December 13, 2017

A Peek at Our New Tale, ‘Peak Season’

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We couldn’t resist. Our latest science fiction tale is live and available on Amazon.com, and we thought this weekend that we’d harken back a bit and offer readers the first 1000 words free. You can read Peak Season and other original scifi tales by your’s truly in their entirety.

 

Peak Season

By

David A. Dickinson

 

I never thought that I’d find my most interesting and life-changing assignment as a new hotel manager in the backwater town Carbondale, Illinois. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Solar Winds-The Syzygy Gambit Part 5

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Ready to tear the solar system asunder? Can’t make it to Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Here’s our latest free fiction Friday offering from 2222 AD and the Solar Winds universe.  Don’t forget, you can read this tale and other original works of fiction in their entirety, and be sure to start from part one.

 

Solar Winds: The Syzygy Gambit

by

David A. Dickinson

Chapter 5

 

The Armageddon on Tap was pointed back with its stern sunward and was now parked at the Terra-Luna system’s far L2 Lagrange point. The repaired sunshield was now deployed, giving Karl and the Shrink a small shaded micro-environment in which to operate. They both moved slowly forward, despite their bulky spacesuits. Valkyrie and V.I.C.A.R. were visible through the cabin’s plexi-glass viewport. The large, nickel-iron asteroid seemed suspended above them in the ship’s capture cradle. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Solar Winds-The Syzygy Gambit Part 2

Out soon… (Image credit: NASA)

Here it tis… a continued sneak peek at the upcoming Solar Winds tale, due for publication in the next week. Don’t forget, start back on last week’s chapter 1, and read the first two Solar Winds stories and other original tales of sci-fi by yours truly.

 

Solar Winds: The Syzygy Gambit

Part 2

by

David Dickinson

 

Andrea topped a small rise, puffing a bit under the Martian gravity. She stopped to survey the twilight landscape around her and make some sense of her bearings. “I’ve been cooped up on a space tub too long,” she said to herself, as she panted and rubbed her burning calves. What would Terran gravity feel like now? Her suit and supplies would allow her to survive about a week unsupported in the Martian desert. “Thank Jove for super-compressed O2,” she said, laughing. She knew she would have to make good time tonight, and then pitch camp by dawn. Hopefully, she would only have to overnight in the Martian desert. Unless the Terran Legion has found our friends first, and created a new Martian crater, she grimaced. She knew that the closest Martian settlement was over 500 klicks away in the wrong direction.

Blinking, she thought she caught the glimmer of metal in the twilight. Wreckage? The snaking sands were uncovering things all of the time. Anyway, it was on her path, and it seemed like as good a fixed point to walk towards as any. Cinching up her pack hard against her shoulders, Andrea trotted off down the slope.

The Commandant pulled the thought-node from his skull and glared out the view plaz towards the lunar disk that always hung stationary from this Lagrange point station between Terra and Luna. He had decided early on in this posting at Terran Legion Headquarters that he hated the eternal waxing and waning of the lunar cycles. He preferred the dark depths of space. Next cycle’s lunar eclipse would provide a welcome respite, with a brief, cold slide into the shadows.

The door to his office slid open and a young Lieutenant drifted through. An augee, he thought. Most Terrans had been either mechanically or genetically altered, or both. Few were whole anymore, except maybe some religious fanatics on the lunar far side. And we’ll take care of them soon enough, the Commandant thought.

“Dispatch from Martian Central, sir; it’s on a priority alpha grid,”she reported smartly. This girl’s augmentation, like his own, didn’t show. Still, he sensed her Legion ID on the neural grid, and he noted that those amber cat eyes weren’t the product of blind natural selection.

