FIrst Draft Excerpt From The End of Childhood

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I apologize for being a little late with this. We got some bad news about Julia, our oldest dog and only one we raised from a puppy.

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Undertime or' not, entering striking range of the six-armed demon struck me as a very bad idea. Not only were there six arms holding six weapons, she outmassed me at least ten to one. I'd seen how that worked out with ScOsh. My chances were better keeping my distance and fighting with mindbolts.

It's not a basileus, love! It doesn't have the same ability to accelerate! Asto could be counted on for helpful information. And it gave me the idea for a plan.

The spraxos even began playing into it, starting towards me as if to box me against the wall. Silly when I think about it now - I'd just demonstrated that I could teleport. Maybe she thought she could damper me, I don't know. But she came towards me, brandishing her six swords. She also summoned two more nephraim, which I dispatched with my needler before they could orient themselves to the situation. Four more brakiri also entered through the one door to the rest of the building, but brakiri had no special defenses. Ffsshht-PLOW! Ffsshht-PLOW! Ffsshht-PLOW! Ffsshht-PLOW! Four needles, four dead brakiri. I was starting to wonder if I'd brought enough ammunition, but I hadn't used half of my first magazine yet and I did have a spare. The laser that was my backup weapon was only good for about sixty shots, and one shot with a laser might not kill.

I pulled energy hard with matra, and let go with a bigger mindbolt than any I'd thrown earlier. WHAM! It impacted the spraxos' shields. It staggered her a little. I could feel her mind 'fuzz out' for a moment. Maybe I just needed to try a little harder. If victory really was that easy, I'd take it. But I suspected it wouldn't. Battle plans not only didn't survive contact with the enemy - the enemy was just as capable of springing more surprises as you were. Judging by the spraxos' likely age and experience level, she was probably more capable of that than I was.

That wasn't going to stop me from trying, though. I shot twice at the demon with the needler, only to have the shots pushed off target to impact upon the walls behind her. Ffsshht-PLOW! Ffsshht-PLOW! Dust and debris erupted from the impact sites, further hampering visibility and adding a hint of chalk and burned insulation to the already foul air of the room. But I used the time to good effect, pulling hard again with matra, saving up enough for a really good mindbolt. She continued to advance, while I moved to evade - intentionally poorly. I wanted her to think she was outmaneuvering me.

Unfortunately, she hit my shields with a mindbolt of her own as I was almost ready to let mine go, but it was poorly focused - 'fuzzy' in the parlance of the operant - like she hadn't had the endless practice in focusing her bolts to a fine point for maximizing the mental damage it could do. It impacted too broad an area to penetrate my shields and do any damage. I kept pulling another half-beat and hit her with everything I had saved up. WHAM! Perfect placement, blew right through her shields and bored into her brain. I kept pulling more power with matra, building my power reserves.

It didn't kill her, but I could feel her mind crumple for a moment. Which meant it was time for the main surprise. Shift into full undertime, use my augmented muscles at full strength to bind the demon's weapons with my own, roll off when I had them pushed out of the way, and remise right through two of her arms and into her head, slicing the brain-case neatly in two as well as dropping two severed forearms onto the ilestar flooring.

Well, a little too neatly. Damned demon actually started to heal from that - so I brought my weapon around for another strike before she could recover either physically or mentally. This time I turned the sword in the wound, making sure to disrupt brain function. Then I shot her four times in the head with the needler, just to make sure. Ffsshht-PLOW! Ffsshht-PLOW! Ffsshht-PLOW! Ffsshht-PLOW! Gobbets of demonic flesh and ichor fountained outwards as the antimatter exploded in what had been her brain. Scratch one spraxos.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of the fight. Two more brakiri and a nephraim entered the room as I was coming down from undertime. I wasn't done, and I wasn't safe yet. But brakiri weren't really threats, and nephraim weren't in the league of a spraxos. Ffsshht-PLOW! Ffsshht-PLOW! Two needles took care of the brakiri, and wham! another mindbolt dropped the new nephraim in its tracks. I didn't really want to use mindbolts more than I had to, but this one had his defenses up. The goat-horned demon's body joined the growing pile on the floor.

I wanted to capture Jonilo.

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on May 12, 2021 6:26 AM.

My Published Works and the Series Order (and Upcoming Work) was the previous entry in this blog.

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