Snippet: The Dream Traveler Apocalypse

The Dream Traveler Apocalypse will be released early next year, 2020. Currently the first part of it is included in an anthology where proceeds go to charity. I’ll post more about that on my Facebook page as I have the details. For now, I offer you a little teaser. I’ve missed Ren. Haven’t you?


Some say that home is where the heart is.

That’s bullshit.

Just some bullocks that people say to make themselves feel good.

Home isn’t where the heart is. That’s in your chest. Look it up. Every goddamn anatomy textbook will prove I’m right.

Home is, plain and simply, the place that you like more than anywhere else. It’s where you go when you’re fucking tired of the rest of the world and the shitshow it’s constantly putting on for the dumbasses on this planet to watch.

Home is not some warm place where a cozy fire is always burning, and pot roast is cooling on the kitchen table.

Sometimes the best homes are cold. Damp. Full of repugnant technology and people who talk too fucking much. Still, that can be home despite its annoyance. Despite the frustrations that never seem to end inside those walls. Despite all the jerks who crowd the place, it’s the best goddamn place in the world.

A home isn’t where the heart is. I get the metaphor, but it’s worthless. It’s just a cozy little set of words that doesn’t mean anything at the end of the day.

You want to know what home is? You want a definition that you can actually do something with?

Home is the place you’d die to protect.

There. It’s that simple. No frills. No poetry. Just a law. One I stand by forever.

I’m Ren Lewis, and if you mess with my home, you’ll die.



Aug 6, 2019 | Posted by in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Snippet: The Dream Traveler Apocalypse

Snippet 1: Intergalactic Pest Control Series, Ganked In Space, #1


Sector 12 Transgalactic Space Station

“I hate my job. I hate my job,” the portly custodian, Lonnie, sang. He belted out those four words with the heart and conviction of a soul singer as he danced his mop across the cafeteria floor of the deserted Sector 12 Transgalactic Station. He signaled the sensors flicking the lights on as he went, waking the station up.

Lonnie had the express privilege of being the first one to step foot on main floor of the station each day, and clean up the filth left behind by the final shift from the previous night. His arrival beat Grover’s from Maintenance by an hour.

Lonnie was a ten-year veteran of the station’s custodial staff. During his latest anniversary celebration, the management and human resources team pitched in to get a tiny plaque engraved with the words ‘Lonnie’s Paintbrush,’ and affixed it to the handle of his mop. They frequently made the joke that Lonnie was an artist in the way he cleaned the shit-stained bathroom floors.

He’d forced a laugh when his bosses, and a handful of people who otherwise pretended he didn’t exist, presented it to him. Worse still, he’d forced a ‘thank you.’

“Thank you for this backhanded appreciation of the job that I do every day. Thankfully I’m cheaper than bots or I’d be out of a job, you credit-pinching assholes. Thank you for laughing in my face, if you choose to acknowledge my existence at all.”

That was what Lonnie wanted to say. However, he could never say that aloud. That wasn’t the place of the galactic blue-collar worker.

The radio on his belt buzzed. “You in, Lonnie?”

“Every day for more than ten years you’ve asked me that, Grover, and every day, I’ve been here.”

“You ain’t hit the sublevels yet, have you?” Grover asked.

“You know my routine, Grover. I don’t hit them levels ‘til damn near nine.”

“You might wanna hit ‘em up a bit sooner, friend. It’s a sour sight down here in sublevel two.” Grover’s voice tightened.

Lonnie let out a long sigh, and his mop felt heavier in his hands. “What sort of mess are we looking at?”

“The sort that’s gonna require much more than that mop of yours,” Grover said. “I can’t say what it is. Maybe some sort of…excrement?”

A fire lit in Lonnie’s belly. “Damn techs must’ve had a party again. They did the same thing a few years ago. They like to make their own booze out of the junk they grease the wheels with down there, and then they lose control of their bowels.”

Grover made a noise of disagreement. “This ain’t nothing like no human could make. I don’t know, maybe it’s—”

His voice cut out.

“Grover?” Lonnie asked. “You there?”

Nothing but dead air.

Lonnie shook his head, putting his radio away. “Probably slipped in it,” he mused aloud. “And with that hip of his, ain’t no way he’s getting up on his own. Best go lift the old man out of the shit.”

