Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sample Sunday Science Fiction

As readers progress through the books in the Infinion Trilogy, they drift deeper and deeper into more traditional science fiction.  Although this has cost me some of the fans garnered by Regression, it is a truer reflection of my own tastes and interests, and the kind of stories I enjoy writing. Not to say I didn't love writing Regression, but part of my pleasure was knowing where the story was heading.

And so, here is an excerpt from Revolussion, the work in progress which will be the final instalment of the trilogy. I am still considering the companion to the series, Nicholas Weaver's tale, but it would follow his lifetimes rather than the final one he experiences in the Infinion Series. This is a rough draft, unedited, but gives an idea of where the story is going.

He used his far-ranging sensors to locate the ship carrying his brothers. Docked at Ceres station, it was out of range of the Effigee weapons, but he still blocked the image from appearing to the voracious predator species. By bringing his cells into their ship, by merging his plasmid with the structure of their craft, they had actually imbued him with the power to defeat them. At least, this one ship. As he filtered through the alien technology, learning the signals and impulses of his artificial systems, he realized there were dozens of the Effigee ships ranged around the perimeter of the solar system. Some were in very poor condition, their onboard plasmids few and far between, making their use limited and haphazard. This was why the Effigee were coming. The death of a cell on board the ship meant the loss of a portion of the computer power of the ship’s control. Each individual cell was linked to the whole and supported operations. Without a host to grow new plasmids, the Effigee ships had begun to decay. This really was their last chance.
But he did not care. He was human. Pluman. And would ensure their survival at his own cost.
His body had contained trillions of cells. Trillions of plasmids. Would they use his body to bolster the other ships?
He would make it so. With a simple thought, he summoned the ship’s apparent leader. When they were not controlling the ship, the Effigee massed on the floors of the craft like so many cockroaches. Their roiling undulations would have revolted his living self, but merely amused his new essence. What an incredibly insignificant creature to be of such great threat to Earth. Yet, when the individuals merged to work together, they were as powerful as they needed to be. His summons brought an undulation into formation, rising above the tide of bodies to take on the six-limbed shape of the original owners of the ship. Using the mockery of a hand, the Effigee touched the screen and opened the communication stream between the other ships. With a series of clicks and squeals, the creature spoke to another replicant on an identical ship. Then Avery felt a draw on his system, like a thread being pulled from a knitted sweater.  He followed the drain, and found a mass of cells being collated. They were doing as he said, and sending portions of his cells to the other ships.
The mass of tissue was still part of him, and still connected to his awareness. He no longer thought or processed like a human with one central nervous system and brain. Instead, he was more a group consciousness. A collective. As much as he hated the comparison, his being was now like the Effigee, with countless individual comprising the whole, able to work collectively and discretely. He hoped.
The nearest Effigee craft pulled alongside the ship Avery inhabited, and his tissue was transported through a transfer tube between the two.
It worked. He could still sense the cells even after the tube had withdrawn. And, as they permeated the second ship, his awareness expanded and intensified. He was now two.
It was then he felt the presence of his mother.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Sample Sunday post from Book 1 of the Infinion Series, Regression

Journal of Doctor Nicholas Weaver
September 21, 98 P. I.                   

It is so incredibly frustrating to know I was born just a little too late. Ten years earlier, even five years sooner, and I could have turned the tide or made someone listen. Because of my birth date, each timeline greets me with only months to spare before living Impact over again. First Adya dies, and with her any chance of Hope. Then, watching the panic, the famine, the pestilence. I do what I can to ease their suffering but I must do more. I must prevent it. This is what drives me, what has sustained me through a thousand years where I have relived the horrors repeatedly. But I grow weary with the effort. 

Sample Sunday - excerpt, fresh off the keyboard, from Revolussion, Book 3 of the Infinion Trilogy

Warning, contains spoilers for the first two books! If you have not read Regression or Evolussion, some of the content here will key you in to concepts from those books. Or, perhaps, will make you interested in reading them!

