Dingy Hat – A Tale of the Cyber

He is an elite ‘White Hat’ Cyber Warrior in the employ of the clandestine “Agency.”

She is his boss. He works for her, has pledged his loyalty to her.

But who does SHE work for?

Dingy Hat!

 

Chromosome Warrior Tease #17:

Teena had wanted to run ahead to the nexus with a couple of the fur-people as companions. Needless to say, I vetoed that idea with vehemence. We had almost died but for my sword!

I refused to permit Teena to tackle the dangers without the Lady Tyrxing and my skilled arm to guide her. We’d experienced firsthand the impotency of bow and arrow against dinosaur hide.

“I lost one lover to violent death. I’ll be damned if I permit another,” I yelled. “That’s a stupid idea.” I had lashed out seemingly in anger, although it was more in fear. She bristled in frustration, claiming I was over-reacting. She retorted that I was refusing to even listen to her idea. “If you want me to listen to your ideas, get some better ideas!”

That almost sent her over the edge. I reminded her not only was I opposed to losing another lover, but if something happens to her I’m stranded on an alien planet. Truthfully, I did not fear living among the Nekomata. They’re wonderful, friendly people and I knew James or Petchy would come searching for us eventually. I was in no danger of being stranded and we both knew it. She became real quiet after my outburst, but perforce admitted I was right.

So we spent the next three days in bed, but even Lotus-eating can pall. It was not the blissful interlude it might have been. Teena is an enticing and playful bed-mate, but I failed to uphold my share. Due to the pain of my injury and our quarrels, I was cranky.

Meanwhile, Far Away

Fighting to hold the reins of authority in the sickening light of usurpation, thankful for the moment that only a small number of his bridge and security crew even knew the Starship had been breached, the Captain of the mobile mini-planet brooded as he considered options. Obey or die, he had been told, resistance is futile. The solitary gray-skinned intruder had plainly demonstrated capability to counter any physical force his crew might bring. Fifty dead crewmen bore mute testimony, terminally smote by a figurative wave of the alien hand.

He wished no more to join them, frontal assault was off the table, for now. The fate of the remaining forty-nine thousand seven hundred and fifty-one under his command hung in the balance. Repelling this invader without additional casualties seemed improbable.

As the Captain looked on, the invader sat motionless, his very presence filling the large conference room that had formerly been the Captain’s briefing room. Watching the emotionless alien presence, he wondered who this creature was, and where he had come from. The Captain had obviously never heard of the Council of Eddore or the number two member of that body known as Gharlane. No one of his race had directly encountered the almost supernatural beings before. Perhaps if he knew about them he might well choose to vaporize his entire ship now in hopes of cauterizing the fatal wound already being inflicted upon his entire race.

The invader had commandeered the ship’s AI and monopolized its computational resources, toward ends unknown. For the moment, the invader seemed content to sit motionless, alone, silently communing with the equipment arrayed before him. Perhaps there would yet be opportunity. For now, the Captain stayed his hand, watching the invader intently.

. . .

Gharlane was pissed! Cold and unemotional in most regards, Gharlane seldom cerebrated in terms scatological, and when roused his choler exceeded base expression.

Nonetheless, Gharlane was pissed! Never before had his plans derailed so ignominiously. The sociological melt-down of GL2814-S3 had been proceeding on plan and complete demolition of the burgeoning Class 1 Culture had been within grasp, and then, it wasn’t.

The unraveling baffled him. The primitive society he was dismantling could not possibly stymie his plans unaided. Either it was a fantastic accident, or they had help. Gharlane was certain they did not have help, certain there was no one able to help them.

Synchronicity abounds, accidents happen, an inimical alignment of the wheels of chance may occur, a possibility which keeps the job interesting. Despite recognizing the occasional happenstance, this plan frayed far too adroitly. This was simply too much to credit to bad luck.

Might someone be plotting against him. But who? One of his personal opponents among the Peers? Backstabbing and sabotage among the inner circle is hardly unknown.

Sector 2814 lay in total waste save for the one inhabited planet. No intelligence on orb GL-S3 of that sector could stand against him. They haven’t even discovered, much less learned to control the natural wormholes and Portals. They had barely contrived the most primitive of intelligent machines.

