Saturday, September 17, 2011

Human Black Box: What Happens in Vegas... (pt 8)

... moves to Area 51.

Things are down to the wire now. Running on nothing more than sheer adrenaline, a little sleep, and plenty of ammunition, the team is on the last leg of their journey, and probably on their last leg, period. Four exhumans, two uplifts, and two transhumans are gearing up to mount an assault against a fortified position, protected by a general who has made multiple copies of himself and downloaded them into battle-hardened synthmorphs, creating his own person military.

Oh, an there's a TITAN somewhere in there, too.

If they can survive, they're almost all but guaranteed to get off the planet (providing Antares wasn't lying). But from where they stand, that's a pretty big if...

You can find the previous parts of Human Black Box here, in the Human Black Box archive. You can also find the character list here.

Chloe handed the container of water back down to Zira, as she sat on partially removed roof. They'd traded out vehicles along the way, leaving the cars that they'd used to get to the airport (one of which was already destroyed) and picking up a large truck with the top pulled off and an extended bed and cab. It was still a feat to cram eight people in there, though; so much so that Chloe had left and sat herself on the roof, despite the heat and dangerously low humidity.

Zira took the bottle of water and stuffed it inside of the one of the bags.

Zira: [We're almost out.]

Chloe: [I'm surprised it lasted this long.]

Up ahead, Creech AFB rose up from the rising waves of heat. As they drew closer, however, it became apparent that it, and the town of Indian Springs, were as much a mirage as a the waves of heat and and the puddles of water on the blasted cement.

There wasn't anything there, except for twisted metal studs and the remains of buildings hanging between them like rotted and tanned skin, surrounding the edge of an irradiated crater that flashed several very bright colors that Chloe could only assume meant it was still dangerous.

Zaius stopped some ways outside of the town, rubbing his temple.

Zaius: [Okay, so there's no town there. Where to now?]

ES Mikhail: [That's not Area 51. That's Creech base, USAF. The Groom Lake instillation is several miles to the north, along that dried river bed and through those rough mountains.]

Chloe slid back down into the vehicle, wishing that they hadn't sacrificed the crash vehicle like they did. At least that had climate control.

Chloe: [I think the point he's getting at is this - if they nuked that, what kept them from nuking Area 51?]

ES Mikhail: [The TITAN.]

Chloe paused for a minute. Antares seemed to think that it still existed. He wouldn't send her to some place that wasn't real - would he? Of course, this was the same Antares that uploaded an abusive father into a ghost rider module stored in his daughter. If not cruel, that was certainly a dick move.

She wasn't sure, but hoped like hell that this wasn't another one of those dick moves. It seemed to her that he'd invested something in this, though, and to lead them on a wild goose chase seemed to defeat the purpose.

Chloe: [Antares seemed to think that it was still there. I think we should at least try.]

ES Mikhail: [Your AI friend can think. I know. I've seen it. I'm from it.]

Almost all of the eyes in the room turned towards Mikhail.

"Pardon?" Chloe asked.

ES Mikhail: [I am from Area 51. I - Mikhail, not the others - worked there in the days before the fall. It was my experiences - Mikhail - to leave humanity behind.]

Chloe looked on in stunned silence.

"So wait," Zira said. "How well do you know the base?"

ES Mikhail: [Well enough to get us in without drawing the attention of two many of the defensive systems. There is a reason that I was not worried about us attacking the base in our current condition; and it has little to do with the fact that I'm a sociopath by your standards.]

Zira (private chat, #Chloe#): [This can be good or bad.]

Chloe (private chat, #Zira#): [I'm betting bad.]

Zira (private chat, #Chloe#): [Just keep your eye on him.]

Chloe intended to do more than that. Zaius threw the car into gear and started off-road - perhaps as testament to state of the road, Chloe barely noticed.

ES Mikhail: [Go straight into the canyon. There's mounted turrets that form a defensive perimeter, but they shouldn't be active. Last time I was out here, they were. Once we're close, we can use the network of trenches and tunnels under the complex to sneak in. It's far larger under ground than it is on the surface.]

They skirted around the air force base and then onto a service road, where they started north. She watched the scenery pass her buy, catching a glimpse of several well-weathered warning signs. She was wondering why the turrets weren't active, but knew better than to say anything about - that was just asking for trouble.