Excerpt from Revolussion


 Nicholas Weaver watched the rise and fall of the slender shoulders on the woman sleeping beside him.
Eleven lifetimes of searching for her had not prepared him for what he would find. Some echo of her own love for him persisted across time because although she had not known exactly who he was, she had known what he was to her. Lover. Friend. Soul mate. Whatever one called it, their connection had transcended the realities and lifetimes which had separated them. Their reunion had played out in his mind a million different ways before he finally met her, ranging from introducing himself to her as a child to watching in the wings while she approached adulthood, but never had he figured on the plasmid accelerating her growth. That had not happened in the original timeline.
A lot of things had not happened in the original timeline. He found himself uneasy, in spite of the fact that the changes might save the world. Past lifetimes had been predictable. Disastrous, but predictable, and a horror for which one is prepared is more manageable than a horror one does not expect. What would the Effigee do to the plumans? Including Hope. Including their soon to be born child.
Hope rolled onto her back, revealing the curve of her abdomen where only weeks ago she was flat. He slid his hand under the blanket and caressed her midriff. A wave of movement under his palm filled him with wonder. Knowing that whatever happened from here on in was unscripted, uncharted territory was unnerving, but here in his hands was all the motivation he needed to accept the changed reality.
“He’s really pushing on me today. I have to go to the bathroom again.” Hope rolled to the side of the bed and pushed her feet into the slippers he had set out for her the night before. “I can’t imagine how it must feel to have this much pressure for months on end!”
Her pregnancy was advancing at ten times the normal rate, due to the action of the plasmid. All around them, plumans were getting pregnant and giving birth within weeks. Dawn had explained her gestation for the first generation of plumans, Hope’s brothers, had been five months, which was almost half the normal human period of time. The second generation of children, Hope’s nieces and nephews, had the same moderately accelerated growth. But, since the shockwave, everyone was in rapid growth. Dawn said it was because the plasmid was programmed to replicate as many copies as possible, which could only happen through mitosis. Hints of why this was happening had fallen upon his ears, but in the past weeks Dawn had withdrawn from everyone except Stew Singleton. No answers were coming from that direction.
“Tell me again about our wedding. The first one.” Hope crawled back under the covers, tangling her cold legs with his warm ones, setting him to shivering.
“Dirty heat stealer.”
She giggled. “It’s cold in the bathroom. You have to get Darren to flush the pipes; I don’t think the circulation is bringing enough heat into that part of the quarters. Tell me about our wedding.”
He closed his eyes, visualizing for the umpteenth time the day she married him, giving him Hope in a world without hope.

There were not many practicing priests or ministers by that time. The asteroid and comet impact had left Europe devastated physically, but the Americas were dying slow deaths as no children were born to replace the elderly, the sick, or the…suicides. Yet, some people held fast to their beliefs, and in 2041 he found a small parish in Owen Sound, Ontario, which still held services. They did not yet realize she was pregnant, had just thought she had a virus making her vomit. Her sickness was not just in the mornings, and the thought she could be fertile never crossed her mind.
Nicholas approached the doors of the church, pausing to admire the spire rising tall above the trees. So many buildings stood empty but intact. Tales of apocalypse he had read in his youth always described people as becoming rabid bands of marauders, but in reality most had turned either to their faith, or to despondency, as the slow realization came upon them that there would be no further generations of humans. Life had gone on after the first devastating effects of Impact had worn away.  People found comfort in routines and familiarity.
The doors to the chapel were open, and he beckoned Hope out of their truck. Together, they entered the building.
A voice answered from the dais. “Hello. I’m sorry, you just missed service.”
They smiled at the pastor, and grasped each other’s hands. “We were wondering if you could do a wedding ceremony.”
Regarding their eager faces, the man in the robes of worship slowly broke into a smile. “It has been a long, long time since I’ve had a request for a wedding. Do you practice?”
“Catholic religion. Are you wanting a Catholic wedding? With so few parishioners, we have become an interdenominational church but if you were Catholic…?”
“Sorry, no. But, you’ll do the wedding anyway?”
Again the priest smiled broadly. “Yes, of course. When?”
He shook his head. “I’m sorry, but we have to call in a witness and I don’t have anyone handy right now. Could you wait until tomorrow? Then we could place some flowers in the church.”
“Actually, I was hoping we could have the service outside, under the sky.”
“I used to give summer sermons down at the beach. It is a glorious setting. Would you mind if…if I asked others to come? To bear witness?” His eyes pleaded, asking them to give some small gift of diversion to the people in the town.
“Of course. The more the merrier. How do we get to the place? And, is there somewhere we can stay for the night?”
“Why don’t you stay with my sister and her husband? They have rooms to spare and live close to the water.”
Sharing a look, they nodded, and Hope replied, "That would be wonderful; thank you so much." 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sample Sunday - From Evolussion

