Big Scifi giveaway I am part of

Hey guys I am part of a big scifi giveaway this week.  I am giving away Project: AKRA if you have not picked it up yet.  Lots of new talent to check out.

http://sffbookbonanza.com/freebooks/

I am still hammering away at trying to be an author, so something like this could help big!

Enjoy if you check it out.

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New story: Project: AKRA

Hey so I started slipdrift, but instead it is going to be Project: ARKA and this is due to some things with amazon and when the free period ends.  Anyway, all of them are part of the VayneLine Chronicles, here is project akra!

 

Project: AKRA

 

Ironically, the Emotion-Field concept as an aspect to reality proved so revolutionary that the first groups to find evidence of its existence fought and killed for its secrets, deeply contrary to the discovery’s eventual implications.  It was the first indication of higher dimensional aspects that influenced our reality, as well as our own ability to change them.

 

– Terran Intradex Ver. 4 Excerpt on ‘Emotion Field’

 

See Also: Star Priestess, Classed Soldier, Project: AKRA [Declassified]

 

“I have reason to believe you are the best…feel like putting that reputation to the test, soldier?”  The hooded figure had a light cloaking field over it that made it seemed almost like an illusion to the soldier it was speaking to.

A small smirk crossed the face of the soldier as he brushed two fingers through his short hair.  “Naturally.”

The hooded figure laughed, but its tone was masked by a voice-modder, rendering its tone completely neutral so it could not be identified in any form. “I know you have taken hard missions before, but I do not expect the survival rate to be particularly high on this.  There were only three groups that had both the clearance and the battle experience your group possesses.  I hate sending such a valued asset like your group on a mission like this, but it is one of particular import to the Star Priestesses.”

‘To the Star Priestesses’ meant for all intents ‘to the Aelisha’.

Though the black-haired man was arrogant, he was not stupid, and likewise answered carefully.  “Interesting; I assume this is your estimation of the danger.  If I may ask, is that an academic estimate, or a once-soldier’s estimate?”  A very small portion of Star Priestesses were soldiers, but a large percentage of Aelisha in secret operations like this were warriors.

“The latter,” the figure said in an easy tone that belied its long combat experience.  “A rather well-connected criminal syndicate has stolen a very valuable collection of data.  Its name is AKRA, an information processing and application unit.  It holds an understanding of the universe we are just barely starting to comprehend.”

“And it’s our job to recover the data,” the man offered.  It was probably an Aelisha he was dealing with most likely some high-rank diplomat or something similar.  For the briefest moment he mused about tackling the creature and ripping its cloak off to see whom it was.

“ ‘Naturally’,” the cloaked figure mimicked.

The black-haired soldier laughed at the imitation, but in his mind he could tell there was something deeply wrong with this mission his squad was going to undertake.  He always believed in his combat instincts, but this was different.  Something was calling to him beyond just his instincts, but he had no idea what it was saying.

Considering the credits his group was offered, some mysterious ‘clearances’ for advanced weaponry they recently had been given, and the entirely personal reason that he felt something calling on this job, he knew he would do it.  The soldier named Raist, told the figure they would take the job.  As soon as he had said so, the figure had turned and started walking out, shimmering like a ghost that was barely visible.  “Wait, one question though.  Why us?”

“You were asked for specifically.”

That was interesting.  He didn’t know too many people that knew him and were still alive.  “By whom?”

“You are not privy to that information.”

“Ha, I am used to that,” he said to the figure that had departed.

The figure was far enough away it was completely invisible, but before it had completely left the room, its voice said to Raist, “But know an old friend sends their… regards.”

Counting the friends he had that weren’t in his squad and were still alive took about four fingers.  He stood there for a moment, digesting the conversation that had just occurred.  He spun his pistol lazily out of habit, more concerned with his thoughts.  It crashed to the ground, and he crouched down quickly to grab it.  He saw something like a small string or thread against the background blackness of his pistol and grabbed it.  The single medium-length strand of hair was a bright pink.

‘That was a Solarian girl, maybe a Star Priestess or a Classed like me…I wonder who she was?  Something felt weird about her.’  All Star Priestesses and really anyone this deep in secrecy were a little weird though.  He shook his head, trying to stop thinking about things.  ‘Too many thoughts and feelings; just focus.’

 

Proud Infinity pt 32

Trego is in jail wondering if everything was just a dream.

 

“You would forsake me so fast?”  It was her voice.  I wondered how long before I would start hallucinating about her.

“Fuck you, go away,” I said to the darkness.  Damn, I hated just being used.  I kind of wanted to shoot her if the circumstances were such that way again.

Her…the cause of everything.  Guess it was not too long.  It was in the shadows of despair within my mind and the actual darkness in this cell that I definitely started to hate her.  I felt used beyond redemption.  White blood celled.

The bag was pulled off of my head, and her bright blue eyes were almost touching mine.  She smiled was wide as she brought her face back.  “Hi Tre!  My, what have they done to you?”