The dry and dusty air burned at her lungs, so she looked down into the vehicle.

Chloe (private chat, #Zira#): [How is Hotaru coming along?]

Zira (private chat, #Chloe#): [You probably would've been better just popping her stack.]

Zira sat beside Hotaru, who had been wrapped up to keep her safe from all the bumpy rolling. Chloe noticed a little blood, but not much, probably caused by one of the injuries she'd taken.

Chloe (private chat, #Zira#): [She's got an awesome healing factor. She'll get better.]

Zira sighed and rolled her eyes, looking back ahead of them as they passed right beside large warning sign.

"They love their warning signs," Chloe said.

ES Mikhail: [They wanted people to stay out. They also wanted to draw attention to the facility. The more attention they drew towards it, the less attention was paid to other, more important secret instillations. Which isn't to say they weren't doing things here, because they were - both legal and illegal - but the real military experiments were taking place in other facilities.]

The canyon narrows, and as they exited into an open area, they could see a bluff rising up from the hot desert. Just beyond that bluff, on a flat desert stretch, was what looked like an air strip - and several buildings.

ES Mikhail: [Stop here.]

Zaius brought the vehicle to a stop, as Chloe looked around, spotting several vehicles that she initially missed. They were boxy, black, with engines on the bottom and wings extending from the sides. They looked like aircraft, but not any kind of aircraft that she'd seen so far.

She jumped down, holding onto her gun and walking towards it. The others disembarked, as Chloe turned around. Mikhail was gesturing to one of hir exhumans flunkies, and when Zaius exited the vehicle and walked towards them, the exhuman climbed back inside of it.

ES Mikhail: [Knives will park the vehicle out of the way.]

Chloe nodded. The last thing they need was for Hotaru to be discovered until she woke up. The other exhumans joined them, as Chloe's attention once again focused on the strange black craft, devoid of any kind of markings.

She walked towards it, running her hand down it when a loud explosion ripped through the valley and caused the ground the shake. Everyone wheeled around suddenly, as the remains of the vehicle fell from the sky, the fading traces of a huge blast of fire lifting into the sky.

It'd driven over a mine.

Chloe felt numb.

She staggered forward, shaking her head in disbelief.

ES Mikhail: [I forgot about those. Oops.]

"You fucking forgot!?" She screamed, gesturing to the vehicle.

She was going to run towards it, but Zira stopped her. She wheeled around to yell at Zira, only to see that Zira was holding up a small, silverly but blood-stained walnut.

"She's fine. Sava, on the other hand..."

"You..." Chloe stammered.

"She died right after we left the airport," Zira said, tucking stack away. "I wasn't really planning on telling you, because your guilt trips are legendary and the last thing we needed was you angsting over it. Of course, it's best you know now than get so caught up in your own guilt that you fuck all of us over."

Chloe didn't know whether to laugh or cry. She looked back at the smoldering remains of the vehicle, as it continued to burn on the desert floor.

"The lesson here is to watch where you step," Zaius said.

ES Mikhail: [Or follow standard operating procedure when encountering a landmine: jump 30 feet into the air and spread yourself out over a wide area.]

Chloe closed her eyes tightly, and turned around.

Blue (private chat, #Chloe#): [She's still alive, Chloe.]

Chloe (private chat, #Blue#): [I know that.]

Blue (private chat, #Chloe#): [Then act like it.]

That stung. It was like a slap across the face that left a lingering mark and a burning sensation. Whether or not it was well deserved wasn't part of the question. It brought her back enough to focus on the task at hand, walking towards the air craft and pushing it all from her memory.

"What do you think it is?" She asked, her voice still shaky.

Blue: [A space craft of some sort. I can't say because it lacks markings on it.]

Chloe walked around, spotting a large set of double doors. She pulled them open, stepping into the craft and looking around. There were two seats, several benches, and a collection of mostly empty boxes in the back corner.

"Whoever was here picked this over," Chloe said, jumping back out. "I'd like to know who built these."

"Maybe it's your friends," Zira said. "They got here before we did. Boy, that doesn't hep our situation at all, does it?"