For Sample Sunday, I'm offering a snippet from Evolussion, Book Two of the Infinion Series. It's 2011, and Three Eleven is facing difficulties both from those within its walls, and those on the outside.

The phone rang in her office the moment Dawn stepped into it.
Dawn Ingram.”
I’m sorry to disturb you, Ms Ingram, but we have a bit of a situation here…”
And you are?”
Sorry, it’s Robert Jarvis from the Midnorth centre. One of our agents was transporting two detainees and…well…we’ve got a guy calling in who claims to be Lavrentios Alexopoulos and says he has the agent hostage and wants to speak to you. He’s calling back in one half hour.”
Who is the agent?”
Gordon Busey, our head of security.”
Can you explain what exactly happened?” She stretched the phone cord to walk around the desk, sliding out the seat and dropping down.
We’re not too sure. Our video record shows two men entering the building at three forty-five. They apparently had an appointment with Arthur Gunther, most likely on a pretence. Busey detained them upon entry, loaded them into a transport, and then we lost track of them. Until now. We checked the video, he does meet the description of Alexopoulos but…what would you like us to do with him?”
In twenty-six years, Alexopoulos had never attempted direct contact with them. Her first meeting with him, posing as an artist at a summer carnival, had led both to the picture of her surrounded by children, and to a forced encounter which resulted in her carrying Avery and Ashton. A thread of fear wound through her fingers as she looked at the paper below her pen. Doodling while talking, she had drawn the symbol ∞. Infinity. She scribbled the image out. She did not want to always be repeating her life.
What about the other man? Do you know anything about him?”
Some kid, Nicholas Weaver. Kid’s parents died in a car accident a few weeks ago, kid only just emerged from a coma at Brighton General then ran away.”
What did you say?”
I...the boy with Alexopoulos was in a coma a few weeks ago. At least, that’s what I understand.”
I want to speak with him. Them both. What are the details of the call back?”
He’s calling in at four-thirty local time, and we can patch him through to you.”
She looked at her watch. Twenty-six minutes. “Do it. Come through the main switchboard. I’ll let them know my location if not in this office. Thank you, Robert.” Placing the handset on the cradle, Dawn rushed into the hallway and asked her assistant Mary to watch Hope. Her mind churned with the implications of the call and the people involved. If this boy had connected himself with Anvolussion and Alexopoulos only weeks after emerging from a coma, perhaps he was a regressee as well. None had been located since Dawn joined the team twenty-six years earlier. They assumed her arrival heralded the final stage of the master plan orchestrated by some unknown entity. The commonly held belief was an alien influence was responsible because of Dawn’s interaction with the plasmid in her cells. Although both her own genetic anomaly and the plasmids in the children had been dormant for more than two decades, the actions of that organism−changing Dawn’s physical appearance right down to her fingerprints, modifying the genetic makeup of the twins, and the visions she had experienced when it was active−prompted them to attribute the plasmid to extraterrestrial origins. Perhaps the boy, and Alexopoulos himself, could shed more light on the regressions. Or the disaster. Their timing strongly indicated they knew more than the average person about the mission of Three Eleven.
She hurried into Peter’s office, he quickly ending his phone conversation with a curt, “We’ll talk later.” His anxious expression prompted her to ask, “Do you already know?”
A flash of surprise crossed his face. “Know what?”
About Alexopoulos?”
Pardon?” Confusion furrowed his brow.
Lavrentios Alexopoulos. Just called asking to speak with me. I’m waiting on his return call. Did you know about that?”
No, why would I?”
Just your expression. It’s nothing. This is a change of operations for him, contacting us directly. Perhaps to take responsibility for the HUV bombing.”
I don’t think he meant to do as much damage. At least the space program wasn’t significantly delayed by the incident. His targets almost always involve in the space initiatives. This time, it was the HUVs with components for the new base. Last time, the shuttle computers. Before, the fuel cell components. He’s got to have a reason.”
Perhaps I’ll ask him when he calls.”
