Batteries Not Included

Countdown to Clone

Countdown to Clone
In less than twenty-four hours I will be releasing my story, Clone, the Book of Eva. This work has been in progress for over five years. And I promise it is different from anything else I have written. For Clone isn’t a romance—it’s a love story, with a twist.

So, please join me Thanksgiving Day, November 28th 2013 as I launch the first book in the series.
When a world leader’s daughter meets a clone, a doomed love affair begins.
In the year 2087, a great war erupts on the planet and a struggle to survive begins. One hundred-fifty years later, the continent of America is divided into two factions, Aeropia and The United Regions. There is a shortage of food and an abundance of illness, leaving most to live on the scraps of the wealthy who wallow in excess.
This is the world Olivia Braun inherits. Sick from birth, she wakes up from surgery with a new heart, only to discover she is the youngest president of Aeropia, an empire that has created and used clones to maintain their position of supremacy since the war. However, Olivia’s rise to power is no accident. Before her transplant, she conspired with a clone to free those enslaved, but the outcome is not what she expected.
Now, enemies hide among the population, and even friends can no longer be trusted. Olivia must make a choice that will decide the fate of an empire. Before her tale of corruption, forbidden love and war ends, the mighty will be brought to their knees.
By a clone.
Eva stared at the crowd forty floors below. Her toes hung over the ledge. She didn’t draw a breath or feel alarm in the tightening of her belly as most would when they faced death. The people clustered around the gates and paced along the street, appearing as nothing more than bugs she could squash under her heel. Tininess aside, the roar of fright reached her, rumbling through flesh and bone.
They’d gathered around the palace because of the riots. They wanted her sympathy, her reassurance things would continue as usual, that the towers they’d built for themselves would not collapse.
The Aeropite Commander of Joint Forces, General Michael Axis, stood near her on the deck, clutching the rail, as though he dared not get any closer than the ten feet that separated them. His knuckles were as white as his face, and for the first time since they’d met, he truly looked frightened. All he’d worked for threatened to die with her, and his soldiers, collared for the moment, were about to be released. He could do nothing about it.
The wind whipped loose tendrils of her coif, beating the strands against her face in an angry assault. The fine silk of her suit snapped around her like a banner in a hurricane. For the first time in her life, she knew her purpose, had no fears. Concede. Die. Fight. Live forever.
“Madam President, you need to come off the edge.” He trimmed his soft words with a threat no one else could hear. Sharp like a razor, cold like forged metal, Michael used his coercive blade as he always did, but this time, it had no effect. She’d stopped caring. “Ana.” Angrier, a little harder, more pronounced. He might as well scream, “heel, heel.”
Not today. He knew her name, and it wasn’t Ana. He’d put her here, given her this power. When his plan failed, and he realized he could no longer force her to do his bidding, Michael had stooped to begging. Pathetic as it was, she savored every moment. No, you heel. The smile came, tied to joy, something she’d waited a lifetime for. Oh, she planned to finish this, but not as he intended. “They’re free.”
“Don’t do this. Your country needs you. The people are frightened. I have no idea what to tell them. There have been murders, clones that have somehow broken free of their girdles.”
Eva twisted slightly, enough to make eye contact with Michael and catch the outline of several figures clustered inside the room. There they stood, his grand audience, inside the balcony doors, flash frozen puppets with no voice. Eva surmised they’d accompanied him to talk her down, yet they did nothing to help. If they discovered she wasn’t their leader, they’d certainly push her over.
The trigger he held, well, that was different. Designed to bend her to his will. Useless now. She didn’t care if he took her life. Her time had come, and he could not win this standoff.
“Not somehow,” she said. Hundreds of thousands were free of their bonds and tasting liberty for the first time. In a few minutes, the soldier clones would follow, their collars falling from their necks, their hands filled with weapons he’d put there. Michael was a general with no control of his army, and they were about to turn on him.
The people of Aeropia would suffer for the pain they’d heaped upon the clones. He would pay for what he’d done, and when the sun set and his body lay broken in the street, no one would take pity on his corpse—or his human soul. If he had one. He could not escape his fate any more than she.
“I feel for you that you’ve lost your husband and friend. It’s a tragedy, but the people need you. Your daughter needs you. Come down.”
Her wrist monitor beeped as the last code locked into place and the satellite transmitted the order to the soldier clone’s collars, releasing every last one. Michael glanced at the blinking band. His face grew paler and he swallowed, as though he choked on his own bile.
“You, bitch.” Boom. Loud blasts sounded around the city, coming from every direction. “No,” he muttered. “You can’t do this to me.” His slid his thumb over a button on the device in his palm and pressed.
Eva gritted her teeth.
Jab, jab, jab. Michael poked the button over and over, before he lifted his chin and scowled. “How did you…?”
For several seconds she held his gaze, waiting for the pain in her head, the ending he’d promised if she didn’t do as told. Dante. “He didn’t lie.” The words were not for General Axis, but to herself as she came face-to-face with the truth. Dante had loved her. He’d freed her.
She’d killed him.
“Who didn’t lie? What are you talking about?” General Axis’s eyes popped wide and his mouth fell open. “You can’t do this. I…. What do I tell the citizens to reassure them of their safety?”
“Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.” Let them eat cake. At least one queen could really say it. And today, she was a queen. She spread her arms and greeted the open air, falling forward into the storm, and back to the arms of the man she loved.
As forty floors rushed by, a young woman in the same tower began her tale about the clone who freed the world. For the first time, she spoke of treason, lies, and a forbidden love born in a time of darkness.

