The Ridiculous Adventures of Felix Felicis – Part Nine

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

“Hello Sir,” Felix said, feeling rested but hungry as he looked down the barrel of the thin man’s gun. He resisted the urge to tell the bank robber how dirty the barrel of his gun looked from this angle.

“Don’t sir me, you ugly mook. Just give me all your money,” The man looked like a good wind would blow him over, but he had what Felix thought was a “Tommy Gun” pointed at a room full of bank clientele.

“I’m sorry I really have nothing of value on me,” Felix ignored the rude comments and repeated what he’d told the man and his wife.

“Search him, Claire,” said the man.

“He’s clean, got nothing on him, Donnie,” said the short dumpy woman.

“Donnie and Claire?” mumbled Felix. Why couldn’t he get name brand villains instead of cheap knockoffs?

Just as Donnie turned to point his rather large gun at another client, the little bell on top of the entrance rang and a large man forced his way through the doorway, similar to the way canned cranberries slump out of their can.

As the man entered, Donnie turned his ridiculously large gun towards the man. Felix then did something that he never thought he’d do. He punched Donnie as hard as he could in the face. The gun went off releasing a spray of bullets that shot a few windows, as it and Donnie fell to the floor.

When he looked back, Miss Eris had subdued Claire and taken away her firearm.

The large man, who wore a pinstriped suit, stopped in shock at the scene in front of him. When he recovered, he ran to Felix and shook his hand, “You have saved my life sir. How can I ever repay you? You shall come to dinner at my home tonight.”

It was at this point that Felix started to wonder if something like fate, destiny, or dumb luck was guiding their trip. Appearing in the middle of a bank heist seemed the least likely way to get invited to dinner at a gangster’s home, but as it turned out he was once again wrong. It wasn’t anything like fate. He decided that the universe had a perverse sense of humour and was enjoying toying with him.

* * *

The problem with a formal dinner was that Felix hadn’t eaten anything in … He wasn’t sure but it felt like days. He just wanted to attack the food and not worry about what people thought. It was a rare emotion for him. He always tried to be tidy and clean, but hunger made him sloppy and grumpy.

All thoughts left his head when he smelled the food. It tasted heavenly and he had the hardest time paying attention to any conversation.

When dessert was finally served after several courses of heavenly food, Amanda leaned over to him and said, “How do you suppose we get the diamond?”

As an answer, he shrugged, “We’ve done it before, so we’ll do it again.”

“The depression has taken its toll on all of us, hasn’t it, Mister Felicis?” The large gangster asked.

“Yes, I supposed it has. I must say I haven’t eaten this well in years,” Felix winked at Amanda. Small talk about politics and the evils of prohibition dominated the after-dinner conversation. When he felt it was appropriate, Felix suggested, “Could we have a tour of your lovely home?”

It was a beautiful house, just outside the city, built in the grand Federal style with hints of Greek-Revival, reminiscent of the White House and the Tara plantation in Gone with the Wind, one of Felix’s favourite movies.

As they walked, Felix offered Amanda his arm. It served two purposes letting them whisper to each other and having her close. The latter being something Felix desperately wanted. She infuriated him with her illogical views of the universe, and that she was always right, but she was kind and friendly and seemed to generally care for him.

As she held his arm her hands were warm, everything was warm in what must have been summer heat, and he didn’t envy the armed men who continued to wear their pinstriped suits despite the weather. Felix had taken off his jacket, but not his coat and rolled up his dress shirt’s sleeves. “Clever idea getting a tour, this way we can find out where the diamond is being held.” Amanda whispered in his ear.

Trying not to sound flustered he replied, “I hadn’t thought of it. I just really like the house.” He looked at her expecting disappointment or contempt, instead he saw a glint of laughter in her eyes and wide smile.

“You two make a wonderful couple,” said the large gangster.

“Oh, we’re not a couple,” Felix said looking at Amanda for some sort of contradiction.

“We’ve only known each other for a few days, but I have greatly enjoyed his company. Unfortunately we’re from different worlds.” With those worlds Amanda shattered Felix’s fragile male ego and his hopes.

“It’s not where we start that matters, my friends, but where you end up and who you journey with. Ah, to be young like you.” The gangster paused as if lost in reflection. He looked older than Felix had first thought. He then led them into a large room, “Since my wife passed away, bless her, I have collected beauty in every form.” He opened a set of double doors and Felix was worried about what the man considered beauty.

