The Nail.“The Nail”
It had been quite a memorable duty day. It wasn’t often that an adversary defected; especially someone considered high profile by both sides of the conflict. It was a first in the Challenger’s history, and that included both Annette and William as well. They stood just outside of the holding cell in the brig, neither of them eager enough to peer through the viewing window.
Annette faced her ship’s wing commander, arms crossed and a neutral expression present.
“So,” she began. “What do you think of all of this?” Colonel Espara looked into her eyes, taking note of the sense of inquiry she had for this situation.
“The whole thing smells,” he replied coolly. “Their pilots never do something like this, or at least I’ve never seen it.”
“There’s always time for a first,” Annette added. William shook his head in disagreement.
“But not like this. Not him. He’s “The
Hybrid, Prologue: The Last Battle
The Last Battle
In a room filled with glowing crystals, a tyrian reptilian man, Seiton, sat in his high throne engraved with gargoyles. He held a glass map of the Milky Way Galaxy and smiled deliciously as his beady red eyes skimmed the surface of its black and shaded portions.
Only this star system, Navi was highlighted blue. He touched that star for interface and an image of planet Okma flickered above the map. This planet had native ships flying around it like bees warning each other of danger.
“Spacers,” the man spoke. “All your worlds are destroyed by my touch. Your corpses are disintegrated by my footsteps. You don’t stand a chance in the universe. Now, my Titan Empire has become my galaxy against your world. You will all perish.”
A spiky armored-Titan entered the room. “Lord Seiton, my men are ready.”
His throne creaked as Seiton turned to the soldier and smiled. “Excellent, activate the
The Culinary Tastes of Aliens"What have you done?"
"The juices on your planet are delectable," he said, as though he hadn't heard her. She looked around her kitchen. There was blood and fur everywhere, and were those bits of bone?
"You ruined my juicer!"
He gave the appliance a dirty look. "Yes. You should probably go and purchase one of higher quality."
She was afraid to ask, but morbid curiosity took over. "What did you use?"
"I believe you call them 'squirrels'. Tomorrow I shall catch the avian you call a 'bluejay'. If it tastes half as good as the squirrel I believe I shall stay here for a long time."
The SirenThere was a dead body on Sandie's back porch, and it was trying to get in.
She wrung the coffee out of the front of her shirt, made damn sure that all of her doors and windows were locked, and called Mike.
"Yeah? Sandie? That you?"
"You don't know anything about this, do you?"
"Mike, there's a zombie on my back porch. It's leaving smears on the glass door. Is it yours?"
"I... Could you repeat that?"
"Zombie, Mike. It's a dead body in a puddle of nasty, and it's leaving more nasty on my door. God, I can even smell it. This is one thorough job, man."
She edged away from the door, keeping an eye on the intruder beyond the glass. It was bloated and purple with decay, green and black fungus speckling its face. There was fluid coming out of its mouth and dripping from its nose. It had no eyes, and all indication of sex or age had rotted away.
"Robotic, maybe? One of its legs is about to fall off. You didn't sic one of your Cyber Derby friends
I'm in my late twenties and like many aspiring writers, I have opted for anonymity. When I was younger I was a huge fan of the Sim and Sid Meir games, but as I got older I gradually grew tired of them and started looking for a more creative outlet. One day I noticed dA-Muro, started doodling, and the rest is history.
My main activity on dA revolves around a massive group world building project called One-Planet-at-a-Time one-planet-at-a-time.deviantar…. It's basically a science fiction universe that is designed to remain as open-ended as possible instead of collapsing in on itself like a lot of the mainstream universes seem to be doing. Submissions to this group are officially accepted on Sundays. I do not thank people for faves but I do reply to most comments and notes within a reasonable amount of time.
If anyone would like a critique for a short story (preferably sci-fi) just send me a note and I'll put it on my to-do list. My policy is one critique per writer unless the writing is for the OPaaT Project in which case I am willing to write multiple critiques. Even if you are not a Premium member I am still happy to provide detailed feedback.
Mission Year 2100, Day 3
So much has happened. Not sure where to begin. Some sort of space debris hit the Unity so Captain Garland woke up along with a bunch of emergency support staff and then there was some sort of infighting that took place between them and this group called the Spartan Coalition, and then the chief of security tried to take over or something and things got chaotic and everyone split off into seven different landing craft before the Unity crashed into this planet’s atmosphere. Some people are calling this place Chiron, others are just calling it ‘Planet’ for some reason. Meh, I guess I’ll call it Chiron. Sounds less retarded anyway.
So each of the seven factions that split up has a certain vibe to it, kind of like this old movie I saw once called “Divergent.” The Spartan wackjobs are kind of like Dauntless; the folks who followed Zacharov are like Erudite; the people who followed the hydroponics lady are like…I don’t know, whatever that farm one was; I guess the people here who stuck with Lal are like Abnegation; and well, I don’t know who Candor would fit with. Nevermind, not so good of an analogy.