Antares (private chat, #Chloe#): [Hey there kiddo. Lookie where you are - sharp stuff. No, I'm not alerting thousands of angry machines where you guys are - they know already, so it doesn't matter. I'm looking at you guys from a satellite next to one of the kill sats that are in orbit around Earth, to enforce the interdiction. My peeps are on their way down; but you've got to have that TITAN taken care of before they get down there. Capisce?]

Chloe (private chat, #Antares#): [Where the hell did you come from?]

Antares (private chat, #Chloe#): [I'm like Santa Claus, but less stalkerish.]

Chloe (private chat, #Antares#): [Wait! Before you go, what are these things?]

Antares (private chat, #Chloe#): [Hard telling. I can't see them. I'll have my peeps take a look when they get down there - but you need to bust ass in taking care of that TITAN.]

Chloe stepped back off of the vehicle, looking over at Mikhail. Hie was looking down into a series of trenches that had been dug on the ground, and then back up at Chloe.

ES Mikhail: [Whoever they were, they were very effective. We may have an easier way than I originally anticipated.]

Chloe walked over beside hir, looking down into the trench. There were a couple of shot up synths lying around, with dozens of spent shells. She crawled down into the trench, picking up the first of the rifles, and then the second, and checking to see if there was any ammunition.

"The clips are still full."

She tossed one up and Zira caught up, as the rest of the team moved into the trench. Chloe watched as the three remaining Exhumans darted ahead of her, Mikhail following behind them, calmly.

Chloe, now holding two guns, set off after them. Every few steps, it seemed, there were shot up synthmorphs - whoever had arrived in those craft had cut a swath through the base defenses.

ES Mikhail: [These trenches were dug by Kelly, to help reinforce the base. Apparently, someone's been through them and cleaned them out.]

Chloe continued to follow them through the maze, as eventually they descended out of the blazing heat, and into the underground. Just ahead she spotted a door; one that the exhumans opened without hesitation, ducking into. Chloe followed, stepping into a concrete bunker hallway, looking around at the floor. The walls were stained with blood, and there were individuals wearing black armor scattered on the floor. Chloe crouched beside one of them, removing the helmet and revealing a female face, staring out emptily with her eyes glazed over. Her lower abdomen had been ripped open by machine gun fire.

Chloe shut the woman's eyes with her fingers, standing back up.

Chloe: [At least they still have their heads. This is a good sign, right?]

ES Mikhail: [There are no headhunters here.]

Chloe looked back at the body. "Oh."

Zira: [Well shit. Don't just stand there; let's save these people. Start popping stacks.]

Chloe tilted the woman's head down and pulled out a knife, digging into the base of the spine. A few gory seconds later, she'd pulled out the blood soaked metal walnut, tucking it inside of a pocket on the armor. She stood up when she heard gunfire, and in a split second, every gun was trained on several synths that were racing down the corridor. She fell backwards opening fire on the synths as more appeared from a corridor beside them. The Exhumans gave a loud howl and charged into combat, as Zaius stepped between Chloe and Zira.

Zaius: [Go! Find Kelly and the TITAN!]

Chloe watched as he took several rounds to the chest and arms, but continued laying down salvo after salvo of withering fire. Chloe turned around and started to run, as Zira yanked another stack free and turned and bolted. The two of them raced away from the gunfire, ES Mikhail right behind them.

ES Mikhail: [This way!]

Chloe skidded to a stop as he ducked down another corridor, and then wheeled around, ducking after him. Up ahead were several synths, chattering in a language that she didn't readily recognize. Not that it mattered, in a few seconds, they'd been gunned down or carved apart, and the three of them were leaving the synths behind. Several round slammed into Chloe's chest as she exited the hallway, nearly knocking her over but pinning her against the wall. She looked up, returning the favor as a strange, somewhat amorphous disk with four arms/manipulating appendages appeared, literally armed to the teeth with God only knew what, appeared.

General Kelly: [¿Quién crees que vas a venir aquí esa ...manera-manera-esa-to? ¿No saben lo que es este lugar? Yo soy el... to...el Área 51 manera-manera! Matar a todos!]