He jabbed his mop into the bucket and pushed the whole apparatus down the corridor, toward the elevator. He drove it inside the compartment and pressed the button for sublevel two. A strange sensation knotted in his stomach, like his guts knew something he didn’t. Or maybe it was just the half-pound of bacon substitute and fifth of whiskey he’d had for breakfast. Either way, by the time the elevator slowed to a halt, Lonnie felt like doubling over.

The calm was the first thing that hit him when the door slid open. There were only two people on this part of the space station, so he expected it to be quiet, but this was different. This was like the calm at a graveyard. An oppressive quiet. The kind that hangs on death.

The smell hit Lonnie next. It immediately soured his belly and curdled everything in his guts. He gagged, grabbed his stomach and tried to hold his breath. It was no use. The bacon and whiskey burned on the way back up.

“Cleaning up after my own damn self,” Lonnie muttered, looking down at the new mess at his feet. “Something ain’t right about that.”

The smell in the corridor was thick and coated the inside of his nose and throat, seeming to crawl all the way down to his belly. It was metallic and reeked of rotten meat.

Wiping the corners of his mouth, Lonnie stepped further down the passage of sublevel two. He only had to walk fifty feet, to the first control panel alcove, to find the source of the smell. It was that stuff that Grover thought was excrement. Now, seeing it, Lonnie thought Grover might have been right. It definitely didn’t belong to any human.

“Hello? Grover, I’m here!” Lonnie called out. He tried to breathe through his mouth as he stared around the darkened area.

“Grover, where you at?” Lonnie tried again, growing more worried about his friend with each unanswered call.

The corridor was lit with only the secondary lighting along the floor, casting it in an eerie glow. Add to that the random sounds of machines clunking and gas valves equalizing, and the entire floor was a county fair funhouse, twisted by the heat and the dark and stinking of vomit.

Lonnie followed the trail of dim lighting, not knowing exactly why. He knew he should turn around and get right the hell out of there, just like most know when they should leave a place, but his body refused to let him, like an act of mutiny.

His legs forced him to move forward several yards until he found Grover.

He stifled a gasp, trying to keep down the rest of the contents in his stomach.

Lonnie found Grover’s foot first. His left foot, severed above the ankle. Following the trail of blood and nearly slipping on it, he soon came upon Grover’s arms, one of them gnawed to a stump, the other largely intact save for a few missing fingers. His head sat just a few feet away. If not for the bloody nub of a neck, Grover would have just looked like he was sleeping, the way he looked on his breaks, leaned back in his chair in the breakroom. Peaceful-like.

But this wasn’t a break, and it sure as shit wasn’t peaceful. There were never any monster bugs on Grover’s breaks.

Lonnie nearly yelled out when he found the beast crouched over his friend’s torso, which was ripped open to display his insides. Though, most of his insides seemed to be missing. The monster turned its attention from crunching poor Grover’s ribs to Lonnie, who stood motionless, his mouth hanging open wide. The monster’s needle teeth dripped with green poison from behind a set of garden-shear-sized pincers. Its yellow eyes glowed like the muzzles of two blasters.

Lonnie froze at the sight of it, confronted as he was by the most terrifying thing he’d seen, it was beyond his nightmares. But the blood and parts of his friend quickly shook him from his state of uselessness. He turned on his heel and ran, sliding back and forth on the excrement or whatever it was, nearly falling to his ass several times.

Lonnie ran until his lungs burned and his old joints ached. He heard skittering behind him, the sound of the thing closing in, ready to rip him to pieces just like Grover. He slammed into the elevator door and stabbed the button repeatedly with his finger.

The thing rounded the corner, a ravenous look in its eyes. The damn elevator doors were taking their damn time opening. Lonnie could feel the vibration of the doors as they attempted to open.

As if feeding off his adrenaline, the bug lumbered forward, head down.

The doors bounced open, hesitating like they were catching on something on the track. Lonnie jumped inside, slamming his hand on the button for the main floor. The bug sprinted, suddenly moving fast, its legs making a scratching noise on the floor. The elevator doors closed just as the thing slammed into them, making an awful crunching noise. The ride up felt infinitely slow, making Grover’s insides squirm with unease.

