This last weekend I released my fourth self pub novel, the science fiction adventure The Scorpion. The plan is to have eight novels up by summer, the fruits of many years of production. The Scorpion is a near future novel, set in 2047. I really prefer writing far future novels, though near future are much easier when it comes to research, and I expect people will pretty much be the same in the mid 21st Century, while they might act in completely different ways four centuries from now. There may be different slang, different fashions, different entertainments, but they will still be the mostly selfish and greedy b#*stard ruled by the same kind of leaders as today. Or maybe I’m just being optimistic.
The Scorpion came from an idea of what the world might be like if fusion power was developed into a workable technology. Power would be cheap, which means hydrogen produced by the electrolysis of water would be cheap. Which would mean that oil and coal, dirty sources of power to say the least, would fade from the economic scenery, except in those countries that cannot afford the new tech. How will this affect the Opec countries? They will again become poor third world countries outside looking in. And they will be mad as hell, spawning a new generations of terrorists to shout their rage to the world. This will result in an increase in the security tech and resources of the have nations as they try to combat the have nots. And tech will make the difference, just as it does today.
The military has always jumped on the chance to get an edge on the potential enemy, even when that jump is a knee jerk reaction in the wrong direction. I don’t see how they will fail to take advantage of emerging nanotechnology and genetic engineering, and the integration of the two, to get a leg up on the opposition. The militarization of space will proceed, despite all the rhetoric against it. The world will continue to teeter on the edge of wars. Genetic engineering will result in designer pets, including new security and home protection animals. I didn’t really touch on the affects of climate change, maybe from an optimistic viewpoint that fusion will save us. The big hocking airships for military and commercial use? I just thought the idea was really cool, so I put it in there. Yeah, the big assault ships might be too vulnerable, but maybe with high tech systems they could be defensible. But either way they are a cool image.
Below is an excerpt from the book, which is available on my website, Amazon and Smashwords.
Jackie Seager had been a water works technician for the City of Omaha for going on twenty years. In that time she had gained the ultimate security clearance needed to access the heart of a system that provided clean drinking water to hundreds of thousands of citizens. She was up before the sun to commute to work. As a technician in a very hands on industry she did not make herself up for the job. But she still took her appearance seriously, and wanted to look sharp in front of her subordinates.
Her long brown hair was not responding this morning to her efforts. The mirror showed a youthful face under the unruly hair. The face was the benefit of exercise, diet and the most modern of rejuvenating treatments. She knew she could look forward to making it to at least a hundred, with one twenty being a very real possibility.
Jackie promised herself that she would have the hair cut short as she walked out of the bathroom and finished dressing in her coveralls. She grabbed her purse and headed for the door.
“Bye Pudding,” she said as she stooped to pet the cat that had rubbed against her legs. “You be a good kitty.”
Jackie turned the old fashioned dead bolt on her door, then pulled the door open. She had been looking down as she went through the doorway, and almost ran into the person who had been standing outside it. The first she knew that someone was there was when shoes appeared in her vision. With a start Jackie looked up into the face of the person, noting with relief from the swelling of breasts under the shirt that it was a woman. Relief turned to shock when the face that appeared before her was her face.
“What the hell?” said Jackie, shuffling back.
The doppelganger exploded into action, springing forward, striking Jackie in the nose with the palm of her hand. Jackie grunted in pain as she fell back, then huffed out the air in her lungs as she hit the floor with her back. Pudding hissed in alarm as she ran from the room to seek cover.
Jackie pulled air into her lungs to let out a scream as a small pistol appeared in the look alikes’ hand. She was looking down the barrel of the mag gun as she attempted to force the scream out of her mouth. The gun phutted in near silence and blackness fell in front of her eyes. A blackness that she would never come out of.
* * *
Al-Agrab closed the door and grabbed the body by the ankles, grunting with the effort as she dragged the corpse out of the living room and into a bedroom. She pushed the body up next to the bed and pulled the comforter off of the sleeping platform, draping it over the dead woman. She then washed her hands in the bathroom and rifled through the closet. Finding another work coverall she climbed into it, then put on a pair of Jackie Seager’s work shoes.
The Scorpion pondered the trail of blood leading from the living room to the bedroom, the result of Jackie’s life blood leaking out of her ruined skull. With a curious shrug of her shoulders, left reaching up to her ear while the right barely moved, the Scorpion decided nothing could be done at this point. They were liable to be on to her soon, and she would probably be dead by the evening, so covering the evidence of a murder didn’t seem that important. Picking up the woman’s purse the Scorpion was out the door, locking it behind her.
Moments later Jackie’s late model Chevrolet pulled out of the building’s parking garage, the woman inside waving at the camera. It accelerated onto the parkway and headed out of Omaha, toward the water works.
* * *
“McMann,” Kestrel subvocalized into his com link as the unit woke him. Sharone groaned for a moment beside him as he sat up in bed.
“This is Sulu,” came the voice of the FBI Agent over the link. “We have a situation in Omaha.”
“Hold on a moment, Agent Sulu,” said McMann as he dug an elbow into Sharone’s side. The Israeli agent sat up with blurry eyes as McMann switched the incoming channel to his house system.
“Go ahead, Agent Sulu,” said McMann, motioning for the Israeli to be quiet.
“A powerful genenged bio-toxin was released into the Omaha, Nebraska water supply this afternoon,” said Sulu. “It has infected and killed over two hundred people. Almost four hundred more are in the hospital. The system identified a concentration of the toxin and shut down, or we might be looking at tens of thousands of casualties.”
“My God,” said McMann, springing out of bed while signaling the wall mounted Trivee to activate. CNN was immediately on the screen, with the caption Omaha showing below the talking head.
“Do you have a suspect?” asked McMann. Sharone pulled herself out of bed and he found his attention straying to her tight naked body. She threw a grimace at him while she grabbed her bra and panties from the floor and looked at them as if she didn’t know what they were.
“We have dozens of suspects, Agent McMann,” said Sulu. “We’re going to start rounding them up within the hour and question them.”
“Any suspects who have been out of the States in the last year?” asked McMann, going to his dresser and pulling a clean pair of briefs from a drawer. “Particularly to the Middle East.”
McMann turned to look at Sharone sliding her bra over her small breasts. She saw him looking and stuck her tongue out at him.
“Let me see,” said Sulu. “We have four that have been out of the country in the last year. Two to the European Union, one to Australia, and one to…, Israel. That would be Jackie Seager. She’s a long time employee and a department director at the water works.”
“Leave that one alone if you can,” ordered McMann as he slid into a pair of pants. “Keep her under close surveillance and don’t let her out of sight. If it looks like she’s gonna bolt arrest her, but otherwise leave her to me. I’ll be up there in less than two hours. McMann out.”
“You think they might have something?” asked Sharone as she sat on the bed and pulled on her own pants.
“Maybe. The perp didn’t get killed this time,” said Kestrel as he pulled his shirt over his head. “That might be a break if we can get them in custody and get some information out of them before they suicide.”
“And you don’t trust anyone else to do it?”
“Of course not,” he agreed as he slid his shoulder holster onto his arm and buckled it. “Would you trust someone in another agency to do something you could do better?”