Triple Helix: Part Five

Submitted by Christopher Wright on
Atlantic Ocean, Day

By day the ocean is an endless blue expanse, flecked with shades of darker blue as the waves roll up, casting shadows over its own surface. There are no clouds today; the sky is as unblemished as the ocean is mottled.

There is no sign of land, nor sign of any ships. The compass has started working again, but the two-way radio is still just a constant stream of static, white noise turned so low it barely registers against the sound of the engine as it labors to keep the boat moving. Artemis turns it up higher, listening for breaks or variations in the endless wall of sound.

They’ve taken on a considerable amount of water in the past few hours, and the boat is definitely lower in the water than it should be. There’s too much water below. He’s not sure how much longer they have before the boat gives up entirely, but he’s certain it’s “hours” instead of “days.”

Artemis makes plans.

Triple Helix: Part Four

Submitted by Christopher Wright on
Farraday City Bunker

Jenny shifts in her body armor, wishing she’d just hurry up and settle into it so she’d stop obsessing about it. It’s not exactly uncomfortable—it’s not even particularly heavy, thanks to her now-above-human-norms strength—but it’s a layer of bulk she didn’t used to have, and it’s throwing her off.

“You’ll get used to it.” Street Ronin makes a few final adjustments to something on her back. “Faster than you think. I figure by the end of your first fight.”

They’re in her room in the bunker. It’s still her room, despite the fact that the bunker is now putting up six people and was really only designed for two. CB claims he’s lived in smaller spaces with more people, and other guys claim they don’t mind. She figures it’s mostly macho sexist bullshit, but at the same time she finds herself wanting to spend more and more time by herself, so she takes advantage of it. She’s jumped into something she can’t jump out of, and the enormity of it is terrifying.

I’m not backing out. I don’t want to back out. I’m going to do right by these guys.

God, I hope I don’t screw up.

Triple Helix: Part Three

Submitted by Christopher Wright on
Warehouse Complex

The room is dim, narrow, long, and cold.

Cold in every sense of the word: it is physically cold—cold enough for Plague to see his own breath when he exhales—but it’s also cold in the abstract. The floor is bare concrete, the walls and ceiling metal—dull, brushed metal, treated to prevent frost.

The medical gurneys are set lengthwise against the longest of the walls, twelve to a side. The test subjects on the gurneys sleep—Plague prefers to think of it as sleeping—and equipment beeps and hisses softly as it monitors the vitals of each man, pushing more drugs into their bodies as needed.

“Poor bastards.”

Plague’s voice echoes slightly, bouncing off the walls as it travels down the long room. The technicians monitoring the equipment don’t bother to look up. He walks down the length of the room, looking at each subject in turn. There are no names, only numbers: Test Subject #1, Test Subject #2, Test Subject #3, and so on. There are twenty-four in this room, and two more rooms just like it. They tell him it’s the largest group yet. They tell him that’s why he’s here.

One of the reasons, anyway.

Triple Helix: Part Two

Submitted by Christopher Wright on
Farraday City Suburbs

“Well it doesn’t look like a cesspit.” Special Agent Alan Grant stares out the passenger side window, staring at his surroundings with a mixture of curiosity, skepticism, and mild disappointment. “It does look evil, I guess. But suburbs always look evil to me.”

Special Agent Lijan Hu rolls her eyes, slowing the car down as they drive past children playing basketball in the driveway of one of many ranch-style houses lined up along the street. “Everything looks evil to you. You’re a misanthrope.”

“Am not. This isn’t hate, it’s tough love.”

Former Special Agent (now wanted terrorist) Peter Travers chuckles in amusement from the back seat.

“Sure it is,” Hu says. “Gimme a break. Do you know how many assholes I’ve met who use ‘tough love’ as their excuse to just be an asshole?”

Grant flashes her a wolfish grin. “At least one.”

Triple Helix: Part One

Submitted by Christopher Wright on
Atlantic Ocean, Night

It was a stupid oversight. It looks like it might get them killed.

Steal a boat seemed like the most reasonable approach to escaping the island. Sea travel had been the most common way to get to and from the island for most of its history, after all. But Artemis had ordered the civilian population to evacuate, and as a result most of the seaworthy boats were gone. The one they’d chosen—an old seiner fishing boat—had looked like the best of the few boats still moored in the Port Libertad docks, but a few hours in and Artemis could tell they were in trouble.

He’s not sure how fast they’re sinking. Every calculation he attempts produces a different result, and eventually he admits he simply doesn’t know enough about the condition of the boat to predict when the leaking will stop being manageable. A few days at most, is his most optimistic guess—and that’s assuming the weather stays calm, which is far from guaranteed. He doubts there’s enough time for them to actually get anywhere.