Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Snippet: Flesh and Bone

Happy Mother's Day to all the awesome moms out there!

If I'd been thinking ahead, I would have tried to have something put together featuring relationships with a mother and child. Sadly, I didn't think about it until now. J

Tonight's post is from Flesh and Bone, which will have a nice mother/daughter dynamic, but it's also a prime part of the conflict and might give too much away. L I've really enjoyed getting into this work because the idea of artificial intelligence gaining cognitive abilities and becoming self-aware really fascinates me.

Here's the tagline:

An AI that spouts philosophical mumbo jumbo, a past that may not be all it seems, and a link between both sends Peta Jones on quest to figure out the truth. It's a good thing she's got Abe Cantrell along to act as her voice of reason.

And here's the sneaky peek…

Peta Jones couldn't breathe. Her prisoner had a firm, deadly grip around her throat and no air could enter her lungs. And, Great Maker, it had happened fast. One moment they faced each other across a table and the next her back hit the wall and her feet left the floor. She struggled against the attack, but couldn't kick out. The prisoner used his free hand to drag the overturned table between them, pinning her in.
And crushing the hell out of her knee. Between the lack of oxygen and the sharp, stabbing pain radiating out from her kneecap, Peta had tears leaking out the corner of her eyes.
She could hang on. She heard the marines pounding on the hatch. They'd blow it any moment to get inside.
Or the prisoner could snap her neck before they had a chance.
"Put her down! Right now. Now!"
A marine sergeant, Danvers if she remembered correctly, and two lance corporals surrounded the prisoner, weapons primed and ready.
She hit the floor in a heap, striking her hip on the table on the way down. Dragging air into her burning lungs, she watched the prisoner offer no resistance when the soldiers shoved him face first to the deck. Shaken, knee throbbing, hip stinging, Peta jumped when the sergeant gripped her shoulder.
"Medic's on the way. Sit tight, Lieutenant."
She gave a jerky nod, the only she could manage with her throat feeling so raw. Danvers stepped in front of her, securing the prisoner with a titanium steel tether. So far, the only thing that worked on the AIs. They could break free from or wriggle out of everything else with a little work.
The prisoner looked her squarely in the eye. "Say my name, Peta."
A rifle butt to his head didn't deter him.
He laughed and found her gaze again. "Say. My. Name."
Danvers stooped down, snarling in his face. "Shut up. You do not speak to or look at the lieutenant. Understood?"
The AI briefly flicked his gaze toward the sergeant and then upward. He didn't have to see her to continue. "Say it, Peta."
Her hand rubbed gently at her throat and she winced, the bruised skin tender under her fingertips. He wanted recognition, status. She'd been ordered not to give it to him.
Too bad she didn't always follow orders.
"Be—" Her voice croaked and when she swallowed it felt like shards of glass slipping downward. She welcomed the discomfort. It made her more determined to name the bastard and call him enemy. "Bensalem." She struggled to her knees, the injured one all but screaming out when she put pressure on it.
Drawing in a shuddery breath, she repeated, voice stronger. "Bensalem." She swallowed, ignoring the burning sensation. "Ben-sa-lem." Peta leaned in, just a little. "A name is just a word. It has no power."
The AI met her gaze. "But you'll remember mine, won't you, Peta?" He flinched when the butt of a rifle landed between his shoulder blades.
Peta swallowed again finally able to build up enough saliva for her next action. "Yeah, I'll remember." She spit in his face. "With fondness."
She jerked her head toward the exit and the marines dragged the AI away. As soon as they rounded the corner of the door, she collapsed, reaction and pain hitting her in one big wave. She stifled a sob, refusing to cave under the watchful eye of the monitors. A moment later, capable hands scooped her up and loaded her onto a gurney. She had no idea which medics wheeled her away, but crossing the threshold into the corridor brought instant relief.
Felt good to get out of the suffocating and noxious atmosphere of the interrogation room. Felt even better to let her eyes slide closed and shut out her utter failure.
The best thing? Breathing. Deep, soothing, calming inhalations. In. Out. Nice and slow.
The not so best thing? Trying not to freak out about how much the stupid AI—Bensalem One—knew about her personal life.
Peta had a feeling the revelations had only just started. There'd be more and she didn't quite know if she could handle it. But she'd try to be ready.
Once the gates were opened they rarely got shut.

Peta's journey isn't going to be easy, but she's got an excellent support team in place with Abe Cantrell and his grandfather. Exploring how she deals with everything she learns and giving her a safe place to pick up the pieces has been a joy to write.

That's it for this week. Catch everyone on the flip side.

ML Skye

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