“Connect me to the down link,” he barked, plugging the thought-node back in. I’ll ferret her out on sex grid later, he thought. Instantly, images from Martian orbit flooded his cyber-nodes. He saw the sleek, one-person spacecraft dive for the Martian surface. The Cartel! He ran a neural cross-check. It was identical to the one that had escaped from Titan and another pair that had wreaked so much havoc on Ganymede. He currently had half of the Legion battle fleet scouring the outer solar system searching for these scum. They wouldn’t dare step foot into the inner system! The craft bared a striking resemblance to the set Holderson claimed were stolen some months back. Holderson was still out of communication on Amalthea. What, by Jove, does he do there?

A consciousness bore through the grid towards him. It was the Lieutenant. “We still have our agent on the inside,” she said. “Shall I contact her?”

“Standby,” the commandant called out. He didn’t feel like discussing their sleeper agent’s status once again, especially with a subordinate. “I want the whole band of bastards this time.”

He looked out at the slimming disk of the Moon. This was going to be fun.

Phobos had risen in the east, not that the tiny moon provided Andrea with much illumination in the Martian night. Andrea thought she could just make out its distorted potato of a phase as it drifted across the sky. She mostly relied on her infra-ocular to navigate through the darkness. The wreckage was in front of her. One exposed panel revealed a yellow hammer and sickle against a red background. An old lander, no doubt, sent by one of the old nation states. She dimly remembered The History of Early Earth Space Exploration from school. China? Russia? It looked as if the lander had come in too shallow and busted up on a large boulder. She wistfully remembered hiking out as a girl and discovering the crash site of the old Beagle 2 lander. The solar system seemed strewn with human wreckage. Hopefully, she thought, Cartel craft won’t be added to the pile. Still, Martian archaeologists would be fascinated by her find. Too bad I can’t tell them, she thought as she unpacked her shelter. But the damaged craft would make an excellent wind break for the night.

Andrea awoke with a start. The sandstorm had picked up to a slow hum against her visor plate. She scanned out beyond the strewn wreckage of the lander. Her visibility, even with the infra-ocular, was down to mere yards. It was easy to get disoriented out here in the drab Martian desert. Her heart beat faster as she remembered being lost as a young girl in a sandstorm on the great Isidis Planitia plains. Zack had kept her from going mad that night. Now she was totally alone, her soft life lay bare before the onslaught of Mars.

Mustn’t panic… she knew she was done for if she lost it out here now. A flick of her visor, a push of her decompression safety latch, and it could all be over. She shuddered to think of an early lost Terran colony where many were found later to have done just that. Bodies were unearthed decades afterward, perfectly desiccated by the near vacuum that passed as the tenuous Martian atmosphere.

But a certain breed of stubbornness refused to let her go out that way. This environment might have been alien to the first Earth-born settlers, but she had practically grown up living in spacesuits and airlocks. She knew that if she had to, she could dig in deep and huddle beside this wreckage until her air gave out days later.

Still…she thought she sensed motion in the storm. Andrea slowly worked her way out beyond her makeshift camp. There seemed to be a definite purposefulness in the grayish-brown swirl. Legion? It wasn’t entirely impossible that they tracked her here from Amalthea, although she was pretty certain that they had nailed that probe in orbit. It was much more likely that the Martian Underground had double-crossed them. Andrea unclipped her maser pistol. Had Karl and the others been captured? It was certainly possible. V.I.C.A.R. was the only Cartel member she had had contact with, and he may have been reprogrammed. Don’t panic…

An alarm went off in her helmet headset. Andrea instinctively hit the dirt. Someone’s scanning me! Andrea peered over the rock outcropping and saw the lumbering form of a long-range sand creeper moving past the wreckage. Andrea hoped the metallic body of the lander would mask her signature. She didn’t doubt that she would find a Legion emblem on the crawler’s hull.

To be continued…

Be sure to follow the Solar Winds saga and other original tales of science fiction by Dave Dickinson.

Free Fiction Friday: A Standard of Deviation Part 9

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And here it is: the conclusion to our original story A Standard of Deviation. And here’s our weekly spiel to A).Start back on chapter 1, B). Read the story in its entirety, and C). Read others like it as well.