The room was filed with pieces of art. A Van Gogh, several Monets, and lots of ancient vases. All in a large aisle to a dais with a large diamond on it.

When they were in front of the diamond, Felix looked at their host and said, “Thank you for your hospitality.” With that, he took the diamond with one hand and Miss Eris’s hand with the other.

With his hopes of romance squashed, he had a renewed fervor to return to his old life. As the world twisted and melted away he yearned for his couch and a good book.

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The Ridiculous Adventures of Felix Felicis – Part Eight

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

“Hello,” said Felix to the woman on the other side of the glass. She vaguely looked like a cat, an orange tabby to be precise which confused him. He thought he’d heard that only male cats were orange. This was certainly not a male cat. More of a teenagers daydream of what a cat woman would look like. If that that teenager was really into lab coat wearing zookeepers from the future.

“I’ve had a really long day madam,” he said sounding tired even to himself. “I got up this morning and took a meeting with a beautiful, if chaotic woman,” he pointed at Amanda Eris, “and then dinosaurs from the future blew up my apartment.” He paused thinking about time, “I suppose they’re from my future but your past. None the less, I was then dragged back in time to avoid a giant cyborg gorilla and his rider.” The woman nodded at him sagely. “We were taken hostage by gangsters; Met Leonardo da Vinci; survived the temple of death traps; ran from more dinosaurs and now we’re stuck here.” The woman looked at him tilting her head as if asking a question, “Yes of course. I forgot. We went to the temple to get a diamond that would save humanity from the dinosaurs. We just had to give it to an old lady who would pass it on to her gangster grandson, then we can steal it back.” He scratched his head.

The woman meowed at him and started to laugh, she walked away from the glass.

“Seems needlessly convoluted. Even to me,” said Amanda.

“Ok so we’re in a museum that has almost perfectly mimicked my apartment through what telepathy?” Felix was trying to understand he felt like he’d been so close to being finished with the day.

“No. It’s built from electrical impulses in your brain that are turned into waves.” She stopped, “Yeah, telepathy.” This was the first time that Felix had seen her look sad. He didn’t like it. He preferred her being perky, mysterious, or smug.

“Does that mean the shower will work?” Felix asked. She only shrugged as an answer and he decided it might be worth a try, even if he was being watched. The shower did work and it was blissful to clean the dirt of the day off him. He felt the scar on his eye and sighed at its lack of symmetry.

When he left the shower he was loathed to put on his dirty and ripped suit. He wrapped the towel around himself and walked out of the washroom. When Amanda saw him she blushed and looked away. “Come on Amanda, a good shower will help you think and feel better.” She nodded sullenly and went into the washroom.

Going to the closet he wished that he’d owned something more fitting to travelling through time and space. When he opened the closet he was surprised to find that nothing in it was his clothes. Instead he found a long black leather duster, a pair of nice looking black military boots, a comfortable light blue dress shirt, and a charcoal gray suit with at vest instead of a jacket.

By the time that Amanda was out of the shower he was dressed and had shaved the stubble threatening to become visible on his face. “Where did you get that?” she asked. She looked splendid in nothing but a towel.

It took Felix a few moments to compose himself before pointing to the closet. When she opened it he saw a bright clowns outfit. She closed it again and reopened it to find an outfit that nearly matched his perfectly. Her coat and boots were navy blue, her shirt was a white sweater, and she had no vest.

He looked at the gawking museum patrons as she changed and when she was done she said, “This is wonderful.”

“They do fit quite well,” Felix said assuming she was talking about the clothes.

When he turned to look at her she had several small cases in front of her. Walking over to the table she put them down and turned to him to smile.

“I’ve always been curious how woman put on their makeup.” Felix smiled at her.

Looking confused she replied, “It’s not complicated, I have several different settings. I think light casual would be easiest.” She closed her eyes and tapped her temple a few times and when she opened them she was wearing light makeup. Eye shadow, lipstick, and blush. “Sub dermal implants that can temporarily infuse skin cells with colour.”

Looking at her with (what he assumed was) recognizable confusion he pointed at the little cases and asked, “Then what are those?”

“Repair kits of course.” She opened one of them with her left hand putting her right hand on the table palm up. Taking what looked like a small screw driver from the kit, she touched it to the inside of her wrist and her entire lower arm opened to show a complicated mechanism with glowing lights. It seemed to be wrapped around the flesh of her arm. Felix could see her bone from where he stood.