He grimaced. “Might be a bit blunt.”
She smiled, shaking her head. “There’s a security man whom he apparently has hostage. Guy from the MidNorth centre. Gordon Busey. Know him?”
After a moment’s though, Peter replied with concern, “Actually, he’s the guy who was investigating the bomb scene. But…there was something he said, Dawn, which bothered me. He congratulated us. How many people actually know about Hope?”
Surprised, she sank into one of the office chairs. “Off the island, we’ve tried to keep it private. Obviously people who saw her at the centre knew about Hope when I stopped in, but…they wouldn’t know she was yours. How did it come up?”
He was explaining his thoughts, that Alexopoulos happened to do more damage because a truck full of compressed gases was on the road beside him. Like he was trying to downplay the role of Anvolussion. Then he wished us well. Information he would not normally know. Do you think we have a mole?”
We’ll see what the phone call unveils, but perhaps we should look into Busey as well.” She picked up the phone, dialling the number of the Midnorth Centre and ordering a thorough investigation into the movements and activities of Gordon Busey. And his relationship with Lavrentios Alexopoulos. The leader of Anvolussion eluded capture with an efficiency bordering on psychic. Here at the Island where she spent most of her time, secreted in her bottom-most desk drawer in a hidden compartment, was the sketch he had drawn of her before she knew her true purpose in this lifetime, one that illustrated his own knowledge of her role as Eve. And secreted within their children was the nature of the man who impeded the progress of the Three Eleven initiatives at every turn. Their children had left Three Eleven, and later Anvolussion, because of the cognitive dissonance created from the memcall of two parents who worked against each other at all costs. Neither boy had shared with their mother or her company the memories inherited from their father−a bone of contention with her.
Peter strode out of the office, but Dawn took a moment to collect her racing thoughts. When overwhelmed, she found extra calm could be found in the plasmid. It controlled her serotonin and dopamine levels, and she often pulled on its mechanism to steady her mind and heart in crisis situations. She closed her eyes, and willed the warmth of tranquility to flow through her body, forged by the plasmid in each cell.
* * *
Alex’s heart pounded as he watched the clock tick the minutes to the arranged time. As desperate as the kid was, making this call put them both at risk and had his nerves on sharp edges. Dawn Ingram was an unknown quantity; he was unsure if she would pick up on the clues he and Nicholas had agreed upon. And she was part of the organization which created such surges of frustration and blind rage in him that he twice had to resort to breathing exercises to get his mind back on track.
They had slipped into a small motel just off of the 401 highway, paying cash for their room after making sure telephone service was available. Lies slipped off his tongue with practiced ease. And he had no qualms about using the location of the agent as incentive for the leader of the company to speak directly with him. Hopefully the man would not work his way free before the call was made.
It’s time to call her. Here, Alex.” Nicholas handed him the green phone and he dialled the number given to him by the representative he had spoken with earlier. Anxious, he worried that he had no way of knowing if he truly spoke to Dawn Ingram. But she had no reason to play games with him, and every reason to cooperate. If he really had done the things accused of him, she would not doubt the risk to her man.
A soft female voice answered, “Dawn Ingram.”
This is Lavrentios Alexopoulos.”
Yes. I understand you have one of my staff members. I presume he is safe? What do you want us to do, to secure his return?”
He’s fine. As a show of good faith, I’ll tell you right now he is in the workshop at Nicholas Weaver’s house, where he took us hoping to make a career for himself.”
* * *
Dawn motioned to Troy, sitting nearby in the meeting room where the entire executive listened intently to the telephone conversation. He summoned someone from outside the room to pass on the whereabouts of Gordon Busey. Struggling to control her voice and maintain a civil tongue, she drew on plasmid-enhanced composure to answer the man. “Thank you, we’ll verify his safety. I have to admit, I’m a bit surprised we’re having this conversation, Mister Alexopoulos.” The plasmid could only do so much emotional suppression. She could feel antagonism seeping through the barrier.
