Terra’s first brave attempt at exoplanet colonization takes a wild detour when Rish Patton finds himself inhabiting another man’s body. On a world he’s never heard of. With no memory of how or why. It’s 2180. Rish, and fellow crew member, Faya Moore, are on the cusp of finding out the hard way that their newly settled planet won’t be home after all. They’ve been tossed head-first into a multi-faceted mystery that never, ever runs them out of questions – many the wisest minds of science haven’t even discovered yet. It slowly dawns that it’s up to them to piece together the meaning of countless bits of evidence, intuitive hints and dreams – if they ever hope to understand the new worlds and new lives they’ve awakened to. Adventure hangs on the heels of disaster as they develop unfamiliar, and often too-hot-to-handle, visionary abilities. Melded minds and scrambled identities are just a prelude to a whole new view of space and time.
Book II The Elu Correction
Rish Patton and Faya Moore have their hands – and heads – full. But Terra’s genetically altered transplants aren’t the only ones with a lot on their plates. Contact with alien entities and the effects of newly discovered artifacts have people across entire star systems scrambling for answers – and cover. The artificial intelligence of the day can’t keep up to the hackers – and flat-out imposters – riddling the systems. Suspected interference, right down to the very genes, fuels the drive to create new generations despite widespread near immortality. Corruption and worse have worked their way to the surface on far flung planets, threatening long established empires. But in the face of unforeseen events, it seems the more the galaxy’s citizens try to help each other, the more entangled they find themselves in hidden realities and agendas. Who’s influencing – and undermining – who is anything but obvious. The archives and laboratories take a beating as metaphysical researchers, high-adepts, and technologists alike, sift through new dreams, the depths of ancient records, and all the data in between, for signs of unseen agents and a cure for an insidious new disease.
Sci fi mysteries you never dreamed of!
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
The science fiction genre has always fascinated me, and I was tempted to write – but the publishing world has its, ahem, ways … The age of internet and electronic books have freed the creative from preconceived notions of 'proper' SF – and the stunning results are out there for us all to enjoy. And to be inspired by!
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I don't really see my characters as characters. They soon become real people to me, and their personalities grow as I write. It's really a lot like getting to know folks.
Part I – One
Year 2180 TST
Rish had sneaked out of the compound by the time the third call for his presence at the hall stopped echoing. The fourth, he could barely make out as he headed for the cliffs – a resigned-sounding statement to never mind. Not a soul in sight. He was free. Oh, not quite. A familiar figure appeared from a side path. He acknowledged the man with a nod. Hem Natick, Proxby's head biophysicist, was shaking his head. Rish winked at him, stuck out his tongue, and kept going.
It was his day off! They shouldn't have been paging him. And it was none of Hem's business if he didn't answer, anyway. Ten days of bloody red skies was all he could take. The reflector repair was finally done and the Terran light equivalent was back. He could actually see to get some work done. And it wasn't as though he was slacking off. Oh, forget about it, Rish, ol' boy. Go have some fun!
At the end of the path, he poked around in the sand, checking for anything loose underneath. He peered over the edge of the cliff. As he eyed the ladder attachments, he stretched his arm round behind, feeling to be sure his pack was secure. The head shield was uncomfortable. Better than getting clocked by a falling rock, though. He eased his lower body over the drop-off and found the rung with his feet. A three minute descent brought him to the floor of the canyon. He scanned hard for any sign of falls. A rather mirthless chuckle came with a thought. It'd be the rock he never noticed that killed him anyway, right? Shaking off the gloomy idea he picked his way along the faint trail he'd worn over the last few years.
He could never tell how long it took him to do that stretch. Between his eyes jumping up and around at every crumbly sound, and sudden stops to check out stuff he'd never noticed before, it could have taken ten minutes or ten years for all he knew. And for all he cared. Tarn, he was a hundred and twenty last week. Would it matter if it did take a decade? Ah, there it was, the spot he'd left off digging when the reflector quit. Rish pulled out the tool pouch, dug out a tiny grey mallet, and an even tinier chisel. Funny place to find worms, in a patch of sandstone. Funny place to find sandstone too, sticking out of the basalt canyon wall like a sore thumb. But the first squirmy thing he'd brought back had blown the minds of the entire bio team. A natural way to make fertilizer, instead of relying on their fuel rock or mining – top of the wish list. Worms were good at that kind of stuff. And the bug had other fans. It was the only wildlife ever found on Proxby that didn't require a microscope to see it.