When the elevator made it to the main level, Lonnie darted through the doors, not waiting for them to open all the way, and sprinted to the administrative office. In all his ten years, he’d never used the red phone before—it was only to be used in the direst of emergencies.

“Yes, hello?” he panted into the receiver. “This is Lonnie DelMonico, head custodian for the Sector 12 Transgalactic Station. I’ve got a situation.”

Ganked in Space Releases October 25th.

Oct 19, 2018 | Posted by in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Snippet 1: Intergalactic Pest Control Series, Ganked In Space, #1

Snippet 1: Determination, Precious Galaxy, #3

Chapter One


Solomon Vance’s Private Office, Monstre Corporation Headquarters, Planet Carina, Aurelis System, Precious Galaxy

The forest wasn’t a place of peace for Solomon Vance. He’d heard many speak of finding themselves when in proximity to nature. That was ludicrous. The notion that one could ‘find’ themselves was preposterous. There was no self to find. Creatures were all connected by star dust and other forces, and Solomon was that much closer to proving it. Not that he’d ever tell anyone once he’d proven this and assimilated hundreds of consciousnesses. That would forever be his secret.

Finally, after thousands of trials, he had successfully combined two consciousnesses. Adding a third, though, had proved problematic. Deadly, actually, for the test subjects. Still, he was that much closer to having the smartest computer in the universe, owned and operated by the fastest, strongest processor known to man: the human brain.

Solomon’s eyes swiveled away from the forest lying just beyond the bank of windows in his office. He hadn’t built the headquarters to his most prized company, Monstre Corporation, in the Chumash Forest because he found respite among the trees. He did it for practical reasons: he liked the privacy. That was exactly the reason that this office, where no one in the building was allowed but him, was his favorite place.

His eyes landed on the quote written across the far wall, the one he often read while sitting at his desk: “‘He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future.’ – Adolf Hitler.”

He had many favorite quotes by that dictator, but this one had to be his favorite. Those words were what had inspired Solomon to build the monster. And now he owned more than the youth; he possessed a large population of minds.

“Those who own the greatest minds, gain the future,” Solomon said to himself, his voice echoing in the mostly empty office.

“Dr. Vance, I apologize for interrupting,” Dean, his AI, said overhead.

“Go on, then,” Solomon ordered.

He had known his private moment alone with his thoughts wouldn’t last for long. There were too many projects in the works. Too many that were nearing completion.

“Dr. Lukas would like to speak with you.”

Solomon let out an impatient breath. “Put him through.”

The screen hovering above his desk, seemingly suspended by nothing, flickered to life. The long face of the doctor stared back at Solomon. It had been many years since he’d seen Alan Lukas in person. The last time had been when he’d put him in charge of Starboards Corp and cut all ties to the company, or so it should have appeared. Solomon didn’t want to be traced back to the things he’d put Alan in charge of. He didn’t have that same fear at Monstre Corp; he was too removed from Federation law to be caught or punished.

“The agents from Ghost Squadron have escaped from Sutra Six,” Dr. Lukas said, his tone rising as he spoke. Solomon could hear the panic.

He shook his head and lowered his chin. “I told you that they weren’t my concern.”

“But that was when you thought that they’d be blown up when we detonated the building,” Dr. Lukas argued. “Now they’ve gotten away, and we don’t know what they took. What if—”

Solomon held up a hand to stop the constant babbling. Yes, he’d thought that the monster had uploaded everyone on Ricky Bobby. It had at first been frustrating when he learned that Dr. A’Din Hatcherik had escaped the monster, but worse was that he’d trapped it. That was no matter, though. The monster got away, and those remaining on Ricky Bobby were so few. They would try and come after him, as he’d seen, but there was no way they would succeed. They were simply outnumbered in force, prowess and numbers.

After a long pause, Solomon said, “They have the locations for the databases, you said.”

Alan nodded. “Yes, and they have the codes. I think we should change them. Possibly move the databases. We can’t risk—”

Solomon shook his head, cutting off the other scientist. “I have no plans to do any of that. We don’t run from ants, Alan, we squash them.”

“But, sir, they managed to break into Starboards’ headquarters and also Sutra Six.”

Solomon’s eyes narrowed. “I let them into Sutra Six, knowing we were going to blow it up. You are the fool who allowed them to trespass into Starboards.”