While you wait to enter my world, take a peek at the other side of the planet—into the unknown. I will be posting a chapter online every week until the story is finished, and then it will be offered for free on Amazon, as part of the series.

Clone—The Lost Chapters

My name is Iia Danner. I once lived on the grand continent of Sententia, formerly Europe. I do not know what it looks like now, I can only tell you what it looked like at the time I recorded this message. There are stories throughout Earth’s history of lost colonies and civilizations, Atlantis, Roanoke, Easter Island, and it is my wish that will not be the case with Sententia—that someone will view this and we will not be forgotten, even though we did everything in our power to become invisible—moreover, we got what we deserved. Let this story serve as the headstone of those that worshiped a god of greed and convenience—a warning to those that come here in hopes of restoring what has been long buried.
This monument, if we’d had time to erect it, should have read to all that passed through. Do not dig up old bones or the devil that gnaws on them.
Sixty-five million years ago, there was a mass extinction of the dinosaurs on Earth. Though they weren’t affected by smog, pesticides or war, something triggered their demise and in a short time, only skeletons remained to tell the story. Great craters left behind in the Earth’s crust pointed towards the cause, but the scars of the planet, the bones of the dead, didn’t give scientists the complete story, only theories to argue about.
That’s all we would have left if we couldn’t get the hives up and running properly again. It had been a gamble to tinker with nature and until now, there hadn’t been a problem. It wasn’t like we had been playing God. We just took what he’d designed and made it better, and for fifty years, it worked.
Now, everyone had a theory as to why we had to result to artificial bees for their survival in the first place, but none proved to help with the problem. A rift developed and the otherwise peaceful continent became divided on what needed to be done to fix the situation. Regardless what caused the problem, all the arguing wouldn’t change what would happen if we didn’t repair the technology.
The algae covered lakes created oxygen to replace the areas of our planet decimated by war, combined with all the vegetation we’d planted to cover the burnout zones on our outskirts. The area once called Europe, now known as Sententia, had all the amenities of home sweet home, but mankind had been too greedy to think it through. We wanted, we took, and did whatever we needed to hold that ground and keep it for ourselves.
Before the great war, the scientists had built an engineering marvel to power our cities and make life easy and convenient. Great shields we’d added to become invisible, had an unknown benefit and prevented most of the missiles from impacting our cities and suburbs. For several years after the bombs dropped, Sententia was Utopia when the rest of the planet was a charred version of its former self. Knowing if we were discovered, we’d become a target, we chose to close ourselves off from any who might have survived the destruction.
We built great walls, sealed off our borders, shutdown outside communications, and for fifty years after the war, we lived in our little cocoon, oblivious to the world outside. Preferring to keep it that way.
At first the outsiders tried to contact us, but all attempts were ignored, our communications satellites were disabled and we went into a kind of black out, intentionally blocking them.
They, the outsiders, sent a few ships to sail across the oceans; we destroyed them before they reached our shores. Air travel was impossible without activating the long distance towers. So, they remained incapacitated. They were not welcome, and had dug their graves. We were happy to let them lie in them.
We did not have the resources to share, nor would we abide their intrusion. Our government decided they would have to make it on their own. After a few years, the attempts at communication from the other side of the planet ended. Perhaps they feared we no longer existed, or maybe they had simply died off. Whatever the reason, we never heard from them again.
But that did not matter. We had the perfect existance. A massive power net called the Finis, blanketed the continent, providing a safe and remote energy source. Our people wanted for nothing and if any survived outside their dome of existance, we didn’t care, as long as they stayed away and did not encroach on what was ours.
No fuels meant no emissions fouled our skies. Anywhere you went in the country, available power could be found, snatched out of the air and used without fear of running out. Vehicles traversed with it. Ships flew across the surface using it, and communications ran on it. Anything technological used it. It was the first thing that went back in before we rebuilt the cities on the outskirts of our kingdom and created the massive barricades to keep others out. We used it to power our equipment and build our perfect civilization. The net became as much a part of Sententia as the people.
