What did I want to know? Everything? What she was about when she chose to turn Armory from a superhero into a purely profit-seeking weapons developer? How it happened that she had some kind of relationship with Bullet and why she did it? What did she know about Martin Magnus and what they’d been using Master Martian for?
We kind of knew the answers to those questions, but we only really had guesses and Master Martian’s version of events. Continue reading From Far Away: Part 10
Kals laughed, “Oh, really… I can join you then? Do you think I’ll want to? That I’m desperate enough that I’ll sit around waiting for something interesting to happen in my life? You’re very impressed with yourself and whatever you’re doing. I think you need to tell me everything about it.”
I didn’t need the buzz of the Defenders’ protections to tell me that Kals had chosen violence (or mind control. The difference was arguable). I heard the tone of her voice take on an odd tone, but not quite the one I remembered. Continue reading From Far Away: Part 9
Kals opened her mouth and began to say, “I’d like th—“ but then she stopped. “You know what? I know I told you about techniques your buzzer doesn’t block and that you fixed them, but if she knows techniques that I don’t, I should probably take Katuk.”
I nodded, “Yeah. She probably doesn’t have experience with Xiniti.”
Katuk added, “We hear frequencies that you don’t and our brains are different enough that few Dominators can manipulate us.” Continue reading From Far Away: Part 8
Kals stopped and looked into the cell where Ana lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling. I didn’t know what she was thinking and then she spoke into my head via my implant.
That’s your cousin? I’m sorry I couldn’t do more. I think she’s going to be back to normal unless there’s another telepathic trigger in there or one of the other things you mentioned over the ansible connection. You told me there was magic and telepathy and unpredictable technology. I understood you, but I didn’t get it until now. I understand why your people couldn’t figure it out. Continue reading From Far Away: Part 7
Mindstryke grinned, “Everything I’ve heard about the Ascendancy is bad, so I can’t say I’m surprised. You’ll be the first person with the skills of a Dominator that I’ve worked with. The few times I’ve encountered them, they’ve been trying to kill me.”
He nodded toward one of the hallways, “We’ve got them down this way. We can’t keep them close enough that Ana would be in the range of the Dominator’s voice. We’ve got a buzzer to prevent that sort of thing, but we both know that accidents happen. Over here.” Continue reading From Far Away: Part 5
The Defenders’ staff recommended a route for our approach that avoided air traffic from both O’Hare and Midway. Following their advice, I brought the jet in. Hal, an AI that specialized in predicting how best to win battles between fleets of starships, probably could have worked out a more direct route through Chicago’s many flight paths, but we weren’t in that much of a hurry.
Besides, it was best not to annoy people unless you needed to. Continue reading From Far Away: Part 4
In that moment, I realized that Kals wasn’t speaking whatever they spoke in the Human Ascendancy. She spoke English and her accent sounded like the one out of old movies—somewhere between the US and British. I could only guess that wherever her implant downloaded it from had updated its language files in the 1950s.
I hoped that it automatically adjusted with exposure to new variants in the language. If not, she might be able to pass for someone from India who’d studied in the US and the UK. Hopefully, it wouldn’t come to that.
Katuk wouldn’t be able to pass for a human at all. Continue reading From Far Away: Part 3
Possible responses hung in my head, most of them bad. I settled on, “I’m sorry. I wish we could have done something, but none of us are any good at healing.”
I thought back to my friend Alex. He was good at healing. It would have been nice if the Ghosts had grabbed him along with Rachel. He couldn’t have survived the trip without a spaceship, and everything I knew through my implant and Rachel said that they didn’t bother with them.
Kals shook her head. “Iolan could have done it if he had access to all his equipment. The Ascendancy killed her in more ways than one. I hate them. I don’t know how, but somehow we have to destroy them. Not everybody, but the Ascendant and the Ascendant Council, the Guard… It all needs to end.” Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 36
Jaclyn couldn’t take them all out, but she tried. She moved too quickly for me to see, but with the Xiniti implant, I processed her movements well enough to notice the blur of where she’d been.
Ordinary people didn’t even notice that and had to rely on the explosion of blood and the way the Ascendancy soldiers’ bodies toppled off their torsos to the ground.
That didn’t mean the Ascendancy soldiers couldn’t hit her though. One of them, an Ascendant Guardmember by the symbol on his chest, shot her in the thigh with a yellow beam.
She tumbled as he twisted to take another shot at her. Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 31
At the same time that the Ascendancy forces began to charge, bright light came from the sky toward the Waroo ship, hitting it in an explosion of light. The ship didn’t fall out of the sky.
Knowing that, I knew that the Waroo were okay or okay-ish. Their shields were still up. If they’d fallen, chunks of the ship would be falling from the sky, burning all the way down. All the same, they couldn’t be as much help. They were maneuvering to respond to the fighters, blasting upward with their weapons.
That meant the obvious, they weren’t firing at the Ascendancy troops, meaning the Ascendancy had no reason not to kill us all.
They attacked. Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 29