“I realize that I’ve made mistakes with security,” Alan said in a rush. “I figured that, due to this headquarters’ location and deceptive qualities, it wasn’t necessary to have many more security measures.”

Solomon sighed. He’d given Starboards Corp a floating building that was camouflaged in the sky, and still, Alan had messed things up.  “We are going forward as arranged. Changing codes would stall our plans. As for changing locations, that’s out of the question.”

“But what are you going to do when Ghost Squadron tries to break into another database location?”

Solomon felt the wicked smile break across his face. “I’m going to be prepared for them. I’m not running from these pests, I will ensure they are taken out on their next attempt. Then we will no longer be concerned about their intervening.”

Alan nodded, an unsure look on his face. “That’s a good plan, but—”

“Dean, disconnect vid comm,” Solomon said, interrupting Alan.

“Yes, sir,” the AI replied, and the screen went black.

Solomon strode for the door, his pulse beating harder, as it usually did just before he entered the room he was now headed for. “Dean, deploy a fleet of combat pilots to Makare and the surrounding area in the Hapeti system.”

“I calculated an eighty-seven percent chance you would make that decision, based on the current threat,” Dean stated. “I will enact defense protocol alpha now.”

Solomon wished that Alan could be as competent as the AI, but that’s where human error came into play. One human was prone to mistakes, whereas hundreds, maybe even thousands of consciousnesses, would behave much like an AI—only better. It wasn’t artificial intelligence. It was real.

When Solomon reached the unmarked white door, his chest tightened with anticipation. The rush was always the same. “Dean, open the door.”

At the conclusion of his sentence, the door slid back to reveal a solid white room. Solomon stepped forward, and the door shut behind him. The material of three of the four walls, as well as the floor and ceiling of the space, were made of a unique carbon-polymer material that conducted electromagnetic energy.

The special wall construction ensured that the monster didn’t enter Monstre Corp headquarters, where it might become disoriented and upload employee’s consciousnesses by mistake. The reinforcements kept the creature caged while it was home. However, most of the security measures weren’t necessary, since it followed every order Solomon gave. He was, in a way, its father, its creator.

Solomon stared around the all-white room, waiting for the monster to reveal itself. First came the loud humming, like that of an engine starting. Then the area in the corner filled with what appeared to be gray smoke, the density intensifying moment by moment. Solomon’s heart beat faster, but he kept his chin raised and his face neutral.

The monster rose off the ground, like an animal getting up after a nap to greet its master. Sparks began firing inside the monster as its color darkened, making it appear almost like a black cloud.

Solomon looked up at the monster, marveling at its appearance. It could expand to cover a great area, or shrink down small to fit into a room this size. It was the most changeable beast, with the ability to do one unimaginable thing: it could steal consciousnesses.

The monster roared with what Solomon interpreted as anticipation. The creature could understand him, but, for all his trying, he didn’t understand the strange noises his invention made. He’d programmed it, though, so he knew what it would say if words were available to it: ‘Yes, master. How may I serve?’

“I have a job for you.” Solomon looked up as the monster reared overhead, its outer edges unfurling like plumes of smoke. “You are to go to Sutra Seven on planet Makare in the Hapeti system. Stay vigilant for intruders. Only upload those not associated with Monstre Corp.”

The different lights buried deep within the monster glowed at once, seemingly in response to the order.

Solomon remained frozen as the biosynthetic machine floated closer, nearly grazing his face. Yes, he knew the monster could upload him. Take him. But that would never happen; its programming prevented it. Since its inception, Solomon had told the monster one thing over and over: ‘You can upload all but me. My control of you is absolute.’

The words that inspired this method came back to him then: “‘Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they’ll believe it.’ – Adolf Hitler.”

“Dean, release the barrier,” Solomon ordered.

A buzzing sound that he had barely registered over the noise the monster made fell away. The creature inched forward, nearly touching Solomon’s upturned nose.

“It is time. Go and follow my orders,” Solomon barked, his voice clear and loud.

The roar of the monster increased. Its black form spread, clouding Solomon’s vision like he’d stepped into a pitch-black room. He didn’t move, although something inside him squirmed. He didn’t blink, although his eyes were drying out from staring up.

And then, quite gracefully, like a storm cloud moving over a great land, the monster pushed backward, sliding through the solid exterior wall, out into the Chumash Forest and away.

