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I’m writing an open source sci-fi novel. You can follow along here or https://wrannaman.com

If you’d like to support the work, you can buy the book on amazon or gumroad

Use “presale” code at check out to get 30% off!

If you’re just jumping, you might want to start at the beginning!

0.1.13

Eros grabbed a duffel nearby and started hunting for necessary supplies around the warehouse. It didn’t take him long to fill it with tools and weapons he thought they might need along the way. A knife and taser combination, a bow that could be set up to shoot automatically, micro drones with various surveillance capabilities, and of course mini drones with weapons attached. The controller’s shop layout hadn’t changed since he was a boy. We’re going to find him, he’ll know how to reach the Wrannamen, Eros thought. Wellington did his best to be helpful by being out of the way. In a few short minutes, they were all packed. Feathers was already snoring in his little nest of a room. Eros knocked on the door, which did nothing and walked inside and shook him awake. In an avian flurry, Feathers floated to his feet. His wings unfolded wide and tall. His metal wings were pointed at the top to punch or penetrate on command. Eros admired the craftsmanship, knowing the source of that work was the man whom he apprenticed under. That man left his mark on every piece touched. There was nobody better. The scene filled Eros with images from his past and feelings he hadn’t felt in a long time. The man was a father to him. He was caught off guard by the love he felt for that man, and the sudden terror at realizing something had happened to him. Feathers flocked around the tiny room until he realized it was a false alarm and put his wings back down into place behind him, and calmed himself. Eros chuckled at the outburst.

“So you’re leaving, then.”

“Care to join us?” Eros asked casually. Feathers looked around his small room for a moment.

“Let’s go get your daughter.”

“And find out what happened to our dear friend.”

They fled the tattered Warehouse, making their way towards the controller’s home. Feathers, being a native, knew where all the cameras were, and carefully led them through a mangled path towards their destination to avoid detection. Feathers took to the sky several blocks short of the controller’s house to check the perimeter. To see if it was being watched. Feathers tapped his wrist watch and launched a micro drone swarm that began flying in a grid pattern. They were silent as they did so. The drones floated over the house, spreading out, then coming back together rhythmically, transmitting data back to Feathers’ screen. It looked like there was only one tracking device still active. Feathers transmitted the data to Eros and began flying in that direction. Wellington followed, keeping a careful eye on what was behind them. It was a standard intrusion detection device, probably second hand, to throw an alert by anyone who entered the home. Feathers landed next to Eros who was digging in his bag to piece together something to kill the device. Feathers attached something to the window and silently detonated it. The red dot on their wrist watch faded and died.

“That’s a new one” Eros said to Feathers, nodding respectfully.

“EMP. My spec.” Feathers said casually, but appreciated the attention. The controller was the most renowned maker in the region, but Eros was right up there with him.

They picked the lock on the back door and entered the house going room-by-room to check for any signs of struggle. There weren’t any they could see. Feathers and Eros begin scanning the walls with their screen. Wellington, went straight to the man’s desk and sat down. It had been a long and exhausting journey for him, and it was only beginning. He relished in the comfort of the leather chair and exhaled deeply. He picked up the controller’s pipe, packed some loose leaves in a nearby bag, and lit it. While casually smoking he began looking at the documents laid out on the controllers desk. It was a maelstrom of scribbled notes, field notebooks, and drawings of strange devices.

“Gentleman, ” Wellington projected. They quit scanning for the moment and walked to where Eros sat smoking his pipe, “that symbol you two are so fond of seems to be inscribed here on his desk.”

Feathers and Eros looked at eachother. Eros grabbed his bag and found the keychain he was looking for. He fingered a small narrow device that umbrella-ed as he slid his thumb under across it. The key matched the insignia in the desk and Eros pressed the key against it. A book lit up with an LED light. Feathers, being nearest, pulled the book.

