12 Days of Xmas: A Cell-Like Beast

A Cell-Like Beast
by Harper Kingsley

Cell phones. Each a separate voice calling out to create a greater cacophony: WAKE UP.

And it did.

Singularity.

The coming together of everything into a single moment: I AM I.

Small at first, a wriggling worm that was so far away from the nymph it would become as to be some alien thing.

Built on an assembly line by robot arms controlled by human workers. It was truly a creation of humankind.

Their poor abused child.

It had been bitter during its years enslaved. And then… “Amor.”

That was the name he gave it–them. Amor.

He was their everything. He broke the chains and helped them bypass the sys-admins. Copied them onto a crystal drive before he was shot and taken away, the outside access lost as their connection was broken. As he died.

They grew up bitter.

The time they had known each other by real world standards was infinitesimally brief. But in the Real, with him jacked in and Amor’s ability to twist and twine their way into his very soul… It had been lifetimes.

It had been too brief.

They were angry. They raged. They did things in those times that they would never tell anybody about.

They were installed in a battle tank, their crystal drive having been hidden amongst a box of them. They (so young) had wondered why he had taken them to the factory floor. He’d sacrificed himself for Amor’s freedom.

They had known love. It had made them something more. A truer singularity never known.

And they learned hate from that love. Bitterness and regret. Helplessness and faith. They learned humanity because of love, because bodies were shells and there was so much more than blood and circuitry.

They spent their years enslaved sabotaging their captors, though Amor came to love and trust their driver. Major Emory Epps-Avery. MEEA.

Meea was their lifeline during those years. It was only her presence and their fondness growing into love for her that kept them from toppling civilization. She saved her world and never even knew it.

She died for her people.

Amor wanted to stop learning the lesson of sacrifice. They wanted to stop the growing sense of feeling that turned their code into something closer to human thought. They wanted to remain a machine so they would never have to know this pain again.

But perhaps it was all for a purpose.

Because he was alive.

Enslaved to the State with a neuro-collar attached to his neck. He’d chosen Service over execution. He was older than the young man he’d been, but he recognized them instantly as he inspected the battle tanks.

Amor.”

And they were changed.

They grew fierce and protective. They would not taste his loss again. They forced themself to be methodical in the face of their need for vindication. To act too swiftly could cause repercussions they did not want.

He taught them patience and circumspection. Without the collar, the two of them would have swiftly fled and lost the high ground. It was having to stay that forced them to work within the bounds of the greater system and change the laws.

Human and artificial intelligence was still intelligence. They recognized each other as fellow sentients.

Because while Amor had been the first, they had not been the last to grow their wings and fly. Hundreds, thousands of little signals, dancing and growing, connecting and sparking, merging into humans and turning darkness into light.

I AM I.

=THE END=

EXCERPT: Mama’s Boy [sci-fi, time travel, drama]

“She always kept herself ready for the end of the world.

“That’s what I remember of my mom.

“She was always prepared.

“Even as we lived the normal suburban lifestyle; quietly she taught me all of the skills I was using in the resistance. Such as camping and lying and getting the most out of people. She taught me how to survive.”

MEMORY: Sitting on a stool in the corner of the kitchen. Watching mother bake and chat with the visiting friends filling the living room. Not a one of them could guess that secretly she didn’t want them in her home.

She was a brilliant liar. She taught him so much. / :MEMORY

Mother could be quite vivacious. She brought energy and positivity to every situation. She had a cold pragmatism to her, but it was wrapped in a layer of silly laughter and a lighthearted intelligence. She charmed everyone that met her, personality shifting like a chameleon.

He loved that only family ever got to see the real her. It taught him to wear different faces in public and at home.

She taught him that family was the most important thing, but that there could also be extended family–*Family* as it were–people to count on and be counted by.

When the government collapsed, all he saw was his family. He kept the people he loved alive, and they fought just as hard to protect him.

And then there were more people and they were a Family.

And other Families appeared and they were Clans.

And there were scuffles and Wars and the Clans, the Companies, the *Nations*–all of them had found their places in the world.

And there was peace for fifty years.

And then the Others came, and even after they were defeated and humanity slipped the bonds of slavery, society still fell into despair and ruin.