The point is all Hell broke loose up there and now my group, the one that actually decided to stick with the UN chain of command, is somewhere on the planet just north of the equator. Not sure where, though, from what I heard they didn’t really get a chance to map this place out or even get some satellites into orbit. Really, guys? But it’s not too bad here. The atmosphere is thicker than Earth’s and not exactly breathable, but at least this place already has an ecosystem and looks like it will support at least Terran plants. The sky here is bright yellow most of the time, but starting late afternoon/early evening and ending late morning up to about half of the sky will be blue.
After we landed they got to work setting up a hydroponics center, a power plant, a life support complex, and some sort of industrial complex where they’ll be making stuff. We’re all cramped in the main pod still until other living quarters become available. They passed out data pads today and mentioned something about getting work assignments tomorrow. I’m kind of looking forward to getting outside for a change.
Well, so much for working in a bio lab when I got here. Guess they’re sticking all the young people on the dirty jobs. They got me digging ditches and moving rocks around because there aren’t enough construction vehicles for all the hands they have. There’s this stretch of land to the northeast of the landing site where the river bends a little surrounded by some jagged rock outcroppings or whatever. Kind of looks like this misty Scottish Highlands scene, but with a Mediterranean vibe based on the weather. It can get kind of sticky humid and gross, but for the most part this area is kind of arid.
It’s the middle of the summer right now and it gets pretty hot out there. I’m always covered in sweat when I get back from a ten hour shift and it’s pretty much eat/work/sleep for six days and then we have a day off. One of my coworkers mentioned getting some sort of fermentation thing going once things calm down there’s more space. I heard a lot of people have been hooking up already, which I guess shouldn’t be too surprising since there’s not really much to do outside of work other than watch reruns of old movies and TV shows on our data pads. Just hope all the good ones don’t get taken before I get out of this construction gig. Otherwise I guess I’ll either be waiting for leftovers or not settling down until I’m in my forties.
Anyway, from what I hear we’re digging out a series of foundation areas to the northwest of the landing site, about a kilometer in area, for the main part of our settlement. Gonna have some living areas, community blah blah blah, etc. Everything has to be sealed off though because of the atmosphere so forget houses and white picket fences, but it should be okay. From what I hear it kind of reminds me of a planned communist settlement out in the middle of one of those central Asian desert countries back during the USSR days. One of the blah-blah-stans. The 3D printers have helped a lot, though. That, and salvaging stuff from the colony pod. Got us some wheel-barrels made and some pick-axes so us extras could pull stuff up and get it over to the crane to put over the edge. It’s just really boring and it seems like the days last forever.
This week they started pouring in the foundation and getting the main structures in place for the permanent base complex. I guess it all happened kind of fast now that I think of it. Now my work days are down to 8 hours instead of 10 (still 6 days tho) but now they’re having me put in 3-4 hours after work on my data pad doing these skills modules that’ll apparently help me get ready for new stuff once the ditch digging and superstructure assembly jobs start to dry out. I hear no that the main structures will be up soon, the new focus is going to be on fixing those buildings up with all the components needed for life support; getting those components assembled; and also finding mineral deposits in the surrounding areas in order to build the components of the components. We’ve just about torn apart everything from the landing site that could be salvaged and the 3D printing tech is only getting us so far with the basic materials before we have to find Copper and other stuff like that.
And it’s only a matter of time before our tech will start to break down and God knows it’ll be decades before we can start building anything like these data pads or heck, even the phones and viewing screens. Well, enough of that. What it all boils down to is based on how I do on these blessed learning modules I’ll either keep hauling rocks around; help with the people who will be setting up the plumbing and electrical stuff in the base; working in the industrial park; or hiking through the surrounding wilderness in search of mineral deposits. Part of me is itching to explore on account of being on a freaking alien planet and all, but I don’t want to get stuck in one of those fringe jobs once things start to settle out and this bureaucrat’s paradise of a commie town starts to show its true colors with whatever pecking order ends up taking root. Which I guess means I’d better get cracking on those electrical modules.
Oh yeah, and I almost forgot: apparently yesterday some fool tried eating one of the native plants and had a really bad reaction. They tried to get him back to base, but I heard he was a gonner before they could get him past the airlock.
Yeah I hate electricity. And most of physics for that matter. Looks like I’m either gonna get stuck in ore processing or working in a nearby rock quarry. But at least they got finished setting up three of the buildings within the main base complex. Now I just have three roommates instead of being bunkered in with a bajillion people like during the first few weeks. So there’s the headquarters building with a bunch of offices where the bossy little do-nothings argue with each other; there’s the residential building where I am; and there’s the new hydroponics building. I hear the other ones they’re working on are four more residential complexes, a community center, a hospital, a police station, and school/nursery. They’d better get that last one finished because I hear most of the contraception has run out lately.
