Lonely Phoenix

Posted in eBook, Scifi, Spaceflight, Stories with tags , on April 17, 2015 by oneoveralpha

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Partway to a new colony world, board member Geoffrey Ames is woken from hibernation by the caretaking crew of the Lucian. They require him to look into the matter of their fellow crewman Morgan Heller. Morgan’s claims – such as being over 1500 years old – would normally land him in the psychiatric ward, except he can back up some of his other claims.

Here is an excerpt to give you a sample:

Delara and Geoffrey entered the cell. Along the far wall were a bed and a toilet. A small table had been placed between the bed and door, along with three folding chairs. Without ceremony, Delara set the first aid kit on the table and sat down. Geoffrey paused and studied the prisoner who stood on the other side of the table. Morgan Heller was below average height, but with plenty of muscle.

Morgan grinned and waved to the chair beside Delara. “Please, sit down.”

Geoffrey looked from him to Delara, but her face was turned away. He looked back to Morgan and nodded before sitting down.

“I’d offer you a drink, but,” Morgan spread his hands, “I must have misplaced the key to the wine cellar.” He chuckled to himself then sat down.

Geoffrey began, “Mister Heller–”

“Please, call me Morgan.”

“Mister Heller,” Geoffrey continued, gaining a smirk from Morgan, “my name is Geoffrey Ames. I’m a member of the Board of Directors woken to look into this … situation.”

“Good morning, Mister Ames.”

After a pause, Geoffrey asked, “Mister Heller, why do they have you locked up in here?”

Morgan frowned and glanced at Delara, who replied, “I thought it best if he hears your story without any preconceived notions.”

“I see.” Morgan turned back to Geoffrey and stated, “The reason they have me locked in here is because of what I am.”

When he didn’t immediately continue, Geoffrey prompted, “Which is?”

“I don’t know. The closest word for what I am is … vampire.”

For several seconds there was only silence. Then Geoffrey nodded and turned to Delara. “You woke me for this?”

Delara only smiled and opened the first aid kit. She took out a pair of scissors and held them up in front of Geoffrey. She opened and closed them a few times, and turned them around so he could see both sides. “What are you doing?” he asked.

Instead of replying, she slid them across the table to Morgan.

Morgan sighed. He picked up the scissors, opened them, and then swept a blade across his forearm.

Geoffrey jumped up, knocking over his chair. “What the hell is going on here?”

Delara stood and put her hand on his shoulder. “Geoffrey, look at his arm.”

Against his better judgment, Geoffrey turned to look at Morgan’s arm. The wound wasn’t deep, with only a little bit of blood. But then he watched as the wound closed. The edges of the skin just rejoined.

Delara sat back down and took a wipe from the kit and passed it to Morgan, who cleaned the blood from his arm. A light pink scar was the only indication something had happened.

Apparently none the worse, Morgan looked up to Geoffrey and explained, “I heal very quickly. That’s why I’m in here. There was an accident that several people witnessed. They saw me gravely injured, and then I healed right before their eyes.”

“There is security footage of the accident as well as his healing,” Delara stated.

Geoffrey looked from Morgan’s arm, to the scissors, to Delara, then to Morgan’s smiling face. “If you’ll excuse me,” Geoffrey said, then he turned and left.

***

If you are at all curious, you can find “Lonely Phoenix” on Kindle.

Rise

Posted in eBook, Scifi, Spaceflight, Stories with tags on April 3, 2015 by oneoveralpha

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“Rise” is a stand alone story set in my Human Republic Universe. The story follows some of the events after the tragic deaths of the colonists in a small colony in a distant star system.

Here is an excerpt to give you a sample:

There were days when MP Lyn Rankin just hated the Earth. Especially Africa; especially Kenya. On the human level, she could understand Sandra Lewis’s idea of placing the Capital of the Human Republic – this brand new step in the history of Humanity – on the continent that gave birth to Homo sapiens. On a political level, she could appreciate using the location of the Capital as a way to placate a continent for centuries of abuse and neglect. But on the personal level, she hated being here. The air was too thick, too heavy, too dusty or, on days like this, too humid.

