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

 

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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

 

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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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The Joneses #6

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All You Zombies

 

A hologram of Holly blipped in front of Wolf and solidified as crazed, grey men lurched about the promenade attacking people in a crowd that had deadlocked itself in a chaotic rout.

“I’ve finished analyzing the binary from the ‘Peace’ poster, but it’s not binary code. It’s some kind of code,” she said to Wolf, “Or it seems to be. It’s a series of words with no clear pattern. Maybe used to initiate a program or unlock something.”

“Holly, hon,” Wolf pointed behind her. “You’re missing everything.”

Holly turned to see a grey man lunge toward her. Her hologram flickered, the grey man fell through and landed belly down.

“He looks odd,” Holly said looking down at the creature.

“He looks like he was raised in a cave. Grey skin and bug eyes.”

“Or a mine. I suspect these are the miners,” she bent down closer to the grey man, “He shows several features of prolonged subterranean dwelling, but his face…Could you stand up please?” she said to the grey man.

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The Joneses #5

 

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A Hot Time in the Old Town

Luna sat in the cockpit of The Starcrossed, staring out the window into empty space, trying to ignore the commotion in the back.

“Now, thread that green wire,” Holly said over the comms, “No Dad, the green wire.”

“This is green,” Wolf barked.

“That’s blue.”

“What color is this?”

“78.43 percent blue, 18 percent green, 3.57 percent grey,” Tycho croaked.

“See?” Wolf said. “It’s got green in it.”

“It’s one to the left of the exhaust regulator,” Holly grumbled. “The left, Dad.”

“I need a beer,” Wolf sighed.

“We just got started.”

“Beer will keep me from putting my foot through your monitor.”

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