Unable to fight back the gag reflex, Felix ran to the sink to throw up everything that was in his stomach. Which was nothing at all and he ended up dry gagging. Once he’d controlled himself he brushed his teeth and came back out.

Amanda smiled at him, “Feeling better? Ready to go?”

“May I ask an indelicate question?” Felix asked feeling foolish. When she nodded he asked, “Are you a robot?”

Smiling largely she said, “Don’t be ridiculous.” Then asked, “Are you hungry?”

“Yes. What do you say we get invited to a gangster’s house for dinner?” he asked ignoring the discomfort in his stomach.

“Great idea,” she smiled at him and something in the way she looked at him made him feel warm and loved. Sighing happily he added, “Something tells me the worst is behind us.”

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Killing a story

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I was talking to the Weditor last night and we started comparing how and when we cut things out of a story. Let me say right now, I hate cutting. I never know what, how much, or when to cut.

One thing I do know really well is when to cut an entire story. I’ve started and decided not to continue several times. This usually ends with a more enjoyable and better written story.

Last year I wrote, The Cosmic Cuckoos. I love the idea and the concept for the story. It has very interesting possibilities. I really want to find out what happened to the main character’s friend.

Below is my first attempt, I moved the story forward several years and traumatised the character. I had her look for her friend. I’ve come to realize this will lead towards a mystery thriller type story and lead to her friend already having her mind wiped. That doesn’t fit well with the original and I’d rather explore what happens to both characters.

For all those reasons the below story will be scrapped. Does it mean it sucks or just that it’s not what I want to write? You be the judge.

* * *

“And the little green one probed my favourite cow Bessie,” the man drawled with no hint of humour. He wore a straw hat and farmer’s overalls. From where she was sitting Abby could see something shiny lining the hat. She assumed it was foil. The man was delusional like all the others.

She stood up to leave the small conference on “Unexplained Events and Unreal Facts.” It had been a long shot that anyone would be able to help her, but she still felt the sting of disappointment.

The next speaker stood up at the front of the old hall and started to speak in a soft melodious voice. “I’ve seen them the amber eyed husks.” Abby rolled her eyes and pushed the outside door open. Its loud creak stopped the speaker. “And where do you think you’re going? Bored already?”

A familiar anger washed over her. After everything she’d been through, she didn’t need some self-righteous jerk making her feel guilty. “Yes, I am. I won’t find any answers here.”

“Don’t you think it’s a little funny for you to be judging us, Abigail Westboro?” The man standing at the front of the room smiled a vicious smile. He had dark hair and was dressed like a discount Indiana Jones.

The crowed mumbled, some laughed, and some smart ass yelled, “The butcher of Baker County thinks we’re nuts?” and the whole crowed burst into laughter.

“Go to hell,” she yelled.

The man laughed as she ran out of the building and headed to her car. She hadn’t been called The Butcher for almost six years. Not since she was put on trial for killing her best friend Helen Montgomery.

Her friend had been taken by aliens but no one believed her. When they found her blood in the woods next to Abby’s unconscious body the case had been open and shut. She was only sixteen at the time and no one believed her. She told them about the woman who had taken her friend but the only thing it had gotten her was four years in an asylum. She was released after the doctors had said she was sane and non-violent.

She was on several forms of medication and couldn’t leave the province. In the asylum she’d managed to finish her high school and her first year of a physics degree. When she got out, she enrolled in a journalism class. She needed to find out what had happened to Helen.

At first people recognized her but she started dying her naturally red hair a silvery blond and cut it short. Her hairdresser said it looked stunning with her bronze skin and light-grey eyes. Fewer people recognized her after that and just in case she’d changed her last name to Smith.

When she had stormed out of the building, the hot July sun had hit her hard and she was blinded until she got into her car. Once inside she’d cried until someone knocked on her window. It was the jerk that had called her out.

He made a gesture with his hand asking if she’d roll down her window. When she did he said, “I’m sorry about that. I was a little harsh.”

“In case I didn’t say if with enough intensity, go to hell.” She started to roll up her window.

“Have you heard of the Plan for Chaos?” He yelled and she stopped moving the window up.

“The John Wyndham book that was so bad that he didn’t want it published?”

“Yes. Let me buy you lunch and we’ll talk about it?”

Most men saw something in her that made them run when they looked into her eyes, she stared this one down and he only blinked. How could he have embarrassed her and then ask her out?

“Whatever, get in.” She scowled.