“Unfortunately…” my voice came haggard.  I had not spoken in a long time, and being deprived of water left my throat dry.  “My race has… our less than… glorious… moments towards each other.  Are you… real?  Or just here to…to torment me before I die?”

I honestly expected her to disappear, or maybe appear as the guy who was probably going to torture me.  But she stepped forward, putting her hands on my arms, and something happened as I was falling towards her.  I landed in her chest as she held me gently.  My arms hung limply at my side and I definitely could not feel them.

“Proud…you are real…” I mumbled, feeling her actually hugging me and feeling overwhelmed by that fact as I whimpered softly.

“Of course.  Why would I not be?  I had promised I would protect you, did I not?”

“Did…you?  Can’t… remember.  I can’t move…hunger…pain.  My arms…”

“I know.  I know.”  She held me there, and something warm was flowing from her into me.  I felt a strange awareness come over me, an awareness I once possessed slowly come back to me.

“Healing,” I stated and she nodded.  I could at least walk, even if I felt weak and out of it.  “But how can we get out of here?  I thought you cannot influence reality that much?”

“I have gotten stronger.  I am still limited, but enough to get you out of here.  I had to wait until everyone in your near reality counted on you dying.  To that reality it makes no difference if you actually die, or are simply gone.  The jail guard was killed in an accident today, he was the only one who knew you weren’t actually dead yet.”

“Complicated rules.”

Her eyes widened a bit at the simple truth of my statement.  “Indeed.  It is time we go.”

“Uh, are we going to teleport or something?  I don’t think we can just walk out.”

She disappeared, and I certainly did not make the trip with her.  “Uh, Proud?”

The door to my cell opened, and she was the one that had done it.  “Come on.”

“And if we are caught?”

“I will protect you.  It will not happen though.  Stay close.” She offered her hand and I reached for it, but my hand did not move.  She bent down, grabbing it, and I noticed my emaciated arm that she had taken.  I had been in this delusional state in this dark cell for longer than I likely knew.

At the very end of the hallway, I tried tugging her back as I saw the shadow of a guard coming.  She shook her head and sure enough the form on the wall had turned around and started walking away without ever turning the corner.  We walked through some sort of facility, and it was uncanny that at every turn someone would be walking through the opposite door, or turned engaged in something.  We continued in the strange ballad of perfect timing until we came out to a ship pad.

Thanks to my readers!

Hey guys wanted to give a quick thanks to those of you supporting my blog and to my readers out there, check it out, this is my new record I just got today!

 

As you can see it was pretty dead for a while, but it is finally taking off.  These do NOT include the free books, so this is actual kindle select.  Exciting!

 

Yes I know its modest at this point but to be going ANYWHERE is really exciting, thanks again everyone.

Proud Infinity pt 23

I hope you guys are enjoying the story!

 

***

 

The more loops I endured, the easy it was to accept it was happening.  What I meant by that is that I would not be crippled by existential terror of the situation, or of the acts I had taken.

There was a degree of random-ness of what exactly was remembered and why.  To me it was a bit akin to learning a new language by reading a complex book.  It often meant nothing to me but I would start to see patterns.  Many times the patterns were wrong, but again with enough failures these too would be refined.  Consciously it was tougher to explain than on a subconscious or intuitive level where I’d remember things on a ‘déjà vu’ type experience.

Had I always known the android girl, Mitreah, at the spaceport was the highest level combat android available?  Or how about that the android girl’s override phrase was actually three words long?  And it wasn’t just words: a big key was I had to say her name before the words.  A lot of these key facts were slowly extracted by practically begging, ‘How could I prove to you that I know you?’  And so slowly would she tell me, ‘Well if you can tell me X about myself,’ to which I’d spend cycles and cycles trying to figure out one little fact just so I could further advance the true search of finding her code word.

Every time, it would be the same with slightly more info.  I would tell her of battles she had fought in, what her favorite food was, where she lived, what number she was thinking of.  Silly things like that was what it took to get more vital info out of her, all for the eventual end of unlocking her control code.

Damn androids, not easy to deal with in a time loop; so much harder than Solarians, ironically.  This was a large reason why I bothered, it was part of a challenge.  I could figure out people a few cycles, but her programming was resistant which was so problematic.

How funny that the first cycle I felt embarrassed just standing there shouting things to her, but how fast my embarrassment died to grim necessity.

That took forever just to get to three words, except once I after busting out about two thousands words, I think I was around, ‘Mitreah: nanite uhh…Mitreah: nanites’, to her in the empty port she laughed and said it was three words long.  Considering I had not told her any of her secrets during that reset, I was surprised she volunteered the information.  Maybe in some little way was something of hers becoming implanted into the Emotion Field?