This also brings us to the end of every story we’ve written and published thus far… we’ve got another Solar Winds tale in the works, but first, a question: do you want to continue seeing these Friday freebies? If so, leave us a comment on this or any other story, and a review on Amazon of any of our tales would be great!

 

A Standard of Deviation

by David Dickinson

Chapter 9

What would become my final stop on this run was a world that I looked forward to most of all; the Van Takcrafans of Navi Prime. They were almost frighteningly advanced. How these sentient flying spider-snakes hadn’t stumbled upon quantum transport technology is a small wonder in of itself. Stranded in this remote corner of the Milky Way, they had instead enshrouded their host star in an enormous Dyson Sphere to capture every available erg of energy it produced.  [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: A Standard of Deviation Part 8

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It’s a rough job, being a quantum courier these days… Here’s the long (well since last Friday, at least!) anticipated penultimate Chapter 8 for A Standard of Deviation. If you’re new to the saga, be sure to start back on chapter 1, and you can read A Standard of Deviation and other thrilling and original tales of science fiction by yours truly in their entirety.

 

A Standard of Deviation

by

David A. Dickinson

Chapter 8

“Human contact with the Hivers (a local term for the Burnham’s Wasps) has stripped Terra of her cosmos-given rights…” Their leader would say in issued statements. He would go on for hours about how they could “decimate the system” (his own words) if their demands weren’t met. I could tell that they had no clue what to do with the Standard now that they had captured it, and were frightened by the imminent reply from the Confederation and what would probably be their last stand. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: A Standard of Deviation Part 7

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Ready to jump back in to our latest saga? Then without further fanfare, here’s chapter 7 of our latest sci-fi tale. Remember, if you’re new to the tale, to start back with chapter 1, and you can read A Standard of Deviation and other tales like it in its entirety online.

A Standard of Deviation

by

David Dickinson

Chapter 7

But such wanton fantasies were to be quickly abandoned in favor of the present. I was wakened early by the sergeant at arms to flashes beyond the port bay window.

“Ma’am,” he called out as he shook me in a calm manner that hid the urgency of the situation. “You’re going to have to depart, immediately. The Scrappers have found the station.” [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: A Standard of Deviation Part 6

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Has the Universe got you down? Reality is certainly crashing down hard around our main protagonist this week… remember through, we all have the means to shake the game up a bit, in our very own special way. If you’re new to the tale, be sure to start back on Chapter 1. Or hey, you can read A Standard of Deviation and other original tales of sci-fi by yours truly in their entirety as well.

Anyways, onward to Chapter 6:

A Standard of Deviation

by

David A. Dickinson

Chapter 6

But that would mean that our monopoly on galactic trade would also be over.

I finally got a chance to sit down and read Lila’s message the night before departure from the system. I was back on the Lagrange point station which would serve as our departure area to the portal where I would pick up the Quantum Standard and head to the next system on the run. I had notes from our surface survey to organize, and I plugged in Lila’s transmission as the station slid into the shadow of the dead world. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: A Standard of Deviation Part 4

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Uneasy is the state of the human-enforced Pax Galactica, as our chief protagonist and quantum-hopping Librarian 3rd Class turned courier is finding out. This week, we invite you to meet the gas giant-dwelling Leviathans and hear of their plight. Can’t wait for weekly installments? You can read (and rate!) A Standard of Deviation and other original sci-fi tales in their entirety as well, as don’t forget to start back on Chapter 1.

Also, let know what you think of this latest universe where humans are privy to instantaneous travel and leverage it to their own advantage… we’ve got a few other tales in the ol’ brain brewing that are set in the Standard Universe…

 

A Standard of Deviation

by

David A. Dickinson

Chapter 4

 

A Leviathan that I’d named Arthur pulled up next to my skimmer as I neared the atmospheric capital. The Leviathan language was transmitted via low frequency pulses that I had played no small part in translating on previous visits. I could spot Arthur by how his internal organs flickered with recognition on my approach. How weird we must seem to them, tiny ape-like creatures inhabiting the skins of cold rocky worlds. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: A Standard of Deviation Part 3

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And the tale continues. Let’s jump right into it this week, with as little fanfare as possible. Remember, you can read A Standard of Deviation and other original tales of science fiction by yours truly, and remember to start back with Chapter 1.