* * *

 

Keep your eyes on the skies,

Eric

Blood Relations by Caroline Fréchette – Book Review

In my continuing mission to read the first in every series I haven’t read yet but I own. I read Blood Relations.

Full disclosure I have known the author for nearly 2 years and I’d consider her a friend. She is also one of the head people at Renaissance Press, to whom I may have submitted a book.

None of this really matters cause I’d be completely honest either way, or if it was really really bad I might pretend I didn’t read it. Yeah I can be a coward.

Below is my review. For more information on how and why I review books read my posts Part 1 and Part 2.

BloodrelationsCharacters

I liked

The main character is involved in organized crime and has some serious “daddy” issues but is incredibly likeable. His likeability probably stems from the fact that throughout the book he is trying to help people.

The secondary characters are well fleshed out even if we don’t fully know their motivations.

I didn’t like

There is a lot of vice from the innocuous like drinking cola, to heavy drug use. The main character is a chain smoker and even though it’s important to the character development, I’m not a fan.

I also find that the style and the fact that the main character is both young and not great with other’s emotions that we don’t get as much of a depth of knowledge about the other characters.

For characters, I give it 4 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

I normally dislike present tense. It’s very hard to do properly and I’ve rarely seen it done well throughout a novel or series. Even the Hunger Games only manages to do it well for 80% of the books.

The author however wields the first person present tense as if they’d being using it their entire life. It’s skillfully done from choice of information to description and word choice. I can’t state and stronger how impressed I am with the author’s skill.

I didn’t like

The only issues I had with style were due to the limitations of first person narratives.

I give it 5 out of 5.

Story

I liked

The flow of the novel is extremely well balanced. Being someone who takes a week or two to read a book I appreciate the slower character moments between high action scenes. The story was built to ebb and flow without spending too much time world building or dumping information.

The tropes and structure of the book are closer to Horror than Urban-Fantasy. Often times Urban-Fantasy gets bogged down by long infodumps about how the world is really different. While this story borrowed from classic supernatural horror movies and gave small bits in between action.

I didn’t like

In the same way that the Horror structure helped the flow of the novel it also detracted from the wonder that comes with Fantasy or Urban-Fantasy. The wonder of realizing that there is a great big world of supernatural. The information about the supernatural world was so sparse that it didn’t feel like the world was that big.

None of this detracted from the engrossing and fun plot.

I give the story 5 out of 5

Fun

I liked

The characters, the action, and the witty dialogue were all very fun.

I didn’t like

Again the smoking and drugs weren’t fun for me. I also felt the fight scenes with the vampires were a little fast. I also feel that the main character’s supernatural abilities didn’t progress at all, he used them a lot but never seemed to improve in control.

I give it 4 out of 5 for fun

Overall

Blood Relations is an action packed and emotional ride through a Supernatural, Horror, and film noir style story. It challenges and bends the tropes of all three styles into something completely unique and compelling. The author has a command of style and language which is rare in a first novel.

If you enjoy Horror, Urban-Fantasy, or Supernatural stories, you’re going to want to pick up this book.

Final score is 90%

Feeling Old and a Mission

Short Story Collection

The other day I came up with the idea of collecting my short stories and maybe self-publishing them. My first instinct was that I’d never have enough and I’d have to write more.

After looking through my writing folders I certainly have enough content but I’m not convinced I have enough quality… Yet.

I get a perverse joy out of reading my old stories and pretending someone else wrote them. It’s easy, seeing as even some things on this blog I don’t remember writing. Some of it is good, some of it is terrible, but boy is there a lot of it.

Feeling Old

I feel old when I look through the folder and find some of my stories that are just shy of 2 decades old. My early stories could vote. That’s frightening. I didn’t consider myself a writer until I finished my first novel “Cerulean Skies” and even then I never considered writing regularly, but looking back I’ve been writing, in one form or another, for over twenty five years. I remember the first novel I tried to write. I had almost finished it and left it in an envelope. I found it when I moved to Ottawa in 2002, but I had made the terrible mistake of using pencil and it had faded beyond recognition.

I found some Dungeons and Dragons writing that I did for my first big campaign. I remember it being massive in scope. When I looked at it today it was barely 9000 words. Or as most of my author friends would call it, a few days’ work.

I think I’ll stick to stories that were written within the past decade for the collection.

I’m Terribly Sorry

There are several serial stories that I have written that I promised to write more and I seem to have completely forgotten.

