I've only got fourteen minutes to make it to Mars, because the planet dies in fifteen.

I'm hooked up into a Foundation attack ship, the neural interface jammed into the skulljack buried where my spine meets the brain. For the moment, I'm not a human piloting a ship, but a ship with a fleshy control unit buried at the center. I wouldn't say that the ship is an extension of me because it feels like the opposite, if anything.

The asteroid belt zips by in seconds. If I wasn't offloaded the bulk of my processing power into the onboard supercomputers, I would have smashed into an asteroid well over a dozen times in the past three seconds. But my reaction time is faster than the human brain can think, and my vision spans millions of kilometers. Nothing gets within two thousand kilometers.

Missiles are coming for me, from the back. Pursuers, sent to bring me in line. Probably sent by the Foundation, who have possibly learned of my little scheme. Dealing with their attacks is nothing more than smacking a fly off my shoulder. Lasers fire off my back and the missiles harmlessly explod, far enough away to do nothing.

This is a chase, now, then. I divert a little more power into the engine, and go from .8c to .9.


Flames burn into life as I enter the Martian atmosphere. I feel the heat, but my conceptualization of "pain" in this state is nothing more than a knowledge that something is probably wrong. It's not distracting, and I can simply ignore it. No need to get out of the kitchen.

My target is breaking through the ground

You've got me seeing stars, brighter than ever
Shining just like diamonds do
I know that in time it could be all ours, brighter than ever

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