A short bark of laughter sounded at the other end. “Would you believe me if I said I am as well?”
Then please explain what it is that’s driving this newfound eloquence.”
That I prefer to do in person. With you. Alone.”
You’re asking for a lot.” The people around her were waving arms in negative motions but Dawn persisted with the conversation. “Why should I trust you?”
You’ll find your man unhurt except his pride. I have some information that is pertinent to our survival in the coming months. And, I have someone here who needs to meet with you.”
Nicholas Weaver. I know. Could I please speak to him?” She waited as he gave the phone over to the other man.
Weaver here.”
Hello, Nicholas. My sympathies on your recent loss.”
A pregnant pause on the end of the line. “Thank you.”
You were injured in the accident.”
In a coma.”
Nicholas. What sort of experience did you bring out of your coma?”
We want to meet to talk. Both Alex and I.”
Lavrentios Alexopoulos.”
Oh. Yes. Look, Nicholas, I’m sure you can understand the fear about my safety if I were to meet with the two of you. I was hoping you could answer some questions first?”
Sorry, only in person.”
It has to be somewhere we agree to. What did you have in mind?”
Just a minute. I’ll let Alex arrange that.”
The phone changed hands. “I’m limited in my travel options at the moment. You have to come to me.”
And you are where…?”
Ontario, Canada. Bainsville rest stop on the four oh one westbound.”
I know the place.” She paused, eyes misting. “The Highway of Heroes.” Her uncle had made the journey down that stretch of road because of the war in Afghanistan.
No, the Bainsville stop is further east than Trenton. Tomorrow at noon?”
I’ll be there.”
I expect only you. Any signs of Three Eleven, we’re gone.”
It will be just me.”
Good. Until tomorrow.”
Tomorrow it is.” She depressed the disconnect button and a wave of arguments erupted from around her. Allowing the roar to wash over her, Dawn retreated with a deeply indrawn breath, slowly exhaling as the members of the executive finished presenting their cases for why she should not go alone. She centred and rebuilt the wall of serenity channelled through the plasmid. Being able to manipulate her biochemistry was frequently useful.
Rising from her seat, she waited until the arguments died down before speaking. “This needs to happen. There is no argument. I’ll meet with Alexopoulos but I’ll take a transponder with me. Someone can wait a kilometre or two away, with a chopper, listening in.” She waved away further efforts at reasoning with a motion of her hand. “We’ve been waiting for this moment for...” She scanned the table, meeting Mordecai Bloomberg’s gaze, the oldest of the regressees. “…decades, some more than forty years. It makes sense that the culmination of our efforts coincides with a new approach by Anvolussion. If we don’t move to understand Alexopoulos’ motivations now, if we let this opportunity pass, he and his followers might up their efforts to our detriment.” Averting her eyes, she continued, “You know as well as I do he has a vested interest in our actions but we’ve never understood why. Even the twins would not reveal what they saw in his mind, which speaks to the power he takes from his sense of purpose. I cannot refuse. It would be too dangerous, a risk to everything we’ve worked so hard to accomplish. And…he knew the Highway of Heroes.”
Peter shrugged. “What’s that?”
The bodies of soldiers killed abroad were returned to the Trenton Canadian Forces Base then transported to the Coroner’s office in Toronto via that highway. It was officially designated the Highway of Heroes.”
So, without war in this lifetime, the Highway of Heroes doesn’t exist. He knew what I meant. Which means he lived the last lifetime with us.” With a final long look around the room, meeting each pair of eyes in turn, she closed her arguments. “He was supposed to join us.”

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Go Where The People Are

I've been blogging at Wordpress for a while, but I have noticed most of the authors I chat with have blogs here on Guess I'd better join them!

I'll figure out how to cross-post links and plan on alternating posts between this site and the Wordpress site. I think I'll focus on Infinion trilogy posts here, while Wordpress will be my location for general life postings.

Time to go make some links...