Kingdom of Stars (The Young Ancients: Timon Book Three) (10 page)

BOOK: Kingdom of Stars (The Young Ancients: Timon Book Three)
12.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Which wasn't too bad, he hoped.

It took a lot of focus for him to manage it, matching the
area around him as well as he could manage on all sides. It wasn't perfect
either, but seemed to confuse the first few people they ran into. They were all
different at least, which meant they weren't all clones of a single person,
which could be oppressive. Of the seven he ran over in the hallway, traveling a
few hundred miles per hour before he plowed through the second wall, none of
them looked all that familiar either. Not to him.

Kolb on the other hand inhaled sharply.

says a lot. Most of those are people that
didn't last the first thousand years. I-" If he had some idea what that
meant, he didn't speak about it, since the others found them then and were
busily attacking them. Most of these people had strange weapons that acted at a
distance, but a few held magical ones that were decently familiar in size and
shape. Noram style things. Nothing all that good though.

They were mainly smart, fast and good enough fighters to
realize that getting in the way of a thing that flew through walls wasn't going
to help a lot. For the most part Timon went a lot slower and just ignored them.
The craft was holding pretty well, and nothing got through to them, at first.
Until a small, very light colored man took something out of his pocket and
threw it at them. It made a smoke of some kind that glowed faintly pink in the
air and tried to move toward the air intake vents.

Kolb touched the seat in front of him hard enough that it
moved and the air flow stopped, even as they kept moving.

"That will cut our air. We have about seven minutes to
get this done. The stair access..." Was right in front of them, but
guarded by something so strange that Timon's mind refused to make sense of it
at first. It was like a man, in that it had two arms and legs, but was all blue
and had a slight sheen to it. Metal. He thought.

Kolb whistled in appreciation.

"Impressive. That's a powered armor suit. I don't know
if it can stop us, but we might not have time to find out. Let's use the
emergency entrance. Backwards about forty feet."

That plan wasn't optimal, since it could make the floor
collapse in on White, so they had to move away from where they figured her cell
was. Then just move through the steel and stone. It was two levels down, which
meant the building was going to be in danger of falling down, by the time they
were done.

The place filled with smoke, since something had caught on
fire it looked like. He hadn't noticed an open flame, but there it was, all
around them. When they got to the door, he didn't know what to do. It had been
covered, but so far things had been a bit different than he'd thought they
would be. That was... Strange, since they'd covered the plans really well. The
armor was a bit different, but it was almost certainly going to be something,
wasn't it? If not that then some other kind of trick or trap they weren't ready

Tiera sounded relaxed still, if a bit more lively than

"I'm going out. We can't risk using the craft to breach
the cell door. Kolb you're on guard for this?" It was the plan, but she
was clearly trying to make it sound like she wasn't bossing the man around.
That was kind of a big deal, in her world, since she was always a bit bossy.
Almost always at least.

"Yes. I'll cover the left side. You free Julie and get
her on board."

Timon was staying in the craft, but made it larger. That was
for two reasons the first was so Julie would have a place to sit. The second was
so that when they left, they'd leave a bigger hole. It would serve to distract
people. Maybe at least.

The others moved fast, and then the world became a mess of
images for him. He didn't hear it all, but Kolb started to scream almost
instantly, while not giving up his position at all. It was that glowing pink
mist in the air, which wasn't being stopped by their shields at all. At the
same time he was fighting the blue armored form, and winning, even while
bellowing in agony.

On the other side of the craft Tiera was busily cutting
through the door and kicking it out of the way. It was thick and seemed to be
made of metal, but it didn't take long. She didn't have a weapon in her hand,
using the ones embedded inside her for the task instead. It was a really neat
trick and made it look like she was using direct effect, waving at the metal
with her fist, and causing it to form a line of separation wherever she did.

