they got it. We’ve dated some residue within the tanks to roughly seven thousand years ago.”
“No kidding,” I said. Weren’t the Sumerians getting big around then? Continue reading Stardock: Part 27
Reminding myself that the Stapledon Program’s secrecy wasn’t really my problem, I decided to concentrate on what was my problem—Blue Sky Lab’s current projects.
Isaac Lim had asked me to find out what they were, and intentionally or not, Dr. Griffin hadn’t answered my question about that. I hadn’t asked as directly as I might. I could change that.
As I was about to ask, Jenny’s voice sounded inside my helmet. “Brooke’s sending the prisoners to their cells. Stand back.”
I turned my head toward where Izzy, Jaclyn, and Cassie stood over the prisoners. Jenny stood a short distance away, acting as Brooke’s eyes no doubt. I didn’t know what they planned to do about the prisoners’ powered armor, but that wasn’t my problem.
All the same, working armor would make it way too easy to escape, but no armor meant that communicable diseases could be passed along.
Continue reading Stardock: Part 26
Through my observation bots, I watched Bloodmaiden take to the air. I knew she could fly, but from her motion, it looked more like she’d jumped. One leg bent in a step, and the other straight, her pose reminded me of early Superman comics, and how Jaclyn jumped.
If she used her ability to fly to cushion her landing, I didn’t notice it. Her boots sank into the ground next to Jaclyn.
She’d jumped over the building. I knew she wasn’t this strong normally. Continue reading Stardock: Part 24
Fortunately for Dr. Griffin, most of the spray went to the soldier’s side, splattering everyone to his right.
Predictably, all the soldiers pointed their weapons at us, and began to fire back. Laser and plasma blasts shattered branches, started small fires, and with a thunderous crack destroyed the trunk of a tree.
It fell over.
Continue reading Stardock: Part 22
I didn’t need the observation bots to hear a familiar voice broadcast across the building’s clearing and into the woods.
“Humans, evacuate the building and put down your arms. Listen to us, and we may leave you and your young ones alive. It’s more than you’ve any right to expect.”
The warm, tenor voice sounded human, but too perfect. Even if I hadn’t noticed, the Rocket suit pegged the voice as artificial.
In fact, I’d recognized it as a very specific artificial voice–the leader (or at least spokesman) of the Hrrnna.
Continue reading Stardock: Part 21
Given that someone in that building was making competent use of technology created by aliens more evil than the ones trying to provoke genocide on us, it was hard to imagine any kind of good news.
“What?” I asked.
“The office building is owned by Blue Sky Labs, a small company owned by Dr. Valerie Griffin, an electrical engineer by training, but a specialist in alien artifacts for the last five years.”
Lim didn’t take a breath, continuing with, “But that’s not the bad part. She’s got grants and investments from all over, ranging from businesses to the government. That’s not a surprise considering what she’s doing, but here’s the bad part. The last time I saw any lab studying alien artifacts that was this well funded, it turned out they were being funded by the Nine. They didn’t even know it.”
Seeing the alien ships hammering the building’s shield, I wondered if that meant that the Nine had their own version.
If so, I hoped it wasn’t portable.
Continue reading Stardock: Part 20
Daniel’s dad continued, “Guardian’s giving the asteroid a quick once over, checking if the asteroid’s anything more than a big rock. We’ve got a few ideas as to how we can handle it if it’s just a dinosaur killer, but we don’t want any surprises.”
I’d set the suit to monitor Stapledon communications and the Heroes League team channel for activity. There wasn’t much of anything going on between our team. Like me, they were likely all listening to the Defenders. The Heroes League channel showed a lot of activity between Haley and Kayla at first. After that, Camille, Sydney, Marcus, and Chris all came online.
Chris? That was cool. Haley was calling in everybody. If Grand Lake had an asteroid with its name on it, they’d have a decent chance of taking it out between the League jet, Camille’s anti-gravity powers, and Chris to think things through.
If the people who were guessing that the asteroids were a feint were correct, they’d need everyone they could get. Fighting the machines had been too close, and who knew what the Hrrrna were like?
I wished I was there. I wished I had time to pay attention to what they were saying.
Continue reading Stardock: Part 12
Text appeared below the screen that showed our position and that of the other planes.
[You’re making yourself completely vulnerable. I’m not suggesting you attack, but landing and turning off your shields represents an unacceptable risk.]
I shut off the comm, and quietly asked, “What would you suggest?”
[If you have to appear vulnerable, lower the jet, but don’t land, and give me permission to turn on the shields whenever I think it’s necessary.]
“You need my permission?”
[Yes. My makers wanted artificial intelligences limited to minimize their risk.]
Continue reading Picking Up Pieces: Part 3
As much as I might want to assume Sean was wrong on the grounds that he was talking, I wished we could fly away.
Whatever I might think, Haley’s console had the flight controls for the moment, and unless I felt I should say something, she could make the decision without me.
My console only showed the weapons and shields at the moment.
Haley began to turn her head around. It was obvious she was going to ask someone for advice.
Keeping her voice low, Flick said, “I’ve got to make some calls. Cooperate, but stall.” Continue reading Picking Up Pieces: Part 2
Flick threw a ball into the main group of heavy bird bots as they began to run across the floor toward us.
The ball punctured the bird bot’s chest, coming out the other side, and continuing through each bot behind it.
I’d never known for sure what her power was, but it had something to do with controlling mass and momentum. I’d heard that there were very specific rules about how it worked, but I’d never seen her in action, so I didn’t know what they were. Continue reading Breaking & Entering: Part 12