 

A Standard of Deviation

by

David Dickinson

 

I even felt a little guilty as I made the first jump of any update run. Secretly, I always looked forward to traveling as a way to kick myself out of the chronic workaholic rut. It’s selfish, I know… but the guise of ‘work’ gives me the perfect excuse to do what I love. I can escape and see some of these alien species, in person. Not many folks beyond the Terran military and the merchant class ever get to do that. Ambassadors and researchers like me were clumped into the less than one percent of “all others” that have ever jumped out this far along the Galactic Rim. Most folks on the Local Group worlds go their entire lives never encountering an alien species that might upset their idea of ‘normal’ beyond what you might see on a holo-vid or in a local planet-side zoo. I’ve always been glad that Lila has never asked to drag me to the zoo on New Seattle. Perhaps she just knows me that well. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday-Helium Party: Part 6

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And here’s the long anticipated conclusion to our on-going tale Helium Party. And as always, you know the drill: be sure to start back with Chapter 1, or you can just read Helium Party and other great tales of Sci-fi in their entirety.

On to the conclusion!

Helium Party

by

Dave Dickinson

Chapter 6

“Get ready with those countermeasures, kid…”

I grabbed the trigger and toggled the switch marked “E/O CHAFF”. Several inbound guided flechette rounds were already zipping by our vessels, with the intent of slicing open our thin hulls.

“Now!”

I could hear the calliope music playing over the comm system as the dispensers emptied in rapid succession. If this was Lanky’s bizarre idea of combat music, it seemed to be working. The clouds of metal fiber would temporarily confuse the rounds as they sliced away at empty space. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday-Helium Party Part 3

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Here it ’tis; our weekly installment of rogue Space Clowns, doing what rogue Space Clowns do. Be sure to start back on chapter 1 if you’re new to the story, or read Helium Party and other original tales of science fiction in their entirety.

Helium Party

by

David Dickisnon

Chapter 3

I crept towards the fray. The battle scene before me was truly epic, if not slightly hilarious. Pies flew, both toxic and explosive. Bad puns and gags were exchanged. I knew that it was only a matter of time before the battle would devolve into cutlery throwing and hand-to-hand-buzzer combat. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Helium Party Part 1

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This week, we thought we’d start in with some lighter helium-laced fare with our tale of space hi-jinks, Helium Party. Hey, it’s got  rogue gangs of space clowns, what’s not to love? Plus, we may very will be revisiting the universe of the Citizens of Silliness again, the story was that much fun to write. Remember, you can read Helium Party and other original tales of science fiction by yours truly in their entirety as well.

Helium Party

By

David Dickinson

Chapter 1

 

I knew, as Jupiter filled up our view and scuds of methane clouds whizzed by, that this was a bad idea.

“Just have those scoops ready to deploy when I tell ya’ to, Kid…” Crunchy called out from the pilot’s seat. How the three of us had fit into the tiny cabin of the Laughing Stock I have no idea. I’d done exposés on technology cults in the Oort Cloud and had taken audiences on a hard-nosed look at crime bosses of the Flying Venusian underworld, but never did I fear for my life quite like I did just now. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Solar Winds-The Cloaked Promise Part 7

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And here it is; the final installment of our second book of the Solar Winds series. Be sure to start back on Chapter 1, or better yet, start back with chapter 1 book 1: Scorpius Cell. Or, you can read em all and other original works of scifi in their entirety by yours truly.

Solar Winds: The Cloaked Promise

by

David A. Dickinson

Chapter 7

“Ah, your beauty can only add to the drab setting here. I told them you were an absolute celestial angel when they questioned me, you know. Why the media doesn’t play that up is beyond…”

“How did you find our base?” Andrea cut in. She resisted every urge to cup her newly injured shoulder in front of him. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Solar Winds-The Cloaked Promise Part 6

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And here it is: the penultimate chapter to part two of our solar system-spanning tale. Be sure to start back with story one chapter one, or read ‘em all and more original tales online.

