Kals shook her head, “Sometimes I think that all I am is a sad story for these people. You know, the orphaned daughter of the martyred mom who united the resistance… Let’s hear her speak and be inspired… I get it. I really do. People need a flag to wave. They need a cause. I’m available and I’m ready to work for it because I think it needs to happen too.
“The Human Ascendancy is nothing more than a leftover of the Abominators’ military bureaucracy and they rule with no more thought to humanity’s good than the Abominators did. They need to go and I’m willing to work to make it happen, but I’m not in charge. The rebellion has a council and I go where they tell me to.” Continue reading Distractions: Part 4
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
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