New Blog, and an Excerpt
I started a new blog devoted entirely to my stories in the Pride of Parahumans universe, including several excerpts from the novel itself:
As an example, here's an excerpt from a pivotal scene in Chapter 2:
Sure enough, they showed a heat signature following us since we left the asteroid where we had picked up the gold chunk. Unfortunately it didn’t tell me much, it seemed we hadn’t bothered much with active radar on that side of the ship, and now we were completely blind in that area thanks to our pursuer’s precision shot. “Worthless, we need a better view of them to even know what we’re up against. Can you try sending a drone out to the edge of the rock we’re hiding behind?”
“Yeah, yeah, sure I’ll launch one.” Denal tried to avoid putting himself in contact with the slime I’d left on him as he went over to his console. We had half a dozen survey drones that Denal would frequently send out on arcs around asteroids we thought looked promising. They’d circle the rock a couple times, playing their radar over it and taking snapshots of the surface in multiple wavelengths, and transmit it back to our ship, saving a lot of time on prospecting for ores. He shot one out to swing around the asteroid we were currently using for cover and programmed it to scan outwards rather than at the asteroid. Meanwhile me and Aniya called up manual controls for our primary collision avoidance coilguns, hitting a stray rock with a fast-moving iron slug tended to get it out of the way a lot faster than melting it with a beam of concentrated light, and anyways lasers were a bit out of our price range.
The drone reached the far side of the asteroid and transmitted back a view of the region of space beyond. Radar imaging finally brought me a view of what I had been looking for in the first place, a small (relatively speaking, we were about twice as large thanks to the need for mining equipment and landers) cargo ship covered with laser turrets and a pair of long tubes that I had no reference for. It didn’t seem to be moving as we scanned it. “It’s like it’s just waiting to see what we do.”
Aniya had the first suggestion, “Maybe they’re moving when we’re not watching. Why don’t we send the drone back out to see if they’ve come any closer.” Denal punched in the commands and the drone flew back out to take a second look. It hadn’t moved, however there was now another, smaller and much faster object moving out towards us.
“Incoming missile!” Cole screeched as the object swung around the asteroid heading straight for us. Panicked I switched the auto-tracking on my turret back on just as Aniya did the same. Registering the small, fast incoming object as a collision threat the automated systems sent streams of darts at the missile. Mere seconds from impact one of the darts ruptured the missile’s fuel tanks and triggered an explosion that took out the explosive weapon entirely and sent shrapnel flying everywhere, thankfully not fast enough to do much damage to our ship.
I didn’t understand how they had been able to lock onto us from the far side of an asteroid but before I could think of something another missile came in from the opposite side of the previous one. Aniya just barely managed to shoot that one down as well. Noticing the drone following the missile it came to me. “Denal, shut down the transmission to that drone! They’re tracking it!”
The panda switched off the transmitter, then as an afterthought shut down all of our transmitters just to be safe. Now we could see nothing of the attacking ship, until either us or the pirates moved to our side of the asteroid we were blind.
“Now what?” Denal asked, evidently a bit scared now that we had just barely escaped death twice. I thought it was obvious, we wait for the pirates to get bored and leave. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, after half an hour of sitting there the enemy ship came up around the asteroid and began to approach us. As it drew nearer I saw docking arms unfold from the underside of the miniature freighter.
I panicked again, hastily aiming the gauss turret I was controlling at the pirate vessel I blasted away with a stream of iron. I saw a docking claw tear itself off and fly out into space, a laser turret shattered into a million shards of glass, then there was a puff of gas out of one of the holes I made in the main hull of the ship. But it still kept coming at us. “Move, move, move!”
Cole swung our ship away from the asteroid, the pirate ship continued on in the same direction it had been following the whole time. Of course, there being no friction in space you needed to fire retro-rockets in order to slow down before you hit anything, which didn’t bode well for the crew of that ship. Either their control systems were damaged, or, as suggested by the gas vent I’d opened up, they were dead.
“I’m not picking up any signals from them.” Cole stated as he moved the ship in for a closer look. I called up a spectroscopic analysis of the cloud streaming out of the ship, approximately 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen, with traces of carbon dioxide and other trace gases. Plus ice crystals of a reddish-black fluid that appeared to contain a significant concentration of iron.
I dropped the tablet in shock, not quite the effect it has in gravity as it just hung there suspended in mid-air. “I killed somebody,” I exclaimed in horror, “it’s blood, I didn’t just rupture their crew compartment, I shot someone and made them bleed out.”