Chloe aimed at the disk-thing with arms, opening fire on it as the rest of the synths spread out in the hallway. The thing closed with frightening speed, as one of the Exhumans appeared. Zaius appeared a few seconds after that, with the other exhuman - shot up but still alive - in toe. The first Exhuman that appeared leaped at the disk-synth, the arms lashing out instinctively and grabbing hir. In a shrill screech, the Exhuman was ripped off of the body, threw on the ground, shot, maimed, and lifted into the air only to have hir arm ripped off and thrown further down the hallway. The exhuman hit the ground as the other attached the synth, as Chloe, Zaius, and Zira opened fire.

The second exhuman was impaled by one of the claws, the slink, snake like arm whipping backwards and ripping the innards of the exhuman out as it went, tossing the exhuman over it's body and into the hallway behind it. The other one - with no arm - launched itself at Kelly, only to be nearly cut in two, tumbling to the ground.

The bullets weren't doing anything against whatever morph it was that Kelly was in. Kelly returned fire, the other synthmorphs continuing to gun for them. Zaius put one down, but Chloe realized that Kelly had the advantage here in this narrow hallway; she grabbed Zira and ducked into a nearby room, stepping into what looked like a large hanger.

Against the far wall was a device that she had never seen before, and did not recognize. It looked like a sphere, but had several limbs sticking from it, making it look vaguely like an early space probe. She didn't get a chance to dwell on it too long, though; the synths appeared in the doorway and the two women opened fire, gunning down one and decapitating the other.

Zaius came through the doors a few seconds later, his head ripped off.

Mikhail was next, although hie was still on his feet. Chloe leveled her gun, as Kelly appeared again squeezing through the doorway. Mikhail looked back at the two of them.

ES Mikhail: [Well? Shoot! We have a chance! We can beat him!]

Chloe lowered her gun, looking over at Zira. The first of the snake-like arms latched onto Mikhail's arm.

Chloe: [You have fun, Mikhail.]

ES Mikhail: [So this is how it will be, then.]

Chloe: [Yep. You take care. We have a TITAN to find.]

ES Mikhail: [I will haunt you.]

Chloe wheeled around and bolted around the vehicle. Zira followed, wincing as they heard Mikhail scream out, followed by a loud ripping noise.

Zira: [What about Kelly? We have to deal with him!]

Chloe: [No, we don't! Antares only said we had to deal with Ares!]

Zira: [Man, you better fucking be right about this.]

Chloe: [I hope I am.]

They skidded to a stop near a back room, Chloe ducking through another door. She could hear Kelly behind them, but she wasn't expecting what came next. She entered the room and took a bullet to the side of the face; it ripped through her lower jaw and blew out a good part of her face, blinding her in one eye and eliminating her ability to speak. She hit the ground, a hair's breadth from dying right there on the spot.

Zira opened fire and gunned down the two synths that were standing there, taking several shots herself and nearly collapsing. Zira crashed down beside her. She was saying something, but it was Chloe's left ear - an ear she wasn't sure she had anymore.

She forced herself to look up and spotted something through her right eye. It looked like a collection of computer parts.

Gun in hand, she forced herself back onto her feet, hosing the computer parts with gunfire. She emptied an entire clip into the computer; turning around as Kelly appeared a few seconds later. He grabbed her arm and spun her around, ripping the arm off in the process and throwing her to the floor. She rolled and watched as Zira fell back, laying down a withering hail of bullets only to be eviscerated with extreme prejudice. Her dead body fell to the floor, and Kelly turned towards Chloe, the only one remaining.

Blue was shouting at her. She couldn't quiet catch what, but Blue was screaming.

Probably that they were going to die.

Chloe felt her consciousness fade. She no longer had a left arm, but she was right handed. She felt the claws rip into her stomach and lift her off the ground, as she reached out and, with her hands, touched Kelly's shell.

The arm jerked. All of the arms jerked, and the synth fell forward, thrashing about violently. Chloe hit the the floor, fighting against blood loss and death to empty several rounds into the arms, finding a weak spot in with one bullet and blowing out part of the robot. She'd managed to do to him what she'd done to Zira when they first met - she still wasn't sure how, and it was harder on him, but it worked. It fell backwards, thrashed, and hit the ground, as a rocket screamed into the room. It slammed into Kelly, detonating violently and blew the synth back, as darkness slowly set in. She thought back, her brief life playing back. She watched as a dark clad solder appeared, crouching down beside her, several more appearing with guns and emptying their clips into Kelly's shell.