It took but a few years for our dream life to turn into a nightmare.
Something about the grid confused the bees. At first, with our technology in its infancy, the bees survived. Little impacted them. But as we became more greedy for convenience, we increased the power we consumed and the amount of emissions we put out.
The bees began to dwindle, and with them our food supply. After the expense of time and money, man refused to abandon the lifestyle he’d become accustomed to and was determined not to let something as small as a insect stop him from enjoying all technology had to offer.
Soon, all we had were dead hives. The crops wouldn’t fruit and had to be hand pollinated, preventing the land from creating enough food to support a population of living creatures. Thus, mankind could not live in his new designer ecosystem. And for over fifty years, we struggled with a solution, unable to colonize our shiny new cities.
It took the genius of a nano-scientist to create a bee the infrastructure would accept. From there, the efficient ento-robites went to work, creating a Garden of Eden for mankind, and running on the never ending supply of power the net provided. After our lands once again became habitable, the population within our country exploded. Even so, the bees kept up, providing all we needed.
The robotic bees, called Teslan bees, or ento-robites, each had a computer for a brain, which responded to the hive’s commands. They could run for ten hours before they had to return to the hive to reboot their processors and receive new commands. Without doing that, they would do one of two things. They’d fly away to who knew where, failing to pollinate, operating off the never-ending supply of power, or they’d shut down their processors and drop useless, to the ground.
Twice the size of a bumble bee, something necessary to house the energy pack that would harness power from the net, the entos looked frightening to those that had never seen them before, but we’d been assured they were safe. They were without stingers, had over twenty-four legs to make them more efficient with their primary function, and looked more like a flying brush, than a bee.
They had the ability to collect data and learn from that data, like when, where and what plants or trees needed pollination. They did their jobs and then some–developing hybrids and heavy fruit-bearing varieties. The Teslan bees were even smart enough to know what plants should be cross-pollinated to get the best results.
Then a storm on the sun flared up, or so we thought, sending out electromagnetic pulses, resulting in the robites refusal to pollinate. Many shut down before they made it back to the hives to refresh their programming, others vanished. Every day, workers had to go out and collect the disabled bees and return them to their stations to reboot. Some we never located. The scientists couldn’t keep up with building new ones to replace the lost, and the numbers of Teslan bees were dwindling with the food supply.
In the last fifty years, nobody had seen anything like it, the population began to panic. Ships we’d sent off to the other side of the planet to seek help, never came back. We did not know what was on the dark side of our world, only what used to be there—and at one time we’d ignored them. So mass evacuation was not an option, and neither was re-supply. Our government informed us under no uncertain terms we were on their own.
Six months ago, the government of Sententia declared martial law. Rationing began, and a curfew went into effect, preventing people from going to the fields at night to steal food. All of this had been preplanned, in case of a natural disaster. Even with a contingency in place, the people became violent, breaking into government food storage and other colonist’s homes. Killing and taking what they wanted and more than they needed. People hoarded and fought over their treasures. Riots filled the streets.
Then the government sent out soldiers, cleaning up the uprisings and screwing down control. Things went back to normal, or almost normal. Everyone looked over their shoulder, wondering who would be arrested next. Those taken were never seen again. Rumors floated around about prisons and mass executions, but nobody really knew what happened to the troublemakers.

2 responses

  1. Congratulations on the launch of Clone, The Book of Eva! This story, and its lost companion, sound truly fascinating to me, Kate – right up my alley. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing, and Happy Thanksgiving!

    November 28, 2013 at 6:00 am

  2. It’s a great book, there will be several more, if you haven’t read DL Jackson, it’s a terrific start! She’s one of my favorites (and a very nice person which is also a great thing!)

    November 28, 2013 at 7:51 am

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