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Sleepy Time For Captain Eris
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ISBN-10: 1-77115-407-1
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy/SF
eBook Length: 154 Pages
Published: April 2018

From inside the flap

Captain Eris, AKA Death Engine, former military DNA tweak and mercenary is unexpectedly pulled out of her retirement in Champion Acres, and dragged back into the shit by an idiot in a mech suit.

Feeling pissed off and miserable about losing her retirement lifestyle and subsequently, her chances of dying of old age; she searches for the reasons why she was reactivated. With the help of her old friend Al, an incognito artificial intelligence; and Om, a twenty-something emo tweak-girl, she discovers a plot that goes a lot deeper than losing her death. And in doing so, she finds a reason to survive.

Sleepy Time For Captain Eris (Excerpt)


Part 1: Beginning is easy; continuing is shit.

Another concussive blast connected with my head; I felt my skull fracture. I was in the air, weightless, free. Then there was a wall. Wall and pain. My neck crunched as it jammed up into my cranium.

I tried to laugh at my assailant, tell him his attack was meaningless. Instead, all that came out was "The palmetto bells watusi da da da down wub." Great. Freaking brain damage. Not painful, just verbally inconvenient. I gazed up at the hazy visage of RoboBash's metallic, face shield. It should have been smooth, with a mirrored finish. However, it warped itself into a lumpy mass, slowly melting out of my field of vision until there was nothing but blackness.

At first, there was nothing. Only darkness accompanied me. Then the heavens expanded into my reality. It blossomed from a single blue-green dot into a perfect tropical seashore.

The ocean waves caressed my toes as the sun warmed my tired bones. I opened my eyes and gazed upon the flawless paradise. I yawned the clean, fresh breeze into my lungs. I sat up and enjoyed the tranquility of the moment. It had been so long.

Down the beach; a man waved to me from a distance. So familiar. I knew him, but I couldn't place him. It had been so long. He grinned and waved, as a halo of late afternoon of sunlight bathed his body. "Don't look at the light," I reminded myself. "Never look at the light."

But I did. I gazed upon it, his body, the light. The radiance of the blue sky contrasted the warm, intense luminance. The fierce glowing seduced my eyes. The blue faded to sapphire, then indigo, then oblivion. The man dissipated, partially absorbed by the brilliance, the rest of my tropical paradise joined the void of nothing. I tried to avert my eyes, but there was only the light. The awesome, spectacular light, called to me, drawing me in, suffocating me. Tired of fighting, I let go, releasing myself to the universe's will. So peaceful, drifting, warm. So temporary.

*CRACK*

The light shattered as RoboBash's left fist pulled back from his most recent skull fracturing blow.

"Ha, ha!" he mocked. "Puny one, maybe a little overrated. Now I send you into the light"

My eye twitched open a moment; long enough to see RoboBash flex his body, wind up his final blow, and declare his victory.

"Nobody can defeat me," he shouted to the cosmos.

My body seized. Robo laughed at what he perceived to be my death throes. He was wrong. I was done dying. The sensation of bone knitting, flesh regrowing, antibodies attacking; tore at my nerve endings. Then a new sensation compounded the agony; millions of microscopic shocks coursed across my body.

Robo's right fist connected to the left side of my face, just as an electric field swaddled me. His robotic fist sprayed white-hot sparks. He yelled in surprise.

"What?"

"The light is a lie," I panted. "It only brings you back."

Robo snarled and examined his shorting appendage. "You were dead."

"Yeah," I stood up, hearing my bones snapping back into place as I moved. "That. Someone set you up, buddy. There's only one way to kill me, and nobody has the patience."

RoboBash shook his head. "I am not a patient man. You will die now. Again."

"See, this is what I'm talking about, stop…"

Robo wound up for another frontal assault. His fist didn't connect before he was struck by another sphincter-loosening surge of electricity. Apparently, I had acquired electrical abilities this time, and Robo needed to eat less cabbage.

I executed the best saunter I could, given the tremendous pain I was in. I stood over RoboBash; acrid smoke billowed from his torso. He was clearly conscious, but not moving anytime soon. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a handful of crumpled cash coins. Dropping the money at Robo's feet I taunted him. "Here, buy yourself a surge protector." I staggered away; the acrid smell of electrified flesh almost overwhelming the soft floral scents of paradise that still teased my senses.

***

The media wasn't kind to RoboBash. Headlines like "Robo Bashed by Elderly!" and "Taking out the RoboTrash" spammed the internet. I felt a twinge of regret, but then again, I hadn't actually done anything but not stay dead.

I left the Acres in a hurry, with only the clothes on my back and my stash of cash coins. I headed back to the old neighborhood since there was no longer any reason to lay low. It wasn't a long transit ride, and I had the transit car pretty much to myself. I took advantage of the quiet to try to center myself and focus, but it wasn't working. My body chemistry was still jacked up from the regeneration. I felt like crawling under a rock and dying. Plus, the anxiety from the unknowns ricocheted through my mind. I couldn't find space in my head to retreat to, no place to find peace. Why the attack? Why now? What would be my next move?

This time, I had dug in someplace relatively local. Everyone expected me to change continents, or even go off-world, after what happened. I knew that hiding nearby would throw them off. And it worked for a while; maybe even longer than I expected.

The transit terminal was surprisingly clean. It was modern and shiny like it had just recently been remodeled. I looked around for anything familiar, a reminder of the old days, but there was only new. I was the relic, the twenty-something in old lady clothes.

I ducked into a CheapTree and grabbed some generic pants, a couple of t-shirts, a backpack, and some basic toiletries. I paid and then changed in the store bathroom. I felt a pang of sadness as I discarded the torn, fuzzy, pink, cat sweater. My neighbor, Dori, had made it for me, for my birthday.

Stepping out into the city, I was struck by the sounds of people. I took a moment to breathe in the activity. It did feel good to be back. The buildings remained as I remembered. The majority of the changes were in the people. There were less of them than I remembered. There was also a heaviness about them. The accessories, the clothing styles, the popular store chains, the posters, and signs; all a little bleaker, emptier. The times had changed, even if the basic architecture had not.

When I had gone under, the cultural vibe was positive, bright, and optimistic. I found myself stunned by the negativity, the darkness of contemporary culture. I had escaped it for some time, living in my sheltered community, enjoying blissful ignorance. Now, the media spoke of impending doom, and the downfall of civilization as we know it. Signs screamed slogans like 'Vote with Your Coin, Don't buy Earth Goods' and 'Life on Earth Equals Death". It was somewhat of a downer.

"Eris," a male voice called from behind me. "Is that you?"

"Depends," I spun around. "Who's asking?"

"It's me," the man pointed at his chest. "Tyler."

"Tyler," I studied the lines in his face, his graying hair. "Wow, last time I saw you, you were like…"

"...twenty-two," Tyler interjected. "I was a Junior Legionnaire."

"Yeah," I nodded. "It was a while ago. So what are you up to now?"

"Oh," Tyler shrugged and looked down at the sidewalk. "I'm out of the business. I'm in insurance now."

"Insurance," I laughed. "Shit, there has to be a joke in there somewhere."

Tyler grinned. "Yeah, I supposed there should be."

"Yup," I said.