The window of her cab was streaked with water. How anyone could find rain beautiful, something to look forward to, was beyond her. Even inside her sealed cab everything felt damp.

To take her mind off the rain, she again tried to figure out the summons to see President Väkelä. It must be Trident Colony, she thought. But if it had been attacked by pirates or rogue Lumens, you call out the Guard and Navy to hunt them down. You inform their MP, but that does not require a meeting with the President.

Unless, something else had happened. Maybe the colonists were being held captive. But what could she do? The Human Republic would not negotiate with terrorists. An epidemic? Call in the CDA. Then – to make things more confusing – Lyn wondered what if something wonderful had happened instead? What if the colonists had found evidence for another alien race, one the Pentans did not know of? Would that warrant a meeting with the President?

She had been down this road several times before, but could not get anywhere. To take her mind off the problem, she looked back out the window.

***

If you are at all curious, you can find “Rise” on Kindle.

A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories

Posted in eBook, Scifi, Spaceflight, Stories with tags , on March 27, 2015 by oneoveralpha

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Hopefully, in the not too distant future humans will return to the moon. We will build bases and colonies, create farms and factories, and live, love and learn. “A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories” contains five short stories set upon the moon. They give the tiniest glimpse of the possibilities awaiting us there.

For an example, here is an excerpt from “Putting Down Roots”

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Julie smiled to the camera and gave a little wave. “Hello from the Armstrong Research Station at the Lunar South Pole. I’m the Station Director, Doctor Julie Herrin, and this is a very special broadcast.”

Spreading her arms, Julie stated, “I’m talking to you from what in the station specs is referred to as ‘the common area,’ but here at Armstrong we call it The Bunker.” She shrugged and explained, “The name was here before I was, so don’t ask me why. Anyway, this is where we usually make our media presentations, but it’s also where most of us eat, play games, and watch movies every Tuesday and Friday night. And today, thanks to you, it’s becoming even more.

“About twelve hours ago, one of our resupply shuttles landed with a special package from the Lunar Auxiliary. For those of you watching this video who don’t know about the Lunar Auxiliary, they are a private group on Earth who raise money to ship various items to us here on the moon. Things like treat baskets each Halloween and knitted socks for all the staff up here … which I probably shouldn’t have brought up because I’m not wearing mine today.”

Out of the corner of her eye, Julie saw several of the staff laughing silently as they showed off their socks. She clenched her jaw for a second, before continuing, “But the reason for today’s video is this.” She held up the package: a thick plastic tube about a meter long. The tube had already been opened, so Julie only had to slide the top up off the contents.

***

If you are at all curious, you can find “A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories” on Kindle.

The Most Powerful Man in the World and other stories

Posted in eBook, Scifi, Stories with tags on March 20, 2015 by oneoveralpha

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“The Most Powerful Man in the World and other stories” is a collection of five of my short, scifi stories to provide a sample of my writing.

A being from the distant future with almost unlimited powers comes back to help Ian Steele make the world a better place in “The Most Powerful Man in the World.” The bookstore customer has an entirely different reason for wanting books in “Black Market Books.” “Motherhood” tells the story of Thomas Gillespie, the surrogate mother for an AI. “Storyteller” is about an author thinking his book into existence. And “Deadworld” is about the alien world humans are reborn on – in alien bodies – after they die.

For an example, here is an excerpt from “The Most Powerful Man in the World”

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“What happened?” Ian asked from the floor.

“You fainted.”

Ian sat up and looked around the empty room. It was maybe fifteen feet on a side and painted a dull grey. “Where am I?”

“A dimensional intrusion located within your living room wall.”

“Huh?”