Solar Winds-The Cloaked Promise

by

David A. Dickinson

Chapter 6

Once she was safely out of sight, a hooded man at the bar stood up to depart in the opposite direction.  He was heavily augmented, so much so that it was hard to tell where the machine ended and the man began.  Nano-robots coursed through his veins.  Already, data recorded by his ocular implants was being transferred and analyzed by his contractors.  They would be pleased. All that remained now, he decided, was to kill the provider, then hunt for the girl.  He prided himself on carrying out a clean act. It was, after all, why they kept coming back for his services. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Solar Winds-The Cloaked Promise Part 4

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Things are heating up in the Saturn system this week, as Andrea discovers that the captured Radium Core is a terrible prize that will bring them more than they bargained for. Be sure to check out this week’s installment, or if your new to the series start back with Chapter 1 of the first story Scorpius Cell or Chapter 1 of The Cloaked Promise or hey, you can read em both in their entirety.

 

Solar Winds-The Cloaked Promise

by

David Dickinson

Chapter 4

Sleep did not come easy to her that night.

Curled in her suspensor cocoon, Andrea writhed like a caterpillar unable to transform.  Dreams came in fits and starts, disjointed and tangled. Sleep inducers and dream programmers were prevalent among her college friends, but Andrea categorically rejected them.  Some saw random dreaming as dangerous, but lately, Andrea had come to see reality as the real hazard. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Solar Winds-The Cloaked Promise Part 2

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Alright. My back is out as I write this, so we’ll get right to this week’s installment. Be sure to 1.) Start back on chapter 1 from last week, and 2.) Read The Cloaked Promise and other original tales of sci-fi in their entirety.

 

Solar Winds: The Cloaked Promise

by

David A. Dickinson

Chapter 2

 

Desperately, he searched for a compromise. “Leave us our ship, and we’ll transfer what weapons and supplies we have…”

As if on cue, the hatchway to the bridge buckled inward. Light blinded the crew as two figures moved through. One was fitted with a welder’s harness, and the larger one brandished a maser rifle. The boarding party quickly took up positions on either side of the bridge as a thin figure drifted straight at the Commander. She had the beauty of a Space Siren, but she was all business. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Solar Winds-The Cloaked Promise

On sale now!

And with the advent of another Friday, we’re pleased to announce the start of another story straight out of our Solar Winds universe. This tale is Part 2: be sure to read the first chapter of Part 1 entitled Scorpius Cell here. Can’t wait? You can read ‘em all in their entirety including The Cloaked Promise on our Amazon page.

 

Solar Winds- The Cloaked Promise

by

David Dickinson

 

“Have you glimpsed them? Have you sighted their flitting shadows at the edge of the watering hole?”

-Hanna Julian Sweeten,

The Violet Integer

The Radium Core spun lazily in the diminished sunlight of open space. Its shielding elements alternated from light to dark as the locator beacon on its side blinked with a forlorn glow. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Solar Winds-Scorpius Cell Part 6

And here it ’tis, faithful reader… the conclusion of Scorpius Cell and the first of several tales to come from our Solar Winds universe. Be sure to start back on Chapter 1, or read Scorpius Cell and other sci-fi tales in their entirely.

Enjoy!

Solar Winds-Scorpius Cell

by

David Dickinson

Chapter 6

 

The Professor caught a flash out of the corner of his eye. “What the… look out!” he exclaimed, dropping the lift extensions. The pallet drifted to the floor as Karl attempted to turn in his cumbersome suit. Andrea caught him by the helmet and used the accumulated momentum to spin him around, smashing his faceplate against the exposed radium ore. The faceplate shattered, exposing Karl’s face to the ore. The smell of charred flesh permeated the air. [Read more...]