I asked Proud about it, and she could not answer like usual but said things work in ways I would not understand.  It was quite curious regardless, that this perfect programming may actually be affected by the Emotion Field.  It made me think that part of Mitreah’s body, the Solarian part, had an element of some type of ‘soul’ that so many would refuse to believe.

‘Mitreah: Farewell fallen sword’.  I found out eventually through thousands of cycles of dedicated attempts.  I think I skipped straight from ‘farewell fallen swift’ straight to ‘sword’ on a gut feeling.  Living in this cycle over and over, it was amazing to find out just how powerful intuition was.  Because I literally could try every path, the path my intuition would pull me on, and compare it to just about every other one.

I have no idea what ‘intuition’ is anymore, but it went far beyond anything simple as some might think.  This was one of the biggest examples.  Such a random thing as words, but it had saved me so much time.  I truly believed intuition was likely low levels of Chrono Senses manifesting.

Oh, I of course realized I did not possess any sort of Chrono Sense in a large scale like I thought once upon a long time ago.  The only reason I ‘knew’ what was coming is because I had died thousands of times to it.

Proud Infinity pt 21

Never seeing her proved okay for a while, but then the regret grew, and with no counter to my dark thoughts, they surged endlessly.  My thoughts turned back towards something I had fallen into early in the loops: could I kill myself out of this nightmare?  I tried…oh god, I tried.  But no.  I would die, and then the universe would later in the cycle, the time fracture traveling backwards past the point of my own death to the morning as it always did.  Each cycle, wake up, grab the pistol, pull the trigger.  Instantly wake back up in the same room, but dealing with the emotional fallout of ‘surviving’ a suicide.

I felt my body shaking from the fear of itself from the horror I had inflicted on it in the name of escaping.  Or trying to anyway.  I could not get out.

“I’m so so sorry…” I whimpered to myself, hugging myself to try to believe it.  My eyes were watering.  This was so painful, so confusing.

I was shaking hard at the overwhelming memories.  ‘The positive, just focus on it.  Just focus…’ But all I could do was grit my teeth at yet more regret.  How the hatred I felt at myself for taking advantage of Proud that turned to suicide, then to unrequited rage at the girl who was the singular cause of the nightmare I was in.

I was on this endless rollercoaster of extreme emotions throughout the loops.  Even after all the regret towards Proud, it then turned to anger.  Blaming her for somehow involving me in all this.  I didn’t want any of this, I didn’t want this nightmare.

My teeth hurt from how hard I was biting down, trying to not remember the time I tried killing her.  Despite the slow learner I seemed to be with everything else, I only did this once.

I leveled the Liner pistol right at her.  ‘Die bitch’ I had said to her confused face.  I pulled the trigger, unloading half the clip into her, but…but it went right through her.  I fell to my knees.  ‘You really are just a figment of my imagination,’ crying at how crazy I was.

‘Would it make you feel better to actually let you shoot me?  Try it Trego, if you really want, as dark as this path has become.’  To which my teary face pulled the trigger again at her, and was shocked when he body recoiled away, blood, or something similar, exploding out the backside.  ‘Proud?’  I asked to her dead body, the bloody ribbon covering a massive crater in her head.  The shock was so severe I turned the pistol on myself, and the darkness only crept on.

“No!”  I shouted, trying to forget.  Just remember the good, the times I actually was productive, not lost in despair or hatred.  “It was not always bad!  That was when I started changing!”  I yelled to the world, trying to make it real.

Yes, focus on how during my self-killing spree, Proud came to me one trigger pull away and asked if there was anything she could do.  I had not seen her since the crime of killing her, or perhaps crimes, I committed against her, and her innocent appearance before me nearly caused me to follow through yet again with the trigger.  But I stopped long enough for her to tell me it pained her to see me this way, and ask why I was like this.  She was here to help if I would only ask.

I told her reluctantly a big part of it was how bad I felt for taking advantage of her when so much was at stake, both having sex with her, and later shooting her in another iteration.  When she laughed loudly, I lowered the pistol out of confusion.  ‘How did you take advantage of me, if we both wanted it?’ she asked.  She did not even mention the time when I had shot her because to her it was nothing.  She said she was entirely joyful for the experience, and did not regret anything and wondered why I did.  She said that the physical plane was overwhelming in its feelings, and to have experienced something like that with me, well, she’d remember forever.  She said she loved me and hoped I would have asked earlier, or again.  She lowered my pistol and we held hands, me crying for hours in her simple embrace until the end came again.

Proud Infinity pt 19

But in a way, I was in a game that had a set boundary specifically tied to the time limit.  This made it hard, as I could not do ‘anything’ as there simply was not enough time in this singular day.  Was it even possible to pull off whatever Proud thought needed to be done?  So my options were not limitless, as there was a practical distance I could travel before my ‘time was up’ so to say.

‘Time was up…’

With those thoughts, a huge wave of experiences came flooding over me.  My eyes started watering and I fell backwards.  My eyes zoomed outwards as I fell out of my body.  The simple act of me sitting in my room faded away to nothingness as so much blanketed my mind.