If you’re interested in reading them here are the links:

Armstrong 3 (Space ship Science Fiction) – 2009

The Professor (Archeological Action Adventure) – 2009

The Cosmic Cuckoos (Adventure Science Fiction) – 2014

I plan on not only continuing these stories but re-writing and editing them into a coherent total. One of them may even become my next serialized story.

I have a Mission

I discovered around Christmas that I’d been collecting Urban-Fantasy/Fantasy series at an alarming rate. At last count, I have over 50 of them and more than 20 that I hadn’t read. No seriously, I have one series where I own the first 8 books and I’ve never read the author before.

In order to pare down my library and make sure I like the books, I’m on a quest to read the first in each series. I’ll be posting short reviews of each of the books unless I really love them or hate them.

Here’s what I’ve read so far this year and my opinions:

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

A great start and a wonderful read. I look forward to the next one. Rating: 80%

Night Child by Jes Battis

Not a terrible book but very uneven. The author’s metaphors were awkward, the characters were stupid and the style wasn’t consistent. Not planning on reading the rest of the series.

This book had so much potential and angered me so much that it gets the lowest rating I’ve ever given with 40%

Blood Relations by Caroline Fréchette

Check out my full review this Thursday.

 

That’s 3 down and 19 more to go.

 

What’s your favourite fantasy, science fiction, or urban fantasy? Let me know and I may add it to my list.

The Assassin Part 5

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

A sword pressed against her throat, “I’d like to say that I wouldn’t enjoy this but I’ve been looking forward to killing you.” Samantha, the woman who had trained and raised her, had a twisted smile on her face and Helena, no, Suzie, believed she’d enjoy it. “You know what your problem was? You were always too concerned with honour and what was right. That’s why we had to make sure you believed you were only killing evil. You never would have understood the cause.”

Suzie didn’t need to fight back tears; the heat of her anger evaporated them. “Do you know what your problem has always been?” She asked Samantha. “You’re slow.” In a practised single motion, she pulled her sword out of its scabbard and swung it against the other woman’s blade, pushing it away.

“I trained you. I know every move you have; do you really think you can beat me?” Samantha screeched.

Taking her sword into a right handed grip, Suzie lunged and bashed at the other woman’s sword. The wild tactic had the right effect; it panicked her teacher into attacking.

As the older woman attacked they locked swords and Samantha pushed down on her blade the two blades moving closer to Suzie’s face. With only her right hand on the grip of her blade she didn’t stand a chance and the blades would get close enough for Samantha to slide her blade across and cut her head off like a giant pair of scissors.

It didn’t come to that. Suzie knew she couldn’t best the other woman with sword skills alone. Her left hand shot out to the other woman’s chest. The energy she channeled out of the suit was enough to stop the other woman’s heart.

There was a smell of ozone and burnt skin as she stood over her mentor and made sure of the kill, just as she’d been trained. Her suit shut down. She’d used up all the suit’s power.

Movement caught her eye from one of the computer terminals. Hal was sitting there with a copying drive.

“What are you doing here?” she said confused.

“Have you ever had a key and couldn’t find the door it belonged to?”

For the second time that day she felt used, “You knew everything didn’t you?”

Lifting a hand and pointing at himself he said, “Prophet with psychic abilities. Of course I knew. Nice trick with the AI and navigation computer. Good thing I don’t need them. Oh and thanks for not killing me.”

“I haven’t made up my mind on that yet,” she snarled.

The sound of several people running towards the vault caught her attention.

“We’ll I’ve got all the information I need,” he shook the small drive, “Are you going to kill me or come with me?”

“What does it matter? We’re going to have to fight our way out of here one way or another.”

“I have another way out. Make your choice.”

She dropped her sword, the symbol of the Maidens and all their lies and walked over to him. He reached behind him and pulled out a sword. Its hilt had ornate depictions of a sun, and despite being the size of a longsword it was lighter than even her old blade. He handed it to her and she said, “What’s this?”

“A present. I’m more a talking or blaster kind of person so I don’t need it. It’s mine. I’m just re-appropriating it.” That’s when she recognized it as one of the many relics she’d passed on the way in. “Now take my hand, this is going to hurt.”

She took his hand as the guards rushed in. The next instant she felt like someone was slicing her insides to pieces and then blending them. Her vision blurred and suddenly she was on his ship.

Her body convulsed and she threw up everything that was still in her stomach and then some extra. Somehow he’d managed to put a bucket under her before she started.