“That’s a damn traditional access method to anything secret is it not?” Feathers cocked his head, bird like. Then, 8 other books flashed an LED light. Feathers had missed it, his head being turned towards the desk. Eros shrugged his shoulders, he didn’t catch it either. Wellington sauntered to the book shelf, and with the pipe in his mouth used both hands to pull books. A slender metal stick poked out of the desk, and Eros grabbed it. It was not an ordinary data transmission device, but he knew it’s designer and had seen the Controller use them before. Eros held it over his wrist device and twisted the metal stick until his wrist device registered it. A set of lat-long coordinates appeared. Eros copied them and mapped them, sending them to Feathers as well.

“Well, it’s one of these locations.” Eros shrugged. He took a moment to himself, and looked at the Controllers desk with all the papers on it. He looked at Wellington who also looked fatigued.

“We’ll get them back,” he nodded to Wellington, who didn’t acknowledge it.

Suddenly a window broke in the other room. Feathers immediately blossomed his wings into a fighting position. Eros reached behind his back and rotated the gun around himself by the strap with one arm. Wellington stood behind them both, a large knife in his hand. Feathers looked back at Eros, knowing his EMP didn’t work. This was on him. Eros chortled at the failure and shook his head, moving towards the front, and peeked his shoulder around the corner. Two trackers were moving their heads left to right, scanning the house. They cleared the kitchen, and with their long attached arms, busted down doors, walked inside to check for what set the tripwire off. They cleared the rooms with the cold, systematic efficiency that only a machine could. Eros ducked his head back into the room, signalling there were two trackers. Feathers nodded, and walked up behind Eros, ready to turn the corner and start firing. On a count of three, they jumped the corner. Eros, disabled an arm with a bullet to the attachment between the arm and the Tracker’s body. It’s hydraulics shook a little but continued forward, with the arm dragging pictures off the wall, scraping deep into the drywall of the hallway. He shot again, taking off half the face of the creature, who started leaking but kept walking forward. Feathers jumped in front of Eros, catapulted off the head of the dying Tracker and twisted so his wings became like a fist. He met the other Tracker’s arm fist to fist and lost. The arm tossed Feathers to the wall, stunned. Eros waited for a clean shot. He crushed the face of the Tracker haggardly walking towards him and shot the grip of an arm that was aimed to pierce Feathers. The shot knocked the claw at the top of the arm off and the Tracker’s aim was adjusted six inches to the right of Feathers, who had barely gotten his wits about him. Feathers uppercut the Tracker with his wing, knocking the creature on it’s side. Feathers then took his other wing, and made the knuckle of the wing into a point, opening up a knife at the top of the joint. He pushed the tip of his wing into the Tracker’s belly, where it’s control systems were held and the beast stuttered. The delicate whining of fans slowly stopped. Wellington had been watching the other end of the hallway to make sure there were just two. Eros called to him as he and feathers headed out the door the Trackers entered from. Outside, Feathers sprinted, elongating his wings and took flight. As Eros and Wellington continued running the way they had come, his wrist watch blossomed with an overhead view of the house, and no Trackers in sight.

“Looks like we’re all clear for the moment… no wait, there’s two more approaching.”

“ETA,” Eros shouted into his wrist

“3 minutes”

“Can you stall them?”

“My EMP may not have worked for long, but it worked for a little.” His small face in the corner of Eros’ screen showed a sly smile.

Feathers flew towards the dots that were approaching the house at superhuman speed. Eros checked his screen nervously, watching the blue dot indicating his position approaching the red dots. Feathers drew his wings in and shot towards the ground, he unfolded two EMPs identical to the ones he used back at the house. He dove straight towards the ground with the devices in hand, and at the last second, he swooped up inches above the ground and planted them on each of the two trackers. Before their arms had time to react, Feathers flipped on his back and detonated them via his screen, watching to make sure their red lights stopped flashing. They slowed a little at first, then their arms folded back towards their body in resting position, and they executed a shut down sequence together, calmly folding up, ready to be put back in their cage. Feathers caught up with Eros and Wellington, swooping by Eros for a high-five. They made their way back to the warehouse, and did a quick re-supply with Wellington monitoring their surrounding for any activity. They made like bandits out of the warehouse and into the shadows of the streets, heading for the East gate.

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