This was not the fourth; this was not even the tenth, even a hundred would be low!  I had been though thousands.  All the experiences came flooding back.  All the cycles lived, and then died.

“Shit…”  I said, holding my head as I rolled down to the floor, my mind hurting so bad with this new awakening.

First were endless denials out of me, the ‘no way this is happening’ of thinking each cycle literally was new, and I had just been dreaming.  Hell, even the last couple of times I thought it was just a dream and I had already been looping thousands of times.

I could see why Proud made a comment about annoyance or something along those lines.  It was frustrating seeing myself constantly deny what was actually happening.  I was trying to ignore the important events like the guy at the fence, the android girl at the spaceport, and the whole bar scene or talking with Proud.  Even though little things like my banter with the android girl, or me gunning that guy down rather skillfully were a bit beyond my normal ability.  With grim realization it was probably hundreds of repetitions that had improved me.

My hand found something, maybe the leg of a desk, and I held on tightly like a sick child.  Even my most recent memories I was not sure had actually recently occurred.  I talked about winning against that guy, but if I had looped so often, I never would have got shot, or avoided it all together.  Thinking about it this way, I felt that there actually was a far deeper well of combat prowess inside me than I currently appreciated.  Honed over thousands of random battles.

The more my head swam, the more I realized how far down the line I was in regards to loops.  The denials lasted forever, but gave way to sadness before darkness.

When I started realizing I was looping, it was perfect to learn about people.  There were women I could get close with and my loneliness faded away for the cycle.  I had met a lot of girls and felt so close to many of them.  But each reset I was greeted with words that cut into my heart deeper and deeper each time hearing them: ‘who are you?’

Nothing that I had done with them remained.  No clever date, no laughs we shared, no talks about our past.  I would remember vague things about them, but no one else perceived the loop, I was just as unknown the hundredth time talking to them, as the first.  The closeness I thought I had with them was an illusion.  It was only in my mind.  That sent me down a dark road as I no longer had this to comfort me given the end I experience without fail.

The terror of dying every cycle started grinding on me until the desperation reached a breaking point.  I started trying to kill myself out of this nightmare, thinking that this simply wasn’t real.  If it was, I would rather be dead than be trapped in this fearful world where nothing I did mattered.  And it ended in absolute pain every single time.

Sitting here huddled on the floor, crying while this multitude of memories flooding back was not fun.  I wondered if every time was like this.  Probably.

The desperate loops were short lived, and then it became rampant hedonism and dark experiences.  When I realized I would indeed be reborn each cycle anew my curiosity took a dark turn.  How many people could I kill before I was stopped?  How many girls could I get within a single cycle knowing the perfect things to say to them from thousands of scripted conversations I had tried?

Proud Infinity pt 4

Hey guys, here is the 4th path of Proud Infinity.

We last ended with Trego getting shot and stumbling back to his room where he sees a black wave come out of his old work place that destroys everything and in the next moment thinks he is killed.

Story:

***

 

“Ahh!”  I sat up, throwing the covers off of me.  My breaths came fast as I was hyperventilating, my eyes flung around, trying to feed my brain that everything was okay.  After a few panicked moments I realized I was alive and that it was the morning.  The sky was turning blue from its brilliant orange.  The colors of my shirt, the room, everything was there, and I never loved the morning so much.

“What was that…?”  I lay down again, holding my face and trying to figure out what that was.  Some crazy nightmare.  Ugh, been a while since I had something like that.  I opened my eyes through my splayed fingers and saw my two black socks on my desk, and it reminded me about the other part of being shot and the grim ends I resorted to.  Kind of badass in a way.  At least my subconscious thought I was legit.

For a moment my heart jumped.  It was just a dream right?  My left hand shot to my right shoulder, and nothing.  No shot, no pain.  My right hand worked perfectly.  But I remembered the pain, I remembered gunning that guy down and taking his gun, I remember throwing up over myself, but my white shirt was completely clean.

I put two fingers on my forehead and took a few deep breaths.  Okay, just some whack dream.  Damn, that was insanely real.  The more I thought about it, the more I remembered random details like the old guy by the fence, fighting that guy at the bar, and…that girl.  For some reason I felt she was really important to whatever that dream was about, even though she played almost no part in it at all.

I wiggled my fingers a few times, feeling that their motion was really divine; there was this complete satisfaction at the simple ability of being able to move them.  I moved one at a time right down the line, thinking about complex the movement actually was.

I heated something up for breakfast.  Tried reading a little, a book about a guy who would not take pain killers whereas all his enemies did and could not feel pain; I wasn’t convinced someone could win in a situation like that.  The sun was coming through the slits on my blind and the sunlight made me think about that dream again.

Man, I just could not drop this.  I had a few nightmares before, but this one just would not subside.  “Alright, just drop it.  I am not shot, and that whole thing never occurred.”  I rubbed my shoulder a few times and, convinced it really was just a dream, left my room to go about my day.