“A matter transporter. Are you insane?”

“I know, they’re dangerous and illegal. I only use them when I know they’ll work. One of the perks of being a prophet.”

He was quiet then as he expertly manoeuvred the ship. Once they had jumped a few times she remembered the tracker, “You have a tracker on you.”

“Yeah I figured. I did a full body scan when I woke up. It’s on a ship that’s going to explore the outer regions of system.”

“Good,” was the only thing she could think of saying.

“We’re in orbit around The Adonis. I can dock and drop you off. If that’s what you want?” The silence that followed his statement was heavy with emotion.

Everything she thought she knew was wrong and she needed to think things through. Going to her apartment on the ship would be stupid. The Maidens were certainly going to hunt her down. She still wasn’t sure she could fully trust him.

“Is the job offer still on the table?” she asked.

He gave her that smile and a small part of her twinged in pleasure. Internally she cursed her body, this wasn’t the time. “Of course it is!”

“My only condition is that you never lie to me and I get full access to what you recovered from the archives.”

His brow furrowed, “I won’t lie but I will withhold some information if I think it’s important for a mission or your survival. And absolutely full access to it and my personal database.” She nodded and he seemed pleased. “Welcome aboard Suzie. Now there’s a woman that’s just developed a cure for old age. The Maidens have already sent two assassins to kill her. What do you say we go save her life?”

His enthusiasm brought a smile to her face. Strapping her new sword to her belt, she nodded and sat down in the co-pilot seat.

The Assassin Part 4

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

“Are you offering me a job?”

“I’d like to think of it as an adventure and a family and I have a few vacancies.”

“How can I trust you?”

“Oh you absolutely shouldn’t. Trust yourself. See that key on the desk,” he pointed at an antique looking key. The heads up display on her suit said it held an electronic signature.

“That’s a key to the Maiden’s vault. Rumoured to have the solar system’s greatest treasures and enough information to take down governments. It also has the only known supplies of Antichthon metal.”

“How did you? Never mind. You want us to break into the Maiden’s vault?”

“Give me a few minutes to freshen up and we’ll head out,” he started to push himself up. He was trying to act tough but she could see that he was weak, maybe even sick.

Sheathing her sword, she moved towards him and offered him her gloved hand. When he grasped it, she let enough electricity flow from her hand to shock him into unconsciousness.

“You’re cute but I need to do this on my own,” she said to his unconscious form.

Taking the key, she went to the bridge. The ship wasn’t large but had enough space for three to six people to live comfortably. At the bridge she disabled the AI and took out the ship’s auto navigating computer. He wouldn’t be able to move safely anywhere but the closest planet.  She hoped that by the time he woke up, she’d be done at the vault and back to kill him.

Heading back to her ship, she knew what she was doing was treason to the Maidens and if they found out they’d try to kill her. She smiled a toothy smile, they would try. This could be the challenge she’d been looking forward to.

It was traditional for her to return the ship to one of the satellite cover branches and be debriefed by the manager there. She wanted into that vault and knew the only way to do it was to visit the Antichthon base. The home of the Maidens.

The base was situated in the same orbit as Earth but it was always on the other side of the sun. This was the same location as the mythical planet Antichthon which gave its name to the Maidens and the special metal they used.

The base was shielded with the same technology that was in her suit and in her ship. It was nearly impossible to find unless you knew the secret sub-quantum frequency to contact the base with.

As she exited the ship, one of the heads of the Maidens was waiting for her, “You’re breaking protocol. You’d better have a good reason.”

“Hello to you too, and yes. The target had information that I thought would be important.”

“What kind of information?”

“Information that I will give in my official debriefing that isn’t in a public airlock,” Helena growled.

The woman blanched and said, “Of course. Come with me.”

As they got deeper into the compound she knew she’d only have one chance and grabbed her escort in a headlock. It took four seconds for the woman to fall unconscious onto the ground. By the time her body hit the carpeted hallway floor Helena had her helmet on and gone into stealth mode.

There were five separate locked doors before she reached the vaults. The key opened each one for her until she stood in a room that looked like a cavern. The walls looked like rough-hewn stone. Her suit told her it wasn’t, but that it was Antichthon. “It’s real,” she thought. This must have been the last remnants of the planet. It wasn’t a myth as everyone had told her.

Inside the stone in the center of the room was an impressive door. Her suit read out the security on the door and it blocked her view. She dismissed the information and put the key in the hole. She turned the key and the door opened.

