Ascension: Mother

The noncon operations center was up again. But instead of mining, the few directors working were commanding their wards (“slaves” was such a negative word) to throw up bulwarks across the surface approaches to the spaceport.

“I don’t get it,” Culver grumbled at his console. “Why are these facing the port? Only a lunatic would land in a spaceport held by an enemy. They should face outward to defend it.”

“That’s the layout Ishikawa drew,” his neighbor warned. “Improve it at your peril. Who’s that?”

Work paused while the directors puzzled over figures in spacesuits who’d entered the work site. They were carrying fire-axes and other improvised weapons. Suddenly they started attacking the noncons, both humanoid and machine.

“Damn FOG,” Culver growled. “Bulldozers to me! Never mind, they got me.”

A massive tunneler crossed the landscape, chasing running figures. “Nice work,” Culver said, “If a bit late. Whoever’s running that thing, good job.”

There was a pause. “Well, I know it isn’t me,” he added.

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