The monotony of the day once again lay before me.  But one thing was still bothering me.  It felt really stupid, but I wanted to check.  Levels of precognition existed, that was a fact.  There were three major varieties of the Chrono Psionic that was based on that.  I daydreamed a bit that maybe somehow I unlocked a power like that.

Strangely, there was a bar right where I had dreamt it.  My hopes raised a bit that maybe something special was going on with me.  My scientist mind tried to look for explanations.  It was possibly not that odd, as I was probably through here before and the subconscious has a really good memory.

My heart rate was quickening as I opened the door, and the bar lay out in front of me the same way I had seen it before.  There was the bartender I argued with, the guy close to me whom I had envisioned clubbing down after breaking his knee.  My heart fell when I recognized another man in here as the one who shot me and I killed later in the dream.

This was far clearer than any dream I had had before.  Faces were always kind of vague, even the most visual of dreams were based a lot more on feelings and metaphors.  I recognized this guy’s ugly face and I had never seen him in my life.

I staggered backwards. “What the hell is going on?”  My eyes went wide and my stomach dropped along with my heart.  People supposedly had precognizant dreams, but that was all bullshit, no way any of that happens in real life.  It defied science.  If this was some Chrono Psionic, no wonder those people were so awkward and fucked up given how weird this was to me.

How could I have known about these people I had never seen!?  The fear of what was happening was too much and I left before I checked much more.  I turned and ran to the next spot of the dream: the fence overlooking the ReCorp complex.

No one was around here.  Hmm, that was different.  And just that simple fact brought a much needed sense of relief to me.  I let a huge sigh out, and started laughing loudly.  Oh man, okay.  I have no idea what that was.  Some low probability dream, maybe I had been there when I was younger or something.  I was so desperate to find something, my mind assumed anyone’s random face was the face I supposedly saw in my dream.  Sounded about right.

Yeah, well, whatever.  Not like I was going to get gunned down later today.  Yeah, some dream to just tell me to avoid that spot.  Not that odd.  There was actually some pretty crazy research in Psionics/Senses, and to have a dream about your death that you are then able to avoid is a lot less crazy than some of the stuff I had heard about.  Not sure I believed any of it, but it was out there.  There was some ‘danger Sense’ or something that was pretty common in Solarians as well that kept people out of getting killed; maybe that’s how this thing went down.

Wait…why the hell am I even jumping to these conclusions?  It was some dream, period.

I laughed again, then my laugh got caught in my throat, and my breath froze.  A bit further down a saw an old man…the old man coming on his walk across here.

I shook my head in disbelief.  Okay, think critically.  Maybe I indeed have a latent Sense that is manifesting itself here, and I foresaw the danger I would be in from the gunfight and warned me about the events that would occur.  Take this slow, and experiment with what exactly will happen.  I hated that I didn’t read more about how the Chrono Psionics worked, so I was stumbling blindly trying to conclude if I had something I knew nothing about.

‘Some sight huh?’ My mind played, or maybe it was ‘replayed’.

“Some sight huh?” the man stated.  Hmm, what did I say back to him?  I think I was dismissive.  My mind found the right words as if I had said them a million times.

“Yeah, if you mean totally disrupting to the entire culture and planet that was already there.”  Consciously, I felt like a watcher on a play I had seen before.

He started coming closer to me.  I remember I did not want to talk to him, but actually I was quite interested now.  I wondered if my intent would change reality, or was it only things I actually did?  If I still acted the exact same but thought differently I wondered if that would change anything.

He came closer. “Yeah, you are young enough that I am sure you were displaced by what occurred here.”  His hand motions were moving the exact same way.

Now here was the time to experiment.  I think I was sarcastic with him.  But this time it would be different based on how I acted.  “You don’t seem too bothered.  Let me guess, you retired here?”

He stopped, and looked a bit confused.  I felt confused suddenly too, up to the moment I felt like I had seen this before, but now I was on a new path.  Blinded.

Damn, what the hell was going on?  Maybe precognition was weak.

“Good guess, yeah.  I made enough in the Solarian Space Forces to retire.  I feel bad for guys like you though.”

I almost got caught up in the conversation or the social mores of being polite but a deeper feeling reminded me that something profound had occurred here.  I just didn’t know what it was.

I turned away from him. “See you.” Then I ran back to the bar.  As I ran across the empty streets, dodging an occasional body, I wondered how much of my vision still applied?  Could this new power of mine protect me only from a specific path, or a wide band of actions?

I opened the door to the bar.  Last time I was spoiling for a fight, but no one would know what I wanted inside my mind, only my actual actions.

I went to the same chair and had the barkeep come over.

“What will you be having?” he asked.  Yeah, he said the same thing, but perhaps it is predictable, nothing to gleam out of this small interaction yet.  Anyone would say something regular like that.