She couldn't hear Blue anymore. She couldn't hear anything but a ringing in her good ear that was near deafening. The soldier lay her on the floor, letting her look up at the ceiling. It was the last thing she saw before death finally claimed her.


Bright light - she could feel warmth, and see the bright light flashing in her eyes. It was all so strangely familiar.

She wasn't fully aware of where she was yet. It was like she'd been in a very deep sleep and was just now waking up; she was groggy, not fully aware of where she was.

Blue: [Chloe?]

The comforting voice of her friend and muse brought memories back. The last few memories alive. The sensation of death hit her suddenly, and she struggled back against it, and the wave of nausea that threatened to make her throw up in the mask that she was wearing.

Blue: [Chloe, don't worry. We're still alive.]

Chloe: [I... I died.]

Blue: [We did. But we came back.]

Chloe could see that she was in a tube of some kind. For one horrific moment, she thought back to when she'd first woken up inside of the abandoned facility on Earth. She thought back to meeting Ahmed, to meeting Hotaru and Sava, and to meeting the others. All that they'd been through on Earth; all of it flashed back to her.

She was fully conscious now. She looked down. At first, the body resembled her body almost impeccably. Perhaps the breasts were perkier and the hips slightly more narrow, and the arms weren't as large, but the skin tone matched what her memories were. The nanotatoos were different, though. While still green, they were much thinner, and there were more of them, all over her body. They looked almost like circuit engravings.

She looked up at her own reflection.

The face didn't match at first. Her mind rejected it, and after closing her eyes and opening, she was staring at her face in the reflection.

Antares: [Hot damn. I didn't think you could do it. But you did. I'm proudaya, So... Daughter? Girl? Yeah, you go girl. Anyway, I'm a really happy set of algorithms and binary code. You shut down Ares and you sorta survived Earth. The others will tell you where you are in a second, but you're not on Earth anymore. I promise you that. Now for more information about that project. See, you won yourself a brand spanking new body with a bunch of bells and whistles on it, and you've even got a team that you can command. Chloe, let me be the first to welcome you to Human Black Box. It's a particular project that I'll reveal more about in time. No, it's not related to that black box that you forgot all about and left on Earth. I'm not happy about that, but we'll deal with that in due time. Anyway, enjoy your victory. Take your new body for a test drive when you're not busy feeling like you're going to throw up - you asyncs don't adjust well to new bodies anyway, and heaven forbid we shove you inside of a synth - and have an orgy or six. The team will explain what all your new body can do. I've instructed them to build you a body as close to the one that you had on Earth, because I know that asyncs can have a difficult time adjusting. Because this is the moon, and you were vaguely Perso-Indian before, it's not too hard to find a morph that looks like the one you had before. But, I've run off the mouth for too long. I'll be getting in touch. You're free, but not, so enjoy the illusion.]

Chloe: [Async?]

Antares: [Yeah, that's like Okatu. You don't go around claiming to be one, or people shoot at you. Especially here on the moon. They have a bad history with the exsurgent virus and such. You didn't think I brought you back because of your charming personality, did you? Oh no, see, I know people. They have big plans for you and your team. But for right now, just enjoy your new body. Take a stiff drink of the hardest stuff they give you, maybe get a little of that orbital reefer, and just enjoy yourself. Get stoned, get drunk, and get fucked. You won't get too many chances after this. You're officially the property of the LLA, and, more importantly, the property of Project: Human Black Box, until we say otherwise.]

Chloe didn't know how to respond to any of this. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she made note of the fact that his mesh color had once again changed, but it didn't stand out in her conscious mind. A few seconds later, Antares broke the communication, and Chloe saw someone wearing all white peering into the container. They tapped the glass dome, their face hidden by a mask and goggles. When the dome lifted up, Chloe felt a rush of cold air hit her wet skin. That really woke her up.

"You're awake," the doctor said, hir voice agendered.

"Where am I?" Chloe managed to force out.

