Between the blue t-shirt that appeared to be a pajama top and the wrinkles in his khakis, Dr. Nation was the closest to disheveled I’d ever seen him. He’d obviously come straight from bed, and thrown on anything in reach.
It could have been worse, I told myself. He might have come in a bathrobe.
Dr. Nation leaned over Stephanie, and picked up the glowing metal weapon, aiming its face away from him and us. After a moment, he turned it off.
Then he checked Gordon’s face. It was red where he’d hit the rock wall. He touched his hand on Gordon’s arm, checking Gordon’s pulse, nodding and giving a small smile as he found it. Then he looked at Haley. “How long does your poison generally last?”
She pursed her lips. “That’s hard to say. It depends on how big they are, and how much I put into them. With the normal amount, people are out for at least ten minutes.”
Nodding slowly, he asked, “And did you give them the normal amount?”
Haley grimaced, and said, “I… think? It was a bit of a blur.” Continue reading Threat Analysis: Part 10 (The Real One) →
My mind raced. Was there a technical fix for this? Set Hal to follow where the email went and delete it from any system that had it? That would create a mess by itself. If it turned out that the recipient had already printed it out or removed the computer from the internet, we might not ever find it.
Haley glanced back at me, but since I was still trying to think about technical solutions, I didn’t say anything.
She frowned, and addressed Stephanie again. “Can’t you stop them? You know these people, right? If they’re trustworthy, they’ll understand it wasn’t your information to give.”
Stephanie’s face twitched. “Do you want to leave a bunch of murderers in charge?” Continue reading Threat Analysis: Part 9 →
How do you answer a question like that? It’s not as if I could say the honest one, “About five minutes before you started having sex.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Haley’s hand reach out and turn off the monitor. Deciding she had a point, I turned off the roachbot controller.
“Not long,” I said, hoping Stephanie wasn’t one of those people who noticed lies as easily as breathing.
I supposed that technically I hadn’t been lying, but I’d want to start as soon as they asked what I’d seen, or if I had anything to do with what happened to the computers. Continue reading Threat Analysis: Part 8 →
I took a breath. It’s one thing to be worried about a possibility, and another when it’s there in front of you.
“They’re printing out everything Hal gave us. I don’t know what they’re planning to do with it, but they’re involved somehow. Do you know what to do? It’s not like I’m going to go over there in armor and beat them up.”
Haley took her eyes off the screen to say, “I don’t know either. Could you tell Agent Lim?”
“I could, but I think he’s home for the weekend, and anyway I doubt he’d be able to get anyone to do anything soon enough.” Continue reading Threat Analysis: Part 7 →
It had to be important. Think about it. You’ve got a couple. They’re young and in love. It’s the Fourth of July, a national holiday, and instead of going out and doing something or retreating to someone’s room to make out, they were here in the lab waiting for a print job to finish.
And also making out.
I couldn’t help but notice that they were being very… thorough about it. Clothes were on, but hands were under clothes, and some side effect of Amy’s spell gave the two of them a red aura, more of it in some spots than others.
I couldn’t know for sure, but I suspected that the strength of the glow meant something. More power maybe? Continue reading Threat Analysis: Part 6 →
Amy closed her eyes, said a few words and poked her arm. As she pulled the pin out, her face visibly paled–even in the light of a streetlight.
Haley frowned. “Are you okay?”
Amy nodded slowly. “It’s not a difficult spell, but I don’t have as much power to work with without transforming. Could all of you hold out your arms?”
Camille extended her arm halfway to Amy, asking, “What are you–”
Amy grabbed Camille’s forearm, and poked her with the pin. “This.” Continue reading Threat Analysis: Part 5 →
We stayed together. Even if Izzy and Jaclyn could have been there instantaneously, it was just safer.
The park was largely empty–not completely because there were stragglers and groups that were still talking. There were also a few police officers.
Vaughn sat on the grass, his face lit by his phone’s screen. As we came closer, he turned off his phone and stared at us.
“How did you do that? We were talking and now you’re all over–”
He stopped. “Something bad just happened. I wasn’t talking to you, was I?”
Jaclyn glanced around the park. “Daniel? Izzy?”
Daniel shook his head. “Give me a second. I’m trying something.” Continue reading Threat Analysis: Part 4 →
A few hours later we were on the lawn in front of Denver’s City and County Building in Civic Center Park—a big park with pillared government buildings all around it. The State Capitol building’s gold dome shone in the sunset on the far end of the park.
We’d arrived hours before the actual fireworks for the obvious reasons that it would be easier to find parking, and stake out a spot on the lawn.
We could have gone to Castle Rock’s fireworks display, but Lim had sent an email to everyone encouraging students to spread out. We’d have an easier time blending in in Denver. In fact, everyone in the Stapledon program could have gone to Denver’s show and not skewed the look of the crowd appreciably toward young adults.
We’d bought cheap camping chairs on the way there, and set them up on the lawn. Near me Daniel and Izzy talked with Cassie. Haley, Jaclyn and Camille were laughing about something behind me.
I had my League phone out, and open to the folder on the League’s servers where I’d had Hal put the transcripts.
Hal had overdone it. By far. Continue reading Threat Analysis: Part 3 →
I thought about it. “I… Uh… No. They’re not dating. Well, probably not. They’ve been friends for ages. So if it seems like they’re close, that’s true, but they don’t seem any closer now than before.”
Amy raised an eyebrow, and then frowned. “I was hoping for an answer that was a little more definitive. Something like, ‘No, they’re not going out’.”
I took my hands away from the keyboard. The AI could wait. Chances were that his trolling wouldn’t cause major damage in the next few minutes. Continue reading Threat Analysis: Part 2 →
After the phone call with Larry ended, we all squished into the van for a kind of post event victory party. If it felt less like a victory than the beginning of a whole new problem, well, it probably was.
On the bright side, it wasn’t as if we had to do anything immediately.
The roachbots were set to record. The jet would be doing translation. All the humans had to do was provide direction.
By the time Saturday and Sunday were over, all we had to do was throw ourselves back into our normal lives which for the moment meant constant training. Continue reading Threat Analysis: Part 1 →