Five: Episode Seven is based off the following book excerpt from my science fiction supernatural thriller, The Contingency Generation.
Kate’s death alters everything. I need time, but Nesbitt wants me to present first. Months back, he begged me to see the significance of his algorithm study, which showed a tendency for the council to favor the first presenter. His optimism also includes the fact that the Netherlands is this year’s host country and his origin home. I know deep down he believes in my research, but he also clings to his voodoo.
I throw on the customary black ensemble, a requirement employed by our extremely competitive research team to prevent the panel from being swayed, even the tiniest bit, by color instead of work merit. My clothes match my despair, but I hope the mood analyzer only notices my determination. There are odd feelings lurking in the back of my mind, but I have no time to settle them. Operating under pressure is my comfort, but for good measure, I apply the lotion Fol gave me. It contains a masking agent. I know the scrutiny will be intense and emotions are unwelcome.
In my arena, I set my media wall on display. The screen wavers and then redirects. On the screen, an emaciated slip of a woman sits with her legs impossibly tucked under her in an overstuffed chair. Music plays and she seems thoroughly engrossed in communications on her wrist keyboard.
I count to my limit. Ten is all I get. “I’m here to make a presentation before the Life Preservation and Resource committee.”
Nimble as a cat, the woman unfurls and practically claws at the screen. “You and all the rest. I don’t see why you’re fooling with life. It’s inhumane. What good will it do to bring people back to life? Same sorry life. Same troubles. Nothing changes.”
“That’s one way to look at it,” I say brightly and wonder at the rudeness Universe United excuses in their reception staff.
The woman stares coldly and twists a lock of ginger hair behind her ear.
I try for sympathy. “Look, I really must insist….I’m late. I’m supposed to be first but my friend died….”
The woman immediately begins digging in an obtuse way for something in her satchel. The air around me stings with her next words. “Isn’t that sad. A resurrection scientist has a friend who dies before the process is proven. I guess she’ll be your first case. Lucky her. The perks of friendship.”
Now, I’m thoroughly pissed. “I really must insist you let me into the conference at once.”
When Ginger straightens, I see she has retrieved a scanner, which she connects to its base in the corner. I recognize it as the mood analyzer. It’s a process I’d hoped would be omitted.
“First things first. They want to know your level of feeling before you present. It’s such a farce. Trying to act like your type has feelings like the rest of us.”
I’ve had enough of her bigotry. “You know you really should consider yourself lucky that I’m not going to report your behavior. You’re by far the rudest person I’ve ever encountered. In fact, it seems doubtful that you are a person. Talk about cold. You’re responses are literally freezing.”
An odd smile comes across the woman’s face. “Now you’re talking, SJ. It’s really competitive in there. I’m rooting for you. Go get em.” Then without another word, the woman punches the entrance button, and I find myself before my peers.
This blog post is an excerpt from my supernatural thriller, Five, presented in rough draft version. The posts will 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.