"The Wild Storm - Chapter Seven": Yesterday was a day like a lightning strike, a day of movers and shakers, runners and gunners. But today dawns brightly over New York, as a woman prepares for work, says goodbye to her cat, and takes a bus. In the lobby of an office building, she signs in - Jack
Appearing in "The Wild Storm - Chapter Seven"
- I.O. Blacksite Hightower
Synopsis for "The Wild Storm - Chapter Seven"
Yesterday was a day like a lightning strike, a day of movers and shakers, runners and gunners. But today dawns brightly over New York, as a woman prepares for work, says goodbye to her cat, and takes a bus. In the lobby of an office building, she signs in - Jacklyn King, IO's Chief of Analysis.
On Sub-Level 5, Jackie meets her underling, Mitchell Saunders, who hands her her morning coffee. Armed, she walks into the office, where her whole staff is assembled for a briefing. She begins: Angela Spica, an IO research engineer, built technology into herself which IO had stolen from Skywatch. She subsequently used this technology to save Jacob Marlowe, billionaire head of the Halo Corporation, from an assassination. Marlowe was a sanctioned IO hit, assigned to Michael Cray, an IO "hitter". For his failure, Cray was disbarred from IO, and a two-man Warblade team was sent to "hit" him. However, the team was unsuccessful, and Cray is now in the wind. Spica, meanwhile, ran to Camp Hero, a disused IO bunker. IO sent a covert action team (CAT) to finally sanction her, but this team ran afoul of a wild CAT, and in the confusion, Spica escaped.
Mitchell points out that she could be dead, but Jackie says then they need to find her body. Spica's technology is proof that IO has stolen technology from Skywatch, the secret space agency. Skywatch & IO agree to stay out of each other's way, but if someone else finds the body, it could spark a covert war that would destroy both agencies.
Connected to this, Mitchell explains that Christine Trelane cannot be found at Skywatch Ground Division in New York, and they think she's in San Francisco. Jackie says they need to make sure, and also need to work out who is temporarily replacing her, pointing out that Lucy Blaze, Skywatch's senior investigator, was at Camp Hero after the firefight.
Meanwhile, at a brownstone safehouse, Adrianna Tereshkova is reading the newspaper, much to the confusion of Cole Cash who is only now waking up. They receive a phone call from John Colt, a double agent working at a blacksite, Hightower, who has important data but thinks he's been discovered. Cole & Adrianna know John, but cannot teleport him out from the corridor because they are trying to hide the existence of Adrianna from IO. They tell him to find a broom closet, and not to break his second cover as a corporate spy.
John shoots through two teams of armed guards using a graphene/plastic handgun with isobutane propellant. He ducks into a broom closet, but when the third team arrives, he is gone...
At the brownstone safehouse, Angie Spica wakes up to discover she is bleeding from her side. She goes to the kitchen to get paper towels, and her arrival causes John - who was explaining about the information he found, that Hightower was secretly an IO research effort into "machine telepathy" - to clam up. John introduces himself as a normal man, but Angie uses her technology to do a deep scan of him before leaving.
A once-majestic ruined building with trees growing out of it, under two suns in an orange sky. A rotating ring habitat, built to mimic a biosphere, slowly falling apart. Jacob Marlowe blinks in the back of his limousine, and leans forward.
At the safehouse, John, Cole and Adrianna meet Kenesha in the drawing room, and pass the time waiting for Jacob Marlowe by voicing their theory that IO wanted Marlowe dead because they knew he was an alien. John dismisses this, saying there is no angle to this theory that makes sense. They discuss the facts. The assassin's weapon was polonium. Death by polonium, under normal circumstances, precipitates an autopsy, which is an inefficient method of spreading news of aliens. John points out that Jacob Marlowe has made a lot of human enemies. Adrianna adds that the kill only failed because the assassin, having bypassed all the other alarms, tripped a secret alarm for extraterrestrials, and this shocked the assassin - and then the assassin demonstrated a strange ability, which shocked both him and Marlowe.
John says he needs to assess all this news. Kenesha says she needs to assess the data that John brought back from Hightower. Jacob Marlowe walks in the door, ready to begin, only for Cole to point out that they already covered everything, and he needs to calm down Angie, the houseguest of their weirdness.
Jacob knocks on Angie's door as she is trying to mop the blood that spilled on the bed during the night. Angie says she needs painkillers before she leaves them. Marlowe says she can stay as long as she wants, but Angie declines - of this group, Adrianna and Cole are weird, but they are weird in very human ways. Jacob and John and Kenesha, however, are weird in very inhuman ways, and if she stays, she wants to know the whole truth. She is confident it is something easily-comprehensible.
Ichthyoid bipeds, chanting crosslegged around glowing blue methane vents beneath a blue-black sea. A long spacecraft with a non-rocket drive system, approaching the edge of a nebula. Jacob Marlowe steeples his fingers, and leans forward.
- This book was first published on September 20, 2017.
- No special notes.
- The motto on the Hightower mission patch - "Lux mentis, lux orbis" (Light of the mind, light of the world) - is also the motto of Sonoma State University in California
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