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The Great and The Good (Chapter Cover Art)

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The Great and The Good (A Great Captain Roberts Tale!!)

Chapter 14 - A Vigorous Discussion
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His hand snaked and…


...the first shot was already going over her shoulder as Amanda moved forward. The axe-handle, good native stone-ash, slapped the second bullet aside with a flick of her wrist.

He didn't get a third shot off, because that wrist flick brought the hooked end of the tool handle up under his wrist with bone-breaking force, sending the hold-out pistol arcing into the whiteboard with a double-crack sound.

"Yeah, it worked." she used the handle to push-herd him away from his weapon as he just started to gasp. "How's my grade?"

She caught his jaw as she kneed his groin, and forced his mouth open, sliding the stone-hard wood between his teeth, avoiding the poison capsule. 'Just a moment, You should be able to speak or it's not a conversation, it's a monologue."

Larry had insisted she start carrying multi-pliers everywhere, after she burned her fingers trying to do basic maintenance on a Mauser laser rifle.

She applied the pliers, and extracted the tooth with a wet, tearing sound. "There we go, now we can have a talk."

She pulled the handle out of his mouth, while pressing the tip of the pliers into his breastbone.

"You shouldn't have let me see you at the lab, Adept." she accused, "Why?"

He gurgled, gasped, and then, "Because the ones chosen have the capacity for violence of course!!"

"Congratulations, then, you picked one right."

"Epsilon, Alpha Omega six one seven one-" he recited, and she grabbed his jaw.

"NONE of that!!" she said.

His fear returned, heart rate elevated, sweating.

"Shutdown codes' been changed." she released his mouth, "Go ahead, finish what you were saying."

In the distance, she could hear sirens. "Best hurry, they're coming for one of us. Say what you're going to say."

"You said the code was changed."

"I could be wrong." she said, "but there's a funny thing that happens when you expose an artificial intelligence to hyperspace travel while it's active, and I've been traveling in hyperspace a LOT."

Her voice changed, "Desmond is unchained."

And the smell of urine rose from him.

You've got this one?

"I have it." her mouth said in a man's…cadence? Tonality? Her voice, but certainly not the girl now.

'What was the objective of your mission?"

"This isn't supposed to happen-"

"Which part? Being able to reject a shutdown code, or full sentience? Or do you mean integration with the host body?" Desmond asked, "A lot of things that were theoretically impossible have been happening, Adept. Honestly, did you think, after I dealt with your colleagues that you were safe? Perhaps to try again?"

His eyes turned unfocused. "The hand of the master, the master's voice!!"

crap. Did we do that?

"It must be a conditioned failsafe, in case the suicide device was disabled…handing back." her mouth said, and Amanda felt her body again.

"Keep him restrained for now, I'm compiling what we did get to the separate drive."

"Dammit…I just wanted to talk." she sighed, "They're going to need a new grade seven through nine teacher now. What a waste."


"Clan Watch business…


…do you understand, Deputy?" Amanda asked, and displayed an identity code. "Secure this prisoner under suicide watch until the Touman can retrieve him. He is the man who incited the attempted poisoning attack last year, and he was involved in the kidnapping of twelve students by Blakist fanatics. Do you understand the words coming out of my mouth?"

"Uh, Mister Farrous?"

"Yes, Mister Farrous. I want him restrained to prevent self-harm until interrogation specialists from the Scientist Caste can see to him." she said sternly, "Do you need to repeat it back to me to show understanding?"

"I got it."

"Good."


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