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[ Read more about author Scott M. Sandridge ]

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Zapped by Alien Skin in their April/May 2006 issue, this is the new, revised version of "Cyber Hunt." Captain Amanda McVae and Wiley of the Eagle Federation track down a Dragon Army Cyber on the Hellish moon, Io.

Cyber Hunt

by Scott M. Sandridge

Cyber Hunt

By Scott M. Sandridge

Amanda looked at the crash site and cursed. The mangled Dragon Fighter reflected the glow of the nearby lava stream.

"What is it?" Wiley asked. His optics scrutinized the wrecked fighter. Everything was there except--.

"The bitch is gone, that's what!" Amanda kicked a rock then threw her hands up. She placed her hands against her helmet and yelled as the rock floated down into the lava stream. "What is it with our luck, Wiley? Huh? You tell me."

"Luck has nothing to do with it," replied the robot. He rubbed the Robert S. Wiley insignia etched on his chest in a manner that almost seemed superstitious. "It all comes down to variables and averages."

"Yeah? Well so far the variables don't look so good." She walked toward the downed fighter, Wiley close behind her. The low gravity made each step into a small leap. She looked through the shattered cockpit window then let out another curse, adding, "No controls, only a portal for a datajack. Great, she's a freaking Cyber, probably fresh off the Dragon Army assembly line."

"Are you sure she's not a he?"

"I was just in a dogfight with her and lost my wingman," she said. "Trust me, only an enhanced female can make those types of maneuvers. Besides, averages alone give it an eight out of ten chance she's a female pilot these days."

Wiley scanned a range of mountains. Behind one peak, volcanic sulfur spewed several kilometers high. As Amanda went back to her Eagle Fighter, Wiley asked, "What are you doing?"

"Getting a bigger gun," she said. "We are dealing with a Cyber, after all."

She looked at the robot, placed her hands on her hips, and shook her head. "For a genius able to transfer his mind into machines, you sure can be dumb on some things."

"Some memory algorithms tend to get unbalanced during the transferal process, that's all," he said.

"No need to get defensive." She rummaged through the storage container in the back of the cockpit until she found the gun. She hefted the large, smooth-bore slug-thrower over one shoulder and followed Wiley.




Copyright © by Scott M. Sandridge . All rights reserved unless specified otherwise above.

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