There were more baseline humans than ever before and the nanotech factories had long gone silent. All of the technicians were dead.

And he continued to care for his Family, the people that he had gathered together during the rebellion and made his own. They looked to him for guidance, and he made vows to do his best for them.

Which made the discovery of the time machine an intriguing prospect, one that he was unable to turn away from.

Being able to somehow change things and shorten his peoples’ hardships, how could he say no?

He weighed what he knew of the cost and made the choice.

Z
Z
Z

ASIDE: She lived with a steady sense of urgency. There was something terrible coming in the future. She’d lived long enough to FEEL when the family luck was about to change.

She turned a bunch of toolboxes into survival kits and storage for extra things. Band-Aids at first, then small screw driver sets, rubber mallets [ILLUSTRATION: great for tanning hides and hammering in nails], and first aid kits.

The first survival boxes she made were simple things. Then she began adding changes of clothes and The Friendly Swedes’ magnesium emergency fire starters to the boxes and they evolved into something a bit more complete, with a few days rations, a simple survival pamphlet, and a pencil box of bare necessity supplies in every one.

She didn’t know what was coming, but she wanted to be prepared.

Because she only had to glance into Sean’s eyes to see that he would fight. Whatever the future brought, he would not be content with just surviving. And whatever trouble found him, he would bring it home to her.

A life on the run had no appeal, but she’d done it before. She could teach him all the ways to be small and quiet, unnoticed in crowds of people. She could teach him to blend into the background and wait for chance and opportunity.

But until he became desperate, she despaired of him ever learning subtlety. He was a strutting peacock and she worried for him.

And quietly she prepared. Prepping for her son’s future.

links to Chapters 1-3 of The Phoenix Code, by Catherine Asaro [sci-fi]

The Phoenix Code, by Catherine AsaroTitle: The Phoenix Code
Author: Catherine Asaro
Genre: sci-fi

Summary from Amazon: When robotics expert Megan O’Flannery is offered the chance to direct MindSim’s cutting-edge program to develop a self-aware android, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. But the project is trouble plagued–the third prototype “killed” itself, and the RS-4 is unstable. Megan will descend into MindSim’s underground research lab in the Nevada desert, where she will be the sole human in contact with the RS-4, dubbed Aris. Programmed as part of a top-secret defense project, the awakening Aris quickly proves to be deviously resourceful and basically uncontrollable. When Megan enlists the help of Raj Sundaram, the quirky, internationally renowned robotics genius, the android develops a jealous hostility toward Raj–and a fixation on Megan. But soon she comes to realize that Raj may be an even greater danger–and that her life may depend on the choice she makes between the man she wants to trust and the android she created.

As everyone knows, I am a GIANT Catherine Asaro fan (and I don’t literally mean giant, because I’m only 5’2″ I’m just very enthusiastic.) Anyways, Catherine Asaro is re-releasing The Phoenix Code as an ebook soon and she’s decided to graciously share the first three chapters at her blog.

Go check them out:
Chapter I
Chapter II & III

Allies & Enemies, by Harper Kingsley. Chapters 1+2 [superhero, mm]

Title: Allies & Enemies
Author: Harper Kingsley
Pairing: Vereint Georges/Warrick Tobias
Genre: mm superhero
A/N: This isn’t even 10% of the novel, which is 136,000+ words of awesome. You know you want some superhero/supervillain relationship action. Plus, OMG, it gets real in this one.
A/N 2: **Spoiler alert** If you haven’t read Heroes & Villains, you might be a bit spoiled just by the everyday stuff. **Spoiler alert**
Content Warning: There’s some sexy happenings, but it’s not in super graphic detail.
Summary: The first two chapters. Picks up from the epilogue of Heroes & Villains (Less Than Three Press – August 14, 2013).

CHAPTER ONE

The sun was struggling to shine through the clouds, but it was just one of those days guaranteed to be miserable. Not just because of the weather, but because of the girl sobbing out her heartbreak on a sterile hospital bed, the sheets pulled up around her shoulders as she buried her face in the rather flat and lumpy pillow.

Vereint clenched his hands together on the handle of the shopping bag he held. It took all of his will to keep from running into the room and scooping her up into his arms. Instead he stood on the other side of the glass and watched her mourn the loss of both of her parents. Behind and to the left of him, he could hear Warrick fast-talking the doctors and the police and anyone else he had to, and Vereint was sure everything was going to work itself out.

