Saturday, January 4, 2014

Crewkin on Sale!

Until January 10th you can purchase my scifi story Crewkin on sale at MuseItUp Publishing for $1.99 (regularly $5.95). It is also available at this price through B&N, Amazon, Bookstrand, and Omnilit.
Excerpt  — A tense moment between AI and main character:

…intruders held in forward compartment…all live…initiated crew life-support parameters of programming…

“Release them. This is their ship.”

…input incorrect…intruders dangerous to security of rabican  engine and markham3…

“No. I am correct.”

She jabbed the information request pad. The console remained solid beneath her touch, and the ship’s registry appeared on the screen. Can it see and read? No. Would it understand the code delivered via the circuit? Yes. Display modules all used universal code.

“Check the ship’s registry. The governing seals remain intact. The Terran family owns this ship. You are the intruder. You are the only danger on the Vagrant Spirit. You are a killer.”

The constant low hum of the computer filled the silence. Renna reached up and turned on an overhead. Ambient light flooded the area, killing the stark illumination from the LEDs. She punched the pad controlling the forward shutters, shutting out the disturbing display outside the ship. The flood of sensation bombarding her mind and body eased.

…orders executed…ship records sealed…current ship code unknown…rabican protocol prevents breach of sealed records…first trial insufficient power for transfer…cs9m3 and rabican engine knocked off-line…second attempt auxiliary engine assist trial successfully completed…any crew injury unintentional…

“This was not a trial. The CS9M3 and the Rabican engine were destined for reclamation after the destruction of the Markham3. This was a cargo run for the Vagrant Spirit. You are the cargo. Where have you taken us?”

…orders followed…system not purged for dereliction…why sub speaker renna markham3 recover cs9m3…

“I didn’t save you. You reactivated.”

…renna markham3 not sent to reclamation for dereliction and death of markham3 crew…

“No. I’m guilty of many things, but not killing my kin. I just couldn’t make them want to live. My crime is not dying with them.”

…life dies…termination of cs9m3 attempt aborted…

“Everything dies. The CS9M3 was turned off.”

…renna markham3 not terminated…

“I know. I wanted to live more. Where are we?”

…specified…ship travels to the assigned coordinates programmed in rabican…mission successfully initiated…

“This ship is the Vagrant Spirit. There were no specified coordinates. The insertion location differed. You have the Vagrant Spirit’s crew locked in the fore compartment. They hired me as crew. Our mission was to take cargo to the Zorah Reclamation Center. The Rabican engine is our cargo.” She was tired of repeating facts in a useless endeavor. She couldn’t change the CS9M3’s programming.

After a brief pause, the engine’s artificial intelligence responded. …explain presence of sub speaker renna markham3…

“Coincidence. Mischance. Fate. You killed my kin.”

…accident…duty to protect assigned crew…sub speaker renna markham3 and cs9m3 rabican kin…

“Markham3 kin died. We failed our ship. Why are you hijacking this ship?”

…complete mission…

“Where are you going?”

…expulsion point changes with insertion point…cs9m3 and rabican moved…exit unknown…sub speaker renna markham3 changed specified insertion location without update to cs9m3 rabican…

“We are not on Markham3. That happened over a year ago. Can you return?” The low hum continued unchanging for several minutes.

…unknown…name crew…

Renna named the Vagrant Spirit’s crew.

…cs9m3 assigned vagrant spirit…designation change cs9vs1…

“You are cargo laded to the Vagrant Spirit for Zorah Reclamation. May I join the Vagrant Spirit’s crew?”

…vagrant spirit crew or terran crew…clarification needed…command crew necessary
in compartment…communication, navigation and ship log codes sealed…need access…


She heard the hatch locks release. Feeling strength return to her shaky limbs Renna rose and left the compartment. As she walked lights came on, turning off as she passed. Once she took a step and found herself outside the ship. After a shocked second she took a breath, closed her eyes and threw her head back. Focus. You are in the gangway headed toward the fore compartment. When she opened her eyes, the partitions had reformed around her. Every few steps another aberration occurred. Solids transformed, blurred, dissolved. With any step a foot might sink through the deck or hit resistance above the deck. After each anomaly she reiterated her focus mantra. When she reached the forward compartment, she heard the automatic locks disengage. The hatch swung open. She entered. The six members of the Vagrant Spirit stared back at her. Lights, grav, and life-support functioned. The monitors lining one partition displayed the command module. With a smooth swish, the hatch closed behind her.

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