George, You’re Not Going To Believe This

I read George Orwell’s 1984 in school, but I had no idea back then I would one day be living it. I’m sure none of us did.

I went to the grocery today. I went at 7:15 in the morning, and by myself, because I’d already heard they weren’t going to let Bruce tag along with me. The parking lot was full when I arrived. There was one door letting people into the store and another ushering people out. I was counted both on entry and exit because only a fixed number were allowed to shop at a given time.

For once, the store was partially stocked with food, instead of being mostly empty as it had been on my previous trips during the last month, but there were signs over most items stipulating the limits of what I could buy. I pushed my sanitized cart through the aisles and waited for my turn when multiple people hovered near something I needed.

People were watching me shop the entire time to make sure I stayed 6 feet away from other shoppers. Some shoppers wore masks. Some wore gloves. Some wore both. Others like me–Baby Boomer rebel that I am–wore neither. I’m blaming my youthful years for my resistant attitude, but I’m sure my mental state is a lot more complicated.

I’m not going to apologize for my stubbornness or my need to be a little in denial. Please–no lectures. I get enough of those from my always prepared Marine husband. Next time I go, I probably will wear a mask, but today I was winging it. I hadn’t gone anywhere alone in weeks.

Okay… well… I’m not a complete rebel. I did have a tiny hand-sanitizer in my pocket, one of those “mini” ones from Bed, Bath, and Beyond that I’m sure someone got me for Christmas. I used it before I went into the store and after everything was loaded into the car. I don’t like it. I think in the big picture sanitizer and all anti-bacterial products compromise our immune systems. But the virus alternative is worse. I guess. Unable to mentally wade through all the daily bombardment of information and misinformation, I’m choosing not to listen to the news. I prefer to rely on common sense and caution and trying to keep my husband from being insane with worry.

However… despite the danger… I refuse to live in complete abject fear of every human interaction I have. I was raised to be nice, and friendly, and polite. I’m not saying all my choices this morning were smart. I’m just sharing how I felt about what happened today.

At the checkout line on the very clean floors of the store I shopped, there were do-not-cross lines which were precisely measured for maximum safety. Not a single rebellious person was in sight as I waited my turn. I think the other rebellious people were all like me–hyperventilating with panic on the inside while lecturing themselves about acting like a grownup instead of being freaked out.

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Releasing March 10 – Loved In Space Anthology

I’ve written a novella based on Cyborgs: Mankind Redefined. You can get the early version of it in the Loved In Space Anthology. This is a little different than the standard Cyborg story. I’m not currently planning a spin-off series, but I’m playing with the idea. You’ll have to tell me what you think.

 

 

 

Read Prologue and First 2 Chapters of Ashland 297

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Read First 5 Chapters of Nero 1000!

Ta-freaking-da! The long-awaited conclusion to the storyline in Books 1-5 is finally here! Order your copy before you get caught up in last-minute holiday preparations. You won’t want to miss this one. Happy reading!

CLICK HERE to read the first 5 chapters

Here’s a snippet:

Another long walk across a solid surface followed the silent air jet ride until finally one of them opened a door for him to pass into what felt like a metal building given the noise the door made clanging against shut when it closed. They led him down a hallway with some twists and turns before finally stopping in a room heated to an ambient temperature. The hallway had been chilled so the warmth was very welcome.

He couldn’t prevent himself from sighing in relief when one of the two males removed the blind-fold he’d been forced to wear. Some hero he was turning out to be…

Then he saw her. After all the endless days of being worried, a still living, breathing Aja stood three short feet in front of him. It didn’t surprise him that her eyes were blank of any recognition. Without the original processor chip she’d so carefully protected over the years, Aja had become a blank slate.

Nero lifted a trembling hand to touch Aja’s face. He wanted to make sure she was fully alive but paused in his action when he remembered that Aja was a cyborg that could easily damage or kill him when the right command was active. He had no idea what had been done to her cybernetically. He wasn’t sure how he would react to hearing what she’d endured.

The thought of anyone hurting Aja made him ill.

“It’s okay, Dr. Bastion. You can touch her,” his prospective employer said softly, waving a hand in Nero’s direction. “The processor I put in Aja 490 is running a companion stasis program. She won’t be breaking free of it like she did her older code. I fixed that little rebellion problem several companion prototypes ago. My code renders her perfectly safe.”

“What have you done to her?” Nero demanded.

“Nothing—just like I said,” his white-coated tormentor said.

Filled with a level of hate he hadn’t known he could feel, Nero wrenched his gaze away from the male who was speaking. He couldn’t afford to yell or scream… or at least not yet.

His hand brushed against Aja’s cheek and he thought her pupils expanded at his action. He wanted badly to believe Aja knew he was there, but no cyborg he’d ever worked on had ever been able to function as human without their processor being stripped of the constant code first.

And Creator Omega—who he assumed was the white-coated, gloating scientist—had done this her. The bastard had managed to turn a woman who’d fought for a decade to save herself into a human robot. Shame for his own part in this tragedy engulfed him. He’d done the same to his fair share of cyborgs over the years.

His hand dropped away from Aja as Nero reluctantly turned to the scientist. “I’m here as you demanded. There was a condition to my agreement and I expect you to meet it. Set her free.”

The scientist smiled. “Are you sure you don’t want to keep her? I can tell you’re fond of this particular companion model. I could rework Aja 490 with my latest companion code and she would serve you reasonably well. She’s aged some since she was converted, but I’m sure the important parts of her still function well enough.”

Nero felt the urge to kill the man and welcomed the burning that rose inside him. Once Aja was safe—no, he’d only think about the man’s death then. He could not think of it now. She was still in too much peril. They both were.

“If you expect my cooperation to continue, you’ll let her go.”

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