Pulling him to his feet, she explained, “Basically, it’s a space that can be as large,” here Karen threw her arms out and the walls zoomed away beyond sight, “or as small as I want.” She then drew her arms in and the two stood in a space the size of a phone booth. The room returned to its original size and Karen stretched. “But I think this is a good size.”

Ian spun around, trying to keep an eye on each of the walls as if they might sneak up and squish him. “What the hell is this?”

Karen put her arm around him. “Arthur C. Clarke once said that ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’” Shrugging, Karen stated, “This is magic.”

***

If you are at all curious, you can find “The Most Powerful Man in the World and other stories” on Kindle.

Brain for Rent and other stories

Posted in eBook, Scifi, Stories with tags , on March 13, 2015 by oneoveralpha

“Brain for Rent and other stories” is a collection of five, short scifi stories I put together to give a sampling of my writing. Included in the collection are: “Brain for Rent” about a ne’re-do-well failed writer with a conceptual implant who discusses his work with a young woman thinking of getting an implant herself. “The Demonstration” is about a different young woman wanting to show off her latest body modification. “Self Imprisonment” offers one solution of where to put the backup copy of yourself for safe keeping. “The Best Job Ever” is about a necessary – yet unpleasant – human/alien interaction. And the collection ends with “Why Stay?” which explains why, after years of fighting the humans, the robots just deactivated.

For an example, here is an excerpt from “The Demonstration”

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Splice was the hottest nightclub in town catering to body manipulators. So it was normal to see people waiting in line with feline features, multiple arms, or an anatomy twisted in ways that would give Picasso a headache. But a young, apparently normal human woman? That raised numerous eyebrows, or what passed for eyebrows.

Joan just stood silently in line with a faint smile on her lips.

When she finally reached the front of the line, the bouncer – a wall of muscle in an enormous tuxedo with rhinoceros horns sprouting from his face – gave her a glance and grumbled, “No unmodifieds.”

Joan gave him a toothy smile and asked, “Could an unmodified do this?” In a flash she grabbed hold of the front of his tuxedo with her left hand and lifted him half-a-meter off the ground.

The bouncer just looked down at the ground, then back to Joan. “Ma’am,” he said, “there’s a cyborg bar three blocks down that would love your patronage.”

Setting him back on his feet, Joan declared, “I am not a cyborg. I’ll make you a deal. Scan me for cybernetic implants.” She reached in to her jeans pocket and pulled out her card and waved it in front of him. “If you find anything beyond the basic manipulator nanites, I will give you a thousand dollars and then leave without a fuss. But if you don’t find any, you’ll allow me in.”

For a few heartbeats, there was only the sound of a distant train. Then Tom called out, “Come on, just scan her so the rest of us can get in.”

The cry was taken up by the rest of her friends and several other people in line.

The bouncer shrugged and said, “Fine.”

***

If you are at all curious, you can find “Brain for Rent and other stories” on Kindle.

The Future is Coming

Posted in eBook, Science, Scifi with tags , , , , on February 27, 2015 by oneoveralpha

As a science fiction writer, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how technology will change the way we live. I came up with these ten short essays about science fictional elements that will – almost certainly – one day become science fact as a way for people to start coming to terms with them. Since I’ve spent time thinking about clones and AIs, I feel I’ll be okay when they do finally show up whereas most people will probably freak out. The point of these essays is to get people to start thinking about the future because, no matter what we do, the future is coming.

Here’s one of the essays, which was first published as a blog post.

“Cloning Humans”

Someday – almost certainly sooner than anyone suspects – a human will be cloned. There will be protests, boycotts, marches, condemnations, congressional hearings, etc., all for this one minor event. I say minor event, and here is why.

