Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Concept Art: Captain Jane Carter

Taking a moment to compose herself, she whispered, “There’s an assassin after me. I think he might already be here at the VelAquant.”

He winced. “Are you sure?”

“I’m sure.” She got back to her feet and looked at her phone as she walked toward the bathroom. The text message read, “DO NOT ANSWER THE DOOR. –RC.” Her breath stilled, and she stopped. Counting on the position of her body to block his view, she plucked the atom wrench from the table. “Wait,” she muttered, and she quietly twisted the end of the rod until the safety cap came off. Her back to him, she asked, “Gavin, how did you find my room?”

He snickered, and she heard the bed creak as he pushed off to stand. “It wasn’t hard. You aren’t that far away.”

She swallowed to moisten her throat. “I didn’t tell anyone where I was staying. Not even Val.” Timidly, she glanced sidelong at him and immediately spotted the soft white glow of his eyes.

“It would’ve been easier if it looked like you slipped in the shower,” growled Phoranxth, and his forearm took on the shape of a heavy blade. “Less painful, too.” He reached back to strike, but Jane spun around and plunged the exposed tip of the atom wrench into his chest.

She snarled, “Not for you!”

The atom wrench was invented decades ago to give laymen a way to build their own nanobots. Powered by a cold fusion core, it was roughly the size of a large flashlight and weighed about the same. Within its quantum bubble chamber, the atom wrench sustained a minute spacetime singularity, and with it offered the user control over the strong and weak forces on a molecular scale. Nanobot hobbyists scooped them up as soon as they reached the market, and material synthesis labs found them to be invaluable. But they were risky to use, since they were prone to internal decay, and the safety caps had a bad habit of falling off at inopportune moments, leaving the singularity exposed. Direct contact with the singularity led to disruption of the contact site on an atomic level. Invariably, this resulted in a gust of hydrogen ions and a bloody stump.

Jane twisted the wrench and switched it on. Phoranxth’s eyes widened silently as most of his trunk instantly vanished. White fluids cascaded from the gaping wound, as the byriani assassin reverted to his true form and collapsed, lifeless, on the ground. She switched off the wrench and capped it.

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