Sudden Changes: Part 8

I thought back, I’m not sure if that makes me proud or not. Either way, I’m sure they’ll factor it in now.

I felt a shot of nervousness from Daniel’s end, Can’t argue with that. Things are about to get dicey.

Maybe the conversation would have continued longer, but he wasn’t wrong about that. Two True behind the nearest houses popped out to fire at me. Unsure if Rook had developed killbots of his own, I shot sideways, weaving to make their chances to hit worse.

My sensors showed that the bullets didn’t adjust their paths to move in my direction, making it less likely that Rook had cloned that. One of their lasers did hit, but every recent version of the Rocket suit had protection against lasers. My integration of alien ceramics only made the suit more effective. It also didn’t hurt that lasers were less effective at longer ranges.

I still fired back, in that case with one of my few remaining goobots. I caught two in one gooey explosion, managing to stick a strand or two to the house behind them. It didn’t take them out of the action completely. The True behind them pulled out a spray can of their belts and sprayed down the goo.

I didn’t see the end of that, but I knew what happened when Prentkos used the same tool. I was too busy with the jet. It had reached the ground, notifying the group in the forest that it was directly ahead of them.

From my position in the air, I couldn’t see the jet, but I could see the outline of the partially open door on the side. On my map, I could see Travis and Haley running forward with Travis carrying the tote bucket.

It wasn’t going to be able to fit through the door. The jet could take passengers, but it didn’t take cargo. It had no cargo hatch. Travis and Haley would have to guard while their parents jumped out and ran for the jet—which was fine, but more complicated.

The Cabal and the True didn’t make it any less complicated. The True that had been hiding by the side of the houses all ran forward, guns in hand, firing ahead of themselves.

At the same time, boombots fired from my suit. I wasn’t even firing them. My implant was activating them, following the directions I’d given it to fire when the True started to move forward. Part of me liked the fact that I could delegate that task. Another part worried that might be more control than a machine should have.

The True didn’t just stand there and watch my boombots explode around them. They spread out, making it hard to get more than a couple of them with the blast, but my implant fired off enough that all of the True got hit at least once, since for all of the True’s talent for predicting people’s actions, they were all running forward anyway.

The series of blasts didn’t kill everybody, but three-quarters of them went down, all of them with burns, but they weren’t all from me. At almost the same time my bots hit, lightning came down from the sky, hitting more.

I don’t think any of them made it.

Why they’d tried or at least retreated wasn’t obvious. They’d seen what happened on top of the factory. I could only guess that they’d been ordered to act, whether or not it made sense.

All the talent for predicting people’s actions in the world does you no good if your leadership orders you to do something stupid.

Unfortunately, the Cabal soldiers weren’t as easily handled. To judge from their actions, they’d also been ordered to get Travis and Haley’s parents no matter what—except they had the benefits of being significantly stronger and tough, plus the ability to regenerate from almost any kind of damage except concentrated radiation.

The group of them jumped from the top of the factory toward Haley, Travis, and the still invisible jet. None of them jumped into the forest toward Cassie, knowing that she could kill them, and given that they were working for the Nine unwillingly, maybe hoping that she would.

She provided an object lesson in the possibilities from the moment the first one landed on the jet. Technically, “landed” might not have been the best word. The Cabal soldier jumped off the factory, hit the spot where the jet was on the ground, and, for lack of a better word, slid into the jet’s shield/cloak. A shimmer spread outward from the spot he hit, outlining the upper half of the jet for a moment.

It made for an odd look. The man was in the shield up to his thighs, his legs fading into invisibility, and held above the ship’s hull, preventing him from pushing off. Meanwhile, he moved his arms frantically in the upper layer of the shield, creating shimmery ripples in the cloak.

Cassie shot him in the head and he slumped, still held up by the force of the shield.

I might have complained about the unfairness if it weren’t for the fact that the other Cabal soldiers landed on the ground with audible thumps and began to converge on Haley, Travis, and their parents.

5 thoughts on “Sudden Changes: Part 8”

  1. That moment I’ve been aiming for? I’m still not there. Apparently I’m not terribly good at predicting how much stuff has to happen first (or at least how many words it will take to write).

    On another note, I’m going to be at a work related conference this week. I don’t anticipate that being a problem for writing since I work for a non-profit that isn’t exactly into partying. As such, I anticipate spending my evenings writing in my hotel room.

    Top Web Fiction

  2. since for all of the True’s talent for predicting people’s actions were all running forward anyway

    Doesn’t read quite right.
    they were all??

  3. I’m thinking …
    “hard to get more of a couple of them”
    should be…
    “hard to get more THAN a couple of them”

    I have to binge read the chapters or I spend all my time anxiously waiting for the next one!

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