Today is day 30.
The final day of NaNoWriMo.
For the most part I have to say this little experiment was a success. I got a great deal of progress done on this story and although I have no idea if I made the 50,000 word goal of NaNoWriMo, I did write nearly every day this month. I missed a bit here and there, but still, 27 out of 30 ain’t bad at all.
I will, of course, finish this story soon, but I think I’m going to take a break from posting it every day. (Much to the epic dismay of my sister, no doubt.)
With that in mind. I give you the final NaNoWriMo chapter of ‘Into the Fleet.’
(I’ll let you know when the rest is ready.)
Cord handed me back the gun. “Just don’t do something stupid and start twisting wires in the framework. The damn things can blow if you do that and that really can kill you.”
“How does that work? I thought it was just a remote.”
Cord gave me a look that suggested he found my I.Q. to be somewhere around that of curdled milk and spoke very slowly. “If you cross too many wires and jump the current across the wrong contacts you can create a feedback loop in the remote system. The computer won’t know to check the safeties and the gun will just keep hammering the grav field higher and higher until the battery explodes.”
“Is that how the others died?”
“Not unless they wanted to commit a very painful suicide. The wires have to be crossed manually and soldered in place. There is no way to do it by remote.”
“Would tweaking the wires send out a signal? Like a tamper alarm?”
“Sure, but if you’re saying someone could have rigged everyone’s grav guns to blow then there wouldn’t be nothing to stop them from dismantling the alarm. Besides, there’s never any blast damage. The battery in a grav gun is an ion differential unit. It’d blow with enough force to shatter the gun, but it’d leave debris and scorch marks everywhere.” He shrugged. “You found Izzy. Did you see any blast damage?”
I didn’t answer. We both knew there hadn’t been any sign of an explosion. Cord let the silence stretch before lumbering to the ladder. “That’s what I thought,” he said, climbing. “Start carrying a knife. They might not stick to gravity fields when they come for you.” I could hear the smile in his voice. Fucking sadist.
The hallway off the main security office dumped me back out into the central corridor. I still had the grav gun in my hand. Cord hadn’t given me any kind of holster for it before he’d left and, as I stared at the gun, I realized he hadn’t given me any idea how to work half the controls on it either. I sighed and hung the gun in my pocket by the barrel. It didn’t work yet anyway. I could look up how to use it later, or get Curtis to show me. I wasn’t going to give Cord the satisfaction of hearing me ask him for help with it. The smugness in his voice while we were talking below had almost been enough to start another fight.
I stewed halfway back to my quarters and despised myself for it. Guys like Cord got under my skin too easily. They were everything my life had tried to force me to be: an educated tool for someone else to use and throw away; as long as they got their money’s worth. If he wasn’t the one killing people I didn’t doubt that he might just start spacing people at random until the murders stopped.
I stopped mid-stride.
If Cord was the one killing people it answered every question.
And I’d just let him rig my grav gun.