The next part was something about asking about a job, and my mind said what it had said before: “Well, I’m here to find out if there are any jobs or contracts anyone has posted.”

He laughed dismissively.  Hmm, this definitely seemed familiar.  “I don’t even know you.  You think I’d tell you one with these many deserving people here?”

The grunts again came up from around the bar.  Hmm, definitely the same.  I was not sure why it was occurring the same way even though I had done different things.  I thought that maybe it was a very specific, A then B then C, and because I did B first it would change.  There was a lot to learn here.  The major thing right now though I had to end the timeline from occurring and ending up getting shot.

Proud Infinity Pt 3

Here is the 3rd part of the new story Proud Infinity about a a guy who become stuck in a time loop.  We last ended with him wondering if he could get off the planet, the story is about to get heated:

 

I hit my hand on the ground in frustration.  Damn!  Why didn’t I leave?  What was keeping me around?  Seems stupid looking back on it, it is not like I have any purpose here now.  Okay, that settles it.  I am out of here.  I’ll buy a ticket and be gone in just a few cycles.

I pulled out my gun and ran my fingers over it.  At least this was a good purchase before things fell apart completely.  I was making a lot of credits at the time, and I spent a serious amount on the best pistol I could get without a military clearance.  I caught my Strive reflected in the large barrel of the pistol and thought of that strange girl at the bar with her simplistic pictogram.  The tattoo under my left eye was a straight line, followed by a perpendicular one, ending with a triangle beyond it.  The meaning was that the straightest path to anything might not be a straight line.  I liked to think that that inscription that had been with me from childhood helped me in my non-standard thinking of solving problems.

Regarding hers, I honestly did not think you could get a Strive that…simple.  I didn’t know the rules of the inscriptions, but I had never seen anyone with a single, non-complex design, so that’s what I based my assumption off of.

I hoped she wasn’t a regular there.  I do not know if I was ready to go back there anytime soon, given the size of the city seeing her elsewhere would be a low chance.  Damn, she was hot too.  My curiosity piqued by what exactly she was.  Maybe she was with ReCorp.

Motion.

I tilted my pistol just slightly to see a man obviously coming up behind me in its reflection.  Strange.  And not good.

I waited a bit more and when it was clear he was coming right at me I dashed forward and rapidly turned around.  Nice melee attack chump, prepare to die.

“Hey punk, this is for Walo!” He did not have a melee weapon, instead his leveled pistol erupted fire that tore into my shoulder.  Damn, he was good.  No warning.  Professional.

I let a little yelp out as I was torn to the ground.  My hand holding my pistol went to my right shoulder, feeling warm liquid leak out of it.

“Ha, guess there was nothing to you, huh boy?  Just a pathetic, lucky kid.  I will leave you here like the rest of the trash in this shithole.”  He smiled darkly as his pistol was pointing at me.

My rapid thoughts congealed and realized I had to act right now.  I brought the pistol onto the man who was stupid to not finish me and pulled the trigger.  The Liner pistol’s Gauss accelerators propelled the rounds from zero to maximum velocity within a very short time.  The caseless rounds tore through him at a far faster rate than his chemical propellant variety of weapon.  In a few fractions of a trigger pull easily over fifty rounds were out of my gun and through his body.  His torso exploded apart and he joined me down on the ground, except he was now completely dead.

“Uhh…” I gritted my teeth looking at my right arm.  I tried squeezing my fingers and they did not work despite the massive pain of trying.  I braced myself to try harder, screaming out in pain as I tried to close my limp hand.  Nothing.

Damn damn damn!  Was my arm shot through!?  I was not a soldier, I was a fucking scientist.  How did this happen!?

My mind was racing, scared of the blood leaking out of me.  There was a sizable hole through my shoulder, and while I could feel my nanites pumping chemicals through me and trying to close the hole, this was still a very serious wound.  My head swam for a moment before the chemicals started calming me.

I tried ripping my shirt with my left hand, gripping hard and pulling against my body but without a strong counter force it was not coming apart.  I took off my sock in desperation and started jamming it into the hole.  I was oddly self conscious that I was doing this and knew I should be in massive pain but I had so many synthesized chemicals in me from my system nanites I could not even feel anything anymore.  Even the panic had given away to my coldly calculating mind, distantly stuffing a sock in my shoulder.

The injury was further alarming because at every finger extension of me pushing the sock in, I would expect to find resistance of my body, such as a bone or my back.  I felt extreme nausea come over me at the implication of the massive hole in my shoulder that clearly went all the way through.

When the thin sock had completely been put into my shoulder, the very idea that part of it might be hanging out the backside – bloody and dripping – was too much and I started coughing before throwing up on the ground in front of me.  I was too dizzy, likely from the thoughts more than the feelings as nanites were quite capable of keeping someone fighting in worse condition that I was.  I leaned forward and sprawled out on the ground.

