Thank you for stopping by to check out my snippet from Passages, my science fiction romance…which may need a genre label shift. SF also stands for ‘speculative fiction,’ right? Seems my novel might fall into the ‘science fantasy’ genre. Still looking into it.
Anyhow, here we go: Quinn has never experienced small town life before, and now that he’s in hiding, it’s all he’s got.
I shot a glance at the blond girl slipping into her coat. Eyes closed, Eve rhythmically lifted the steaming cup to her lips. I sidled next to her and whispered, “She can’t tell anyone I’m here.”
Eve rolled her eyes. “Mylta, what’s the news this morning?” She raised the cup to her lips again.
“Winds gusting at a steady thirty with the moons tracking each other, so DeLentes should be within the day. The first kidding occurred last night at my brother’s, twin whites. They’re pleased,” she said with a grin.
“Goats,” Eve filled in.
Mylta continued, “The trade ship supplies arrived short on coffee—”
Evard groaned. “It’s that bloody under-planting policy they’re implementing.”
“—but I have secured your portion and Malk assures me the ship will return in three weeks rather than the usual two.”
The local gossip was too tedious for my liking. I caught Eve’s eye. She took another sip of coffee before asking, “Anything else, Mylta?”
“Yes, the last concerns a stranger in town. Two boys saw the scruffy young man with dark curly hair stow away in one of the lifeboats on the trade ship. Appears he arrived and left the same day. Alone, everyone agrees. Will that be all, Miss?”
“Yes. Be sure to stock in extra for our guests.”
Mylta left and Eve shrugged in answer to my raised brow. “You were never here.” She took a long draught of coffee.
“Still aren’t,” laughed Evard.
I rounded on him. “You—you arranged this while we were gone. But you can’t get an entire town to lie.”
“Care to place a bet on that?” He plopped into his chair, ripped a muffin in half and dunked one side into his coffee. Eating it, he eyed Eve. She studied him, the coffee finally forgotten as she chewed her lip. This explanation was going to be good.
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Another week, another bit of Passages, my science fiction romance.
When Quinn finally finds his missing ‘brother’, he discovers those memories of their fights weren’t exaggerated. Eve is afraid she might have to put her bodyguard function to use.
“That’s not the only detail you left out,” Quil snapped. “Why wasn’t I told the Cavvert lab vats had been converted to grow crystals?”
The tenor of the room changed with that one remark and Quil’s reddening checks.
“I didn’t?” Quinn frowned. “But I told you about the boxes on my way up the stairs.”
Evard cleared his throat. “I’m only getting the full story now myself.”
His effort at easing the neglect earned a glare from Quil. “Maybe you didn’t need details but I did. I’m the one working on the hornwort.” He swung back to Quinn. “Didn’t you think my efforts warranted a mention that crystals had replaced hornwort in those vats?”
I edged out of my seat. Evangeline gave my hand a squeeze before letting go. I moved up beside Evard, shutting my gift away to avoid a repeat swamping by Quil’s intense anger.
Quinn noted my position with a glance, but gave his controlled attention to Quil. “How did you think they were getting them?”
Quil threw up his arms. “I assumed the guards were breaking off crystals or pick-axing them out of the rock. Isn’t that what goes on in underground mining? And after I’ve run three megabytes of hornwort data through not one but four versions of analysis to give us the best possible comparisons on the six most rapidly changing lab results, I hear the worst lab hasn’t been functional for weeks. More likely, it’s been down the entire two and a half months we’ve been here. And all you spare time for is her rather than your duties when you dashed through.” His flashing eyes flicked to me for a second before returning to Quinn.
Quaene stepped forward. “Of course we see to our people first.”
“Except we have a minister who makes a habit of seeing to his women before considering—”
“Look, just get over it already,” barked Quinn. “I was worried about Eve. A head wound—”
“She’s a ‘torg for god’s sake. We’re repairable—”
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I’m guilty of a gap in postings. *sigh* But I’m back again with another excerpt of my science fiction romance. My hero Quinn discovers his new bodyguard Eve is not a happy camper when he disappears before she’s had her coffee.
I’d gone to the sideboard to pour a second cup when the door swung open and slammed the wall. Helmet in hand, Eve strode in, fury boiling from every inch of her tall black figure.
“You left without notifying me,” she snapped.
