Mexican Wave: Chapter Three

Working in the ship was unpleasantly like being baked in the bad way, but eventually a loud klaxon sounded and Jackie came down to Jason.

“Shift’s over,” she said, jerking her thumb towards the door she had come in by. “I’ll take you to the mess.”

“Do we have to clean that up too?” said Jason innocently. To her surprise, Jackie snorted a quick laugh. Immediately after, though, she was dead serious once again. She led Jason out of the ship.

“You finish the soldering?” she said. Jason nodded, holding up her hands. A large red mark betrayed the spot where she had carelessly let her hand rest against a deceptively hot outcropping from one of the processor cores. Jackie laughed and held up her own hand. One exactly like it marked her own hand, just between the thumb and first finger.

“We’re all the same here,” she said. “Just some of us are the same in different ways.”

Chapter Three

Mexican Wave: Chapter Two

“Have you ever heard the expression: ‘All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun?’” said the woman behind the desk on the tv screen who was, yes, yet another of her. Jason shook her head. She was in what Cass had called “re-orientation”, a sort of untraining course where the only lesson was to sit still and listen. “Well. You are the girl, and I have the gun. Do I make myself clear?”

Chapter Two

Mexican Wave: Chapter One

“Ah, Jason!” he said, and vanished into the green again. The way the light refracted through the water vapour in the air, it seemed to be coming from all sides. Then there was the sound of a heavy switch being thrown and a loud extractor fan whirred into life. The vapour billowed into the small box vents that dotted the ceiling, and Jason wondered how powerful a fan you would need to take the air with them. Someone was probably working on that on one of the deeper sub-levels.
“You’re probably wondering why I called you here,” said Paine, putting a test tube full of the vapour in a rack. It seemed to be lit from within by the same green light. “I won’t mince words with you: We’ve made contact.”

Chapter One

“See you around, Victrix Lament”: Chapter Four

“I wish things could have been different,” Carian thought to her as he pulled the crate out of the hatch and opened it. “I was starting to like you.” He lifted the lid and selected an armful of the white transport canisters. “You can keep the rest,” he said aloud, letting the crate fall closed. He looked down at her, powerless to move, and smiled. “See you around, Victrix Lament.”

Chapter Four

“See you around, Victrix Lament”: Chapter Two

The stinking air blasted past her face as the airbike swooped lower and lower, circling the enormous tower like a helter-skelter. Not for the first time, Lament was glad of her filter mask.
“The p-platform should be right here,” said the deputy in her ear. He was strapped into the bike just like she was, but still his arms were wrapped tightly around her waist.
“Nervous flyer?” Lament asked.
“More so the falling,” he said. “There it is!” he released one hand, pointing out straight ahead. Looming through the smog, a colossal structure: an abandoned mining platform, the sergeant had said…

Chapter Two

“See you around, Victrix Lament”: Chapter Three

“Remarkable, isn’t it? That bag of tricks the Empire planted in your head is all you know now. Can’t function without it.” He smiled a smile that was all teeth. “Now us, we may not all be a hundred per cent original human,” he said, and raised his claw demonstratively. “But we know our limits. No bloody transgenetic trickery in here!” and he pounded his chest with a clang.

“Not gene therapy… just… training,” said Lament weakly. The old man laughed.

“That’s what they told you! You trust too easily, yellowjacket! Me, I keep my ear to the ground. I know all about those ‘training’ camps!”

Lament was breathing easier now, and the feeling was starting to return to some of her extremities. She flexed her fingers, imagining the old man’s scrawny neck between them.

“Ooh she’s feeling feisty, boys!” said the old man, chomping on the cigar with some amusement. He looked up at Ballis, the giant. “Hit her again,” he said calmly.

Chapter Three

“See You Around, Victrix Lament”: Chapter One

The first shot thumped through the space her head had been a second earlier, as she rolled into the room and pulled her force pistol from her belt. Black outfits. Armoured. No markings. Kill squad. She swept the legs out from under one of them and let fly with a shot at his buddy, who ducked behind Omar’s desk. Ugh. These things were never easy…

Chapter One

Message Intercept: Chapter Three

The wailing noise went on, and then pounding at the entrance of the building.
“We have to open it!” Sita said, darting towards the barred door. But the PhD student and I caught her.
“If you open that door we’ll never be able to close it. We’ll all go through that same horrible process. You’ve seen the pictures,” they said.
“Sita… I’m sorry,” I murmured, letting her go. She fell into the seat of one of the nearby benches and sobbed, her head in her hands.
We all stood still and silent, listening to the wailing until it stopped…

Message Intercept: Chapter Three