“Tempting offer,” I said. “I have a counteroffer. How about you leave without hurting anybody and we all get to skip a fight?”
Number Eight smiled. That smile along with his bowler, cane, and the white shirt under his suit jacket made me think of the film A Clockwork Orange. Appearing to be in his mid-thirties, the man seemed a little too old for the role.
I’d never watched it, but it sounded disturbing. Continue reading Misdirection: Part 5 →
As I ran, I tried to think who the people I’d seen might be. The tall woman with green skin came first. I’d seen an alert about her from the FBI. She was called Rogue Croc—which I guess was a reference to a film in addition to the fact that she’d been recruited into the army and been activated by their version of the power impregnator before “going rogue.” Also, she’d grown up in a village of Cabal descendants, so she wasn’t going down easy.
My implant returned that the woman with the staff was called Magicka and that she’d been around since the 1920s, mostly fighting members of the Mask family. As of my internship with the Motor City Heroes, Mateo/Blue Mask was a friend who had no chance to get here in time to help. Continue reading Misdirection: 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 →
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 →
The claw had penetrated at least an inch deep and while the other four hadn’t penetrated as far, they were all bleeding—a lot.
Aiming the sonics of my left arm at Art, who’d begun to get up from the floor,I fumbled with a can that hung on my utility belt, pulled it out, and sprayed, covered the wounds with foam.
Vaughn threw a bolt of lightning at Art and he convulsed, going down for good as a crack of thunder echoed in the room. Continue reading Who Are The True?: Part 6 →
I set the implant to take an image of each page and flipped one after another until they were all in the implant’s memory, not even bothering to read them. I’d have time for that later. What we needed to do now was to get the information and get out.
“Oh, man,” Vaughn had opened one of the folders he’d pulled out of the filing cabinet and stood looking at the pages inside. Then he reached into the folder and pulled out a small object. “Remember this?” Continue reading Who Are The True?: Part 2 →
“I could just stop above the building, engage the gravitics and float down. Then you could walk out.” Haley checked the screens on the instrument panel and then glanced back up toward the windshield.
“I’d like that.” Stephanie’s mouth twisted as she glanced in my direction.
Shrugging, I said, “I was thinking that if anyone was watching upward, we’d have a better chance for the jet to avoid detection if we floated down. I mean, yes, it’s hard to see, but if they know what to look for, they’ll see a jet shaped spot of nothing that turns into a jet in a blacker than black energy shield hovering above the building. If we drop out of it high enough, it won’t notice the jet or any of the three of us unless they’ve got phenomenal senses or exactly the right kind of Abominator tech.” Continue reading Truth and the True: Part 15 →
“That’s more than we knew.” I looked over at her and Tara smiled at me. “Do you have any idea when that happened? The year? Or if we’re lucky, maybe a specific date?”
Tara’s expression went blank again for a few seconds. “No, but a lot of the stories sound like they could take place in this year. My mother’s and father’s stories both include mentions of the Heroes’ League as one of the first groups to face the True.”
“Cool,” Vaughn grinned and asked Tara, “how did we do?”
Tara frowned. “You all died—not all at once, but eventually.” Continue reading Dealing With It: Part 3 →
Tara frowned, but then her face went blank as her brain went into whatever state allowed her to predict opponents’ moves before they made them and recognize patterns of human behavior by connecting details no one else remembered.
Then she took a breath and relaxed, becoming the Tara I was more used to. “The True aren’t historians. We could have kept everything about the story if we’d wanted to, but it’s important to the leaders of the True to revere the Designer as the one who decided what it meant to be one of the True.
“My parents each told me their battalion’s version of the story and then I heard half a dozen different versions wherever we moved in Infinity City. Every group of the True has their own and they’ll tell it to anyone willing to listen.
“I don’t know which one is real. Maybe all of them are. I don’t know enough to figure that out, but I can tell you what’s common to all the versions I know. Maybe that will be close enough.” Continue reading Dealing With It: Part 2 →