The worm had obligingly forked over the answers they were after. Now all they had to do was figure out its reproduction. And that usually requires mates. He started tapping as far above the holes as he could reach, hoping to drive out a bunch. Success! The little tan-colored beasts cleared out of the holes with a subtle snake-like motion. They were really sticky to the touch, but it didn't impede their rush to escape along the vertical face of the rock. He dropped his tools, pulled a small package out of his pocket, and shook it several times. It unfolded into a square container. He had to stop with the first one. The tarned thing wouldn't come off of his glove to put in the box! He thought of what would've happened had he forgotten the grease. A vision of himself with a few hundred stuck all over him took hold. Well, that'd be one way to get them back to the lab. There. The gloves were now oiled well enough and he was done filling up in a couple of minutes. On went the lid. Just enough room for the box in his tool pouch. All packed. He took his own sweet time back to the ladder.
How could they have known the release agent was toxic to them? The lab assistants had only managed to save a few of the worms. Then they had to figure out what to use for a lubricant that wouldn't do any harm. Which they did manage, but it still meant someone had to go get more. And up until Jeremy Makatza died in the rock slide last year, most of the landers would have gone in a blink. Pretty hard to get volunteers since then. The pull of having real fertilizer took over. If it wasn't for him nosing around in the canyon no one would even know the worms existed. He had to go back, that was all there was to it. "I'll go tomorrow if the lab is sure this new goo is safe."
Faya Moore was about to speak when Hem burst into the room, his face a picture of utter joy. "They did it! The elevator tests are complete. The ore can be raised! Goodbye fuel rock, hello home!"
She grabbed him and gave him a big hug, then did a jig around the tables. "Oh, thank sol! This is fantastic! Do the shippers know? Oh, they can all come home! Everyone's going to be here at last!"
Rish was gawking at Hem, not saying anything. Wonderful that the whole crew could finally hit the ground, but food production was kind of a priority.
The shorter, slighter man flinched under his gaze, his pale blue eyes filled with anxiety. He blurted, "Did I do something wrong?"
He tried not to laugh at Hem's insecure moment. "No. I was just wishing I could have an elevator to get those worms."
"Oh, tarn. I'm so sorry about the grease. You shouldn't have to go anywhere …" His expression faded into what was well known by all as 'zoned'.
Rish and Faya looked at each other, then headed for the chairs. No telling how long it would be before Hem would spit out whatever was churning in his brain. They stayed quiet, not wanting to disturb the resident genius. Hem was about average in social smarts. But in every other area of cognizance, the medicos figured he was at least three times brighter than the next person in line – Faya, the genetics team leader. The two of them were among the smartest people who'd ever lived. And they were barely a hundred. Rish had never understood why they treated him like he was some kind of gift to the world. Wonderman, they called him. He'd sunk into ruminating about it as he waited for Hem to process. It was ridiculous. He knew perfectly well compared to them he was a moron. Sure, he had a geoscience degree… and specializing in Mars geology is what got him, a civilian, to Proxby. Not many off-planet rock hounds in the service. They'd waived the requirement – he caught her peeking at him out of the corner of his eye and snapped back to here and now. The idea of the shippers coming landside popped back in, and the feeling of a warm, sunny day spread to his smile.
Blushing, she lowered her eyes. "Rish! Now's not the time …" She couldn't stop grinning.
Part I – Two
The party was over, and oh, what a party it'd been. When word got out the elevator was ready, everyone, ship and land side, pretty well lost it. They still had to do the vid meet-up thing – but the next one would be for real. All together at last. The ultimate. He and Faya hadn't stayed for day two, sneaking off to be alone. Thirty years they'd been exclusive. And if it hadn't been better than the first time, he'd be hanged. Between his memories and the prospect of a better way to get into the canyon, yesterday had turned out well. Hem had revealed the result of his earlier brainstorm. The quarry's safety shell ended only thirty feet from where Rish needed to go, and the leader agreed to show Rish everything he needed to know. He was getting his wish. He could use the elevator to go worm picking – and more.
And he had to eat, so he gave up on the wool-gathering and climbed out of bed. He wandered over to the pod, and after a bit of fiddling, a mist of water sprayed over the little plants inside. He opened the far hatch on the growtube and pulled out handfuls of more mature greenery. Grabbing a dish off the counter with his other hand, he stuffed it as full as he could with weeds. Good. All ready. In two minutes he'd chowed the whole bowlful down, then got himself a large bottle out of the tar. He popped the top and guzzled the rest of his meal. Time to go, go, go. He was allowed to use the short-cut during off hours, as long as he signed in and out. And this morning was off hours.
