Triple Helix: Part Fifteen

Submitted by C B Wright on
The Fourth Horseman

CB forces himself to breathe. It’s hard—mucus keeps filling his lungs, and he’s constantly coughing and gagging, trying to take a clear breath, but he finds if he focuses on breathing it's easier to handle everything else: the fever, the chills, the pain shooting through his gut. Focusing on a very basic act of survival allows him to move everything else into the background.

It doesn’t solve the problem, though: Plague is killing him.

“I didn’t even have to try this time.” Plague sounds smug. “Last time we met, I really had to work up a sweat to break through your—I don’t know. Whatever it is. That thing you have that’s protected your sorry ass for as long as we’ve known each other. But here, in this place? With all this power swirling around? I just had to think and it happened.”

CB coughs, wheezes, and says nothing.

“What, no smartass comment? Well I’m not surprised. Disappointed, I guess. I kinda hoped you might go down swinging. For old times' sake, you know? On the other hand…” Plague chuckles to himself. “I did give you a hell of a disease, didn’t I? And you know what the best part is? This is the best part…”

Plague crouches down in front of CB, staring at him hack and cough and try to breathe.

“The best part is, I made it up.”

Triple Helix: Part Fourteen

Submitted by C B Wright on
Deus Ex Machina

Richter’s eyes narrow as he recognizes Jenny. He says nothing, but eases into a defensive stance, watching her carefully.

He thinks it’s going to be a repeat of last time.

Jenny doesn’t jump in swinging—Richter has, for whatever reason, given her a moment. She takes it, allowing herself to catch her breath, then she too eases into a defensive stance.

Focus, Jenny. Don’t forget how good he is.



She feints with her right, swings hard with her left. Richter ignores the feint, moves to block the left hook, and just as he bats the blow aside, her right arm closes on his wrist. She twists, pulls, and as he starts to fall forward her left arm locks, and she throws him over her shoulder into a row of shelves.

Thank you, Red Shift.

Triple Helix: Part Thirteen

Submitted by C B Wright on

He stares straight up at the triangular lights, unable to blink. He can feel—the hard back of the gurney, the sting of the leather straps as they cut into his flesh—but he can’t move. He’s not sure the straps are necessary: whatever they gave him has paralyzed him completely. He can’t even move his head.

“Jack.” His voice is hoarse. He barely recognizes it as his own.

“Save your strength, Thomas.” Jack sounds tired. Defeated.

“What the hell is your problem?” He tries to get his voice to sound more like his own—the way he remembers it—but he can’t clear his throat. “They’re not cutting you.”

Jack doesn’t answer.

“Jack, so help me, if you don’t say something I’ll—”

“You’re a good guy, Thomas. I never thought I’d say that to a cop, but you are. And you’re tough. Honestly, I thought you’d be dead a week ago… and so did they. That’s the problem. They’re not interested in whatever their original experiment was. Now they’re just trying to see how far they can push you before you die.”

Triple Helix: Part Twelve

Submitted by C B Wright on

“Good news and bad news,” Street Ronin says.

“Yeah?” Jenny peers over his shoulder, staring down at the screen on his ruggedized laptop. She’s a little relieved he decided to do the work himself, because she finds using it frustrating. It doesn’t come close to the power of her own rig.

On the other hand, my rig won’t resist energy weapon fire…

“Well it looks like their delete protocol started with the most important files first, so that’s bad. But something interrupted the process, so I’m going through copying all the half-empty and corrupted directories first.”

“So at least we know where to look,” Jenny says.

Street Ronin nods. “That’s the good news. The bad news is, we’re copying half-empty directories and corrupted files.”

Triple Helix: Part Eleven

Submitted by C B Wright on
Going The Distance

Whatever the thing is, it isn’t obviously mechanical. While it appears to be made of metal, it has no seams anywhere—no joints to allow the arms and legs to move. But it does move, and it moves with unexpected fluidity and speed: it leaps away from the group, landing in front of the ruins of Warehouse Six, and sinking low into a battle-ready crouch.

It moves like a living thing, CB thinks. The arms and legs don’t just move back and forth, they rotate like actual limbs, and even the torso bends and sways and twists for extra balance.

“I thought you said you blocked their teleporter,” Jack says.

“I did,” Street Ronin says. “It is. I don’t understand what’s going on.”

“It’s not teleportation,” Jenny says. CB wonders how she got that bruise. “At least not exactly. The sound and color were different. This is magic, isn’t it? CB?”

CB stares at the big purple rune on the thing’s chest.


“Yeah… it’s magic.”