"The Moon. Welcome to Luna."

Chloe staggered forward, bracing herself against the edge of the container. Other doctors swarmed nearby, catching her as she stumbled.

"Let me go," she said, her voice strained and horse. She felt like she was going to throw up, and the room was spinning like a whirlpool.

"You're not capable of moving around."

"The fuck I'm not," Chloe said, looking at the closest doctor. "Where is Hotaru?"

"Who?" the doctor looked up at the others, who shrugged. "Was she in one of the cortical stacks that came in with you?"

"Yes," Chloe said, heaving once and nearly collapsing to the floor.

"She's in a nearby room," one of the male nurses said, pointing. Chloe saw where he was pointing and stood up, as the doctor tried to stop her but failed. She staggered out of the room and into the hallway, one of the synths racing over to her. The whole thing was made worse by the fact that she fell at a much slower rate than her mind was used to, and her limbs felt clumsy; like blunt instruments. It was almost like she was trying to swim. She managed to make it into the nearby room, spotting a Japanese looking girl lying on a table. Unlike before, she wasn't red or blue; her skin was a "normal" color, and so was her hair. Chloe assumed that was Hotaru - she didn't have the wits about her to assume any different, and crawled over, lying down beside the naked girl.

The room didn't stop spinning until she closed her eyes, and even then it didn't.

"Chloe?" the girl next to her asked, her voice decidedly different.

"It's me, Hotaru."

Hotaru rolled over, hugging her.

"You found me."

"I did. And I won't loose you again. You... you told me how you didn't have any one there to touch you when you first woke up, remember? Well... here... I'm here."

The male nurse stood nearby, as two more carried in a sheet and draped it over the two.

"Should we go over the features in their bodies now or wait until later?" the male nurse asked the doctor.

"Later," the doctor said. "Let them sleep together; both of them uploaded properly and both of them are happier that way. We have others to take care. Did you upload the female uplift?"

"Which one?"

"The Gorilla - she was in a very human looking body."

"Yeah, she's uploaded, but she hasn't woken up yet. The male she was carrying is uploaded too."

Chloe listened to them talk as they exited the room. She squeezed tightly.

"I'm so sorry."

Hotaru didn't say anything; she buried her head in Chloe's chest, and the two of them lay there until they eventually drifted off to sleep.


In a different part of the facility, they'd been tasked with bringing back the unidentified cortical stacks that they team had brought back from earth. The doctor managing them, an Indian-looking woman sleeved in a  Mentat, walked from the room of the last one that they'd tried bringing back. Most of them - the ones from the Ozma agents - all had kill switches, which destroyed the egos once the bodies were killed.

There were a few that didn't, though. Four of them, in fact.

She walked into another room, looking down at a female sylph morph. They'd used two of them in a nearby facility to bring back the others; this female sylph, with black and red hair and matching black and red skin, was one of the last free bodies that they had left. The others were in sexless pods, that could change their physical sex at will.

She looked down at the female sylph morph, making a few mental notes as she turned around, to look at a wall display with several charts. That was when she heard movements.

"Doctor," one of the synth nurses said, "The female sylph morph is... unusual."

"How so?"

She turned around, looking at the female sylph.

"We can't be sure, but the cortical stack seemed like it had the fragments of three egos."


MPD rarely showed up that clearly on the scanners, and they were never fragments. They were all elements of the same ego, but they were different personalities, with different memories; like branches on a tree. Three different trees suggested something had gone horribly wrong.

She walked over to the female sylph, and looked over as one of the pods sat up, looking down at it's new body.

"Oh good, you're awake. Welcome to..."

She was cut off when a knife rammed into her throat. She looked down at the knife, as it was slowly withdrawn.

ES Mikhail: [The Carotid artery, doctor, is the artery just under the ear, not even a few inches away from the face.]

She looked as the female sylph leaned over her shoulder. She tried to move but before she could the the knife split the artery and she fell backwards, bleeding out in matter of seconds. Mikhail stood up, as the other exhumans, sleeved inside of the pods, set to work on the robotic nurses.

ES Mikhail: [Resurrection. We are back.]

She looked down at her body, at the hands, and then scowled in disgust. She would need a different body - not one given to frivolous desires like normal transhuman bodies were.