Faya slumped in a chair at Hem's dining table. Perched on the edge of the sofa, he pounded his fist into his other hand, over and over. The story he'd just told her ran through her mind – story, oh no, no … nightmare …
The alarm had triggered at noon. Rish's sign-out at the quarry office went over-due. His locator had stopped transmitting. A search team was at the site by twelve-oh-seven with the retrace data. The lead quarry tech had taken them to the end of the cover. The bot they'd sent out found nothing. Two team members had turned it around and followed it back out. They were stopped by a solid wall of rock – a huge basalt boulder. No one in their right mind would attempt to get over it single-handed. But they checked for signs of climbing anyway. There were none. The pair had gone over the entire route again, re-scanning with every kind of sensor they had. There was nothing more they could do. Julianne Brunner, the security leader, had sent out the flevs.
Two hours had passed since the air team reported they'd found nothing. Hem asked for the search data, but although his request had been granted, no one had shown up with it. When the buzzer finally sounded, both of them nearly jumped out of their skins. Julianne came through carrying a small pad. Without a word, she handed it over. Talk wasn't needed. A bot could've read the grief and fear on their faces. He didn't spend much time on the new reports. Without offering them to her, he shut the pad off and faded off into processing. The women left for the hallway. Faya whispered, "This can't be happening."
Julianne put an arm around her shoulders. "He knows how to take care of himself. I'm debriefing the air search team, then seeing the Proctor. By then it'll be midnight, so I don't want you to expect anything tonight. Doc Dalton has released sedatives. Take one and rest. I'll see you in the morning."
After she'd gone, Faya wandered listlessly into the meal room. She opened the hatch on the cubby beside the tar. Inside were two tablets. She put one of the pills in her mouth as she went to the living room and set the other one beside the pad in front of Hem. He was still zoned. She rolled into a ball on the end of the couch, lost in a blur of disconnected thoughts and memories. Her eyes drooped shut as the drug kicked in.
Someone was shaking her, saying over and over, "Faya, wake up, please wake up, wake up, please …"
She struggled to get her eyes open, forcing herself upright. "What? Hem? What is it?" The fog slipped away a little – Rish! "Where is he? Have they found him?"
"No dear, I'm sorry, nothing yet. It's something else. You must know. Please wake up!"
She raised her hand in front of his face, signaling quiet as she tried to push down the panic. Deep breaths. Take deep breaths. Finding her voice, she excused herself. "The pill's making me stupid. What's going on? Tell me."
He got up and went into the meal room, came back with a glass of water and handed it to her. As she drank it down, her head began to clear. "What did you put in this? … oh, sorry. Antidote. Thanks."
Hem motioned for her to come look at the screen. "Here." She followed his finger. "This picture is the last one taken. Where Rish's locator stopped transmitting." Hem tapped and several of the footprints disappeared. "This is the second last picture the security team took." He tapped again. "This is the third last picture – from the bot."
Faya stared at the image. It didn't make sense. The pill seemed to be still hanging on. "You'll have to help me out. I'm not all here." She heard a whistle of breath and turned to face him. "What?"
"I'm doing a lousy job. Just look at the first vid from the bot. Check the foot prints. There are two different sets. And there's no tracking signal recorded in that area except Rish's."
She zeroed in, muttering, "One set large, with ripples showing. Standard regulation soles. But the other ones aren't much bigger than my own. And smooth. Not not the same shape as regulation shoes either. Someone else was with him when he disappeared? Or came by afterwards? Wearing shoes no one here has? And they both vanished? Both sets stop at the same point. None going the other way."
Hem's face was working but he didn't say anything.
She blurted, "Flypacks. They flew straight up."
"They're all accounted for. Unless the visitor had one. And it was strong enough to carry two people. Julianne ruled out any air traffic."
She grasped at one more straw. "Someone hauled them both out of the canyon by rope or something …"
There was a long pause. Then they both whispered at the same time. "Impossible."
Links to Purchase Print Books
Buy Origini: Books I and II Print Edition at Amazon
Links to Purchase eBooks – Click links for book samples and reviews
Buy Origini: Books I and II On Amazon
Have you read this book? Tell us what you thought! All information was provided by the author and not edited by us. This is so you get to know the author better.