If government field agents had temporal intelligence tech, how would pre-emptive ops be carried out? What would they look like? Angela Pascoe may have found out. She’s a psychic Healer from Australia, and she’s noticed a rash of unusual accidents among patients referred to a MedCenter for treatment. Accidents like the one she had after nosing around for clues. And now that she has a promising lead, she’s afraid she’ll have another accident — a fatal one.
The Nook edition of my second novel, “Deadly Attractor“, is now available for $2.99. Here’s a taste…
“Careful down there, ‘jinx’.”
Angela Pascoe glared up at her climbing partner, and tugged at the hardhold she just pounded into the icepack beside the crevasse. “Can it. I’m nervous enough as it is.”
“Hey, mate, you’re the one tracking accidents, not me.”
If they were accidents. She wasn’t so sure any more. Maybe she shouldn’t have said anything on the flight to New Zealand. But you have to trust your team, and keeping secrets was sure to cause friction.
Satisfied with the safety line, she gestured at the bright orange technological pack mule hovering beside the pile of supplies it had been carrying. “Okay, now scoot the Sherpa over here.”
They’d both climbed Franz Joseph Glacier before, so the mechanics of climbing and even the scenery were old hat. This trip was more of a treasure hunt, and the treasure they were hunting was under the ice. The trick, of course, was seeing the treasure with your own eyes, and that meant finding a secret passage – a crevasse that just happened to bottom out in the right place.
According to the latest satellite scan, the crevasse at their feet ought to be right over a particularly interesting bit of debris — discarded gear from an early expedition. But she’d have to get right down to the bottom of the crack to see it. That put her in a very dangerous spot. If the ice moved, she’d have get out in a hurry.
Which, of course, was why they’d reserved an aGrav sherpa before they left Australia. Most people just used them to haul supplies, but with a few careful mods to the control settings, you could ride them as well. Angela grabbed the sherpa’s handle as it floated closer, and hooked the safety line to it. Then she mounted it, pushed out over the crevasse, and fingered the floatation control.
The chasm rose up to engulf her. She slowed her descent when the gap was a few yards wide, and switched to a hover when it barely fit the sherpa. She braced herself against the narrow gap and looked around. This was perfect. The foot of the glacier rested on the ground, and the crack she was in went clear to the bottom.
There it was. The hidden treasure. Discards from some unknown expedition. Torn leathers and spent containers tossed aside by people who came this way when a trip like this really was off the maps. The government of New Zealand forbid anyone to remove the debris, but there was no rule against touching it. Besides, who was going to know?
After getting some pictures, she touched the return button, but instead of rising smoothly to the surface, the unit bucked. She let the camera dangle, and got a tight grip on the tether mount. While she struggled to right the sherpa, it lost location-lock and started knocking her against the sheer ice walls. It canted. She leaned to compensate. It shuddered and turned sideways, throwing her off balance. She grabbed the tether, and climbed. Halfway up, the hardhold snapped.
Below her, the sherpa was ricocheting off the walls. The sound was deafening. She grabbed for it as she tumbled, hoping that it would at least break her fall. Dangling from the loose tether and buffeted by the runaway sherpa, she was suddenly shocked by the indescribable feeling of waking into an almost perfect copy of waking reality. The world of moments earlier, of sitting on that floating sherpa, seemed like a dream, yet nothing was different. At least that’s what she thought until she neared the bottom, and discovered the ice cave. She didn’t have much time to admire it, though, because less than a second later, she struck rock, saved from instant death by the resilient safety padding in her parka, and passed out.
I’ve also written these short stories about characters in “Deadly Attractor” and “The Shoals of Time”, in which the conundrum laid out in this book cracks wide open:
- “Levels of the Game” – Some cries for help come from unexpected sources.
- “Peacekeeper” – How much are the choices you make dictated by the tools at your disposal?
- “The Seed” – Lives turn on such small things.
(If you don’t already have a Nook reader, you can also read it with the free Nook app.)