Still decades, if not centuries away from attaining Class 1 status, they remain confined to their one planet. The technological subset of their society does not even fully control the planet, most of the natives shamefully forego even rudimentary tools of civilization. A Class 0.85 civilization at best, effectively unable to leave its home planet poses no possible threat to his plans.

Even this failed intervention is only a minor setback, it would be a long time before he would be driven to forcibly intercede. Plenty of time to rebuild his failed network and to topple the society without resorting to complete extermination.

Gharlane disliked wholesale extermination. He preferred to nip things early rather than inflict the wholesale destruction which had been necessary, for example, in sector 2837. That civilization, like the one before him now, had been permitted to fester until he was forced to take more direct action, bending their creations into engines of their own destruction.

Primitive societies are much simpler. A few “supernatural” manifestations, a burning bush here, a talking snake there, a bit of secret society tinkering over here. Divert them away from logical thought and they will easily devolve into chaotic religiosity. Better to subtly keep them below the threshold of danger, not allow them to become rational and intelligent and let them live.

Some of the younger, more liberal Peers had begun to voice disagreement with the Council policy, arguing that primitive peoples should develop unmolested. The fools seemed unable to understand that today’s Type 1 is tomorrow’s Type 2, and soon the natural order of the Universe itself is challenged. The idiots would permit unrestrained growth of people who would cheerfully destroy them, destroy the very council itself, if they were able.

No possible challenger to the Council of Peers must be permitted to arise. Better to keep primitive peoples primitive, embroiled in fear and superstition, than to allow them to rise and then face the necessity of annihilation. Besides, these people are happier and healthier when they live closely to the soil of their home world. Keeping them under control, and periodically culling the herd with plagues and natural disasters is better for them by every measure.

Could some bleeding heart be a traitor?

Mulling this thought over, he decided he must investigate the Peers for treason. That would require leaving the Starship so recently commandeered. Strictly speaking, he did not need to inhabit the vessel to accomplish his mission, but it did make a convenient and comfortable platform from which to mount his assault. The inhabitants amused him for now, scurrying about as he worked at planting the seeds of their eradication into the AI under his gaze, a worm that will spread undetected for years. A few decades and they too shall falter and die like so many before, ostensibly also a victim of their own technology.

Carefully leaving a shadow in place lest his unwelcoming host note the brief absence, he ported to the High Council’s Chamber and challenged the Peers with his data. There was almost a fresh opening on the council. After a close call involving a challenge nearly culminating in a duel, he was satisfied no Peer had intentionally undermined his work.

Easily resuming control as he returned, he quickly satisfied himself that the crew had not detected his absence and his crafted interaction with the ship’s AI was still underway. Again, he contemplated who might interfere with his work. If not a Peer, there was no other possibility.

Unless… Could it be? No! Not possible! They were dead! He had seen to that personally! Destroyed by their own creation, a runaway AI that sabotaged their very DNA. None of THAT defunct Class 1.5 civilization survived to pose a threat, he was confident. Their home planet, now a lifeless cinder, is solely inhabited by the very engine of their destruction. Certainly they must all be dead by now.

Should a few scattered members of their race remain extant, they must be infertile, aging, lost and powerless. A defeated people, demoralized and in hiding.

Could some unknown Arisian force yet operate? A dying remnant of that decimated world still struggling against his plans? Unlikely as it seemed, he must consider the possibility.

Chromosome Warrior – Chapter 1

Here is the first draft of Chapter 1 of the third book in the Chromosome Quest Series. The title is Chromosome Warrior and features the tale told from the viewpoint of Jill, the half-Chinese, half-Irish ancestry MiB who appeared in ‘Chromosome Conspiracy‘. Readers of the previous book remember that Jill, though very private about her personal life, was nonetheless a lesbian partner of the tall, older black PhD Doctor Estelle Rawls, who was a leader of a ‘Sixth Column’ secretive cell. Estelle sadly died when the group was attacked by assassins sent by Gharlane, and Jill herself was seriously wounded and nearly died before help arrived.