Determination releases August 30th!


Aug 24, 2018 | Posted by in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Snippet 1: Determination, Precious Galaxy, #3

Snippet 2: Investigation, (Precious Galaxy, #2)

Chapter Two

Bridge, Ricky Bobby, Cacama System, Precious Galaxy

The black gaseous monster drifted like fog on the wind, covering distant stars as it progressed. The battlecruiser kept a safe distance from the biosynthetic beast to ensure that it didn’t sense it was being followed.

Dr. A’Din Hatcherik stared out the viewing windows of the bridge, his mind wandering.

“Did you hear what I said?” Jack Renfro asked.

Hatch waved a tentacle up and at his back dismissively. “Yes, of course. If we stay far enough away, the monster can’t take down our shields.”

“And with the cloaks, it shouldn’t know that we’re following it, correct?” Jack asked in confirmation.

“Yes, that’s right,” Hatch affirmed.

Lewis had tired of observing the beast. At first it had been fascinating to watch the strange organism float through space, headed toward the unknown. The monster moved like seaweed on the surface of the ocean, drifting with the waves. After a while, it had simply made the detective sleepy.

Jack clapped his hands, startling Lewis back to attention. “There’s our star student.”

Dejoure strode onto the bridge, Harley unsurprisingly by her side. She looked up, blinking in surprise, like she wasn’t sure who the chief strategist was referring to. “Hey.”

“Ricky Bobby, can I get the image of DJ’s drawing?” Jack asked, rolling up the sleeves of his blue button-up shirt.

The girl smiled when her drawing of the Precious galaxy popped up on the main screen.

“Here you are,” Ricky Bobby said overhead.

“Thank you.” Jack looked up at the screen before turning his attention to DJ. “Thanks for joining us. After studying this in relation to the Precious galaxy, I have a few questions for you.”

DJ pulled herself up to sit on the strategy table, which was dark. Its light hadn’t shone since Lewis set foot on the ship—since the crew of Ghost Squadron had disappeared.

“What is it?” she asked, letting her legs dangle over the edge, and slipping her small hands under her thighs like she was cold.

“You emphasized five points in the galaxy,” Jack began, “which are connected by this zigzagging line, both in your drawing and in the galaxy. It’s apparently a gas of some sort. I’ve determined the points to be five separate systems. My question is, what is the significance of these systems?”

Dejoure looked down with uncertainty, kicking her feet back and forth.

“You were trying to find Commander Fregin,” Lewis reminded her, trying to help the kid out. “Are those points related to her whereabouts?”

Dejoure’s green and brown eyes swiveled up, a bit of hope in her gaze. She nodded. “I think so.”

“So those are places where the commander has been?” Jack guessed.

“Or maybe it’s where she is,” Bailey offered.

“You can’t be in five places at once,” Lewis said, shaking his head.

“If you’re in a shared computer database, you can,” Bailey countered.

Hatch turned around, pointing a tentacle at his star student. “That’s exactly correct, Lieutenant. It’s most likely that the five points are where the databases are connected. Maybe the commander’s consciousness has been transferred from database to database.”

Jack nodded, combing his hand over his chin. “Okay, I could buy that. So Vance has locations all over this galaxy.”

“I suspect that Vance has picked this satellite galaxy because he can dominate it,” Hatch stated.

Jack pushed off from the console he was leaning against, now standing tall. “We have a lot of exploring to do. We need to find out exactly why he picked something so far out of Federation territory. That’s my next objective. I’m going to start researching these five different systems, and determine the most likely location for a database.”

Hatch waddled away from the bank of viewing windows. “And I suspect that the Precious galaxy isn’t as far from Federation territory as we might think. It nearly killed us to get here, but I’ve got a hunch that there’s a shortcut between this galaxy and the one we call home.”

Lewis’s eyes skipped to Bailey, who was returning his curious look.

“Oh?” Jack questioned.

Hatch pointed at the monster framed in the viewing window. “That awful beast didn’t slingshot off a blackhole to get here in record time. I’m pretty certain of that. I’ve been running some tests and found a huge spike of energy on the outer rim of the Precious galaxy, although it’s lessening by the hour.”

“Do you think the monster came through a gate?” Bailey asked.

