"The Wild Storm - Chapter Six": In his apartment, Michael Cray is reacting suspiciously to a knock on the door. Informing the knocker that he is just changing clothes, he pulls out a handgun and waits the thirty seconds necessary for the knockers to try to sneak
Appearing in "The Wild Storm - Chapter Six"
Synopsis for "The Wild Storm - Chapter Six"
In his apartment, Michael Cray is reacting suspiciously to a knock on the door. Informing the knocker that he is just changing clothes, he pulls out a handgun and waits the thirty seconds necessary for the knockers to try to sneak into his flat, at which point he shoots one in the leg. In the ensuing fight, Michael uses handguns, furniture, and in one case, the subject's own neck, to gain situational dominance and kill both attackers. His visitor, Christine Trelane, repeats her job offer: better pay, medical insurance, and more freedom. Michael asks if the job includes a flat with better security, and when Christine responds in the affirmative, he accepts her offer.
Adrianna takes this time to retire to her room, where she takes off her clothes, revealing that she has no human face, just a mask and a silvery humanoid body, complete with toes and ears but void of facial features. Sitting down to meditate, she generates a miniaturized rainstorm.
In the kitchen, Jacob sits down with a bottle of alcohol to tell Angie a story: he created the Halo Corporation to design and sell consumer electronic devices. Jacob Marlowe believes in the future, and he wants the optimal version thereof. To that end, he assembled a group of incredible people and gave them a support structure, creating what I.O. refers to as a "CAT" (Covert Action Team).
Jacob then moves on to explain I.O. Created at some point in the 1950s as a classified joint intelligence committee, I.O. metastatized beyond all attempts to curtail it, and has been secretly running world events for years. The notable holdout is Skywatch, a secret space program which predates I.O. Skywatch was briefly part of I.O., but broke loose. As a result of the break, a series of treaties were signed between the two agencies, amounting to a non-aggression pact - I.O. can do what it wants on Earth, and Skywatch can do what it wants in space.
Angie interjects here, asking why I.O. would voluntarily give up control of Skywatch. Jacob, pausing to take another drink, explains that while I.O. envies Skywatch's hardware, the technology is in service to an ideology and a mission which is at odds with I.O.'s goals of control and medium-term benefit. Earth is rich and warm. Space is cold and dead. Mars is theoretically habitable, but still a challenge to get to and borderline unsurvivable, for... a host of reasons. So I.O. lets Skywatch alone.
Jacob moves on to the final key point: both I.O. and Skywatch are masters of their own domain. Each demeans the ideology of the other, but each secretly desires the resources the other commands. And while the treaties hold them in check, enough shock might make them fight, which would be disastrous.
At this point, Jacob pauses, and asks her why she rabbited at the bunker in Montauk. Angie tries to bluff, but eventually reveals the truth: when she created her drysuit, she gave it medical-grade scanning equipment, for use in disaster zones. Cole registered as a human. Adrianna registered as... something. But Kenesha has a completely inhuman internal structure, and that frightened Angie. In the quiet, Jacob asks if she would briefly scan him. Angie complies... and gets a shocking look at his skeleton. He states his case - he is not a medical miracle, but simply a lifeform alien to Earth, like Kenesha. He built the safehouse and populated it with people who have no home in the outside world. He and they are fighting two rival world-ruling powers, and a host of smaller powers, to fix a world that doesn't understand them. And he is offering her a place in this endeavour.
In Skywatch's space station, Ms. Pennington rouses Henry Bendix with new intel. Grumbling, Bendix watches footage of Angie Spica's transdermal drysuit changing configuration over Montauk sound. After a few seconds, he recognises the technology as being copied from the old Breslau II spaceships that Skywatch used when he was younger. As a brace of Skywatch craft make launch for the planet, Henry Bendix announces that he will "rain fire from heaven" to discover who is stealing from him.
- This book was first published on July 19, 2017.
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