There was another case of plant poisoning recently but most people don’t think it was an accident. Apparently one of the high level pencil-pushers was two-timing a couple botanists and one of the women slipped a poisonous plant into the other one’s salad…or so that’s how the rumor goes. No one can prove it, so I guess the crazy lady will get away with it.
Kind of stinks to have to live in a room without a window. Feels kind of like what I imagine living in a submarine would be like. Sometimes when I get bored I walk through the main tunnel that goes under all ten of the structures of the main base. They started putting plants along the middle and along the walls. And they’re also starting to set up these benches. I guess it’s kind of like one of those concourses from a big airport back on Earth, except there aren’t any terminals or restaurants to the right or left and there are a bunch of people who go jogging through it. I like the section of it that goes right under the hydroponics building. The orchids are nice to look at. I heard at some point they’re planning to get a bunch of people with artistic skills to paint murals all up and down the tunnel.
Today everyone got called in because of a big thunderstorm. I gotta say, it’s quite a site when it’s mid day on Chiron and the sky is a mix of dark grey clouds interspersed by bright yellow patches of rays shining through and you have all this lightening zapping around from one horizon to the other. The rain is a lot different here than what I remember from Earth: it doesn’t feel so much like it’s hitting you as hard. There’s still a lot of it, but the actual droplets themselves are a lot finer, kind of like a heavy sprinkle or something like that. I guess it’s because there isn’t any air pollution on Chiron. The storm had this majestic kind of beauty to it, I guess kind of like one of those Dutch paintings they kept shoving down our throats back in Art History class or one of those clash of the Greek gods rip-off from a Magic the Gathering card. It’s just instead of a dramatic storm scene with reds and yellows and oranges and a sun in one of the horizons, the sun—well, the three suns were directly overhead as if Mount Olympus were right above and about to explode or something. Yeah, basically imagine everything I said just as if it had been articulated in an elegant poetic verse and that’s about what it was like.
These days I’m apprenticed to one of the welders and we’re setting up a lot of the stuff along the tops of the structures in the main base. Two more residential complexes got finished and also the community center. Got a long way to go with the other ones though.
We’re starting to build upward and more above-ground now. About five of the structures will be at least ten floors high and we’re going to have these bronze-colored dome-like things on top of them. Some kind of Taj Mahal design I guess, probably because Pravin Lal sort of lost his wife during the chaos that went on when the Unity was splitting up. I hear he still keeps her in cryostasis, but she’s braindead or something. Yeah, stinks to be him.
The main corridor underground is starting to look a lot nicer these days. About half of the walls have pretty nice paintings on them and there’s talk of expanding the corridor above ground with windows and maybe making an elevated section that links up with the original landing site. As far as I know the high rises will be a combination of government offices and residential areas. Lately they’ve also been getting the community center set up for more social functions. Bout time.
The first phase of construction for the base is complete and Pravin Lal made a speech in the main community facility. Basically we’re the last survivors of humanity, yada yada yada, can’t make the same mistakes we made on Earth, blah blah blah, have to adapt to unique challenges of this new world, yada yada yada, need to be proactive by exploring and setting up another base in order to have more resources, new shift in priority from construction to developing industries and making babies, such and such changes to rationing and work schedules, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, and lots of hard work ahead. And something about growing more Terran plants now that we’re set up appropriately as well as getting some fish and chicken back on the menu. That sounds good.
So half the women are paired up and pregnant, and the other half seem to be choosing a life of celibacy until either conditions improve significantly, or the men with the better positions become widowers after the first wave of mothers dies through childbirth, what with our limited supplies of pharmaceuticals. From what I remember the original plan was to hold off on procreation until the colonies had time to get more established, but that was before the Unity blew up and everything. I guess this must be what it was like to be a pilgrim back in the 1600s. All work, not much play, wait for people to get sick and die, and then move up the ladder. Yep.
Yesterday there was a guy who fell off a roof and died because of oxygen depravation when his tank leaked during the impact. I guess back on Earth he would have been paralyzed at best, but still.
Okay, so I’m an idiot. The barrier contraceptives are gone, but there are plenty of these plastic Progesterone things they put in women’s arms. Maybe I just need to get out more. There’s a party tomorrow night that my roommate has been talking about, so I guess I’ll try going to that. Gotta do something proactive, right?