Chapter 1 picks up Jill’s narrative as she recounts the events that occurred near the end of Chapter 39 in Conspiracy from her own perspective, and realizes that her own sexual identity is not as clear-cut as she had thought.

                                                ———-

No doubt you know I had been seriously wounded and nearly killed last year in Las Vegas when my little group of friends and Sixth Column co-conspirators was attacked by agents of the mysterious ‘Boskone’. Recovery was long and painful, the enforced inactivity chafed my ass. I fumed to get back to work! I needed to find the bastard and avenge my dear Estelle.

I was raised in a modest family environment – Fitz would say ‘prudish’ – where sex was never discussed, I was frankly terrified of the topic. It was easier to pretend it didn’t exist. Fear of sex drove my social life.

Virginity became the easy answer. One can be vapid, stupid, and unethical, but so long as you’ve never had sex, you’re a ‘good’ girl. I was not vapid or stupid, but I was a ‘good girl’, not from a high ethical standard, but out of fear. There were so many unknowns, I didn’t want to go there.

I grew older, dated, grudgingly accepted a “boyfriend” into my life and in due course allowed him to persuade me. I suppose this was a mistake, that I was not ready. I really just did not ‘get it’, never quite understood why people bothered.

Satisfying the primal urges of a sweaty male did little for me and I disliked the way he would disappear afterward, not even call. Until he wanted another go. If that’s all sex was, I decided I didn’t need it and told him so. I may not have been properly diplomatic about it because we never spoke again.

Years later, I regretted that. I hurt him unfairly. We were doomed by our mutual ignorance. In any other human endeavor, experience and competence are valued. Virginity should not be revered, it should be considered a correctable perversity of no interest.

Frustrated, I concentrated on my career and training, deciding I simply was not a sexual person. For years I considered myself asexual and rebuffed anyone who even looked my way. I suppose I was called unflattering names behind my back. I’m sure I deserved it.

Then I met Estelle.

She showed me another path and with her I finally ‘got it’, and did so in a big way. My appetite became voracious. Even though we were so very different, we fit. She was much older than I, experienced and patient. She opened a new world, new feelings I had not known possible. I discovered I had moved from asexual to lesbian without quite realizing it had happened. It took a long time to accept that word ‘lesbian’.

I grieved for her, and wondered how I could put my life back together.

Estelle introduced me to more than sexuality. She introduced me to fiction. She not only expanded my libido, she expanded my mind. A scientist herself, she especially loved Science Fiction, the trashier and pulpier the better. I was disdainful of the genre at first, but her enthusiasm was infectious.

She introduced me to Fitz’s book. The first couple of chapters were difficult reading. I found it crass and very much ‘male fantasy’ oriented, but Estelle explained to me the value of fantasy and I indulged her. By the time the tale landed on the planet of the fur-people I was hooked. I imagined myself on a planet dominated by a population of cat-like, furry female humans. Fantasies of a lesbian, libidinous society played in my imagination.

When that poor unfortunate appeared in our morgue, I thought of Fitz’s fictional creations and suggested we call him in as a consultant. I had no real plan beyond meeting an author whose work I had come to enjoy.

I told Estelle and she simply had to see for herself. I had no clue at that time about conspiracies, ‘Sixth Column’ operations or anything of that sort.

Had I known Fitz’s mysteries would lead to her death….. Sigh…

Even after seeing the furry corpse I still thought Fitz’s tale fantastic fiction. I didn’t believe otherwise until I met Stapleya and Wisceya in person, heard their tale and fully absorbed that they were in fact extraterrestrial aliens.

Then suddenly we were caught up in the conspiracy and bullets started flying.

After weeks of recovery I found myself on light desk duty, wasting my talents digging through intelligence reports trying to map the enemies activities and in my spare time looking for potential suspicious activities within our operation. Even this limited work schedule frustrated my doctor, who thought I should be on a delicate regimen of rest and therapy for months yet. Searching for my lover’s murderer was better than any therapy. He didn’t appreciate that I’m tougher and stronger than I look. Even so, recovery from a serious wound takes time.

As my health improved, I began wondering anew about the mysterious Sixth Column organization I had been a part of. I must reconnect if I was to engage the enemy.

