Kals talked with Julie in a low voice, using words that were a mixture of English and Ascendancy. The Ascendancy was straight jargon transliterated or translated into English. Even the Xiniti implants couldn’t translate it very well, turning most of the words into sound waveforms—which I could maybe figure out her strategy given time, but not in the moment. I still needed more context.
The words themselves still didn’t make it clearer. An example? Kals said, “I’ll need you to do eight high mind squirts in a row in the low mind zug pattern I taught you earlier.”
Julie meanwhile, furrowed her brow at first, but then smiled and said, “Got it!” Continue reading Simple Choices: Part 10
I found myself remembering back to when we’d faced Ray and the Cabal and Ray’s method of terrorizing his targets—killing their families first, getting closer and closer, and then killing the target. From the way Haley’s face tightened, I guessed that she was remembering the same. Back then, we’d been able to rely on the FBI to guard our families. Knowing that the Nine likely had an ear there, we’d have to do it ourselves.
I said, “Can you move more bots out? We need to cast a wider surveillance net around our families, but I think we might want to do the same around close friends.” Continue reading Friends & Family: Part 1
The next day I found myself in the last place I wanted to be when almost everyone I knew was in danger—work.
Chris and I had rented an old, one-story building in an industrial neighborhood in Grand Lake that consisted of old factories, dirt parking lots, a railway, and weeds. I didn’t know when the building we were renting had been built, but it had last been renovated in the 1960s. Made of red brick, dark windows, and a flat, slanted roof, its only sign of life was a small sign above the door that said, “Cannon & Klein Engineering.” Continue reading Enforcers: Part 1
I turned around to find Vaughn in my latest version of the Storm King armor. Black with a storm cloud on his chest, it included flaps to catch the wind he generated. Yoselin wore her own armor, the red triangle, white star, and blue and white stripes might almost pass for a patriotic US costume if you didn’t think too hard about it. The backpack and streamlined half-cylinders running up and down her arms and legs hinted at a refined version of her father’s armor’s air manipulation tech.
Neither of them wore their helmets, but it was plain they were both prepared for practice. Continue reading Never Go Home: Part 8
Chris grinned, “Can’t argue with that. We’ve still got time to figure it all out and with any luck, we won’t get corrupted by ancient alien artifacts first.”
“Sadly, that means that we’ve got to leave this one alone for the time being,” I looked down at the tablet where it lay on the table. “I’ve got a feeling I’ll want to lock this one away.”
Raising his eyebrow, “Does this mean you’re finally going to open storage room three or four?” Continue reading Never Go Home: Part 7
Against the sea of stars behind her, Kee seemed to shrink into herself, saying nothing, “I don’t have an easy answer. Back when we were young, when Lee, Nataw, and other friends of ours first came into this universe, we loved to travel, he more than most of us. I think he may have been the last of us to give up traveling simply for the sake of travel–if he ever did. I think he still did even after our people divided up into factions. As one of the first members of the Live faction, the smartest thing he could have done was hide, but he kept on moving instead, never staying anywhere long enough to be found.”
Watching her face for any reactions, I said, “A lot of people would see that as a pretty good tactic for hiding.” Continue reading Never Go Home: Part 6
I did the only thing I could think of. I ordered the power interface to cut off the power, but on the off chance that the tablet had a bomb inside, I did it while running for the exit and shutting the door behind me.
Theoretically, given the size of the tablet, it might not be much of a bomb, but I knew what Cassie’s gun could do. I remembered the bodies of the frogmen on the roof of a building in Washington D.C. It hadn’t been pretty and if push came down to it, if I had to come up with a species most likely develop a golfball-sized hydrogen bomb (or worse), the Abominators would have been high on my list of candidates. Continue reading Never Go Home: Part 4
I couldn’t call Amy at nearly midnight. Well, maybe I could, but she’d left with Vaughn. Even if they weren’t officially dating anymore, what they were doing looked exactly like dating—which meant that any texts I made might interrupt nakedness.
I didn’t want to be that guy.
Tara’s voice, high pitched but steady sounded in my helmet. “They teleported away with Abominator technology.”
Chris and Sydney stood in front of the office building, each of them looking in opposite directions next to the bodies of the tentacled beasts they’d killed.
Chris asked, “Are you sure?” Continue reading Jekyll Or Hyde: Part 5
She took twenty feet or more at a step. I’d seen Haley do the same when she wanted to. At the same time, Haley ran with more confidence. The woman I was fighting now almost fell twice, catching herself the first time and diving into a roll on the second.
It hinted that she wasn’t used to her powers or that blasting her with sound might have damaged one or more of her eardrums and her sense of balance along with it.
As fast as Haley could run, I knew the Rocket suit flew faster and this person had less control over her abilities. I let more fuel into the rocket pack and felt the suit lurch forward even as she poured on the speed. Continue reading Jekyll Or Hyde: Part 4
If I were using the original version of the stealth suit, I would have died. Whoever this woman was, she had all of Haley’s strength, more size and greater reach to work with.
Her claws would have torn through the fabric of my armor even though it had multiple layers and hardened in response to pressure.
This stealth suit’s materials came from my own imagination combined with alien tech. Using elements of nanotechnology, it adjusted and even repaired itself while it was being damaged. Continue reading Jekyll Or Hyde: Part 3