Well, right now I’m kind of bored so besides staring at all the fish tanks along one of the walls of my windowless apartment, I guess I’ll describe how the base is looking these days. Okay, so first thing’s first, let’s talk about the apartment: you enter through the door and in the middle of the first room you have a couch and some chairs (all plastic abominations, thanks to 3D printing technology and a shortage of things like wood and cotton), a rectangular stone slab sitting on about three cinder blocks (coffee table), and along the wall to the right of the door you have a wall full of aquariums for these fish we’re raising for food and a little stand for a data pad if we want to see it from a distance like when we’re watching a movie or a show. Most of the time, we just set it up on the coffee table because if you look at it where a TV should be, it just gets kind of sad. Along the wall to the left of the door there are a bunch of plants we’re growing with hydroponics the way scumbags on Earth used to grow marijuana but instead of any of that kind of stuff we’re mainly growing vegetables and some fruit as well as about ten orchids. I’d like to set up an easel over there and use traditional media to paint stuff once those kinds of materials are more readily available, but for now I’m stuck with my data pad. On the wall of the door as well as the one opposite to it we have a few printouts taped up against the walls. To the right of the middle of the room is the stuff I chose to put up, and on the left is where my roommate put stuff. Anyway, to the right of the entrance along that wall I have a printout of Frederic Edwin Church’s Jamaica (1871) and Tropical Scenery (1873). On the wall across the room I have Monet’s Le Bassin Aux Nympheas (1919). To the left of the entrance my roommate has some photographs of Yosemite and on the other side there is a map of Italy and maps of Rome, Venice, and Florence. No rugs yet, unfortunately. Gotta get to bed.
Well that was interesting. Last night my roommate and I went to this party in one of the warehouse areas of Arco-3 and there were about 200 people there. They also had homemade vodka b/c some people are growing potatoes in sufficient quantities, in residential areas of course. But they charged an arm and a leg for it so I only had a little and it wasn’t that good. My roommate spent about a week’s pay on the stuff and he got pretty hammered. They had some techo club music going on and some good lighting effects and heck, they even had some dry ice fog. Tried talking to some of the girls by the vodka bar, but it was just too damn loud. Few hours went by and a bunch of people started throwing up and a few fights happened. My roommate ended up going off with this woman who had a bunch of tattoos and the face of a bulldog. You, know, kind of like one of those really grumpy people from the DMV back on Earth. I ended up going back to my apartment at midnight and played Candy Crush on my data pad for about 45 minutes before calling it a night. Nothing like one of those classic games to help pass the time. But back to last night, I think community service might be a better way to meet people.
Author Seeking Beta! CLOSEDAuthor Survey
1. Are you new to beta reading?
Not entirely! I have decent experience working with other people and giving helpful critique as well. I have been doing it for the past 3 years and I really enjoy it! I just need help finding one or two more people to help me make my story solid and presentable to be published someday. There will be 3 books in this series I am writing but for now, I just want help with the first book. I have a good friend of mine reading over my story currently, but I know she is quite busy lately. My story is not posted publicly, it will need to be read privately.
2. Your age (optional):
I am 23 years old.
3. Genre(s) – Please be specific to pieces you want beta read:
My novel is a mix between Suspense, Horror, Romance, and even a bit of Mystery. It is a modern Werewolf story, but it's definitely not your typically monster love story. I have gone through great lengths to create something original that isn't based on cliche
Author Profile (Beta Readers)Author Survey
So, I'm just filling this out in the hope that someone might want to give me a kick up the backside by betareading my novel.
1. Are you new to beta reading?
Nope. I studied English and Creative Writing at university, so I'm used to giving and receiving feedback. I've also workshopped online. I used to intern at a literary agency as well as a publishers, which involved reading full bodies of work and providing feedback. I've had my own stuff go through a few beta readers in the past, but no solid long-term partner.
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3. Genre(s) – Please be specific to pieces you want beta read:
My novel is dystopian sci-fi with strong military elements. It contains a range of ethnicities, disabilities, and sexualities.
4. Rating: G, PG, PG-13, R, or MA?
Erm. Not sure about this one. Contains some violence, threats, and the occasional sex scene, but nothing over the top.
5. Warnings: Sex, vio
Rants on Neuro and Tech for Sci-Fi AI (Updated)New text denoted with the . There are two tag-ons to old sections and two completely new sections, one on a hormonal pathway for controlling memory salience and the over my overview of conscious (sorry for being hard on Orch-OR... but everyone kinda is and I agree with the majority in the case)
This is more or less me thinking. I'm trying to keep the sections in some sort of coherent organization, but the parts inside each section only makes as much sense as my mad conceptual mind does on a raw draft. Let me state my wild opinions based on my body of knowledge up here: Whatever consciousness and intelligence are, I see no reason why we cannot (theoretically) replicate these phenomena in machines if we ever do understand them well enough. If this can be done, then there is no reason why machine should be excluded from human perceptions such as pattern recognition, executive decision making and even emotio