One day while I was still on limited duty, Fitz and I met for lunch in the cafeteria. I was unsure precisely what his duties were at this point, all I knew is that Alex had recruited him and he had become important to our mission. Fitz had gone from being terrified of Alex to working for him, and I am unsure how that happened.

So much happened after I was sidelined. I only have an incomplete story. Somehow Alex convinced Fitz that he, and the girls, were in more danger from Boskone than from his clandestine governmental organization. Suddenly Fitz is running an immense Computerized Intelligence Organization responsible for coordinating one of the most massive international military operations in the history of the modern world. Teach me to take a break!

I was pleased when Fitz asked if we might speak alone. We grabbed a pair of trays and ducked into an unoccupied office to eat and talk in private. I was anxious to learn more about what was happening since my enforced idling.

I am glad no one else saw us. I embarrassed myself! I am not given to turning all weak and feminine, especially not with a man. Fitz and I had become brothers at arms in a manner of speaking. Plus, he was very fond of Estelle too.

The moment we were alone we embraced, not as lovers, rather as dear friends. That had been my intention, but a tsunami of emotion washed over me and a friendly embrace collapsed into grief and emotion.

I started crying. It disgusted me, I felt almost as if I was standing outside myself, a detached observer with no control over what my body was doing, as though someone else was driving. I was uncharacteristically an emotional basket case.

I sobbed, “It was so horrible, Fitz. They just came in and killed them.” I clung helplessly to his embrace and sobbed, muttering words of grief and bitterness. He simply held me quietly, calmly letting the wave wash over us. Several minutes elapsed before I could collect myself. Finally, composure returned and we sat on the couch, collecting our trays from the low table.

Finally Fitz spoke, “Jill, the ones we have lost will be best honored by eliminating these scum, these animals. We must ensure that justice is served. This upcoming battle will clean out the majority of their criminal co-conspirators but we need to find the masterminds behind this evil and deal directly with them.”

We began eating our lunch and ate in silence for several seconds. I responded thoughtfully, “That’s the real problem. I’m convinced those behind it all are not on Earth and our actions will merely hand them a setback, perhaps not even a serious one. They will regroup and rebuild, return stronger than ever. I hoped I could contact off-world allies, Petchy and his people, the ones you called the ‘four columns‘ in our discussions. Unless we can discover the means to carry the fight to ‘Gharlane’ or whoever is behind this, the upcoming battle will be for nothing.”

Emotions rising again, we sat our trays down and surrendered to another cathartic embrace. I realized I might be sending mixed signals. I hoped not. Fitz knew me better than almost anyone and well knew I was not attracted to men. Yet here I sat, confusing catharsis and lust in my own mind. If I couldn’t sort this out, how could I expect Fitz to understand?

For a moment or two libido surged. Our embrace teetered toward the sexual, I was uncertain what to do, what I wanted. He simply hugged and comforted me, waiting. I shook myself and pulled away, not willing to go there. Estelle was gone, but I felt loyal to the bond we had shared, certain no male could replace her sensual touch. Not even Fitz.

Ignoring the rejection, he picked up our conversation as though there had been no interruption. “Jill, what has become of the Sixth Column organization and do you still hope to travel off-world to enlist the aid of off-world allies?”

I shrugged, “My link to the Sixth Column was severed after the shootings. I was hoping they would reestablish communications, though perhaps the overly secretive nature of the group suggests with Estelle’s death, our cell is thought compromised and abandoned to protect the organization.”

He continued, “I have received some fresh communications from the ‘Four Columns‘ and hope to learn more soon. I’m hopeful that there might be an opportunity as you have sought. Shall I then assume you are ‘in’ for anything that might develop?”

In response to this news, I grabbed him in a mixture of grief, relief, and yes, lust. This time I knew what I wanted.

Chromosome Warrior

I have begun the project titled ‘Chromosome Warrior‘, the third book in the series that begins with ‘Chromosome Quest‘.  The tale follows on the heels of the second book, ‘Chromosome Conspiracy‘.  The project is just starting, and this one is a complex tale.  I make no promise as to WHEN I will finish it, but I will post blog entries from time to time as it progresses.