Hatch nodded proudly at her. “Yes, and although a gate of this nature should be incredibly difficult to maintain, I’ve found something else of interest.”

“Now is not the time to quit talking,” Jack said with a laugh. “Continue, doctor.”

“There’s a high level of doromantinium where the energy spike registered,” Hatch explained.

“So you think that D-factor was used to create this gate,” Lewis stated.

Hatch pretended not to hear this observation. “You see, I believe that this gate was made using D-factor.”

Jack cut his eyes at his nephew, suppressing a grin. “Then it appears that the mineral has many uses.”

“Yes, and to be honest, this ship can’t slingshot back to Pan galaxy without suffering major repercussions,” Hatch stated.

Dejoure rubbed her temples. “Our brains would all be scrambled.”

Everyone on the bridge laughed from the unexpected joke. The girl looked down, blushing.

“Yes, and I’d prefer to keep my brain intact,” Jack stated, continuing to chuckle.

“So it would serve us to find this gate,” Hatch concluded.

“Did you say you had a general location?” Bailey asked.

Hatch nodded. “I inferred it from the five points on DJ’s drawing. If a pilot would be willing to go to those coordinates and look around, I think that person would be able to locate the precise location of the gate.”

Bailey smiled. “I can definitely take a Q-Ship out to explore.” She looked to Lewis. “You up for some investigative work?”

Before he could answer, Harley barked loudly, gaining everyone’s attention.

Lewis smiled at the dog, thinking how handsome and intelligent the creature had become, having benefited from a full enhancement after being injured in an accident.

“Why yes, and I daresay we could use Harley’s keen eyes.”

Investigation releases July 25th!

Jul 18, 2018 | Posted by in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Snippet 2: Investigation, (Precious Galaxy, #2)

Snippet 1: Investigation (Precious Galaxy, #2)

Chapter One

Monstre Corporation Headquarters, Planet Carina, Aurelis System, Precious Galaxy

            The sound of Solomon Vance’s shoe made a sharp clacking sound as he tapped it on the white tile floor. His mother used to tell him that patience was a virtue. She was constantly spouting clichés that were inherently false.

Currently, Solomon’s patience was at an all-time low, as he stared at the back of the head of the scientist who sat at the main control center.

“We’re going to try it again,” he ordered.

Susan turned, her loose bun nearly falling out from the movement. “But sir, don’t you think we should make some changes to the process first? We lost two consciousnesses with the current protocol.”

“You’re fired,” Solomon spat, his lips forming a hard line.

Susan’s mouth popped open with alarm. She would know he wasn’t kidding, but it had to be a hard reality for her to accept. Thirteen years she’d worked for Solomon; he’d recruited her right out of school. Maybe this snap judgement was a result of his low patience, but he wasn’t about to go back on it.

“But, but, but—”

Solomon cut her off with a curt shake of his head. “You know better than to argue with me.”

“Yes, sir, I just thought—”

“Maybe it is you who lost the consciousnesses,” Solomon interrupted.

Susan shook her head furiously, visibly shaking. “I only did what the protocol dictated.”

Solomon put his back to the scientist, his eyes on the distant corner of the all-white room. “Dean, prepare the memory wash chamber immediately. Susan Gibbons will be there very soon.”

“Yes, sir,” the AI answered overhead. “The chamber will be ready in two and a half minutes.”

When Solomon turned back, he was revolted by the sight before him. Susan was crying, her nose turning red and tears streaming from her eyes.

“Oh, and Dean?”

“Yes, sir?” the AI replied.

He ran his hand absentmindedly down the sleeve of his suit jacket, smoothing it out as if there were wrinkles. “Send in another level-four scientist to replace Susan.”

“I anticipated this and have already paged Bruce James,” the AI informed him.

Solomon released a steady breath. Why can’t everyone be as efficient, he wondered.

“Sir, please,” Susan begged. “Please give me another chance.”

He shook his head. “You know the rules.”

“But my memories,” she argued.

This only confirmed for Solomon that he had made the right call. Susan had forgotten her place at Monstre Corp. She thought her opinion mattered. That Solomon tolerated insubordination.

“Your memories are the property of Monstre Corp. You know that.”

“Please let me keep them,” Susan begged, more tears falling. “I promise I won’t talk. I won’t tell anyone what happens here.”

