"The Wild Storm - Chapter Eleven": Waking up in bed together the day after their late-night whiskey session, Jenny Mei Sparks and Shen Li-Men share cigarettes. Jenny confesses that when she first went to investigate Li-Men, she just thought she was one of the anomalous people who struggle to liv
- Oh no. Story time with Creepy Uncle Henry.
Appearing in "The Wild Storm - Chapter Eleven"
- Cole Cash
- Li-Men Shen
- Jenny Mei Sparks
- Angie Spica
Synopsis for "The Wild Storm - Chapter Eleven"
Waking up in bed together the day after their late-night whiskey session, Jenny Mei Sparks and Shen Li-Men share cigarettes. Jenny confesses that when she first went to investigate Li-Men, she just thought she was one of the anomalous people who struggle to live between the twin controlling powers of Skywatch and IO. Shocked by the realization that there might be more like them, Li-Men savours her cigarette, already planning for them to find and protect these people.
In New York, IO analyst Mitchell Saunders is using a rideshare app to get home. As he looks at the screen, he does not notice a passing jogger in a black hoodie - Lucy Blaze, who uses software called ‘Ambush Bug’ to suborn his phone’s microphone to her use as a listening device.
Later, Mitchell is in a meeting to show Jackie King his team’s first plan for how to hack into Skywatch’s orbiting server, to find out if they are running an illegal covert action team. The team’s plan is simple: every day, IO & Skywatch exchange data, as part of an effort to keep each other honest. So, they will put an infiltration package in the data exchange, to search Skywatch’s database for info on the CAT. To get the data out, they will then fake a swarm attack on the IO satellites, by bots programmed in Korean to cover their tracks. The bots will swarm and multiply, and will by simple proximity, try to get into Skywatch’s system. This attack will draw the attention of the admins, and allow the infiltration package to narrowcast back the info. IO will look like fools, Skywatch will feel smug, Skywatch will not know they have been robbed, everybody wins.
Jackie congratulates the team, then asks Mitchell to talk to her outside. There, she asks him how feasible it is. Mitchell, checking his phone as they are not allowed to bring them into the meeting room, says they are confident, but that his main problem is that this an act of aggression which could start a fight between the two organizations. Jackie says she needed the plan because she believes that Skywatch broke the treaty first. And while the director doesn’t know about the plan yet, she thinks he will agree. If Mitchell and the team are working on that, she can focus on her own current target - Project Thunderbook, the mysterious IO operation that trained Cole, and whose records were all sealed or destroyed by the previous director.
On the Skywatch satellite headquarters, Henry Bendix and Lauren Pennington are meeting after their work shift. They make small talk, and then Lauren asks Henry why he is so keen to break Skywatch’s treaty with IO. Henry sneers, saying that he was there when the treaty was signed, and does not have the respect for the treaty that his younger co-workers do. Lauren argues that the treaty protects both organizations from potential catastrophe. Henry corrects her - the treaty protects the organizations from certain catastrophe. The conflict would expose both organizations to the world. Skywatch, on the one hand, has space stations, Mars bases, and scientific and medical technology far beyond the mainline society, which will inspire fear and greed, which would inspire theft. IO, meanwhile, would need to rely on the resources of various states, which would be destroyed in self-defense by IO, which would result in counter-attacks, as not all the nuclear-armed countries can be controlled by IO.
Sitting down with a cocktail, Henry tells Lauren about the incident that led to the signing of the treaty, during the Seventies. Skywatch had been created to ensure that any aliens who made first contact with humans would only be able to interact with one polity, and so Skywatch maintained a secret veto on any spacelaunches. But during the Seventies, as part of a covert agreement between IO and the Soviet Politburo, the two organizations build a secret facility for military research, including spacelaunch technology. So Skywatch sent a flight of spacecraft to frighten this facility, which they had discovered was using the name “Science City Zero”.
When the spacecraft got to the facility, the defenses were aimed at them, but Skywatch’s assessment was that the city was trying to parallel their technology but had no idea how to replicate it. Skywatch had no respect for their neighbors.
The opening salvo destroyed the lead spacecrafting, killing its crew of four. The other spacecraft opened fire in response. The facility was destroyed, its population of twenty thousand reduced to thirty-five survivors. Of the seven Skywatch spacecraft in the attack, only one returned. On that craft had been a young Henry Bendix. In the city had been the then-director of IO, John Lynch, who survived with a noticeable injury.
In New York, Jackie is explaining her plan to Miles Craven, the current director of IO. He has worries, but he agrees to let her run the raid against Skywatch. He also asks her not to tell him whatever Thunderbook was doing, as he is queasy that it will hamper his ability to do his job.
In Jacob Marlowe’s secret storehouse, Angie Spica has found and activates a blue goop which is nanotechnological on nature. Swallowing the goop and waiting for it to interface with her systems, she activates her ‘base integument’, which is a new intermediate stage between her armor and her normal self. It feels cold as it coats her body and shocking as it coats her throat and eyes, but when it has passed, her internal injuries are healed and her vitals are seemingly fine. Putting her equipment to the final test, she activates her full armor, which is now a stark white and black, in contrast to the previous black-and-grey. Amazed at her success, Angie poses in victory.
In the Brooklyn safehouse, Kenesha and Cole Cash are discussing their upcoming mission against the Hightower facility, when Cole gets a strangely-worded text message and says he wants to go for a walk. On the roof of a skyscraper, he meets Lucy Blaze, who cuts to the point - IO knows he is alive, but they think he has betrayed them to Skywatch and they are going to respond accordingly. She thinks this is all he needs to know. Cole grabs her arm, saying that she must know more. Lucy goes stiff, and in the tone of a threat says that she taught him much of combat and that John Lynch and Project Thunderbook did not teach him enough to outmatch her.
Retreating hastily, Cole asks Lucy why she is even telling him. Lucy says she has a code... and that Cole belongs to her. Shocked by this, Cole does not stop her as she leaves. In the stairwell, Lucy says the he should give her regards to Jacob Marlowe and Kenesha, and tell them that Zannah says hello.
- This book was first published on January 24, 2018.
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