To whet the fan’s appetite, I present the intro to the new book.  If you like it and have not read those that came before, look for ‘Chromosome Quest‘ and ‘Chromosome Conspiracy‘ on Amazon!

 

Call me Jill. It is not my name, though it has been the name to which I answer for a while now. If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, what sort of people my parents were and all that Dickensian sort of crap. Good luck on that. If you want to know the simple truth, I am an authentic Man in Black, the real deal. That’s all you need to know.

Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little money and, despite some natural talents, few obvious prospects due to my gender and stature, I thought I would enlist in the service. I don’t know what I expected, have a few adventures and see the world I suppose. It beat becoming a hooker, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I almost didn’t get in. Petite, Asian and ornamental, all assets to a hooker, hindered a recruit. I had to kick someone in the teeth – several someones in fact – until they recognized my soft curves cloak a frame of steel.

Yeah, those ‘natural talents’ I mentioned!

Even as a teenager I was strong and quick for a small girl. After intense physical training courtesy of the service, I became stronger. Stronger and faster than ugly muscle-bound jar-heads standing a head taller and massing twice my weight. I never met anyone I couldn’t take in a fair fight, not that I fight fair. A fair fight is for suckers. I fight to win.

No one I couldn’t take that is, save this one particular big muscle-bound dork. It was, oddly, love at first sight, I suppose. Those few who I let know me well would have been shocked at that. Whatever strange roll of the genetic dice gifted my above average talents paid Fitz the bonus jackpot. The guy can bench-press a Buick. Literally! I’ve seen him do it. He also has other above average talents a gal should note.

Love? I dunno. Maybe. Yeah, shocked me too, I am not given to squishing in the masculine presence. Then again….

The service was good to me, honed my physical talents, taught skills in weaponry and marksmanship, and tools from knife to computer. I took every advantage offered.

I had expected with my natural physical prowess Boot Camp would pass easily. I was mistaken! I quickly learned happiness often consists in getting enough sleep. Just that, and nothing more.

Fortunately, the meat-grinder of Boot Camp was brief and another path soon opened up. That ‘natural talent again’. I excelled and soon found my way into more esoteric ranks and eventually that is where I met Fitz.

Now he is lost – maybe dead – and I must find him.

 

Chromosome Conspiracy

Chromosome Conspiracy: Everyone Needs a Personal MiBChromosome Conspiracy: Everyone Needs a Personal MiB

by Nathan Gregory

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The second book in the series, sequel to Chromosome Conspiracy, officially finished writing June 5, 2015, presently in the hands of proofreaders. Target eBook release date is July 4, 2015.

I think this book is my best work, ever. I hope my readers will agree.

On his initial return to Earth, Fitz had been detained briefly by Certified Agent Alex Marco, a genuine “Man in Black” from the Government. That detention was soon resolved and Alex has tried to be Fitz’ friend since. Fitz is slightly terrified of Alex, doesn’t want to be friends and can’t seem to avoid his attentions.

The story opens with our hero sitting at his favorite Cafe, working on his attempt to follow his first literary success with another. He has recently met a charming young lady and has planned a date for this evening, their first date. Just as he is packing up his laptop to prepare for his date, who should appear but Certified Agent Alex Marco. Alex has a mystery and wants Fitz’s opinion. It seems as if one of his ‘fictional’ characters has walked straight out of his book and landed in Alex’s morgue!

If that isn’t complication enough, two more Aliens soon appear and Fitz
is forced to reveal to Alex that it all was in fact true, not fiction and his friends need his help. The adventure begins with Fitz reluctantly accepting Alex’s ‘help’ but soon Fitz is spooked, deathly afraid of Alex and the virtually unaccountable power he wields. Fitz bolts, taking the Aliens with him in a bid to keep his friends out of Government hands and protect them and see them returned safely to their home.

Soon other players join in the chase, as Fitz and the Aliens are chased across the Western US keeping one step ahead of their pursuers. If he thought he was afraid of Alex, he was clueless what fear truly was until he discovered a fellow named Gharlane has joined in the chase! Yeah, THAT Gharlane!

Fitz wages a desperate battle, trying to contact his off-world mentor Petchy for help, unravel the mystery of Gharlane, all the while staying one step ahead of the adversaries on his heels.

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