As the bright light faded, the first men entered the room, pistols drawn. They were dressed in black suits, none of them unusual, but seen all together, they were obviously the same design.
She didn’t see them for long.
A bolt of reddish tinged lightning surged forward from Giles Hardwick’s hands, and the men fell forward, unconscious, or dead.
“Careful with that,” Joe turned away from the dimensional gateway’s control panel to give Giles a look. “They’re not going anywhere if you short out the system.”
The next man stepped over the bodies, pistol in hand, and a web of red floating in front of him. Continue reading Bloodmaiden: Part 15
Moments later, three more people came through the door. The first two were teenagers—a boy and a girl, holding hands. The boy wore a sporty blue jacket made of wyvern leather in a style that had been popular at Court last year. He was short—only a little taller than the girl who came in with him—and his brown hair went down to his shoulders, a style that was still popular.
His eyes darted from one spot to another in the room, and he grinned as he took it all in.
A low murmuring came from the voices in her head when she saw the girl. Blonde, blue eyed and pale skinned, the girl wore a brown leather coat and pants—the kind Amy had seen in illustrations of colonists and frontiersmen. From her clothes alone, it was obvious to Amy that this person didn’t care about fashion at all, but that was the least of it.
The girl’s ears had a slight point, and her walk hinted at a physical strength that didn’t fit with her slim frame. Continue reading Bloodmaiden: Part 14
Amy gave a small smile. “I’ll see you and your grandfather both then. Maybe I’ll send your greetings.”
Nick grinned. “Yeah, that would be neat. ‘Another you told me to say hello?’ I’d want to know how much he was like me, and how. Of course, whoever that Nick is, he wouldn’t be me. It’s anyone’s guess what he’d think.”
She raised an eyebrow. “How different could he be?” Continue reading Bloodmaiden: Part 13
The women in her head agreed. He wasn’t descended from the Elders. He’d existed before they’d come through the portal to Earth. The first Bloodmaiden knew him then. Her voice echoed in Amy’s mind. “We only thought he was a mercenary, but when the gilfangs of Korandur’s Deep crawled up to the surface, it became obvious that he was more than simply a man. He didn’t wear his current shape then, but he liked those swords.”
The other Bloodmaidens whispered, and Amy caught glimpses of their memories. Whatever he was, he was dangerous and so powerfully magical that he didn’t even appear to be connected to magic.
In his favor, he terrified the Harcourts. This was someone she needed to know better. Continue reading Bloodmaiden: Part 11
They walked back to the gyrocopter landing area hand in hand. She wasn’t precisely sure how that had happened. Their hands had bumped a couple times, and then, if she was honest with herself, she had to admit that she’d taken his hand. On the other hand, he didn’t have to walk next to her, and she was fairly sure that he’d bumped her hand first. So, they’d had the same mutually bad idea.
And it was a bad idea. She was literally leaving tomorrow, possibly for ten years. Plus, if everything went well, and her parents brought her home next year… Well, if any hint of this reached the tabloids, it would be the royal scandal of the season. Continue reading Bloodmaiden: Part 10
Flame burst from the twin rockets on the boy’s backpack, and the boy flew upward toward the mooring mast. Then, lowering himself to the building and landing next to the mast, he stepped behind a metal cabinet.
The airship moved closer to the mast, and when it was close enough that Amy wondered if the nose would hit, the mooring mast bent and extended toward the nose of the airship.
Amy didn’t see it, but she heard a metallic clank, and felt the airship stop moving forward. It hadn’t been moving much. She barely felt it, but she felt something. Continue reading Bloodmaiden: Part 4
Joe decided to put Lee on hold with a click, and took Larry’s call.
“Rocket?” Larry’s voice came over the suit’s internal speakers. “I don’t know what half this stuff does, and I can’t turn off the translator, but this suit’s got amazing weapons. You want me to hit him again?”
The Nexus struggled to pull its legs out of the pile. It wasn’t going easily. He barely seemed to move one piece of concrete when another fell back into the hole he’d created.
Plus, something about the giant’s balance seemed off.
“Follow my lead,” Joe said, and hung up.
Continue reading When It’s Over: Part 9
The Nexus didn’t even seem to notice the noise.
A rainbow of colors swirled around the Rhino costume as it blurred toward them, changing it from gray, lumpy armor with a horn to sleek, bronze armor with a metallic sheen.
It still had a Rhino theme, but it was bigger, and had a long bronze horn with a sharp spike on the end.
The bronze armor stopped, and voice came from it. It sounded almost like Larry’s, but not quite, and it didn’t speak in English.
“Je suis le Bronze Rhino!” Continue reading When It’s Over: Part 8
Pressing the buttons on his palm, Joe made the suit turn upright and hover. As the Nexus flew toward him, barely slowing down and raising his arm, Joe wondered how good an idea this would be.
Bright shifting colors raced toward him, and passed to his right, quickly followed by the Nexus himself.
Joe turned in place in the air. It had seemed difficult the first time he’d tried it, but after more than thirty years in the Rocket suit, he barely thought as he did it.
The Nexus turned toward him, turning upright in the air and pointing the bracer at him.
Continue reading When It’s Over: Part 7
With the press of a button on his gauntlet’s palm, Joe shot into the air. The giant followed him, not directly on his tail, but not in any danger of losing him.
Was the Nexus playing with him?
The creature could have opened up on him, but hadn’t yet. Of course, they hadn’t been in the air for long. They were only about as high as the highway. It seemed strangely empty, all gray concrete that ended abruptly in the air only a few hundred feet away.
In Nexus’ situation, Joe would already have fired. Whatever that bracer did, it seemed to have an area effect. That would take care of whatever problems it might have with moving while aiming.
Joe didn’t expect it to have many. If it was an Abominator AI, it was probably as accurate as it was on the ground.
Continue reading When It’s Over: Part 6