“Well, I got a charger for the brick, but for the tablet,” and there I paused, knowing that if I said what I saw we were going to have to trust her with even more, “I got ‘god killer.’ I don’t know what sense if any, that makes to you.”
Over my implant, Cassie said, I hope she’s worth the risk. Because if she isn’t trustworthy, that thing might be going to Cuba.
Shaking her head and then looking me in the eyes, Yoselin said, “No. Except now my implant is warning me that if I repeat what you said, I’m risking reprogramming by the Dominators.”
Laughing, she said, “It threatens me a lot. It’s like carrying the worst parts of home along.”
Meeting her eyes, I asked, “Why do you even have it? I can use mine to control my body, but in my case, I feel like I can trust the source. The Human Ascendancy is basically a dictatorship. They’re far worse than Cuba from what I saw.”
She took a breath, “I know. After everything that happened to Red Victory, my father discovered a way to disable the implant’s ability to control the user. We can’t disable the nagging, but there’s no risk of it taking control.”
Nodding, I thought back to the little I remembered hearing from Larry about what had happened when Alexis and he had gone to investigate what happened to Viktor (Red Victory) after he’d been forced to lead an expedition back to the moon. Implants Viktor retrieved had put the surviving expedition members under the control of a local cell of the Dominators and an Abominator AI. How Larry and Alexis had managed to free them while hiding in 1980s Moscow, I didn’t know, but they had.
“At least, there’s that,” I said. “And that’s good because it’s probably going to freak out with my next sentence. I don’t know if your implant will tell you what Artificers are, but they’re an ancient and mysterious race. The ‘god killer’ is designed to kill them and the tablet’s a piece of it. There’s a reason to believe I have a connection to the Artificers somehow, so there’s no way we’re leaving that in his hands.”
She looked over at Daniel and Cassie. Seeing Daniel’s watchful gaze and slight smile, and Cassie’s crossed arms and expressionless face, I can only assume that Yoselin decided we meant it. “My supervisors didn’t send me to find it. I think that if we ruin Armory’s cooperation with the Nine, my mission will be a success.
“If I can ask, “ she said, gesturing in my direction, “where did you get your implant?”
“Cassie and I are officially members of the Xiniti nation, and thus, implants.”
Yoselin blinked, her expression going slack in what I recognized as a massive information download. Then her eyelids fluttered, and she said, “Oh. You know that all my implant gave me in response to the word ‘Artificer’ was ‘a dangerous, deceased ancient race?’ In response to mentioning the Xiniti, I just got a download of scrubbed worlds and hundreds of battles with the Abominators and then the Ascendancy. It tells me that if you’re human members of the Xiniti nation, you’re murderous traitors to humankind.”
Cassie grinned, “All true.”
Laughing, Yoselin said, “I’ll keep that in mind.”
Daniel caught my eye, “Nick, if you could show us a map and tell us what the bots have collected, we could plan what we’re going to do.”
I did, using my implant to collect all the bots’ information about the layout including placement of troopers, workers, patterns of movement, and schedules. I plotted it out visually, allowing Cassie and Yoselin to download it from me directly. I let Daniel poke around as he needed during the discussion, reminding me of our group Monopoly simulations in space.
“I can’t promise any of this will stay this way forever, but sounds like Armory will be around tomorrow at the same time. Also, it looks like he’s keeping the tablet in his office in a safe.”
Cassie grinned, “That won’t last long.”
I’m not going to go through the whole discussion, but in the end, the plan went like this: Armory’s personal lab and office were in the center of the complex, a couple of levels below the main floor of the arena. We’d all go in together, but after we sighted Armory, stealth would be impossible. It would be Cassie, Daniel, and Yoselin’s job to grab Armory and the Abominator artifact, and my job to blow the lab and everything Armory was working on. I’d also be responsible for making a lot of noise so that the island’s police force would be trying to subdue me instead of tracking down the rest of the team.
Kid Biohack would be backing me up, though he didn’t know it yet.
After that, the League jet would extract us and we’d leave, assuming we didn’t manage to sink the island again. Then we’d have a whole different problem.
Once we had a plan, we went through it in a joint simulation in our heads, ignoring our bodies as they sat at the table in our hotel suite. When we felt that we had it, Yoselin walked down to her own room and we went to bed.