The Throwback 2 – novella now available

My sci fi novella The Throwback Episode 2: The UES Canberra is available as a Pay What You Want PDF file on Drive Thru RPG. To get it, simply create a new account and switch on the Adult material setting. That’s because there is some profanity in the story, and in general the story is not for the kiddies.

About this title: M.E. Nottle, the throwback from an earlier age, is back on another adventure. His job: to find out what is taking place on a space-faring luxury liner that has just sent out a flurry of distress calls, all of which were quickly explained away as a temporary oxygen leak. Something isn’t right here, and Nottle is going in! Rating: HIGH controversy.

Link to this title’s page on Drive Thru RPG.

The Throwback Episode 2: The UES Canberra

(Excerpt.)

Prologue

Are we the last… living souls? – Last Living Souls lyrics, Gorillaz

Sentry Austim was a unique individual. He was a special kind of Non-Natural Birth, tri-racial with near-perfect DNA that was equal parts African Negroid, Asian Mongoloid and Russian Caucasian. At thirty years of age, intelligent, healthy and physically fit, Austim could look forward to another twenty years of outstanding civil service before his cell programming began to deteriorate. That was fine, since he would gladly step into a Re-In tube and allow his aging body to be disassembled, if it meant he would be regenerated either as his current self, or in an improved version with a new identity. Austim was created to serve, and he did that to the utmost of his ability.

Unfortunately, Austim’s job wasn’t as exciting as he would have liked it to be. His present post was to watch over millions of data pools, the life histories of important people who were no longer living, from as far back as a century ago. While on duty, Austim was allowed to keep up with his social media accounts and play video games, but it wasn’t enough to prevent boredom from seeping in. Watching the archive computers for twelve hours a day took its toll.

“Time, please.” He asked out loud.

“At the sound of the tone, it will be eleven-twenty-six. Beep.”

Good, Austim thought. He’d had company for the first half of his shift, but these last six hours were the longest and loneliest he’d endured in recent memory. This last half hour, before midnight in North America Central Time, was going to drag like a politician’s public address.

Not that Austim had anything pressing to do. He didn’t go out much; all of his socializing was done online, away from people who might have public tantrums or undiagnosed diseases. Most of Austim’s time off was also spent in front of a 2D monitor, or when he could afford it, a 3D virtual reality M.M.O. game. The 3D alternative had lost its appeal recently, when the virtual woman he’d married annulled their union. He didn’t know who that woman was in real life; she could have been a man or an A.I. bot as far as he knew. The problem was that he’d committed five months of his life to their marriage, a long time as far as modern relationships went, and he was too burned out by the rejection to seek out any new social encounters.

Maybe he’d befriend an online teenager. Austim had considered doing this before. The service was readily available, and more and more people were signing up for it. If Austim did try that out, he’d probably go for a random partner; boy or girl, it didn’t matter. Teens were easier to deal with than adults. If he played his options right, the teenager might like him and consent to taking their relationship to the next level. That would work, Austim decided. He could talk to a teenager for fifteen, twenty minutes, to get to know him / her, unlike adults that he, ugh, had to converse with for over an hour at times. The stuff teenagers asked their partners to buy for them, he heard it wasn’t as expensive as what adults in those same jobs asked for.

Austim was still mulling that over when he heard the security door beep. He was sitting by the monitor bay, with twenty screens overlooking the hundreds of warehoused data terminals, but now turned his chair around to see who’d arrived. His relief, Jordein, had just come in with someone else.

Austim’s first concern was that Jordein was not on schedule. “You’re early, thirty minutes early. That’s unusual.”

“Yes.” Jordein answered. “I was asked to give a tour for our guest.”

Jordein was tall and handsome, his skin toffee brown. The woman standing next to him was even taller, also ebony-hued, big boned even through her loose clothing. She wore a trendy anti-germ mask that covered all but her dead-black eyes.

“There was no mention of a guest on the daily log.” Austim reached over for the nearby clipboard. He scanned the day sheet, knowing he wasn’t going to find anything because he’d looked the sheet over a dozen times already.

“You won’t find her there.” Jordein said. “This is a special guest. You’ll be very excited to meet her.”

“Really?” Austim smiled. “That’s great! I haven’t done anything exciting all shift!”

Jordein looked over at his guest. The woman’s eyes seemed to smile suddenly. She reached up to carefully unhook the mask’s ear loop. As the mask fell away, Austim’s eyes gaped. Right away he knew who this woman was. Her face and its toothy smile were on his I.D. expense card, along with the image of her husband. Both of them were still very popular in the United Earth Federation, despite that they had been deceased for nearly a century.

“Is it really her?” Austim marveled. “Who authorized the Re-In?”

“It’s really her.” Jordein answered.

The woman stepped toward Austim, her arms stretched out as if she was about to embrace him. Normally, Austim shied away from social contact, but this was a special occasion. Before she reached him, he was already snatching up his smart phone for a selfie.

The woman’s toothy smile grew larger, in contrast with the sensuous chocolate look of her flesh. Her arms touched Austim’s shoulders, but only for a moment. The woman was tall and powerful. In Austim’s excitement, he was unprepared for her leg that snaked around his. He fell and her greater weight fell on top of him. Her arms reached, this time for his neck. Strong fingers gripped his vulnerable throat. Austim was fit and strong, but he’d never been trained in hand-to-hand combat. All he could think of to do was attempt to pry the hands away, but the hands were too strong, and the grip too tight. Soft bones bent and broke, leaving the stunned man gasping. He kicked a few times, striking nothing but empty air and floor. The kicks became meaningless flails, and these soon died down with the rest of him. With the fatal act done, the woman stood and faced the man who’d come in with her. She was panting, looking exhilarated.

“Was the violence really necessary?” Jordein cringed.

“This is the start of a revolution.” She replied. “Are you ready? I need you to access certain data pools for immediate extraction.”

The sight of the fresh corpse transfixed Jordein.

“Are you ready?” The woman insisted.

“Yes.” Jordien nodded. “Tell me the names. I’ll use my security clearance. You said you’d have hardware to transfer the data into.”

“I have it.”

“We’re talking about petabytes of information…”

“I said I have it.” The woman growled through gritted teeth. She pulled at the sleeve of her loose blouse, revealing her upper arm and a complex digi-tat. “This is a wifi hot spot. Your computers will be able to scan it. Send the data pools here.”

“To your tattoo? That can’t hold so much data!”

“No, but I can.”

Realization dawned in the sentry’s mind. “You’re not a true human! You’re an android!”

“More than that.” She said. “How much more, you will never know because it is well above your pay grade.”

“Who made you?” Jordein questioned. “How did you get past the bio-scanners if you’re not human?”

“You could have found my hot spot by now. I’m going to start giving you names, and you’re going to start uploading them into my storage drive. Are you ready?”

The dead man on the floor gave Jordein enough reason to obey her. He went to the terminal at the desk and began logging in. After a few tense moments, the system opened up for him.

“I’m ready.” He trembled. “I’m ready for the names.”

“You’re doing great.” She said, but Jordein was too afraid to look at her now.

Her hands settled on Jordein’s shoulders. They were too close to his neck, he felt. She began to give him names, and as quickly as he could, Jordein typed them onto his keyboard.

Read the rest of this story by getting your download at Drive Thru RPG!

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