Detective Sam Benson, a native New Yorker, is brash, opinionated and candid. Transplanted to work on Earth’s first colonized planet, he envisions a relatively peaceful job. But Benson’s ruthless nature might bring it to the brink of annihilation when a series of murders begins. He suspects a non-human is responsible-an android who once shared engrams with a psychopathic human. But the detective doesn’t know other non-humans once called his new world-“theirs”. And as Benson obsesses with making a case against the android, he is oblivious to their return and the reason why they consider machines to be their gods.
Excerpt Gods of the Machines
He believed she was attempting to get him to concur, that maybe both of them had chosen the wrong lover. He couldn’t exactly disagree. He thought he had had great sex with Cindy, but sex with Carol was mind blowing. She was very talented with her tongue…still he loved his wife. He had no doubt she should be the wife of his child. But he felt Carol coming closer to him, as if she were a magnet. He perceived her to be closer than she was physically was. Her allure. Her warm kisses. Her scent… He had to admit it was intoxicating. A gentle breeze ruffled through the long grass surrounding them.
“I think we should just complete our mission and forget last night ever happened.”
“Your words tell me one thing, but your body language tells me another.”
Her mischievous dark eyes were affixed to his midsection.
And in an instant, Carol had honed in on her victim.
One minute she was crouched over a bush, the next minute her body was pressed against his.
“Tell me you don’t want more…” Her hand gripped his crotch.
“I…do…you know…it’s just that…we’re…”
He felt as if he had fallen into her mouth and had become swallowed whole by her being. It was seductive, erotic and mesmerizing…
Their hands began exploring. There would no more need for holo-bags today…
They somehow ended up in the rover after what seemed like a thousand kisses later. They made love on the floor, exploring new positions – him behind her, him on top of her, she on top of him. And finally, when Dean felt like he couldn’t hold back any longer, finding he had literally gone around Carol’s world – he was now back on top of her in the missionary position, trying his best to hold back.
His thrusts were slowing. Carol felt the heat rise off of him.
“Come on baby, let me have it.”
He jerked back.
“Don’t pull out…please I beg you. I hated when you did that last night.”
“I don’t want to. Umm…do you have protection?”
“Why of course.”
She stated it matter of fact, creating an air of disbelief.
How could she? I mean it’s odd – we’re all here to make babies, not stop them. And if she really did have it, she must have planned this along…
And the epiphany hit him harder than yesterday’s rocky ride.
She wants a baby…?
Before he could pull back again, Carol’s hands were fastened about his waist. “Come into me…come into me…please…”
He yelled, “Oh God!” And he came violently into her, his body not only shuddering from the physical intensity but from the weight of what he may have just created. Another wave of guilt rolled over Dean, but this time it came with company - panic…shock…disbelief…
Dean found the shower had not cleansed him. He hadn’t even felt the water in fact. Too many thoughts flooded his mind.
I could have explained one time as a mistake – a weakness…but twice? And now I may have gotten her pregnant…
They agreed to shower and have a lunch break before resuming cataloging. Dean estimated they still had another five hours of daylight.
But then things went very black in the rover…
Carol now locked in the rover’s bath, screamed for Dean.
“Hey, that’s not funny.”
The soap stung her eyes, blinding her. She fumbled for a towel.
No response from Dean.
He had stuck his head out the rover’s door to attempt to let some light in.
Great it’s raining. The weathernet forecasted no such disturbance today…
Just what we need a power failure and a torrential downpour…
Back inside, Carol managed to fumble for the faucet controls. She stopped the shower and yelled for Dean again. All voice activated controls were offline as well.
This time Dean answered, but his voice was muffled.
“You’ll have to see if you can unlock the door manually from the inside.”
She struggled to hear, soap still clung to her ears and hair.
Carol waited for another minute to pass, hoping Dean would either find a way to free her from the bath or that the power would come back online.
Outside the bath, Dean slammed his fist into the metal plated door.
Damn, why do they make these doors so impenetrable? And where is the backup generator. “Computer, are you still able to hear me?” He listened, but no response came. He began to furiously wiggle the door level up and down…
Maybe good old-fashioned panic will work…
She felt a pleasant sensation on her neck.
He must have found a way in. And now he wants to resume where he left off…
She let him continue sucking on her…her back towards him.
“Yes, don’t stop. Mmm…it feels sooo gooood…”
And then she heard a strange sound intermingled with what sounded like an attempt to break down the door. Her mind tried to place it. It was a chirping sound; coming through in staccato bursts…clack, clack, and clack…
She hadn’t heard him make this sound before…but then everybody keeps secrets…but what about the repeated pounding at the door?
She wheeled around but could discern no figure or form before her – only blackness.
Engulfed in terror, she whimpered his name. “Dean…Dean…please…”
The response came in the form of a slap.
She felt the sting on her cheek. Her left hand reached up to check for blood and was intercepted by a sticklike object.
Again, another blow landed, this time on her right cheek.
Gasping for breath, she had no strength to ward off her attacker who now began pushing her backwards until she felt the cold hard force of wall stop her momentum.
Tears flooded her eyes, still singing with soap.
The lights - where are the frickin’ lights?
Now pinned against the wall, something began to brush up against her midsection. Something pliant yet hard skinned. Something she never would never wish on her worst enemy began fumbling, the appendage lowered, seeking her sex.
She tried to slap it away and when she did, it came at her full force, like a runaway truck, slamming her into the wall so hard her head emitted a soft cracking sound. Woozy, she imagined someone was using the showerhead and hose against her. She had a good idea who that someone was….
So you set me up in here, huh Dean? Too chicken shit to tell your wife about us so you had to sneak up on me in the dark like a coward…
It was to be her last thought.
Her attacker swung her back and forth, up and down, left and right. She was limp as a rag doll, unconscious to the fact that her body had taken quite a brutal beating against the bathroom wall.
Finally, something popped and a tearing sound ensued.
Her attacker had separated her left arm from her body.
And in another instant, Dean Flavin found himself staring into a blinding, crystallizing shard of light. It winked out of existence. And power came back on.
But the illumination was quite unwelcome, for Dean Flavin found his mistress sprawled out on the bathroom floor colored in purple and crimson, the right side of her skull caved in, one eye fixated on him in an accusatory manner. He had no clue as to how long he had been standing there or when he finally managed to pry the door open.
He broke the gaze only to find her left arm was completely missing.
Dean’s stomach flipped. He spilled his breakfast all over the floor.
At noontime the next day, the rover limped into Reliance Point.
Dean Flavin stumbled out into harsh sunlight. He found a young woman reading him his rights and pinning handcuffs to his wrists.
The twenty-six-year old crime scene investigator handed Flavin off to a man dressed in a black uniform armed with a phaser pistol. She exhaled a sigh and stepped back into the rover to survey the gruesome remains of Carol Walker.
Today, Sharon Laviolette would process her first crime scene on Ceres.