BOOK EXCERPT: Time Flares ~ From Beyond the Stars digest

Hi everyone.

My new novella `Time Flares' is part of the digest `Beyond the Stars' just released from Midnight Showcase Fiction. Go directly to it by using this link
Or check out my re-vamped blog at
Herbert Grosshans
Science Fiction with a dash of Erotica
Here is the first chapter:

The research ship Synergy hung in space at a distance of approximately twenty million miles, give or take a few millions, from the newly discovered white dwarf Ceta Tauri, about to go nova. A celestial lightshow that would not be seen from the Solar System for another
fifty years.

Professor Armand Braun stood beside one of his colleagues, Dr. Bushiri, scrutinizing the huge screen that would display the event in three-dimensional multicolor. All the instruments were ready to record it for history. The recordings would provide studies for years to come.

Gene Snydor had only a passing interest in the whole affair. His main concern was the security of the vessel. As chief of security, he was responsible for the safety of everyone on board.

Professor Braun turned around to look at Snydor and gave him a friendly smile. As it happens, he and Snydor had been neighbors for nearly thirteen years as children. Of course, Braun's intellect almost dictated his future. With a natural IQ of 238 before his augmentation, he became a scientist, whereas Snydor, excelling in sports, decided to follow a career in law-enforcement. His augmentation enhanced his mental capabilities, but it also made him stronger and faster than any ordinary man.

"What's up, Gene?" the professor asked, and then he nodded to the woman with Snydor.
"There is some concern with a few staff members that we may be too close to the action," he said. "They worry about the ship being caught in the eruption."
Dr. Braun chuckled. "You're obviously not talking about members of the scientific community?"
"Of course not. It's mostly the non-augments who are worried."
"How would they even get those ideas into their heads? They know very little about this." Dr. Bushiri stared at Snydor. "It's your job to keep things like that under control, Lieutenant. We hired you for that purpose alone. Anything else is not your concern."
"Are you bothered by my presence here on the observation deck, Dr. Bushiri?" Snydor didn't raise his voice, but his tone left no doubt about his displeasure.
"Your place is not here, Lieutenant Snyder. Yes, I'm bothered by your presence on the observation deck," Dr. Bushiri spoke sharply. Professor Braun laid his hand on his colleague's arm. "Take it easy, Dr. Bushiri. Gene Snydor and I are friends from long ago. He is allowed certain privileges."

"Well, as the head of this research expedition I guess it is your right to be eccentric," Dr. Bushiri grumbled. "It's just not protocol to have non-scientific personnel spend their time with the researchers."

"I guess then I'll be breaking protocol, because Lieutenant Snydor and I will be having supper together." Professor Braun smiled. "Don't be a stickler regarding regulations, Bushiri. Relax and enjoy yourself sometimes. Maybe a session with one of the sex-therapists on board
will ease your tension."

"I'd rather die of boredom before I seek the company of an Artificial. You can't even have a descent conversation with them. All their responses are pre-programmed." Dr. Bushiri showed his disgust by pretending to spit onto the polished floor. "They're nothing but talking vaginas on legs."

Professor Braun laughed. "It seems to me you don't know how much you really need to seek out their company, Bushiri. You'll have to get rid of some of that anxiety you've built up. Enjoy life."
"Obviously, the Doctor hasn't met the new generation of Artificials," Snydor said. "They possess self-awareness and can make their own decisions. They are undistinguishable from Humans. The only way you'll be able to recognize one of them is by the tattoo under the arm."

"You wouldn't be able to fool me," Bushiri sneered. Snydor smiled and turned to the woman beside him. "What is your opinion, Miss Silver?"

The woman returned his smile. She looked at Bushiri. "What is the difference between an Artificial and a Human, Dr. Bushiri?"

"The difference? Humans are born as babies; they grow up and have to learn everything naturally. An Artificial is created with all the knowledge inside its brain, the body grown in a vat. It is born as an adult. The biggest difference is the fact that they don't possess souls. Only Allah can create Humans with souls."

"How do you know you have a soul, Dr. Bushiri?" The stare of her blue eyes seemed to make him uncomfortable. "Do you have scientific proof of even the existence of a soul?"
"Of course I don't. It is a matter of faith. It tells us so in the Holy Books, the Bible, the Quran, and others. I am a Muslim and I believe in the writings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad."
The woman chuckled. "You claim to be a scientist and yet you take the word of books that have been written by non-scientists as the gospel truth, without question. I find that baffling. Who says an artificially created human being cannot possess a soul? Do animals have souls?"
Dr. Bushiri lifted his shoulders. "How should I know? Some say they do, some people will deny it." He gave her a glaring stare. "Who are you anyway?

"My name is Brit Silver. I am the new generation of Artificials."_


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