Category Archives: Arc 5.4: Picking Up Pieces

Picking Up Pieces: Part 11

Cassie noticed the men, frowned, and said, “Let’s go into my room.”

We walked upstairs. I couldn’t help but remember other times I’d been inside, most of them during the summer before we’d reformed the League. Cassie had been on bed rest after the treatments that activated her powers. I hadn’t known it at the time. I’d just thought she was sick.

I’d helped her gather everyone for movie nights while wondering if she’d make it through the summer.

Even then it hadn’t been a cluttered house. It always felt clean and orderly, but a little like a hotel. Her mom commuted to Washington D.C. a lot and had hired people to keep it clean.

Sure, her cover as a realtor had never been blown, but I’d always wondered if adding a little mess to the house might have helped.

Continue reading Picking Up Pieces: Part 11

Picking Up Pieces: Part 10

Daniel had taught me how to telepathically get his attention so long ago I didn’t even remember when.

As we walked down the stairway, I gave him a mental poke. Hey, what did you learn from Courtney? How’s she handling it?

I felt a mental pause, and concentrated on the next step as Daniel answered my question. Chances are he was checking what was behind it.

Our footsteps tapped on the brown linoleum, and a few steps later, he replied. She’s scared. She’s wondering what she’s gotten into, and she’s wondering how we’re so calm about it.

I took a few more steps, thinking about that.

Continue reading Picking Up Pieces: Part 10

Picking Up Pieces: Part 9

Part of me wanted to argue with him, but I couldn’t persuade myself that it would be worth it. He could go look up information on the Xiniti if he wanted. There wasn’t much information, but you could find out that they were around.

You could even find out information about the hyperspace jumpgate if you wanted to.

There weren’t many details, but it was in Wikipedia.

Of course, it wasn’t as if we were allowed to use it. The Xiniti were there to stop us from trying, and to prevent hostile groups from coming through.

Someday we’d be allowed to use it, and then maybe familiarity would kill all the stupid conspiracy theories.

It wouldn’t happen today. Continue reading Picking Up Pieces: Part 9

Picking Up Pieces: Part 8

Daniel, Izzy, Jeremy, and I left for my room shortly after. We didn’t say much. I didn’t have anything I wanted to say that could be said aloud.

Daniel could have created a four way telepathic conversation, but he didn’t.

When I shut the door to the room, Jeremy started talking. “I never guessed! This is so crazy. I wanted to see the League and everything, but this…”

His voice trailed off, and he started talking more quietly (which was good because he’d been way too loud at first). “You’re the Mystic, and you’re the Rocket, and that was Night Cat and Captain Commando back there…” He looked up at Izzy. “I’m not sure who you are.”

That was totally okay.

Continue reading Picking Up Pieces: Part 8

Picking Up Pieces: Part 7

Images of Rook’s base, the glow of the jet’s dashboard during our flights, and the earlier fight with Rook’s people blurred inside my head.

Daniel gave me a mental poke. Nick, talk.

“Just kind of out. Uh… This is Daniel, a friend of mine for years. You’ve met Haley, and probably Cassie…”

He nodded, which was good, because I wasn’t sure I had introduced him to Cassie.

I indicated Izzy with my hand. “This is Izzy. She’s visiting from California. Uh…”

I’d looked at her, realizing that she was wearing the same black and blue exercise clothes she’d worn during the fight. The only difference was that instead of wearing a mask, she was wearing glasses. Continue reading Picking Up Pieces: Part 7

Picking Up Pieces: Part 6

I felt a flash of uncertainty that turned into an uncomfortable feeling.

Daniel’s words floated into my head. I don’t like our options. We can either trust her, or I can blur her memories a little.

I think you’d have to do more than blur her memories a little. She was in the van when Rook attacked, and she changed into a spare League suit. Plus she went with Vaughn and Travis to Haley’s cousin. You remember the doctor? You’d have to edit her whole night.

My memories of the night—starting with when Courtney and I went to the house—flashed through my head. I knew I wasn’t doing it.

That’s worse than I thought. His frustration washed over me. I’d have to wipe the whole night after you started walking away from the house. Continue reading Picking Up Pieces: Part 6

Picking Up Pieces: Part 5

Jaclyn paused, and then said, “What happens next?”

Flick said, “Well, then we have to decide whether we take them in as soon as we can, or whether we watch them, and hope they’ll lead us to other people the Nine hired.”

The tone of her voice turned sarcastic as she said, “But that’s not the best part. The best part is the committee monitoring how we do it, and second guessing whether watching him without taking him in is really worth it. Plus with this we’ll get to discuss at any moment whether what we do will cause an international incident.

“Look forward to it kids, this is what you’re training for.”

Continue reading Picking Up Pieces: Part 5

Picking Up Pieces: Part 4

A little more loudly than necessary, Jack said, “Jethro Tull is a group, not a person.”

Haley scowled. “Sorry. Just curious.”

Then she shut off the comm, and looked back at Flick. “I’m not going be able to talk to him much longer.”

“Sorry, hon, but you might like him better once he changes.”

To judge from Haley’s expression, she doubted that. “Once he changes into what?” Continue reading Picking Up Pieces: Part 4

Picking Up Pieces: Part 3

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

Picking Up Pieces: Part 2

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