More characters from the first draft of Jack Commer #6, Commer of the Rebellion, now about three-quarters completed.
Joe wondered whether Jack even considered how a dog was going to pack a USSF flight valise, and whether Amav had ever revealed that all four of Edward’s paws could extend into full human hand functions, that the dog could stand erect on its hind feet, and, as Amav had told Joe, could fling two thousand Ninja throwing stars nailing an outline of the Mona Lisa on a wall–in fifteen seconds. She thought Jack was too proud to admit the need for any sort of bodyguard, but hell, he was the SCUSSF, wasn’t he? Who knew what sort of crackpot might try to target the Supreme Commander’s house, no matter how many security force fields and AI sensors it had?
Any human could pick up Martian outradiance, but Joe, like Amav, was among those people who were unusually sensitive to it. The two of them had discussed how they’d been feeling an underlying disturbance, a foundational cracking, beneath the eons-long structure of Martian confidence. Martians were having trouble concentrating on basic tasks, but it wasn’t from some euphoria or simple unwillingness to take responsibility. More than one Martian had broadcast directly into Joe’s mind the concept that they felt a diminishing force at work within them.
Laurie and her Sensor Officer friend had joked about the number of women Ballard seemed to go through each month and both had sworn they’d never fall for his clumsy advances. Of course Laurie was starting to date Will at the time so there was no danger of her succumbing in any case, but she was worried about Sandra, who was able to laugh about Ballard’s painfully insincere come-ons even as a note of drool came into her voice as she graphically commented how his massive pecs and biceps were somehow incongruously perfectly perched atop the thinnest waist and the most perfectly formed male tush she’d ever seen.
Laurie nodded. Though she knew Jack and Joe had both briefly dipped into the Sol and AC versions of the Grid so they could have an idea of what they were all about, she herself hadn’t been tempted by either. She had a vision of going insane for all eternity and she didn’t think that would look good on her résumé as a USSF Physician/Engineer.
Sandra was now officially in love. “We talked,” she’d said. “We talked about everything. He’s finally ready to settle down. He realized he needs just one woman, and it’s me. Who’d ever have thought it? It does need to be secret for now–we both know that.” Laurie hadn’t said a word. Though she came off as so brainy and systems-oriented that most people, including female USSF, assumed that she wasn’t up for girl chitchat, Laurie nevertheless attracted it and many women had complimented her on being such a good listener.
“Take it easy for a minute while we scan you,” said robot John J. Douglas, leaning over her. She had a hard time bringing his huge white handlebar mustache into focus. “We’re having some trouble with the static ourselves, my lady, but our internal med scanners are working … damn slow, I’ll admit! No broken bones that I can see.”
Sanders Hirte was almost entirely tattoos, in every color imaginable, with so many images twining across his flawless hard muscles that Jackie Vespertine could hardly make sense of what she was seeing: silver spaceships and ringed planets, unfurling Latin, German, and Russian mottos, soldiers with shatter-enhanced EOS rifles, exploding armored personnel carriers …
copyright 2014 by Michael D. Smith