Her armor was fully hardened, accenting every curve. I lowered my cup to the counter, keeping my eyes on her face. It was a struggle. Between that and coming up with a response that was both authoritative and not off-putting, I didn’t have a chance.
“If I am to guard you, Minister Quinn, you cannot wander willy-nilly. Communication is key to safety. Not just telling me what to do, but including me in your plans.”
Evard rose and came to fill his cup. He elbowed me. “Best course of action is to say you’re sorry. And ‘It won’t happen again.’”
Eve shot him a look of pure disgust, but I parroted, “Sorry. It won’t happen again.”
The disgust shifted to me. “Have you nothing to say for yourself?”
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In the opening scenes of my science fiction romance, Passages, the hero, Quinn has no idea the woman he thinks is his grandmother is actually an electorg. Eve, the heroine, is the unlucky one to discover the masquerade, and tell Quinn.
I slid a fingernail under one crusty end and lifted. The scab moved, exposing—“Wires. Why didn’t you say she’s an electorg?”
My tight shoulders relaxed. This wasn’t the tenuous life of an endangered native we were dealing with. I slipped a vial from my bag, probed my finger into the shallow cavity and collected a spark of her power to identify her from the Corps files. “Since she’s a ‘torg, this changes everything. I suspect a loose or damaged—”
“What are you talking about?”
His hostile emotions hit me before I saw his strangely boyish look of confusion and defensiveness. This had all the signs of a ‘torg raising an orphaned native—years ago, judging by Quinn’s mature physique—but without explaining how we electorgs were altered. She probably had strong mothering instincts from her organic years. Instincts, urges and compulsions all against Docga policies here on G47, though following them served the mission. I wasn’t going to be the one to point a finger at her.
I drew a breath. “Circuitry is subcutaneous, so shutting down to prevent further electrical short-out isn’t unusual. Let’s get her back to—”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Quinn growled.
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Hello and welcome to my SFR contribution, a snippet from my novel Passages. Just as in real life, some science fiction machinery never works like you think it ought to, which my hero Quinn discovers in this excerpt:
I passed the packed shelves and glanced at the book bindings. Some titles stood out. A few seemed to glow, and then fade.
An uneasy feeling came over me. Something told me I should stop, but I kept on reading the titles, searching for another with that brightened lettering…
“Mirror of Her Dreams,” I whispered and in uttering the words, I knew. I’d done this before. Flashes of déjà vu were my friends. Graen always said follow the lead and by doing so I’d brought back skills I’d had before. Skills like quick analysis. Mechanical and electrical aptitude. Accessing Lacuna. Altering a system like the Conducer. And the cross-leap.
I walked a few paces, looking for the next glowing title. “Roadmarks.”
Another old Earth book. The memory became clearer. Reading these titles would turn the key—no, not quite right. Open the door. Lead me to…what? I shuffled forward.
“Journey to the Center of the Earth.”
How did I control this phenomenon?
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In this installment from my science fiction romance Passages, the hero Quinn receives a surprise from one of his newly converted guards.
I cracked the door. Noise came from below. Palming my knife, I crept down the stairs. A peek through the kitchen door revealed a stranger. The small blond woman was measuring water into a pot, an innocent enough activity, but… I decided to get Eve.
“Don’t even think of messing with our cook.”
I whirled but a shoulder lock trapped me. My knife clattered to the floor.
“Right-o!” boomed Evard. “Self-defense never felt so good. If only I could meet that measly Liege Orton now.”
A squeak sounded in the kitchen. “Mister Evard? Is that you?”
“Yes, Mylta, have no fear, my fair nymph. I’m just working up an appetite for one of your delicious breakfasts.”
I forced my automatic defenses to relax. Neither Evard’s tone or phrasing was that of a hostile attacker. “Do you mind?”
He released me. “Ah, my man Quinn! How’d you like that move? Did I surprise you?”
The newly converted Level 1 Minister’s Bodyguard was playing?
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Welcome to my website and my science fiction romance snippet.
Several readers commented on my electorgs—thank you!—so I thought I’d give another peek into those electronic bodies. Here’s a piece from Eve’s point of view.
“Then you know your way around from here?” Quinn’s voice resonated right behind me, deeper, steadier than before. His heat poured over me. My thoughts jumped like my heart and abruptly my body tuned to his. From under the burnt smell of something I should remember but didn’t, his musk flowed —the scent of a forest of drying leaves on a fall day—and the unmistakable assurance of a man in charge.
