Glory: Part 6

An SUV came soon after that. All black with tinted windows, it was obviously used for carrying people who didn’t care to be seen. To the Rocket suit’s senses, it was also obviously armored, meaning it was just as obviously used by people who expected to be shot at.

We all got in–Rachel, Travis, Sean, Vaughn, Izzy, Jaclyn and I.

Izzy leaned against the wall in the back. When Travis turned back from the second row, and asked how she was doing, she barely opened her eyes, but said, “Fine. I’m tired, but there’s nothing wrong with me.”

Then her eyes shut, and she fell asleep.

Jaclyn shook her head. She’d sat next to Izzy. “They took her vitals, and checked her out as best they could. They didn’t find anything wrong.”

“Good,” Travis said. He watched Izzy for a moment, and turned around. I didn’t know what he was thinking, but suspected it was a lot like what I was thinking–“I hope she doesn’t freak out again when she wakes up.”

It had to be one of the reasons Jaclyn sat next to her. If Izzy did freak out, Jaclyn would be okay. I doubted I could say the same about the wall Izzy leaned on.

In the end, the ride turned out to be less eventful than we feared. We weren’t attacked. Izzy woke up calmly. We found ourselves at the same hangar we’d gathered in before we’d heard about the attack.

It wasn’t quite the same. Costumes had been ripped, burned, or stained by blood. People mostly sat next to their luggage, talking quietly, but not in big groups. I didn’t hear much laughter either.

Even while we never said so, it was obvious that we were missing a quarter of the people in the program. I didn’t think they were dead, but it wouldn’t surprise me if some were being kept alive so Alex or his father could heal them later.

More optimistically, they might be needed where they were for the moment. It wasn’t impossible.

I set the Rocket suit to disassemble, and pushed it next to the wall. Leaning against the block of ceramic it had become, I read, checked my email, and even fell asleep for a little while.

Nearby, Izzy talked quietly with Daniel, and a few more people filtered in. I overheard one of the women from the military academies say to a friend. “I never thought I’d see combat for the first time on a Stapledon weekend.”

I missed her friend’s response, and the conversation trailed off as they walked out of range of my hearing.

I’d turned my head back toward my tablet when I heard a voice say, “Nick?”

Bloodmaiden stood in front of me except not really. She’d shed her magical warrior princess gear to wear normal clothes–jeans, and a white sweater. I think she might have been a foot shorter too, but her hair was still red, and hung past her shoulders.

“Once you got inside, the ship moved too quickly for me to do much good with the Bloodspear. I’m sorry about that. I managed to get a few of them, but not enough.”

The tablet’s screen turned black as I said, “Don’t worry about it. It worked out. Besides, you were in pretty bad shape. Are you okay?”

She shrugged. “Okay enough. Alex patched me up enough to get me past the worst of it. I healed myself the rest of the way off the people I… speared.”

“Oh,” I said. By speared, she meant killed.

She smiled, but it was a tired smile. “It feels like a long time since we left.”

“Hours,” I said. It had been three hours.

She shook her head. “I didn’t mean literally, but I’m sure you knew that and you were making a joke, right?”

“Sure,” I said.

She rolled her eyes. “Anyway, I thought I’d introduce myself in case you didn’t know my name. You didn’t, did you?”

“Sorry, no.”

“I’m Amy,” she said.

“I’m Nick,” I said, wondering if I should get up and shake her hand.

“I know.” She glanced further back into the hangar. “Everyone knows your name.” She gave me a wave as she walked away. “Talk to you later.”

In a few steps, she stood next to a guy and a couple girls I’d seen her with before.

I turned the tablet back on again, found the book I’d been reading, and started where I’d left off.

My phone rang. I checked the ID, preparing to ignore it.

It was Haley. I took the call, and we talked for the next half hour. She sounded as tired as I felt. By the time we were done, the cargo jet had rolled into the hangar, and people had started to pack their bags and board.

I kept talking as long as possible, but finally had to say good-bye. Daniel grabbed the Rocket suit telekinetically, and floated it inside.

I started to follow Daniel up the ramp and into the plane when he thought, Behind you, at me.

I turned to find Isaac Lim behind me at the bottom of the ramp. His black suit looked the worse for wear. Even though it was dark colored, I could still see mud stains, and four diagonal slices, that might have come from the same claw, ran parallel to each other across his chest.

“Nick, if you’ve got a second, I need to tell you something.”

He sounded calm, and not the least bit scared or apologetic. I hoped that meant that it wasn’t really bad.

“Sure, what’s up?”

He took a breath. Then he let it out. “You and Cassie killed a Xiniti, and we’re required to let the Xiniti know if any come to Earth. If they die here, we’re required to get the body back to the Xiniti at the first opportunity. Well, we haven’t had the chance to get the body back, but we did let them know. They’ve still got a skeleton crew at the gate.”

“Oh.” Thoughts of planet wide genocide flashed through my head.

“Good news,” Lim flashed me a brief grin, “you and Cassie are now members of the Xiniti’s clan.”

I tried to get my head around that, managing only to say, “What?”

Lim shrugged. “The Xiniti have this thing about a hunter and prey. If they can’t get it, and someone else can, it means something to them. I don’t know what. They owe your grandparents because your grandparents caught the last Abominators. This Xiniti you killed? He was a criminal, and he’d escaped. Because you killed him, you’re now recognized as citizens of his clan with all the rights and responsibilities that entails.”

He paused, and said, “I wish I had the faintest clue what they were.”

