Tag Archives: Arete

Courtesy: Part 50

It would have been over right there if it had never occurred to us that someday we might be exposed to a Dominator and be without a buzzer.

The bad news, of course, was that we hadn’t had access to Kals or anyone with Dominator training. We did have Julie, but unlike the Dominators in the Human Ascendancy or serving the Nine, she hadn’t been taught from childhood. She’d picked up what she could by experimentation and what the teachers in the  Stapledon program knew the Dominators could do.

Still, it was something—enough to practice with. Continue reading Courtesy: Part 50

Courtesy: Part 49

Arete shook his head, “You’re bluffing. There’s no way this Xiniti could pass that on to the rest. There’s no Xiniti Mars base and even if there were there’s no way they’d find out for hours.”

I don’t know how often you encounter people whose understanding of the world is so far from yours that you absolutely despair of bridging the gap, but I hope it’s never for anything important.

In that moment though, I barely knew where to start. I tried, “Look, there is a Xiniti base at the LaGrange point near Mars. It takes the speed of light more than three minutes to get there. If you’re communicating back and forth to a Mars rover it might take 15 to 45 minutes to communicate back and forth, but that’s partly just technology and it’s not technology we’re using. Continue reading Courtesy: Part 49

Courtesy: Part 48

I looked him in the eye (to the degree that I could through a helmet) and said, “We’re all going to die and you with us. If you get out, that means the whole planet goes. Whether people I care about die because of the Nine or because the Xiniti make the sun go nova, they’re dead. So congratulations, you’ve made this whole situation so bad that you have no hold on us because we don’t have anything to lose.”

In the moment, I meant it, but I knew that if we got reports of our parents dying at the hands of the Nine and we survived, it wouldn’t feel like a victory. Continue reading Courtesy: Part 48

Courtesy: Part 46

The boy froze again, his right hand curling into a ball. Then he smiled and said, “I would like that. Is this something that you can teach me or would you place a spell on me?”

“A spell,” Amy said, glancing over at Arete, “and I can’t do it now because I’m a little tired, but I think I could in ten minutes.”

Uncurling his right hand, the boy smiled, “I don’t necessarily need it, but I’ll think about it. I do sometimes have a little trouble with rogue personalities and a little help keeping them under control wouldn’t hurt.”

While I couldn’t say I wanted Arete free, helping the Fungus Collective keep him controlled also felt wrong. Continue reading Courtesy: Part 46

Courtesy: Part 45

Cassie piped up before anyone else, “How do we trust you? You were literally trying to kill some of us less than a minute ago. Sure, you stopped, but what are we supposed to do with that? Right now you need us, but maybe in the future you decide that you don’t. What’s going to stop you from absorbing the whole world then?”

The boy frowned, “The Xiniti will burn this world. Isn’t that correct?”

“Right,” Cassie pointed at the mounds, “but we see what you’re up to. You’re making replacements for us.” Continue reading Courtesy: Part 45

Courtesy: Part 44

Logically, I should have told him to shoot it. The longer we took with this, the more time the greater horde had to reach us. Plus, it was most likely an avatar for a larger entity that was willing to sacrifice human life without a thought.

Why didn’t I? First of all, Alex didn’t take orders from anybody. Second, we didn’t know where the core of the entity was and a conversation could give us time to find it that combat wouldn’t. Beyond that, would the Fungus Collective simply hand us the core of its mental processes? Unlikely. If I had to guess, I’d guess that the kid was intended to be a distraction for us.

Also, there was the possibility, however small, that we were actually looking at a kid. Continue reading Courtesy: Part 44

Courtesy: Part 3

Major Justice stumbled, but then recovered, putting his arm out and grabbing Arete’s shoulder, steadying himself, but putting more force into the gesture than seemed necessary.

Arete stumbled, turning his head and opening his mouth to shout something. His words made no sense to me, but my buzzer went off along with the buzzers of everyone on my team including Justice Fist—plus Major Justice.

It was too bad Major Justice hadn’t used one whenever he’d first encountered Arete, but using one now might mean Arete’s influence was waning. Continue reading Courtesy: Part 3

Courtesy: Part 2

My mom had been depressed and unwilling to talk about the fact that Rachel and I were following in our grandparents’ footsteps for months after her block had fallen. Of course, part of the process had included being kidnapped by Ray and the Cabal and freeing herself so that she couldn’t be used as a hostage against Rachel and me.

Linking mental manipulation with traumatic events couldn’t be good for someone. Life as a superhero was filled with traumatic events and Major Justice had to live with that.

Realizing that I had an expert on the call, I said, “Kals, if you can see this, what do you think of Major Justice?” Continue reading Courtesy: Part 2

Courtesy: Part 1

As Jaclyn finished, Vaughn frowned. Unless I missed my guess, he wanted to say something and couldn’t because he was in the middle of the same crowd I was. Without a Xiniti brain implant, it’d be as obvious as taking a call on a cell phone.

“Hey,” he said to Arete, “can we have a second? You’re asking us to hide something really big. We’re going to need to talk amongst ourselves for a second—which includes talking to people who aren’t here and are just watching.” Continue reading Courtesy: Part 1