Normally the nanities would have mostly stopped the bleeding and within a cycle or two would heal over the hole.  Perhaps even now there may be a synthetic layer of skin covering a dirty sock in my shoulder…the thought of my sock disgusted me and I was sick again.

The spinning in my head slowly stopped, and the pain was distant.  I pushed myself to kneeling, then eventually to standing.

“Kckk…” I coughed a few times, rubbing my mouth and eyes on my shirt and stood up, having to catch my feet a few times from being mentally unsteady.  The blood and vomit where I was looked like a massacre occurred there.

I started to walk away, until realized I didn’t have my shoe.  I didn’t know if I could really put it on, so merely stupidly grabbed it, grabbed the weapon of the man I had killed in self-defense, and hobbled back to my room.  The few people I saw stare at me on the way back did not once ask if I was okay; I stared back with hatred.  Maybe I’ll just put a round through them.  In some fitting irony, I now looked exactly like the trash I despised so much.

I held my hand over my shoulder and by the time I made it back to my room, I felt a few fibers of synthetic material stringing itself across the wound to heal faster.  I would not be taking out the sock, and was grimly thinking about how eventually my nanites would slowly break the fiber down within me.  I would survive, but I was very worried if the nanites would be able to re-string the neurons or tendons or whatever was causing my lack of motor control.  The door shut behind me and I bent down, throwing the two weapons on the desk.  I stood back up as a massive wave of dizziness hit me.  I grabbed the desk, trying to stay up, but then blacked out and went down.

In my daze a growing pain woke me up, and I gradually realized I was laying on my shoulder.  I had been out for a while, as the room seemed darker.  I shook my head a few times and felt in control of my mental facilities.  Holy shit, my memories came back of what happened.  I patted my shoulder, still alive.  Yeah, if that was a sign to get out, this was it.

Everything was feeling okay, all things considered.  Only the color of my vision was wrong.

What the?  I had never been shot before, and I knew my nanites could heal me, but was this part of the healing process?

Everything was still ‘colored’ but it was like a black and white filter had been applied to everything, damping most of the color out of existence.  I stood up, holding my shoulder with its synthetic skin now completely across the wound, and walked over to the window that faced the ReCorp building.  Near the center it appeared to be completely binary in its color, but I thought it might just be because there wasn’t much color there anyway.  Some weird atmosphere or solar phenomenon?  The sky looked the same as the rest of the reduced color world.

A tug in my heart brought me back to looking at the complex.  From the center of it, a huge black sphere was now there, expanding outwards.  At first it was barely noticeable in its speed, but even as I watched it grew rapidly.

The next part I will describe using intuitive feelings, because any science I have would not explain what I felt.  It seemed like the black wave growing was a pulse of ‘motion freeze’, that there was nothing that would be moving within it.  Then the feeling grew into pure terror that even stillness would be happy to exist within the sphere.  My new fear knew that this was a wave of annihilation, that every dimension, the three physical, time, gravity, and whatever else there might be would be torn asunder, reduced to nothingness.  Reduced to non-reality.  I knew that for an intuitive fact.

I was under no delusion that that force was beyond me, beyond the entire Solarian race, maybe even beyond the entire universe.  I almost felt privileged for a moment to watch this source of destruction that would rip reality apart, but it was quickly replaced by revulsion at this deeply unnatural event.  The black sphere of nothingness grew larger and faster.  I would be annihilated, like everything else.

Then in the next moment, I was.

Sample of my next story ‘Proud Infinity’ Stuck in a time loop with only a god to keep him company

Trego and Proud

I am going to be having parts from my next book ‘Proud Infinity’ for the next couple of days.  This story is about a guy who ends up stuck in a time fracture and the only other person who realizes it is a demi-goddess sent to help him end it.

 

This will be sequential and this is the beginning, enjoy!

Story:

 

One of the more interesting theories that have come to gain more credibility is the theory that certain events can be so damaging to the framework of reality that time fractures backwards to prevent this event from occurring.

…‘Time’ as used in the dimensional sense had grown to be an increasingly complex subject as there is mounting evidence of both a preferential flow to it, and in some cases what could only loosely be termed as a ‘reroute’.

– Terran Intradex Ver. 4 Excerpts on ‘Time Theories’

 

See also: ‘Preferential pathing of time’; ‘Time Fractures’

 

I hardly even noticed her the first time I saw her…the woman who would ruin, but also save, my life.  Looking back it seemed obvious, now that I was tuned to how things actually worked.  At the time, she was just another girl that I crossed paths with during my growing desperation.  I sometimes wonder if I knew then what would occur, and how painful it would be, if I would have made the same choice.

 

***

I didn’t usually go to a bar the first thing in the morning, but times had started to become desperate; besides, I felt drawn to it.  I had no doubt I was among the smartest people on this planet who was unemployed since ReCorp came in.  That fact pissed me off.  This had been my situation for a while, but while the credits still lasted I wasn’t that worried or upset.