After a few seconds she darted in, coming back with a white
form in her arms. Holding the larger woman like a child. Tim made the door in
the back larger and turned his focus to the fight off to the other side. Julie
would live or die, but Kolb was in trouble, since he was losing his fight now
it seemed. Part of that was the mist. Actually that seemed to mainly be it. If
it were nano based, it should have been stopped by his shield, so it was
different than that, but it was making his skin bubble and flake off, whatever
it was.

Timon had to think for a second before working out what to
do, given that the mobile armor was right there too. Trying to attack with loud
explosions that made a small jet of fire come from the back of its hands.

He let the ship rise and then settled it over Kolb leaving a
hole that was just big enough to allow for his shielded form to enter the
craft. Then he made the floor come back and took off his healing amulet and
tossed it to him. He missed the catch, but managed to pick it up while
screaming still and get it into place. Behind him, sitting with Julie on her
lap, Tiera pressed her side against the woman. He could feel what she was
doing, the healing amulet inside of her working away already, healing both of
them. Tim blinked, as understanding came then.

Tiera and White had both been exposed to the mist too. Tiera
just hadn't screamed, so he hadn't noticed it as easily as with Kolb. They all
had blisters on their skin and were, thankfully, healing already. So it wasn't
permanent, no matter what it was.

"Hang on." They didn't have to do it physically,
but Timon wasn't planning to be nice about what came next, given the use of
that kind of thing. It wasn't affecting the remainder of the people either, so
they were immune to it, or something. Hopefully that meant it was their trap,
instead of a nuke or strike from space.

The craft expanded to the largest size he could make it,
which was nearly the footprint of the building they were in, that pretty much
caused the upper floors to fall in. The tricky part was that he took time to
wrap the mobile armored suit in the shield material, locking it in place with
no air. If it didn't have its own inside, the person there was going to be
pretty uncomfortable a few minutes later. The rest of it was done as soon as he
rose up, at about a thousand miles per hour. Maybe a little more. He had to
stop after about ten seconds so they wouldn't end up going too high.

Then he let the forced air system start to work again, and
just sat there, hovering for a few seconds, and took off, headed for Noram, not
having any better plan.

The others were doing better at least, though Julie wasn't
awake yet. If it was her at all. She looked right, but had her eyes closed
still. There was breathing, a mesmerizing rise and fall that he had to force
himself to look away from as soon as he realized what he was doing, which was
looking at her, instead of piloting the craft they were in. The one moving at
thousands of miles per hour. It was part of how she'd been created. She was
lovely, perhaps the most captivating person to have ever lived, or at least one
of them. Her skin, now that some of her natural tone was returning, was like
the surface of a pearl, and her hair wasn't just pure white, but glistened a

That plus the fact that she was spraying chemicals out that
caused her to be addictively attractive would explain his lack of discipline
well enough. That was through his shield too, which he'd never turned off.
Making himself focus, he didn't speak, just doing his part, which was to keep
moving and evade capture, if there was pursuit. Nothing seemed to be following
them, but he couldn't see behind the vehicle, so had to circle in order to get
a good look. It was that or make the rest of the craft see through, which might
just be a problem for the others at the moment.

Kolb rallied first, but didn't speak until he was back to
normal, more or less.

"We need to do something slightly unexpected. Head for
Austra. It isn't ideal, but we'll have to make do. There are only so many
places we can go to regroup right now, and Noram is too obvious by far. I'd try
Vagus, but..." He paused for a long time. "Head there instead. I was
being prejudiced, because of their low technological level, but we don't need
tech right now, we need a place to work from that no one else would be thinking
about overly."

"Right." Timon made the needed corrections, not
bothering to look at a map. It was his job to know that sort of thing.
Literally. He had the whole globe memorized as well as most of the biggest
cities. Even the ones in Tellerand. Just in case it ever came up.

No one spoke for a while longer, Tiera so clearly holding
her mind in check that it radiated from her. It was nice. A peaceful thing that
Timon wasn't sure he could have managed at all. It was White that started the
conversation, making a strange noise that sounded happy enough, if odd.

"Oh, good. I was wondering if anyone would notice. They
said they replaced me with a clone?"

