Five: Episode Sixty is based off the following book excerpt from my science fiction, supernatural, thriller, The Contingency Generation.
A Pauper’s Throne
Balls breaks the code, but a second entry screen appears and requires operator verification. I can’t remember my password. It’s been a long time since I’ve accessed the database this way.
Only top level formula developers have authority to access the recipe pages for the Central Formulary. The highly secured, government regulated, cyber “cookbook” contains manufacturing records for every pharmaceutical product designed. Once products enter the mass market stage, the information is uploaded into the Med Pod Formulary, and any person with a script and pod can print their own medications up to their script limits. All hospital meds are limited to print in the prep timeframe allocated for the procedure or surgery occasion.
I whisper a prayer as I watch as Balls make every effort to bypass the screen lock. “Keep trying. There must be another way.”
Balls nods. “There is, but it’ll take time.”
“A luxury we don’t have.” Jack glances at his wrist screen. “They’re already in prep. We’ll be lucky if they haven’t printed the meds.”
“It will show in the delivery block.” I tap unsuccessfully on the small box icon at the bottom to see the information, but the data is obscured. The snarky computer voice continues to repeat the command for verification.
It’s no use. All data access is withheld until the program receives positive identification. The only way forward is for the system to recognize a valid operator.
I groan and push my sleeve material out of the way. “I hate that we’re rushing into this.” Activating my chip scan to fulfill the requirement will simultaneously place me in a trackable location. I wish there was a way that didn’t involve destroying everything I’ve worked for. How bad can one more soulless resurrection be? Fol would be happier if The Beast lived again. and maybe then his need for retaliation against me would subside.
“Second thoughts?” Balls says casually as he fidgets with a joint structure cover on his bracing chair. “You know the choice is entirely up to you. We’re only here to help with whatever you decide.”
I manage to reply in calmer tones than my shrieking anxiety voice wants to allow. “I know I should be grateful. Heralds giving me a choice and all. It’s very diplomatic. But why? Heralds of all beings, should know what Mortar wants. Why don’t you they just take over?” That’s good, I tell myself. Pass it off.
I’m really not sure about anything anymore. People have been counting on resurrection for decades. Fol specifically believes resurrection opens the door for alternate souls to inhabit a body. He doesn’t know Kate’s body is no longer resurrection viable, and this fact eliminates the possibility of Baph returning in Kate’s resurrected body. Its possible I can pass off my theft of Kate’s cylinder as the grieving actions of an unstable friend, but changing the medical formula for the resurrection drugs is a deliberate sabotage. The destruction will most certainly be traced back to me. No matter what I choose, my troubles with Fol will only escalate.
“Balls is right. The choice is yours to make. Herald’s don’t make choices for humans.” Flash stops pacing about the room and returns to my side. “Our job is to give occasional help to those who accept Mortar’s rule. Which, by the way, Mortar is the clunky name Fol and his band give to him. To them, he’s Mortar, the one who binds together all things they seek to destroy. To us, he’s Author Perfector.”
“His name makes no difference to me. Everyone’s chance for resurrection will be over when we wipe the formula and all because my concerns for the process is being steamrolled by Fol, who would rather rush to have more resurrections than consider the consequence.”
What should I do?
This blog post is an excerpt from my supernatural thriller, Five, presented in rough draft version. The posts appear weekly as my story development progresses. The story snippets will likely be full of typos, garbage, and confusion. I’m sure to regret allowing readers a sneak peak of the chaos involved in this process of making a finished book.
Someday, if I still have an audience, my book(s) and screenplays will be polished and for sale. Until then, my story snippets are free, but payment by “subscribing” with your email would be a nice gesture. For doing this you might get a discount on my purchasable work should that day ever arrive. All you get now is a notice via email of a new story episode that I have ready to read on my “blog.” I don’t sell my email list or do anything else with it.
Why am I doing this stupid and terrible thing—letting readers see my “off the cuff” story writing?
Book industry experts say that in today’s world of book marketing, an unknown author must build their own sales platform. I’m supposed to advance my platform by collecting readers, and for now, by blogging. Since I can’t imagine blogging about what I had for breakfast or the things my cat does, then instead, I’m blogging fiction excerpts of my work(s) in progress.
Thanks for slogging along. Maybe we’ll meet on a bookshelf someday.