Experiment #360

The Valiant Part 1

Hank flicked lumpy muffin mixture into tiny baking cups. He shoved the pan into the oven and turned his head toward the living room. Raising his voice to be heard over the TV, he shouted, “Turn that old cartoon off already. You’ve got to get going.”

“It’s almost over, Grandpa,” Jimmy called back.

Hank didn’t approve of Jimmy watching TV, and he liked Jimmy’s choice of programming even less. The Miscellaneous Adventures of The Valiant, based (loosely) on … Read More

Experiment #357

Six Zeros Part 21

Cy stood in his dress uniform in front of Gerard, Pyrite, and Ox. Toliver stood off to one side.

“For your aid in bringing Colonel Kilmer to justice and in destroying the business networks of Boss Clawf, I have been authorized to suspend your sentences and to give you clemency for the offenses you committed while under Kilmer’s threat.”

“That’s not quite expunging them, Cy,” Gerard said.

“No,” he said with a defeated tone. “Nor can I give … Read More

Experiment #356

Six Zeros Part 20

Gerard and Ox ran down the hallway. Plasma fire singed the walls around them as Clawf’s underlings shot at them.

When Gerard reached the hangar, she ducked inside the door, waited for Ox to get through, then wired the door shut. “Ox, the yacht!” Gerard shouted, pointing to Boss Clawf’s pleasure cruise vehicle.

“It have guns?” Ox asked as he ran towards it.

“We’ll see,” Gerard said.

She could hear Clawf’s minions outside the door firing up a precidian … Read More

Experiment #355

Six Zeros Part 19

Toliver and Cy came to the exit door closest to where Toliver had parked their ship. They opened it to see Masq holding a tied Pyrite at gunpoint. “Any closer and he buys it,” she said.

“What if we don’t care about him?” Cy asked.

“You wouldn’t have come this way if you didn’t,” she said. “Kilmer locked the bird down remotely, so you won’t be getting off this rock that way.”

“He was our teammate. You were … Read More

Experiment #354

Six Zeros Part 18

Cy was a blur of red and landed between Boss Clawf and Gerard as Clawf pulled the trigger. His red skin absorbed the plasma shot as he lobbed the explosive at Kilmer.

He gathered Gerard in his arms and ran. Ox and Toliver followed them. Cy left Fishmonger where he lay.

Kilmer had gotten a deflector shield up in time, but the explosion still sent Kilmer and his tablet flying.

When they came to a wall, Cy punched … Read More

Experiment #353

Six Zeros Part 17

“While I’d love a shootout,” Boss Clawf said, “it’d be no fun cleaning your guts off the wall. My brother’s daughter deserves a better death. How about you all just give up your weapons and we can handle this without brain paint, huh?”

“You’ll regret it if I die,” Gerard said.

“No one’s left to mourn but me.”

“No one will mourn your business, but you.”

“You’ve got an angle, huh?” Clawf asked, half proud and half frustrated with … Read More

Experiment #352

Six Zeros Part 16

“Ok, I’m fibbing,” Gerard said. “But it’s for the good of the mission. Clawf has a special backup process that your virus doesn’t account for.”

“How do you know?” Toliver asked.

“Preparation,” Gerard said.

“Fishmonger, what’s your read?” Toliver asked.

Fishmonger looked over her shoulder. “She seems to be telling the truth.”

“Then shut up and let me do the job you threatened my life to get done.”

“Fine.”

“What are these files anyway?” Fishmonger asked.

“You still don’t need to know,” Toliver … Read More

Experiment #351

Six Zeros Part 15

One more good kick and the hole was large enough for Ox to get his hands in and pry it open. Guards entered, drawn by the alarm.

“Ox, Fishmonger,” Gerard yelled. “Take care of them.”

As Ox and Fishmonger advanced on the guards, Gerard pulled a small metal box from the safe. She opened the lid and pulled out a handful of ID cards; she slipped those in her pocket, then pulled out two rings and slipped … Read More

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