The Joneses #11

XI.

Here Comes That Sinking Feeling

“What’s taking so long back there?” Wolf hollered out of the flight cabin door.

“Sorry I can’t run out and pick up parts that haven’t been invented yet,” Holly replied, “If you looked up ‘jury rig’ in any textbook this would be the cautionary example. I’m also going to be repurposing all unessential power. That includes your stereo.”

“No fair.”

“I need it to able get a signal strong enough to overcome the gravitational influence of dust. Otherwise, we wait for them to bridge in, get on the roof, and wave flashlights.”

“Even if we do contact Ray,” Luna said, “How long is it going to take to convince him?”

“I assumed it would be 600 years easier,” Wolf replied, “I don’t know, we met his past self, shouldn’t he remember that? Holly, wouldn’t he remember that?”

“Beats me, dad.”

“You’re supposed to know shit. That’s why we feed you.”

“Time travel has never been done before.”

“If Ray time traveled from 600 years ago, doesn’t that mean time travel has been done before.”

“Dad,” Holly barked, “I’m trying to repair a long-range communications device that operates on the principle of quantum entanglement with parts I got from a 21st-century Radio Shack. Could you please, let me think?”

“I’m just saying you had 600 years to catch up on this, 900 really, if add our…”

“Mom, do something,” Holly called.

“Wolf, you’re bored. Find something to do,” Luna called back from the lounge.

Wolf stared out the window into black, empty space. He began nodding his head in shallow downbeats. His hands joined in, drumming out irregular rhythms on the console. He hummed and the hum became a disjointed scat, which gave way to, “Are you almost done?”

“Constant requests for status updates won’t make this go any faster,” Holly put her tools down and mumbled, “It’s done.”

“You estimated you’d have it done in an hour. You got it done in 47 mins. The whole time I was requesting status updates. Cause. Effect.”

“I’ll cause your effect,” Holly said under her breath.

“What?”

“Nothing. I sent the message.”

The console bleeped and the computer hummed, “Incoming transmission from Parthus.”

“Connect,” Wolf said.

A holographic image of Ray’s head appeared above the console.

“Hey, Ray whaddya say?” Wolf said, “You wouldn’t happen to remember me, would you? Maybe 600 years ago?”

“Identify yourself,” Ray replied.

Continue reading “The Joneses #11”

The Joneses #10

X.

“Why Can’t We Be Friends?”

“For once I’d like something that isn’t rampaging down a crowded street,” Sophie sighed, looking through binoculars, from a rooftop, at Video Drone’s trail of destruction.

The street was crusted in twinkling glass shards and blown with litter. Storefront mannequins were scattered and twisted, among the groaning wounded, making for an eerie parody of a war zone.

“It does seem like chaos for chaos’ sake,” Ian replied.

He and Hunter waded through the debris. First responders were attending to the wounded, who formed a choir of agonized groans as they clutched, wincing at their wounds.

“Doesn’t look like there’s been any deaths,” Ian held his hand to his ear.

“That’s just one block,” Sophie’s thin, tinny voice crackled back through the speaker on Ian’s communicator, “The trail goes all the way down Chestnut Street as far as I can see. He may have made it all the way to Front by now.”

“Thirteen blocks,” Hunter sighed. “How’s your cardio?”

“Miss Fischer, if I may?” a voice zapped in and out over the comms.

“Bart?” Sophie responded.

“The news helicopters have visual on Video Drone doubling back down Walnut.”

“Why am I on the roof if we can just watch the news?”

“We’ll try to cut it off,” Ian’s voice pressed through the static.

“For alien tech, these communicators are pretty junky,” Sophie said.

“What are you expecting from millennia-old technology?” replied Ian, shrouded in white noise.

“Star Wars, at least.”

Continue reading “The Joneses #10”

Joneses #9

I Hear You Knocking

 

“That’s ‘Back in the Day Ray’ taken care of,” Yalda said, watching his whiskey as he swirled it. “You left the portal open for future Super Dick Ray to come crusading through. That leaves Not So Back in the Day Ray. Have you figured out where the detachment chased the Joneses off to?”

“Not yet,” Vidjeda grumbled, glowering into the distance.

