Author : David Nutt

It took all of Jimmy J’s concentration to lock out the invading minds trying to pry the secrets from him. The first attack was dealt with easily, the Thulian from the belt. It was straight forward frontal lobe probing. Brute force, horribly off balance, easily turned aside. The Thulian dropped out immediately.

The second attack was from Danni, a humanoid like him. Typical. She tried to appeal to his libido. Vague images of passionate encounters but he ignored them. She switched to homo erotic vignettes thinking that maybe he swung that way, but it was to no avail. In the process he did discover she had a weakness for older men. Jimmy tunneled into her unconscious and planted a few spicy sequences of his own and she folded like a wet cardboard box.

The next attack came from the ancient. Ancient what he wasn’t quite sure. Old, powerful, and subtle was all he could read. Jimmy thought he was done for but while old, powerful, and subtle spoke of the unknown creature trying to overwhelm his mind it was no match for the creatures inexperience in this arena, and the Ancient’s own doubt was what sent him (her? it?) cowering from Jimmy’s mind.

The last attack came from an old nemesis. Kazanti. Jimmy smiled. Kazanti was so augmented with implants it was hard to tell where organic being ended and nanotechnology began. The rumor was Kazanti was in some kind of accident and the emergency procedures to save his life altered his personality so much that it was as if the old, pre-accident Kazanti never existed.

That’s where Jimmy caught a glimpse for an attack; between rumor and reality. Another’s perception meant nothing to Kazanti, but his self perception was everything. It was a quick glimpse; a small child-like creature on some kind of recreational equipment. Large mammalian eyes, soft fur, delicate primate like hands; hands that reminded Jimmy of the lemur he saw in the zoo when he was seven. His big sister was still alive then and he could almost feel the warmth of her hand in his as they looked—

Jimmy threw up his defenses, drew down his ego shields and unleashed a panicked id response. Childish and violent to be sure, but the surprise caught Kazinti in a vulnerable spot and while Jimmy was thrashing Kazanti lost his grip and had to retreat leaving Jimmy with the secret still locked inside his head.

A smile crept on to Jimmy’s face as the others withdrew, leaving Jimmy alone and unscathed. At peace, he knew the others could not touch him, that they did not know what he knew already; that he had won. Jimmy opened his mind to all his attackers the split second before he spoke so they would know the horrible truth as their physical senses caught up with their minds:

“Read ’em and weep boys and girls! Straight flush.”


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