Solomon released a sadistic smile. “There’s only one way for me to ensure that.” He lifted his hand, his silver ring with the gnarly-headed monster catching the light as he pointed.  “The memory wash chamber is expecting you.”

A loud wail echoed from Susan as she turned, hurrying for the entrance with her head down. The glass door opened as she neared, and Bruce James, a thin, young man, held it open for her. If he was curious about why Susan was crying, his face didn’t show it.

Bruce strode over to Solomon, his chin even. “You wanted to see me, sir?”

Solomon pointed to the seat Susan had vacated. “I need you to run the consciousness transfer process.”

Not missing a beat, Bruce pulled out the chair, sat down and began typing. “Which consciousnesses should I use?”

Solomon turned toward the row of windows that overlooked the Chumash forest, a place that had been reported to have high levels of radiation and was therefore uninhabited and classified as a no-fly zone. Obviously the forest was safe; he’d planted the reports about the radiation levels. It was the perfect location for his headquarters, with views of endless forest and protected from spying eyes. The building, a flat structure, blended into the landscape, even at the top of one of the highest peaks.

“Use two level-one consciousnesses,” Solomon ordered, staring at his own reflection in the window.

His long forehead was lined with wrinkles, but his eyes were still youthful. His bald head reflected the light above. He ran his hand over his scalp, enjoying its smoothness.

Bruce typed on the keyboard, pulling up a file. “I have two miners from Phoenix Tech.”

“That will work.” Solomon turned, his eyes swiveling up to the large screen.

Bruce double-clicked the mouse, pulling up a 3D image of a face. It rotated, the man’s eyes widening, trying to look around.

“Hello! Is anyone there?” the man on the screen asked.

Solomon placed his hands behind his back and lowered his chin, giving Bruce a commanding glare.

The scientist cleared his throat. “Bob Howard, can you hear me?”

“Hello! Yes! Where am I?” the man yelled, his face showing his stress, as wrinkles sprang to his eyes.

“Hold on,” Bruce ordered, typing. The image of Bob Howard disappeared, replaced with the 3D graphic of another face, a man about the same age as the first.

“Tom Culver,” Bruce stated. “Can you hear me?”

The man blinked rapidly in astonishment before a grimace took over his face. “Let me out of here! What have you done?”

Solomon gave Bruce a forceful nod. The scientist agreed silently, pulling up both images on the screen. The faces rotated, looking around but not actually being able to see anything. A copy of their physical bodies was stored in the database, locked in their file with a sample of their DNA, should they ever need it. However, it wasn’t necessary to grant them a body in the database. It would only confuse things.

“Okay, I’ve only got to erase the physical composition of the first subject,” Bruce said, leaning over the keyboard and typing. A cursor ran over the image of Bob Howard, erasing him one line at a time.

“What’s going on?” Bob asked, his voice frantic.

Bruce turned to Solomon, a proud smile on his face. “Don’t worry. I have them muted.”

“I’m not worried,” Solomon said flatly.

Aggghhh!” Bob yelled. “Something is happening to me!”

Bruce shook his head, tapping his fingers on the desk, his eyes intent on the smaller screen in front of him. “You’re not feeling anything. I’ve only deleted your physical composition files.” Bruce looked up at Solomon with a laugh. “Maybe he feels a little naked.”

Solomon’s face remained stony. “Now copy his consciousness into the second subject.”

Bruce’s smile dropped as he looked back at the screen. “No problem.” He jabbed at a few keys. “That should do it.”

A progress bar popped up on the screen, starting at ten percent. Solomon watched as it increased, everything in Bob Howard’s consciousness downloading into Tom Culver’s.

That had been a part of the plan from the beginning, besides having a database of brilliant minds. The end goal was always to have all the minds compressed into one; the single smartest mind of all time at Solomon’s disposal.

A red box popped up on the screen. Just like before.

The white words were a bold contrast against the red of the box. ‘Transfer failed’.

Solomon let out a sigh. Again, they’d lost two more consciousness. The transfer of one mind seemed to overload the other, killing them both.

“Let’s try it again,” he ordered, turning again to look out at the serene forest, where the trees towered, the giants of this land.

Investigation releases July 25!

Jul 11, 2018 | Posted by in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Snippet 1: Investigation (Precious Galaxy, #2)