22 thoughts on “Glory: Part 6”

  1. I think this is the earliest I’ve finished an update in a while. Now the question is whether I should actually go to sleep or watch something on Hulu…

  2. typo!

    She shook her head. “I didn’t mean literally, but I’m sure you knew that and you were might a joke, right?”

    making a joke?

    nice wrap-up.

  3. Nice update! I particularly liked:

    “I know.” She glanced further back into the hangar. “Everyone knows your name.”


    Because you killed him, you’re now recognized as citizens of his clan with all the rights and responsibilities that entails.”
    He paused, and said, “I wish I had the faintest clue what they were.”

    Can’t wait for the next installment!

  4. Heh. Haley has the potential to be totally the girlfriend from hell: I wonder if she’s going to be able to smell Amy’s pheromones on Nick.

    Also, this comments section really needs a like post button.

  5. El typo: “More optimistically, they might be needed w[h]ere they were for the moment. It wasn’t impossible.”

    Since Nick is a Xiniti via proxy, does that mean that he gets to keep all of his shiny new toys (e.g. alien tech jet/spaceship, beefed up alien engines resting under the Hudson, etc.)?

    Cassie, the “Abominator Girl in Training”, is now an honorary Xiniti…. interesting…

    Power is the greatest aphrodisiac. Nick, being regarded as a “brain” who can make gadgets to make everyone better, just took out the big bad alien mother ship. Even though he does not realize it, he has been placed in a position above everyone else. Couple that with his actions having saved everyone’s and probably the whole planet’s lives, he has become very powerful.

    Up next, the New Chapter: Red Rocket Rises, hits the internet on Monday.

  6. Nick still seems to be thinking of himself as living off his grandfather’s reputation, and doesn’t realize he’s been building his own rep for a while now. I’m guessing as an honorary Xiniti that he may indeed have some rights to the higher tech that has been denied previously. On the other hand, the “and responsibilities” part makes me nervous. Hopefully somebody will pull him aside and strongly urge him to find out what those responsibilities are ASAP.

  7. I’ll add one more typo:

    ” I overheard one of the woman” (I think that should be women)

    Excellent Chapter! Nothing happens and yet we’re left in suspense!

  8. Responsibilities; they need to make another off-Earth trip now? At the very least it sounds like someone needs to deliver a body to the Xiniti.

    I did like the bit where he worries for the nearest (armored) wall if Izzy wakes up and freaks out.

  9. Always good to see Val Venis around, and I really loved that entrance music. Really helps you see why the sax was regarded as a raunchy, sexy, downright obscene instrument. However, if Nick’s going to start collecting women, I think we need to think of another theme he could start using.

  10. I poked back a bit at earlier chapters till I found it. Shouldn’t Jaclyn get honorary Xiniti clan membership too? She was the one that hit it hard enough to knock it across the clearing into a tree. My impression was that if she had not done so, the Xiniti would likely have taken out a bunch of people who were mostly fairly close together.

    Also. Cassie has some sort of link to abominator tech. Wonder how the Xinity will like that in the family. I really want to hear the gun commenting when it meets “the family”

    Nick has apparently collected an admirer as well, and she doesn’t think in ‘geek’, which has the potential for a great deal of humor. I don’t think Haley does either, but she seems to understand it, even if it’s not her native ‘language’.

    As for Amy, Nick *thinks* she’s a foot shorter than she was before. This pretty much guarantees that Amy is likely not going to be edging out Haley any time soon.

    And lastly, Nick might find himself in a Xiniti clan which has some responsibility to upholding the embargo of technology on Earth. Oh there could be some wonderful shenanigans there.

  11. I just realized that Nick is making a potentially dangerous mistake here. Assuming that Jaclyn is on the same power level as Izzy could lead to bad planning. From what I’ve seen, Izzy is much more powerful and damage resistant than Jaclyn, but Jaclyn is much more maneuverable.

    They have worked together long enough that Izzy and Jaclyn probably have some idea where each stands compared to the other power-wise, but I think Nick puts both of them in “way-out-there” power level land.

    If they some get benefits of Xiniti technology from the clan thing, training facilities might be nice 🙂

    1. For the kinds of decisions he needs to make, it’s orders of magnitude that matter.

      Jaclyn certainly isn’t as tough as Izzy, but they are within the same order of magnitude. Izzy is probably at most twice as tough as Jaclyn, so an explosive wake-up should be well within her ability to handle.

      Cassie and the Rocket suit would be in the next lower order of magnitude, and Travis and Haley would be somewhere in the next lower order of magnitude. Cassie’s rank here is based on her regeneration, so ignoring that you’d drop her into the same class as Haley and Travis. Normal people would be an order of magnitude (maybe two) below that.

  12. Oh no, I’ve done it again!

    I’ve read through your entire archive in about a week and now I’m stuck waiting for updates!

    Oh well. I’m sure you’d appreciate the company LoN will be keeping in my news feed (Pact, Grey World, etc).

    Cheers, and excellent story so far!

    1. Thanks for reading.

      As for catching up, that’s the way it goes. I find I’m both relieved and disappointed when I get to that point.

      I haven’t read all of the serials you mentioned, but I do know their authors to a greater or lesser degree.

      1. Yeah, I couldn’t get anything done at work for a couple weeks after I started reading Worm. Now I don’t start a big series like that unless I have time to blast through it. Can’t use them to procrastinate much when they only update a couple times a week. That’s my theory anyway.

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