Experiment #350

Six Zeros Part 14

Gerard, Ox, and Fishmonger searched the west wing and tore apart the living spaces. Fishmonger found something and yelled, and Gerard and Ox both came over to see him standing over a heavy metal trap door.

Gerard knelt and put a code into the keypad. It beeped angrily at her. “Drat, he’s changed the code.”

“I could crack it,” Fishmonger said. “There aren’t too many combinations.”

“He limits the number of times you can put in a code. … Read More

Experiment #349

Six Zeros Part 13

“We’re at the drop zone,” Toliver yelled.

Cy gave him a thumbs-up. Toliver opened the cargo bay doors and Cy jumped.


Meanwhile Gerard, Ox, and Fishmonger made their way toward the technological nerve center of the compound: the server room. As they walked down a corridor they heard voices and ducked into a lavish but empty dining room. Gerard caught a glimpse of a dark-complected, barrel-chested man in a sumptuous bathrobe with a mechanical arm, being attended … Read More

Experiment #348

Six Zeros Part 12

That night Toliver drove the ship at high altitude over the planet. It was high enough to avoid most sensors, but not so high that it avoided the turbulence and air resistance, making the ride rather rough. Cy stood in the cargo hold in a slipstream suit. While slipstream suites were often used in military contexts, they had not yet been used at the heights and atmospheric density that Cy was about to test it … Read More

Experiment #347

Six Zeros Part 11

They landed their ship on the far side of Glix, the largest town and the one closest to their target. Toliver, Gerard, Fishmonger, and Masq dressed in the clothes common for local freighter crews and headed toward Glix’s main market. It wasn’t far from the landing pads since most of the commerce on this world, legitimate or otherwise, happened either at the spaceport or directly outside the mine.

Cy and Pyrite finished putting together the explosives … Read More

Experiment #346

Six Zeros Part 10

The next week or so was spent alternately between planning and training. Toliver called the next mission “The one they’d been recruited for” but wouldn’t give them any more details on what they were doing, except that they were to plant a virus in a Ftharan dignitary’s personal data center.

“Why do we have to go inside the building? Can’t we hit it from a network drop outside?” Fishmonger asked.

“If only we could, but the virtual … Read More

Experiment #345

Six Zeros Part 9

Masq fired at the postal inspector, but with her arm hurt she missed unintentionally.

“Move,” Gerard shouted into the comm. She grabbed the liftbot and sent it careening for the inspector while everyone else ran.

“Dumb Ox and Masq, head for the cargo bay and make a lot of noise so he follows you. Cy and Fishmonger, on me. We’re gonna finish this.”

A few moments later Gerard heard shots being fired as she, Cy, and Fishmonger arrived … Read More

Experiment #344

Six Zeros Part 8

Toliver brought them out of hyperspace five hundred meters from the postal carrier. “The carrier’s system is fuzzled. I can’t get a clean lock to dock. You’ll have to walk it. Once inside, you’ve got air pressure in there, but it looks like no Oxygen. Pyrite, you’ll stay behind and man the canon in case we have trouble.”

“You expecting any?”

“Always,” Toliver said. “All right, Gerard, suit up. Your mission is a go.”

Gerard, Ox, Fishmonger, Cy, … Read More

Experiment #343

Six Zeros Part 7

“You sent for me, sir?”

Kilmer sat behind a wide desk in front of a wall of awards and commendations. “Yes. Make certain you watch the Moorvat closely. If he gets even a little out of line, kill him.”

“Yes, sir,” Toliver said.


Toliver turned to go, then stopped and turned back to Kilmer. “Sir, what if the subcutaneous explosives don’t work on him?”

“They will,” Kilmer said sharply. Toliver nodded and left.

Kilmer drummed his fingers on his desk. … Read More

Experiment #342

Six Zeros Part 6

Meanwhile, Gerard, Masq, Pyrite, and Ox, carrying Fishmonger, slipped through the airlock and made their way toward the bridge. The hallways seemed empty, almost inviting. As they reached the bridge door they heard a commotion from behind. A battered and burned Cy was running full-tilt toward them with a gang of twenty or so Ftharan mercenaries in pursuit.

Gerard sighed. “Light them up, Pyrite.”

“Including ‘the Hero’?”


Pyrite, free of the asbestos gloves, juggled flames around his fingers … Read More

Experiment #341

Six Zeros Part 5

In the hallway, they largely followed Gerard’s plan, each of them figuring they might as well until something better comes along.

Fishmonger was the first to see an opportunity. He ducked down a corridor and was out of sight, and within seconds they heard an explosion and a cry of pain. They ran to the spot only to find Fishmonger with one less leg than he’d had before.

Gerard turned down the corridor they had come. “Hey, … Read More

Experiment #340

Six Zeros Part 4

The lights blazed on as smoke, noise, and commotion filled the room. Kilmer shouted orders at his men. Each one went to a former inmate and touched a medical device to their neck, each arm, and each leg.

“No time for pleasantries. You’ve all been fitted with five subcutaneous explosive devices. Should any one lose contact with the other four in your body, you explode. Should any be taken out of your body, you explode. Should … Read More

Experiment #339

Six Zeros Part 3

“I ain’t following no twelve-year-old girl,” Wisk yelled.

“Least I ain’t stupid,” Gerard retorted.

“Ms. Melodious Kleeple, also known as Masquerade–“

“Just Masq,” she snarled.

“–is our disguise and infiltration expert,” Kilmer continued, unperturbed. “I’d hardly believe she was a woman if I hadn’t seen the scans myself.”

“Scans can be faked,” Masq said. She was currently a light skinned blond woman, who seemed like she could wrap any man around her finger.

“And Anthony Fishmonger, half-man, half-machine. He’s replaced half … Read More

Experiment #338

Six Zeros Part 2

Colonel Kilmer entered the room amidst yelling, name-calling, and general anarchy. Four men and two women in bright, neon-yellow prison jumpsuits were restrained around the room. All fought their restraints and shouted except one. The yelling and name-calling only got louder as Kilmer entered the room and became its focus.

Kilmer stopped in the center and tapped a few buttons on his tablet. All six former inmates felt a jolt of electricity. After the screams died … Read More

Experiment #337

Six Zeros Part 1

Inmates poured out of the giant hole into the forsaken landscape of the asteroid. They’d be dead inside seven days, but even death seemed better than continued service in the gulag. Colonel Kilmer and two of his men, each armed with a sniper rifle, stood a safe distance away.

“Prepare to fire,” Kilmer shouted.

He called off targets from the tablet in his hand. His men picked off those targets from the ID tags on the fronts … Read More

Experiment #336

Near Enough Part 6

A few days later, Cara sat in one of the comfy chairs her Mom had moved up to her room. She binge-watched all the media she’d missed while in the hospital, but barely registered what happened on the screens. She heard a soft rap at the window behind her. “Come in!” She said.

The soft rap came again.

“Come in!” she hollered.

Again the soft rapping.

“COME IN!” She shouted at the top of her lungs.

The soft rapping came … Read More