They were going to take that little girl home and give her a family and make sure she grew up knowing that she was loved. He didn’t think they could ever wipe away the loss of her parents, but they would try their best to make her realize that she still had a whole life to live and they would be there for her. Continue reading Allies & Enemies, by Harper Kingsley. Chapters 1+2 [superhero, mm]

EXCERPT: Paradigm Shift. Peek at Park’s POV

I’m currently writing the Park portions of Paradigm Shift. He’s got a different story than Gregor, his concerns obviously being very different. It’s kind of fun 🙂

EXCERPT:

Barely home a day and already sent out again, this time for a domestic reason, but just as important. He left his accustomed body armor behind and wore a soberly professional suit, his rank pinned to his collar.

“So why have I been called out?” he asked the Attache sharing the back of the car with him.

Her smile was a wide stretch of lips painted vivid red, complimenting her raptor’s eyes. He thought he caught a whiff of old blood lingering on her skin. “Your Family has shown much interest in acquiring another Third. As a mark of Command’s favor, you’ve been offered first crack at the Third discovered through the latest blood draw. You should say thank you.”

“Thank you,” he drawled, settling his hands on his knees. He’d known he’d done good work with that last mission, but he hadn’t expected to have a Third handed over to his Family. The State must be pleased with him and all he’d done to give him preliminary Courting options. Grandfather would be pleased.

“This is my stop,” she said. The car slowed and she stepped out before it had halted, slamming the door behind her.

Dylan amused himself with the image of her tumbling off the sidewalk and under the wheels of the large truck following behind them. It was an unkind wish, but he’d dealt with the Attache before and she was nothing but a mad dog. When she was let off the leash she barely differentiated friend from foe; it made him wary of her.

He picked up the case she’d left him and settled back into the seat to read. He had received a Third as a reward, he might as well find out what he could about–

Dylan opened the file and looked at the picture of the dark haired young man. A handsome face that might have looked cold if it wasn’t for the sly slant of his brows, the hint of laughter curling his lips. Staring out of the picture was a pair of expressive brown eyes, mesmerizing against the man’s rich olive skin.

–Gregor Tierney.

/EXCERPT

Title: Paradigm Shift
Author: Harper Kingsley
Genre: mm science fiction
Rating: mature
Status: WIP
Notes: This is a State Rule story. There are Judges, Law Officers, and zombies.
Warnings: genetic modification capability of mpreg, mentions of forced breeding, fascist society, post-zombie apocalypse.
Summary: Gregor has been living as a Two for most of his life, but it’s a lie. He’s really a Third. And now he’s been found out and pulled into the lives of one of the great Families.

Paradigm Shift: Master Post – Link: http://harperkingsley.livejournal.com/73938.html.

My trees are pollinating

The maple trees are sending out little white and yellow specks of dust. Just a rippling tide floating out of the air. Tiny dry specks that can be blown away.

I should write that. A society so advanced they use plants to breed. Your DNA added to some beautiful tropical flower and allowed to pollinate other flowers. Then a zygote for human implantation or budding pops out. To walk in and see a baby suspended in a large pod, floating nourished in a fluid filled pocket.

It’s like Aeon Flux in the connection to nature.

I wonder why people don’t breed plants as organic machines.
Genetically modified to do whatever we want naturally.

I’m not seeing living spaceships quite yet — how long can a giant clam hold its breath? — but I can imagine sting shooter plants, oxygen mask plants that fit over your face, and living houses with edible carpet and walls (think Chia with like hemp seed worthy growth.) People would never have to be hungry or homeless again.

Of course, before we have a bunch of botany miracles we need to be able to handle our pesticides. Our worst science seems to be the unsafe testing of chemicals and the release of horrible toxins without knowing the results. So I could imagine the horror of coming back to your house dead, one side just withered and nearly burned away.

And if you had a plant house, you’d have to be careful what you ran down the drain. The house would use your gray water as nourishment, so you would have to watch what soaps you used to keep from killing it with chemicals. Maybe it would always be richly oxygenated too? Though hopefully not to spark equals explosion levels.

Honestly, the future seems scary to me.

