Swarm

Swarm by B. V. Larson Read Free Book Online

Book: Swarm by B. V. Larson Read Free Book Online
Authors: B. V. Larson
Tags: Science-Fiction
outside his own government?
    “What gives you the authority to do any of that?”
    “These ships give us the authority. Nothing on Earth can stand up against them. We are the only ones who control them. To let someone else take control of them, we have to die. I’m not interested committing suicide for the benefit of any government. So, what do you say?”
    “But why? Why are these ships here and what are they doing?”
    Crow paused. “You don’t know yet?”
    “I’m clueless.”
    Another harsh laugh from my only contact with the world. I didn’t like his laugh; it was the laugh of the bully who tripped the skinny kid.
    “You’ve got a lot more to learn, Kyle. And none of it is good.”

-6-

    “Tell me everything. I’m listening.”
    “So, you’re joining us?” asked Crow. I could hear the eagerness in his voice.
    I hesitated. “Not yet. I need to think.”
    “Don’t go rogue on me, Kyle. I need new people. Join the team.”
    “I don’t know enough to make such a choice yet. I have to learn more about the situation. I’ll have to get back to you. I’m kind of shaken up right now.”
    “I understand—your kids and everything, I’m sorry about that. But rogues are left outside the loop, you should know that much. They don’t get to join in our pool of information. That’s one of the benefits of joining my outfit.”
    “Are there any other outfits?”
    Mean laughter again. “Didn’t I just say there was no more free information? Right away, you try to get around the first rule I give you. But I like you mate, so I’ll give you this factoid for free: no, there aren’t any other organizations.”
    “Okay, I’ll be in touch,” I said. I told the ship to break the connection and I blinked in thought. An organization of ships like these? What sort of people would survive all those tests and then try to organize on their own? Probably not the most pleasant, considerate people. Probably, they were a bunch of militia-types, vigilantes. Or worse, they could be pirates. What the hell was I getting myself into?
    I thought about Sandra and my kids then. It was time to check on them.
    “Alamo, are my children—repaired yet?”
    “The older female is conscious. Revival and repairs have been successful.”
    Hope flared up again, bright and glowing, in my mind. It was an evil thing. If the ship could bring back Sandra, who had been well and truly dead, wasn’t it reasonable to think it could revive Kristine and Jake? There had been only minutes between the deaths—minutes, miles and the type of injuries sustained. Could this ship really bring back the dead? A voice in my mind told me every emergency room could do that, up to point. What would you call a heart attack survivor or drowned kid who had been
resuscitate
d other than the dead returned to life?
    I recognized the voice then, the one in my head that was saying these attractive things. It was the evil, chattering hope-monkey. I had met this creature before, mostly in dreams, after Donna had died. She would be alive in my dreams and I would awaken, smiling, planning my day with her. But each morning I’d rediscovered with fresh despair that she was still dead, of course. A grief counselor I’d talked to had named the phenomena the hope-monkey .
    I was awake this time, but the cruelty was the same. The hope-monkey intently whispered unbidden things into my mind. After the ship told me Sandra had made it, the voice grew stronger with every passing second. The hope-monkey hopped about in its cage, screaming, wanting to be let out. I could hardly breathe.
    “What about the other two?” I asked a second or two later, trying to control the warble in my voice.
    “Revival has not yet been successful.”
    Yet , said the hope-monkey. Not yet .
    Pain. A bolt of it, right behind the eyes. I’d let hope in, and it had done its vile work instantly. Now I realized that if this didn’t work out, I would have to endure the pain of losing the kids all over

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