I had my answer. “You remember your past.”
“Some. Enough. Are you feeling better?”
“Fine. I think we better leave. That guard is bound to report us and the missing dog.”
“We can’t leave yet.” His hand brushed my shoulder and his fingers fluttered at my neck.
Oh, Blessed—I should have known this would happen, keeping company with an E-run. I heaved a sigh, a mental one, for a ‘torg couldn’t move while a minister activated one’s keypad. He accessed the files of my electronic components. Sequences of images, procedures, rules, and more, shuffled like a deck of playing cards. Quinn selected a function program, and it fell into my database. Three seconds later an internal click indicated he’d completed the process.
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For my Six Sentence Sundays I shared any snippet that appealed to me. Yet, for SFR Presents, I feel like it has to be sciency. So…
In the early chapters of my story Passages, Quinn has forgotten all the apparatus available to an electorg.
“No.” I moved back to the map. “And these numbers are useless without their reference list. I recognize some of the locations, but what do these places have in common? Olannit, green, three. Zeffir, yellow, eighty-five. I need more time to glean their connection.”
“Simple. Take a picture of it.”
“I don’t have a camera.”
“Of course you—oh. Uh, I do.” She tapped just below one of her beautiful gray eyes. “B-run function for research.”
Ah—a camera was part of her built-in electronics. Mine probably, too, but the reminder her soft body wasn’t entirely human hit me. Of course the gate guard hadn’t minded when he—
“It’s all right, Quinn. I use it all the time for our work. You go open the next door and I’ll copy the map for you.”
Yeah, my dwelling on this woman and her…functions wouldn’t get the job done.
Our SFR blog changed the way we sign up for our weekly snippets, so fewer of us registered this week. But please visit the Science Fiction Romance Brigade Blog, or look for us at #sfrbp. Thanks for reading!
I’m here a day early! This week I’ve joined a small but growing weekly post group that’s very much in my corner of the universe—Science Fiction Romance Brigade Presents. I’ve been an *cough* inactive member of the SFR Brigade for a few years, but I do write SFR, a genre mash-up that walks the border of the two genres.
(And I proudly point out if you scroll down the website’s right bar, my SFR manuscript Passages is recognized for having finalled and won in contests.)
So here’s another, bit longer—by the new group’s rules—excerpt from the start of Passages. Quinn my hero, along with his grandmother, must make a quick exit, one that involves hijacking a particle accelerator.
I stepped across the yellow threshold. Energy flowed over my body. With a thought I connected to it. Graen slipped her hand into mine. We walked with agonizing slowness, each pace dissolving us as I hijacked the power we’d need for our cross-leap, a method our people used to direct our connections to a particular destination. One, two, three—
My guts twisted, but we couldn’t stop. Wouldn’t. Four paces, five. Halfway through
the array of plates, halfway dissolved. Graen faltered, then slipped from my grasp. What the—
I shoved my molasses-dense particles into solidity so I could turn around.
A Blackguard blocked Graen, his sword waving in one outstretched hand, the other batting at her loosely collected figure. A weird sense of déjà vu hit me, muddling my mind and breaking my concentration. This had happened before, in another place, in another leap more urgent than this one.
Thanks for reading! If you’d like to continue, this scene appears in Quinn’s opening chapter. For more SFR, visit my co-presenters via their links at the SFR Brigade Website, or find us through twitter at #sfrbp.
Last week I introduced Evard, an electorg who is a secondary character in my science fiction romance Passages. Electorg, or ‘torg for short, is a term of my own making, combining electronic and organic, because these people were offered a second chance at an immortal life by having electronics put into their organic bodies.
Back in SSS #21 I posted a snippet in which Evard challenges Quinn to go after Eve, if he indeed likes her. Quinn’s hesitation doesn’t arise from shyness:
I did. And while I didn’t want Evard to think I was the complete failure I appeared to be, he’d probably understand. “You know I just found out I’m an electorg. Did Eve mention I have memory loss? It dates to the attack when Quaene, Quil and I fled for our lives. So, I’m functioning with deficiencies in both arenas.”
Thanks for continuing to visit and read! Next week I hope to put my name in the ring for a spot with SFR Brigade Presents, a group of snippets from science fiction romance writers. The link will take you to this week’s offerings, or use #srfbp