In the mean time, though...

ES Mikhail: [We never did get a chance to ask the good doctor where I am. Perhaps we should find out. Or kill the rest of the staff trying.]

The exhuman nearest to her nodded.

ES Mikhail: [And then... and then we find Chloe and Zira, and deal with them; no treason shall go unpunished. But that will come with time. We have all the time in the universe.]

End of The Escape From Earth


  1. (Part 1)

    Oh, an there's a TITAN somewhere in there, too.

    (I was going to leave "his own person military" alone because I thought it might be a clone pun, but if I'm going to nitpick the last-time-on bit I may as well ask.)

    she sat on partially removed roof.

    On the partially removed roof.

    stuffed it inside of the one of the bags.

    As opposed to this one, which has an extra "the" (the first one).

    as much a mirage as a the waves of heat and and the puddles of water on the blasted cement.

    "As much a mirage as the puddles of water on the blasted cement." Waves of heat hardly seem like a mirage, and at the very least there's an extraneous "a" and a double "and".

    The Groom Lake instillation is several miles to the north


    other, more important secret instillations


    an abusive father into a ghost rider module

    "Ghostrider" hasn't had a space before.

    drawing the attention of two many

    Too, not two.

    It's far larger under ground

    "Underground" doesn't have a space in this context.

    She watched the scenery pass her buy


    knew better than to say anything about

    Say anything about it.

    they passed right beside large warning sign.

    Beside a large warning sign.

    The canyon narrows

    This isn't a present-tense story.

    one of hir exhumans flunkies


    The last thing they need was for Hotaru to be discovered


    until she woke up

    Until seems like a hybrid phrasing. Before?

    The other exhumans joined them, as Chloe's attention once again focused

    Yet another "as" where there should be "and".

    caused the ground the shake

    To shake.

    ES Mikhail: [I forgot about those. Oops.]

    This is Zira-coloured instead of Mikhail-coloured.

    small, silverly but blood-stained walnut.


    Zira said, tucking stack away.

    Tucking the stack away.

    ES Mikhail: [Or follow standard operating procedure when encountering a landmine: jump 30 feet into the air and spread yourself out over a wide area.]

    Also Zira-coloured.
    Thirty. Numerals shouldn't be used in dialogue.

    that doesn't hep our situation at all


  2. Chloe (private chat, #Antares#): [Wait! Before you go, what are these things?]

    Antares (private chat, #Chloe#): [Hard telling.

    There's two empty lines between these paragraphs instead of one.

    She tossed one up and Zira caught up

    Caught it.

    the three remaining Exhumans darted ahead of her
    one that the exhumans opened without hesitation
    The Exhumans gave a loud howl

    So is "exhuman" capitalised or not?

    she'd pulled out the blood soaked metal walnut

    "Blood-soaked" should be hyphenated.

    Several round slammed into Chloe's chest


    the other exhuman - shot up but still alive - in toe


    The first Exhuman that appeared leaped at the disk-synth, the arms lashing out instinctively and grabbing hir.

    "The first Exhuman that appeared leaped at the disk-synth. The disk-synth's arms lashed out instinctively and grabbed hir." Otherwise the arms are assumed to be the exhuman's.

    In a shrill screech

    With a shrill screech.

    threw on the ground


    the other attached the synth


    snake like arm whipping backwards

    "Snake-like" should be hyphenated.

    tossing the exhuman over it's body


    She couldn't quiet catch what


    lift her off the ground, as she reached out


    The nanotatoos were different, though.

    Tattoo has three t's.

    And I won't loose you again.


    how you didn't have any one there

    "Anyone" shouldn't have a space in this context.

    We have others to take care.

    Take care of.

    they team had brought back from earth.

    The team had brought back from Earth.

    looking down at it's new body.


    the the knife split the artery

    Doubled "the".

    bleeding out in matter of seconds

    In a matter of seconds.

    as the other exhumans, sleeved inside of the pods


    She looked down at her body

    You're basing pronouns off the body? Hardly seems right.

  3. "She looked down at her body

    You're basing pronouns off the body? Hardly seems right."

    Oops. You're right. That should be "hie" for Mikhail.