“Close enough is good enough. If you’re going to miss, try and make it behind them. But I’m sure I can fix whatever they fuck up if we wind up in front of them. If I remember this Vyx guy correctly, he’s a squish with a cyborg enhancement fetish. Creepy as fuck, but for some reason the whole world wants to blow him. Really pliable, though. He’s got some exploitable skeletons in his closet. Vivisection on poor kids and shit. Dickens on coke type shit. Of course, that would be the shit I remember. It’ll all come back to me once I get there.”

“What do you think your younger self will think?”

“I’d be embarrassed if he didn’t try to kill me.”

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The Joneses #8

 

Late to the party? Catch up here.

 

Time in a Bottle

 

Three hundred years from now

 

Three hours ago

 

“C’mon, Lovelace,” Wolf shouted over the gunfire, “You’re cornered, make this easy.”

A hail of glowing projectiles struck Wolf in the chest and knocked him backwards.

“Shit.” He got back to his feet and pulled two laser pistols, returning fire. “Bringing you in alive was just a suggestion.”

Luna was crouched behind a counter in the middle of the bank lobby holding her helmet in her hands. “Holly, how are coming along with getting my suit back online?”

“I’m working on it!” Holly’s voice buzzed out from Luna’s mask, then out of the bank’s intercom system, then blared through Wolf’s helmet.

Wolf yelped and slapped the side of his helmet.

“Sorry,” Holly said. “Whatever Lovelace infected the systems with is adaptive and recursive. Everytime I corner it, Es stellt sich in zwei. And now it’s in the sistema di comunicazione. I’ve disconnected the security bots from the mainframe. They’re defaulting to local initiative routines.”

A stream of security robots filed past Wolf and Luna and converged on a tall woman with long black hair that obscured her face and dressed in a purple, quasi-Victorian style space suit. She lifted her dark glasses and her eyes strobed with a piercing white light. The robots turned on Wolf and Luna and began firing. She slipped through the door to the vaults.

“She’s headed for the vaults,” said Luna.

“Looking at the vault schematics,” Holly’s voice was thin and phasing over the speakers, “There’s nothing on the inside with which to interface with the locking system.”

“Got it.” Luna ran in a crouch toward the vaults as Wolf engaged the security bots.

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The Joneses #7

 

Late to the party? Catch up here.

 

We Have All Been Here Before

 

“Tycho Hall,” Yalda gave a cheery shout as Tycho, Wolf and Luna entered the office splattered with miner bits. “When did you take up with these reprobates?”

Tycho raised his claw in greeting.

“Alice, Martin,” Yalda nodded. “So sorry, Luna and Wolfram, you guys are big time bounty hunters now. How’s the little one?”

Luna struck him in the mouth.

“I’m not interested in your daughter,” he said wiping his blood from his lip with his thumb, “Or the two of you for that matter. You really haven’t been much of a factor up to this point.”

“What? How dare you? We bagged you on Antares Gamma,” Wolf objected.

“Wolf, c’mon,” Yalda shook his head. “You caught me because I wanted to be caught. I had some people at Intelligence I needed to talk to and getting arrested seemed like the way to do it without blowing their cover. Particularly Abaddon and Raziel,” he leaned toward Wolf. “I saw the security feed. You looked like you were enjoying yourself, Wolf. My empire could use people like you.”

“Empire? Whatever nonsense you have planned we’re not going make it easy for you,” Luna said.

“Oh, why do you two care, anyway?” Yalda whined. “Nothing will change for you. We’ll still need bounty hunters in the new order. There will be plenty of lucrative work for experienced Seraphim hunters, such as yourselves. You’ve had plenty of practice on one of the best.”

“I suppose that’s you?” Luna groaned.

“Sure, why not?” Yalda replied.

“Because you’re an idiot, small time thug,” Wolf answered.

“You think I am, Wolf,” Yalda began. “And that’s worked great for me, so far. But let’s drop the games. Adapt, Joneses. Adapt to the new order or perish. Because it will happen. In fact, barring any more unforeseen complications, it will have already happened. About three centuries ago. Get on the winning team, Joneses.”

“I should have killed you when I had the chance,” Wolf glared.

“But you didn’t and, for that, I will be eternally grateful. In fact, I’m promising you three front row seats to my big day. Your daughter is also invited, of course.”

“Pass,” Luna said.

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