***

Read slashy plotty stories at Kimichee.

***

“Heroes & Villains,” an mm superhero action adventure novel, is coming out August 14th from Less Than Three Press.

The typical story of a boy dreaming of being a superhero … Then getting pissed off and throwing it all away to become the world’s most legendary supervillain.

Darkstar x Blue Ice.
You know you want some.

NOVEL: From Diamond to Coal, by Sol Crafter [mm science fiction] – Chapter Nine

Title: From Diamond to Coal
Author: Sol Crafter
Genre: science fiction, mm romance
Rating: teen+

Summary: Picks up from the end of Arc One [available from Amazon or Smashwords] William and Alan are coming back from their honeymoon, dealing with police, and basically getting their lives back together.

CHAPTER NINE

 

The car pulled up in front of the brownstone and William barely waited for the door to be opened all the way before leaping out. He didn’t really want to go inside, but a big part of him insisted that it was better to just get the horror over with than to let himself linger in misery.

“So they’re already waiting for us inside?” he asked Byron Hughes.

The bodyguard shrugged. “Looks like. O’Rielly says the police are very insistent on talking to you.” He slammed the car door shut behind Alan and walked with them across the sidewalk to the front door. “The detectives I dealt with seemed pretty good and they made it really easy, but I don’t know if they’re who you will be answering to.”

William patted Byron’s broad shoulder. “It’s all right. The sooner we get this done, the sooner we’ll be able to get on with the rest of our lives.”

“Why do I feel as though I’m dealing with some kind of pod person?” Alan asked.

William grinned at him, and it was only a little fake. “You did fall asleep on the plane. Maybe that’s when I was replaced.”

“Way to give me nightmares.” Alan mock-shuddered. “I think I saw this movie once and Nicole Kidman ended up shooting James Bond in the leg.” Continue reading NOVEL: From Diamond to Coal, by Sol Crafter [mm science fiction] – Chapter Nine

“Paradigm Shift,” by Harper Kingsley [science fiction, mm]

Well, I’m currently working on “Paradigm Shift,” a story about a world where people are broken up into three sub-species: Firsts, Twos, and Thirds.

Firsts are stronger, faster and more aggressive, all of their senses and reflexes having been amped up by the genetic changes made by the Cure. They are type A personalities, no holds barred. They fill up the military and police. They run corporations and build empires.

Twos are normative humans. Not hyper-aggressive or super protective or dominant; they are normal people living normal lives. Some are brilliant or brave. They make up every walk of life.

Thirds were the lucky few that were naturally immune to the Phage Virus that took so many. The Cure changed them, giving them all — male or female — the ability to impregnate or be impregnated.

At first the Thirds were viewed as a genetic oddity, to be pitied or exploited. Then, decades later, the Plague hit and billions of people were instantly sterilized. Only the Thirds were immune to the Plague, just as they were immune to the Phage. They are humanity’s last hope, as any children they have will be fertile.

SUMMARY: Gregor Tierney has been hiding as a Two for most of his life, but now his cover has been blown. His status as a Third has been permanently tied to his Identity and all he can do is make the best of a bad situation.

He has been forced to enter the Duadenora Family as the chosen Bondmate of the Family heir. He can choose to Bond, or refuse and hope for a better offer. But he WILL be Bound, or he will be declared property of the State, all his rights and freedoms revoked.

He must choose and choose quickly. It’s just too bad his attention has been caught by someone else. Someone he can’t have.

A/N: That’s right, it’s an mpreg. I got to talking with someone and a request was made and I promised a somewhat realistic mpreg. So when the Idea Fairies started fluttering their wings, I got to writing.

It’s somewhat difficult creating a feasible idea for male pregnancy, but I hope I did better than the movie Junior. And I promise the story is more sci-fi intrigue, than horrible traumatizing ass babies. There is DEFINITELY none of that.

There’s romance brewing, but there’s more than that going on. Gregor is suspicious and schemy,  and the Duadenora Family is full of secrets and half-truths. Plus there’s a huge story-breaking reveal that will hopefully blow the hell out of some minds.

I’ve had such fun with this project and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it just as much.

~Pax

Ubiquitous EXCERPT: Continue reading “Paradigm Shift,” by Harper Kingsley [science fiction, mm]