The cycles marched on as they do, and my reserve funds dwindled as I tried to get hired with the corporation that displaced my old job.  Surely since I was so brilliant, they would have to hire me, right?

But they did not.  They did not hire a single person from the prior team.

I was normally fairly calculating, but today I was spoiling for a fight, an outlet for my anger building.  I really wanted someone, anyone, to question me, why someone of my caliber was not employed or doing something ‘meaningful’.  ‘As if just existing does not have inherent meaning!’ I would answer to them before smashing their face.  I was generally immune to nihilism and the lack of a job might not make me sad, but it certainly made me mad.

I caught my reflection in the dimaglass door of the bar, seeing my confident smirk framed by my shorter hair with the slight ‘fray’ in the middle I could never get to go away.  Yeah, that was someone ready to beat down some evil, and should have a job while he’s at it.

I had not been to this one before, but I guess they were pretty much the same anywhere.  The smoke slowly billowed out from the door I was holding open, wafting out from the dimly lit interior.  Why they never had better lighting, I didn’t know.  Maybe they might catch their pathetic reflection in their drinks; can’t have that!  Nope, not at all.

I stepped inside and quickly surveyed the surroundings.  It appeared to be a long shallow hall.  I was on one side and to my right the bar and tables went further down.  A few of the people lifted their heads, staring at me with a ‘what do you think you are doing here?’ look.  I laughed to myself and continued scanning the bar.  Alright, which one of you suckas wants to go?

I walked up to the empty set of chairs right by the door and waved the barkeep over.

“What will you be having?”

“Well, I’m here to find out if there are any jobs or contracts anyone has posted.”

He laughed dismissively, I looked back at him in surprise.  “I don’t even know you.  You think I’d tell you anything with these many deserving people here?”

There were a few grunts of ‘yeah’ or ‘who do you think you are’; I could feel the hostile aura grow a bit in this room.  I took note of it, but I was here for answers or action.

“Isn’t it your job to simply state the facts—” I began saying before he cut me off.

“Don’t you get it?  Ever since ReCorp came in, there haven’t been any jobs!”

Some people laughed, and a typical chorus of ‘yeahs!’ echoed at me.

I knew ReCorp had whacked all the jobs, but it didn’t mean there might not be new ones.  Didn’t these fucks have any optimism in their life?  My anger at him dissipated as the truth of his statement settled in.  I frowned and I looked away from him.  The room was entirely male, grinning and chuckling at me.

Except for the girl in the corner.  My natural eyes locked onto her, and my nanites in my eyes interpreted correctly to focus on her.  I felt my eyes tighten, and a network of nanites formed a lens over my eye as my vision zoomed in on her face.

Her bright pink bow on her right side of her dark green hair was strange enough for the two facts very few had that hair color naturally, and such a bright pink was deeply out of place in here, this wasteland of talent.  She was clearly looking right at me, but was neither smiling nor frowning; her lips were straight, her light blue eyes locked onto mine.  Other than her intense eyes, the final strange part was her Strive tattoo under her left eye: a single infinity sign.

What the hell was a girl like that doing here?  Though the term ‘girl’ might be demeaning to her: she was clearly a developed woman wearing a tight black body suit.  A prostitute?  Haha, even I might have been tempted.  Set a low enough price and I am sure she would clear house down here.

“What’s up with the girl over there?” I asked the bartender while nodding towards the girl.

“What are you talking about?”

I looked back at him angrily. “The girl over there, do you know her?  Prostitute or what?” I asked so I could justify my curiosity in her.

He looked confused, and his little act was pissing me off.  I shook my head, and looked away from him back at the girl who I think might have smiled slightly.  Heh, so she thought this was funny?

Hmm, well she might be interesting to talk to; damn cryptic-looking though.  I was not normally intimidated by anyone, but she might be the first, or at least real close to it.  I pushed myself away from the bar I was standing at and took a step towards her when I felt a huge force into my shoulder pushing me down to the ground.

“Watch where you are going,” said the large man who had clearly ran into me with the intention of driving me to the ground.  I heard some laughing around the room.

“Walo is going to fuck this guy up!”  I heard someone say, more laughter.

I looked right up at ‘Walo’, smiling deeply. “Bad move, bitch.”  Though this was going to be easy, I did not feel bad for him at all.

His first mistake, other than attacking me, was staying in range.  I braced myself up on my hands and lashed out a straight kick right into his knee cap, driving my foot far past the point his was normally supposed to bend.  I spun around, standing up and drawing my Liner pistol, smashing the handle down onto his head.  His broke patella and concussion shocking his system left him on the floor.

I stepped backwards towards the door, my pistol leveled and cycling between the nearest people, the girl in the back had a wild smile on as my pistol danced over her.  I wanted to fight, but having it actually happen sobered me up, and I did not need the whole bar coming after me.  “I’m leaving,” I stated firmly to those nearest me, and did just that.