The short term issues

The biggest problem human clones will face comes from people watching too many bad science fiction movies. In those movies, 99.9% of what they show of cloning is utter crap. In reality, clones will not be mindless automatons who will blindly follow the orders of some megalomaniac out for galactic domination. Nor will you run the risk of walking into an alley where someone will jump you, and ten minutes later a clone will walk out of the alley to steal your identity. And clones will not “remember” the lives of their donors and do … whatever. A clone will just be another human. That’s it. If they can escape the mental scaring caused by “parents” or guardians bent on making them into exact duplicates of the people who donated some DNA, they will be no more screwed up than the rest of us.

Cloning will – especially at first – be extremely expensive. That combined with the fact that we already have over seven billion humans made the old fashion way begs the question, what need is there to create clones? Seriously, what will be the point? Yes, grieving families will want to replace loved ones, and companies will take their money to give them a clone who will have the same DNA as the person they lost. But the clone – because they will have lived a different life – will not be the same person. And yes, some historical figures will be cloned as well as the best and brightest of various fields, but when the Einstein clone takes up poetry instead of physics, what will be the point of continuing?

There will be clones, but they will make up a miniscule fraction of the population. But a ton of legal and ethical questions will surround them. Will the donor of the DNA have all the rights and responsibilities of a parent? What recompense will people have if they are cloned against their wishes? Will the donor be able to abort the clone, and if so, how far into the cloning process will they be able to do that? If the donor is Canadian but the cloning is done in the United States, will the clone be Canadian, American, or have dual citizenship? Will a clone be able to become President? It’s probably a safe bet that few – if any – of these questions will be answered by the time human clones walk among us.

The long term issues

Above, I said that the fictional instaclones that are ready in a few minutes or hours you often see in movies is utter crap. In the short term, that is entirely true. The technology to rapidly copy a person may be possible, but probably not for several decades at best. As such, the day may come where you could walk into an alley and ten minutes later a clone walks out to steal your identity. That could happen, but since cloning won’t be the only technology to advance, I’d think it would be far easier for the bad guys to steal your identity by hacking into your computer implants and turning you into a puppet. That will be easier then going through the process of taking a genetic sample, growing the instaclone, and then somehow giving it enough of your memories for it to pass as you.

About the only possible reason I can think of for large scale clone production, will be for people to download themselves into younger bodies. There are two ways I can see this happening. The first is a brain transplant. Now, if the clone has to grow up so the brain will fit, that will only work if the clone can be grown without a brain. But if you could make brainless, instaclones, then that may be a viable option. The second way is some sort of electronic transfer. You make a digital copy of yourself, then install it in a clone with an undeveloped brain. Of course, if you can upload your consciousness into some electronic format, then why not keep it as that in either a virtual world or by downloading it into a mechanical body? As I said, cloning won’t be the only technology that advances.

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Basically, at some point in the not too distant future, a human will be cloned. A great deal of time will be spent demonizing that fact, but in the long run human cloning will almost certainly just be a fad.

***

If you’re curious, you can find “The Future is Coming” on Kindle.

My QuarterReads stories

Posted in Scifi, Stories, Writing with tags , on February 20, 2015 by oneoveralpha

For those who don’t know, QuarterReads is a site where readers can buy short stories for only a quarter. What’s great for the authors of these stories is that $0.22 goes to the author. Usually, it seems like for other sites the pay ratio is the opposite of that. In addition, if you really enjoyed a story, you can tip the author $0.25, $0.50, or $1.00. If you are interested in reading great short stories – and helping out their authors – I highly recommend you checking out QuarterReads. This may be a bit biased, but here are six stories I suggest you take a look at. :D

No Longer Number One

Offers one possibility of what it will be like after the aliens arrive.

It’s Harder Than It Looks

A ghostly little story about writing.

Double Trouble

How can a Presidential assassination be bigger news when it fails?

Invisible Strings

What’s the worst thing that can happen after learning you’ll be President some day?

Community Improvement

What happens when politicians decide to use time travel?

Bitter Medicine

A scifi author’s worst nightmare; when the alien invasion they write about, comes true.

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