Timon had heard that one too, so nodded from the front.

"Yes. Tiera and Orange worked it out. Sorry about the
delay getting to you. I don't want to be rude, but could you take your clothes
off?" He half expected someone to call him on it, but even White just
stood up, stretched and stripped. He didn't get to watch, which would have been
fun, since she was pretty, but he had to keep his eyes front in order to steer
properly. At least that's what he told himself. It might have also been due to
the damage his mind had taken, making all women seem a bit untrustworthy. One
or the other, he was sure.

It was Tiera that questioned him, with a single word.


"We need to check her for weapons. We can't prove that
she's really her and not another clone, but we can check for anything that
might be used against us. At least that's on the outside of her body."

Julie cleared her throat, as Kolb looked at her, his interest
more than a bit academic, it seemed.

"You can check inside too, if you need. I was... kept
in isolation. To torture me. Gray, I'm sure. She never did like me all that
well, though I tried to be her friend. I..." There was a bit of a gasp
from her, but it didn't seem displeased. Tiera it seemed was actually using her
fingers to make certain there were no hidden weapons inside her either. Then
she had the woman open her mouth and actually looked inside.

"That doesn't cover surgically implanted things, or
ones swallowed, or her natural abilities. She doesn't have a hidden force lance
however. Not one she can get to easily."

Timon nodded and tried not to look back.

Watching his sister finger his Aunt wasn't something he
really wanted to dwell on, even if it
been his idea in the first
place. Thankfully she did put clothing on, when Tiera handed her an amulet for
it, instead of her white clothing that she'd been in for weeks. It took a bit
for that to work and she ended up in a white version of the same clothing Timon
was in, but it worked and covered her, which was a relief.

He nodded and changed the topic.

"Kolb, does that mobile armor have air reserves?"

"Yeah, why?"

"Oh, I just took the person that was attacking you and
sort of locked them into place on the bottom of the craft. They might still be
alive then, I guess. It wasn't a perfect idea, but maybe they have information
and will be willing to share? Or not. In that case we can just steal their
armor as a trophy. Put it in a museum or whatever." It was a stupid idea,
all the way around, but no one called him a moron for doing it. Far from it.

Julie clapped.

"Oh, you caught Monroe? Perfect. I haven't had a chance
to speak with him personally yet. He was always rather fond of me. I bet his
clone will be too." There was a lot more certainty there than seemed
warranted, but Kolb didn't disagree with her.

"Are you certain it's Monroe? I wouldn't have thought
that anyone would bother to bring him back. I mean, nice guy, but a bit easily
led... Which answers that question, doesn't it?"

"Indeed. As to your question Timon, I think that such
things tend to have about two to three hours of internal air time, and then the
operator has to leave the confines of the suit or recharge. If we were to land
over the water and dangle him in it, he'll eventually have to come out, if he
doesn't want to suffocate. Then we can ask him questions at our leisure."
She looked around, then moved to sit on Tiera's lap again. She didn't explain
why, but put her arms around her, as if to simply be closer. "We're headed
to Vagus?"

That got the bald man to nod.

"Directly. It will take longer than two hours. At least
in this boat. The new ones can do it inside twenty minutes."

White inhaled, and managed to do it in a way that sounded

"You already have craft that can travel that

Tiera spoke her voice sounding very controlled again. Not
that she'd ever really lost it. Even when she'd been in agonizing pain.

"I have one on me. Space craft."

There was a soft chuckle then, but Kolb interrupted the very
attractive woman with more force than seemed needed. He was trying to resist
her allure, it seemed. It showed as a slight gruffness.

"Not a joke, White. Tor made them. This one that we're
in is Tim's design. Not as fast, but more complete than what Tor made the first
time out. It's getting faster too, using some kind of growth algorithm. We have
space travel now.
Energy free,
which is the first time in history that's
happened, as far as I know. It will give us an edge over the others in a fight,
when it comes to it."

BOOK: Kingdom of Stars (The Young Ancients: Timon Book Three)
12.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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