She was not prepared for what was inside. It was less like an archive and more like a museum. Weapons and artifacts from history and some that had fallen out of history. What she was most interested was the non-networked computer terminal. She needed the key again to activate it, but once she was inside she had full access.

The first thing she looked into was her current job. It had the same file she’d received and a secondary one that had more information. The Sun Speaker had healed two children on the Venusian ship and the explosion hadn’t killed anyone, only wounded another.

The file clearly stated that he then took the Martian heir from the Venusians, just as he’d said. She looked into his file and he’d been categorised as a dangerous element. “Uncontrollable and obsessed with doing the right thing” Those didn’t sound like dangerous qualities to her.

From the moment she read the original mission, she’d assumed the Venusians were the clients. Looking now it said the client was the Church of Sol. The next thing she read made her gasp and she could have sworn she heard her world view shatter.

The file on the Church of Sol stated that the Maidens were the assassination arm of the church. She wasn’t raised and working for a group of assassins that killed for the greater good. She worked as part of a shadow group run by the church.

She heard footsteps and knew she’d been discovered, but she couldn’t stop looking at the files. She looked at her own file. The first part read, “Parents killed during operation Clean Slate.” The operation had meant to clear the Martian parliament of supporters to the crown. Her parents were collateral damage.

“I wish you wouldn’t have done this,” sighed Samantha next to her.

The last thing she read on the screen before turning to her mentor was, “Agent’s skills are dulled by compassion and honour. Not recommended for essential operations.”

Read Conclusion

The Assassin Part 2

Part 1

The mission was a simple find and illuminate. The subject was a psychic who had taken the mantel of Sun Speaker. It was the head position of the Church of Sol, one of the largest religions in the Galaxy. Normally the Sun Speaker would stay on Venus in the grand temple but this one was a rebel who thought he knew better than a few thousand years of tradition.

According to the briefing, he’d recently managed to blow up a part of the Venusian royal family’s mother ship, and was suspected of kidnapping the Martian infant king. There had been civil war for the past year that the infant was missing. Mars, her home planet, was in shambles. The target had just recently separated from two of his ruffian bodyguards and their intel said that he’d be alone hiding.

While on the Venusian Mother Ship, he’d been tagged with a tracer and her ship was programmed to follow. For the millionth time she thanked the creators of the automatic piloting systems. The calculations for jumping inside the solar system were so complicated only a few geniuses and the Psionic Clans could pilot them properly over long distances. If and when she needed to disable a ship she’d pull out the AI and the piloting systems.

It was odd that the information didn’t include a picture. She had no idea what he looked like, but he had to be the only one on the ship. Her instruments told her he was hiding in orbit of Ceres. It would take a little under a half hour for her to get there. Plenty of time for a power nap.

With the guidance computer taking care of the flying she lay back in the only pilot seat and dozed off.

She wasn’t sleeping long when the ship said, “You have arrived at your destination.” The ship’s voice was male with a deep rich tone and a Mercurian accent. She usually preferred a female voice in her ship; it felt more natural, but this was a nice way to wake up.

The ship hadn’t woken her up early enough and was just above the target’s ship. The Sun Speaker’s ship was an interesting mix of old and new parts. It had obviously seen more action than it had been designed for. Her sensors said that it was running cold, which meant all systems were off except life support. If she hadn’t had the exact coordinates she’d never have found it.

She snorted as she saw the name of the ship painted in bright yellow along the hull. It looked like it had been painted by a child.

She landed her ship on a nearby asteroid and attached her helmet. Another great feature of the suit was its ability to double as a space suit.

Once she left the ship she couldn’t see it anymore on the asteroid its stealth mode was impressive. She used the small navigational thrusters on her suit and made her way to his ship. She landed gently onto the airlock and took a small device and placed it on the airlock. The device hacked his ship and made it turn off all alarms and open the first airlock door.

Once inside she left her helmet next to the porthole and stealthily moved towards the crew cabins. There was only one heat signature on the ship and it had to be the Sun-Speaker.

His quarters were open and she moved towards him. He was lying shirtless on the bed with his back facing the door. He was surprisingly well toned for a clergyman. If he wasn’t asleep and had been armed he might have offered a challenge, as it was he’d be dead quickly.

As she entered the room he spoke, “Hello Helena, or  can I call you Suzie?” His voice sounded tired. She’d been in enough hospitals to recognize the sound of someone who was weak and sick.

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