Keeping up the productivity I find is one of the best ways to keep motivation stoked. And, almost as if they knew, just as I finished my infamous ‘Project-With-A-Deadline‘ (details of which I am hoping to release soon) Dagda Publishing extended their submission deadline for their next SciFi anthology. The theme is ‘technology gone mad’ and today I finished my submission for their consideration.
The setting for my story is Isaac Heights, a ‘hospital’ for androids with dangerous faults in their programming. My protagonist Jasper is a newly qualified doctor with hope he can make a difference. Whether his hope is naive or just what his generation needs remains to be seen.
You can read an extract of ‘Isaac Heights’ below. I have my fingers and toes crossed but will have to wait and see whether it has what it takes.
(If you fancy a chance, the deadline for this anthology is 5th Nov, so there’s still time to get in on the action! The submission guidelines for Dagda’s new anthology can be found here. Good luck!)
“What,” his supervisor said as they skidded to a stop at a door so he could key in the access code, “you didn’t think it was going to be all notes and lab work, did you?”
Jasper panted, bent over with hands on knees for the few precious seconds it took the big man to open the door and then they were running down another achingly white corridor. There were lights flashing overhead and a couple of orderlies checking the locks of all the doors. They didn’t pause but carried on round the next corner only to stagger to avoid slamming into a group of people in lab coats gathered at another door, consulting Palms and looking pale.
“Rogers,” his supervisor growled and a thin woman looked up. “What the damn hell is happening on your wing?”
“I reported that faulty camera a month ago, Maurice,” the woman replied. “Where the damn hell were the maintenance crew?”
Maurice muttered and elbowed his way through the doctors to look in through the window of the treatment room. Jasper hung back, catching his breath and trying to wipe sweat of his brow with his sleeve without anyone noticing.
“Well she’s done a damn number on you, that’s for sure. It’ll be weeks before the room is back online. And what the hell are you all doing here? Shouldn’t you be checking your own wings and sealing the exits?”
The doctors all exchanged glances and hurried away except for Rogers who stood straight as a poker, knuckles white around her Palm.
“Are there orderlies on the way?” Maurice said.
“They’re all checking the lockdown.”
“The lockdown can spare two fucking orderlies, Rogers. Get on it. And don’t Palm them,” Maurice growled as Rogers brought up her hand. “Half of them can’t read anyway. Go and get them. Two. Big ones.”
Rogers had a vein in her temple that looked about to burst but all she did was throw one glance through the window and turn on her heel and hurry away. Jasper swallowed, trying to see in the glass without getting any closer. Maurice’s breath was steaming across it as he frowned into the dark. “I can see her alright. She’s holed up in the corner. Thank fuck we put plexi-glass in the external window last week or she’d be well away.”
“What are we going to do?” Jasper said in a voice that was so weedy he wasn’t sure it was his own.
“We’re gonna get her back to her cell before this gets any worse. The board are likely to have my ass for breakfast as it is.”
Maurice looked up as two hulking orderlies arrived, black overalls rolled up to the elbow to reveal tattoos and hairy forearms.
“She in there, doc?” one said with a leer.
“Oh no, you don’t,” Maurice said, stepping between them and the door. “Not after last time. You just stun her when she comes out and take her back to her cell. Kid?”
Jasper felt the blood drain from his face. “Yes, sir?”
Maurice nodded to the door. “Go in there and get her to come out.”
Jasper swallowed. “Sir?”
The orderlies exchanged grins whilst Maurice rolled his eyes. “You covered Companions, right?”
“I did my thesis on them, sir. ”
“Well then get in there. This is first hand patient experience. Besides,” the corner of Maurice’s mouth turned up. “You’ve got a sweet face. She’ll go for that.”
“Sir…hasn’t she killed someone in the past?”
“Several someones,” Maurice said, as the orderlies sniggered. “Just be persuasive. Gentle, like. Don’t scare her and she won’t hurt you. Oh,” he added as he held the door open just wide enough for Jasper to slip though. “She’s one of the decommissioned models. Don’t look her directly in the eye.”
Jasper stared into the dark opening for another minute until he saw Maurice’s frown deepen then edged forward through the metal doors.