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
Soon after that, we all went back to base. After asking Daniel, I stripped out of the full Rocket suit and showered. Haley had assured me that it was a necessity. I put on a real pair of jeans and a t-shirt because she’d also assured me that my nanotech-produced clothing also needed washing.
Daniel had assured me that the chance of anything happening in the next hour or two was extremely unlikely. Continue reading Friends & Family: Part 4
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
Amy’s mouth twisted as she eyed the glowing object. Part of me worried that she wasn’t in costume, but given that the message had found her, it was too late to worry about revealing her identity. The North American Wizard Council had probably known from the moment she appeared on our world.
In an accent that wasn’t quite Irish, Scottish, or English, but some alternate universe’s near relative, she said, “I’m Princess Amelia of the House of Sacrifice, current Bloodmaiden. You have my attention. What is your request?” Continue reading Fonts of Magic: Part 1
Despite remembering her worst, I said, “You know, she might. If you want, I can bring it up. The thing is, she’s going to leave soon. I don’t know how much time she’ll have to teach you, but I think she’d be willing to teach you something. I think she wants to hang out with me and maybe relax for a second, though. So, she won’t want to teach the whole time.”
Waving her hand as if she were waving away my concerns, she said, “Don’t worry about it. I can’t spend all day with her either. Anything she can show me will put me ahead of where I am now.”
She stopped, staring at the camera and by extension at me, “You’re friends?” Continue reading Distractions: Part 3
My implant handled the call and Kals and Katuk appeared in my vision, standing against a background of beige cubicles. No longer wearing the green spacesuit she’d been in earlier, Kals wore a black dress made of a material that added overtones of colors that slowly formed shapes that then turned into landscapes or animals. The movement was subtle enough that you wouldn’t notice it if you didn’t think about it, but obvious when you did.
I’d seen similar clothing on her mother and other people who were dressing formally in the Human Ascendancy.
My implant offered me a history of fashion trends in the Human Ascendancy and I slapped it down. I didn’t need to know that right now. Continue reading Distractions: Part 2
Shadow and Voice led me over to the locker rooms to change. If you’re imagining a futuristic locker room, stop.
It looked like the locker room of every high school sports team in the United States—rows of toilet stalls with metal dividers for privacy. A roomful of metal lockers for each person on the team and wooden benches for people to sit. The far end of the room opened into a tiled room with showers.
I read the names on the lockers—Accelerando, Captain Commando, The Mystic, The Rocket, Storm King and the others—realizing, “There’s only one locker room?”
Voice, a thin, blonde woman, shucked her grey Stapledon uniform, laughed and grunted, “You got it.” Continue reading A Day in The Life: Part 13
Travis’ voice came over the comm. “Don’t get too close. I’ve got a plan.”
I didn’t have time to ask him about the plan. The Thing disappeared through the wide hangar door. We could have closed it. It would have bought Travis time, but on the other hand, he didn’t seem to need it and The Thing would have trashed our door.
It was a big metal door that ran from the ceiling to the floor—not exactly the kind of thing you can pick up at Lowe’s.
The Thing flew through the doorway, past the concrete wall on one side and the door on the other. Continue reading Revelations: Part 7
Over the next two days, I settled into a more normal routine. The spybots didn’t pick up anything worth mentioning. Kid Biohack didn’t try to contact us. I had time to hang around with Haley, which on Thursday night turned into all the people who happened to visit my room—Camille, Vaughn, and Courtney. We didn’t talk about anything even related to Stapledon or superheroes because a number of Jeremy’s friends also came through including Jillian, the Kid Biohack fan we’d met while moving in.
Sean even dropped by to talk to Vaughn. It was the first time I’d seen him since leaving Colorado. It wasn’t precisely awkward. We’d talked a few times after everything that happened—fighting faeries, the dragon, and so on, but no heart to heart talks or anything. We’d acknowledged each other and left it at that. Thursday was no exception. Sean and I nodded at each other. Sean and Vaughn stepped out to talk, and then Vaughn came back alone.
It wasn’t exactly a homework-friendly situation. I didn’t get anything done until after everyone left. On the bright side, it was still the first week of school, so there wasn’t much homework to speak of.
Continue reading Everybody’s Got One: Part 4
“Hey,” I said.
She held up her left arm, looking down at the League communicator on her wrist. It looked just like the ones Nick made for us when we were in costume.
She tapped on the screen, waited, and then said, “It’s her. Thank God.”
Then she pulled a roll of duct tape out of her utility belt, floated down, and taped Julie’s mouth shut.
I laughed. “Duct tape? Did Nick put that in there?”
She froze. “No. I… Wait a second.”
She pulled up the communicator again, and this time she pointed it at me. After tapping the screen she said, “OK, this is going to be weird, but we split off early last summer—your time.”
“My time?” Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 22