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A word can change a mind. A sentence can change a life. A book can change the world

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The eighth of several extracts from my soon to be published science fiction novel.
Title: The Ragged Edge of Time.
Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel, Alternate History.

You can read other extracts clicking #1, #2, #3#4#5,  #6 or 7#.

TimeSlip

The engine core was a twenty-metre towering white circular structure held in a secure chamber at the heart of Hugo’s starship, the Dominator. Though it’s girth was twice the size of a medium personal transport vehicle, it was a complex device administered mainly by the ship’s AIs with minimal interference from the crew.

The structure throbbed with power and a diminutive Gideon stood motionless besides it. Outwardly there seemed to be nothing wrong with Gideon, he simply did not move, nor even blink. Inwardly Gideon’s emotions were raging. He was experiencing multiple emotional stresses to his system, stresses he was designed to withstand over a matter of time. But these stresses were now overloading Gideon’s systems. He was experiencing the android equivalent of a nervous breakdown.

Suddenly, Gideon blinked once, then twice and then he shook his head and looked around him.

“Do you hear me, son?”

The voice inside his head made Gideon turn to locate the source. “Father?”

“Gideon, what you are hearing is created by your sub-conscious processors. I have managed to transmit data directly to your neural pathways. This data has broken the lock that was caused by the emotional stresses you were experiencing. Tell me how you feel. Speak, I will hear you.”

Gideon moved full circle, stretching his arms, raising his legs one at a time and generally flexing his body. “All systems nominal, father. It seems you have managed to remove my paralysis. I suggest I return to your lab for analysis.”

“No! There is no time, Gideon. I have examined your encounter with Hugo. I have analysed the data transmitted by you. Vastos Hugo has the insane idea he can win this war by removing our navy.”

“He cannot defeat the EDF in conventional combat.”

“No, he can’t. We have hacked Hugo’s AI systems and gained some insight into his plans. He has a device that was not created by him or his people and certainly is not of human design. I believe it’s of alien origin. His science lab refers to this device as a TimeSlip device. They believe it can create a rift in time.  Hugo mistakenly believes he can manipulate this rift and through that manipulation he can remove the EDF from the timeline. In other words, Vastos Hugo can change our past and in the here and now, he will have defeated the EDF by simply removing its origins in the past.”

For several seconds there was silence as Gideon accessed the data sent by his father and at the same time correlated this information with data he was retrieving from the Dominator’s data-banks. Gideon turned to the series of sliding doors, locked and encrypted by Hugo only minutes before. Gideon began tapping the display screens, working his way through a host of encryption codes at fantastic speeds, his fingers a blur to the human eye. “Vastos Hugo has skilfully kept his TimeSlip device hidden in the data-banks. Now I know what I am looking for I have found a complete schematic data file and more importantly information on how the device will work. You are correct in your analysis so far, the device is alien in origin, created by a race called the Nomali. It was discovered by a Pleiades science team working at a remote station, long abandoned by the Nomali, in a rarely visited outpost of the Pleiades Empire. I am engaged in learning the Nomali language and…” Gideon carried on working but his silence was ominous to Bahn. “I am transmitting critical data to you for analysis. I must stop Hugo quickly before he destroys the earth.”

“That is not his intention, Gideon, he…”

“He has no idea what this device is, father. I do. The device is not a TimeSlip device. It is not intended to allow manipulation of the timeline. It is an alien booby trap created in a war fought over a millennium ago. The device is a Trojan Horse. It will not manipulate the timeline, it will destroy the timeline by creating a null void. It was the last hope of a race destroyed before their doomsday device could be implemented.”

 

***

 

Vastos Hugo was happy, almost gleeful, as he brought the TimeSlip device online.

Squat, black, blocky and only three metres square, the device sat in the middle of the lab. Dark cabling ran from the science lab’s power conduits into the device and data tablets attached to the device monitored input and output. A low hum resonated around the science lab as the power build up began and the device cycled through a pre-programmed boot-up. Hugo’s science group had managed to hook their Q-Coms into the alien system and manipulate the data. But the data they saw was what the device wanted them to see, not what its programming was creating and manipulating. Hugo’s scientists had not realized the data sent back by the alien computer was false, specifically designed to thwart any attempt to control it and, moreover, designed to give false readings to lull the would-be hacker into a false sense of security. When detonated, the power surge would not be directed in a wave constant form to manipulate the timeline, it would create an exponential wave effect that would form a null field area for thousands of light years, reducing all matter in the field area to neither positive nor negative energy, in effect the area would cease to exist. Vastos Hugo was, of course, blissfully unaware of the destruction he was about to unleash.

 

***

 

Gideon worked feverishly on the last sliding door and he was feeling the strain. It had been some time since he had conversed with his father, but he knew this was to allow him to concentrate on the task in hand. He felt somewhat different since Maxwell Bahn had managed to remove the deadlock on his emotions. He felt confidence. In fact, he suddenly realised he was simply feeling. He now understood the term and concept of what it is to feel an emotion and formulate ideas, thoughts and a plan of action based on these feelings. Gideon Prime had discovered what a gut feeling is.

 

***

 

Vastos Hugo finalised the detonation sequence and stood back, admiring his work. For someone who wasn’t a scientist, he felt a degree of pride at his achievement, a pride that would bode well for his new empire, once the TimeSlip device had done its work.

“Move away from the device.”

Vastos Hugo didn’t recognise the voice that had come from behind him. He slowly turned and was not astonished to see Gideon standing, arms by his side, a patient and calm expression on his face.

“It seems your confusion is behind you,” Hugo said, smiling and pointing toward Gideon, a small device in his hand.

Gideon noted the device, then looked at Hugo and simply nodded. “I need you to move away from the machine so that I can disarm it. You have no idea what it is you are about to unleash.”

“I know full well what I’m doing, Robot.” Hugo said it with as much spite as he could muster, hoping to trigger another malfunction in Gideon.

Gideon ignored the barbed comment. “No, you do not have any idea. I have translated the language of the Nomali. I know what it is that stands before us. Destruction beyond your comprehension, Hugo.”

Hugo smiled his broad smile and shook his head at the same time. “The Nomali is it? How can you have translated a dead language from a race extinct for a millennium, tell me that, robot.”

Gideon smiled back. “Because I have the ability. I have the sum knowledge of humanity inside here,” Gideon said, tapping the side of his head. “This lets me translate any language, no matter where it comes from or how old it is. Humans have had many languages, some linked by culture and others not linked at all. But these languages allow me a unique insight into what makes up a language. This is what I used. This is how I found out that the device you have been tinkering with is a doomsday machine. A device that was a last resort, a desperate bid to destroy their enemy.”

Vastos Hugo’s smile faded and he took two steps away from the device.

“You lie, robot. My scientists have analysed…”

“Your scientists are incompetent. As incompetent as you and those you lead.”

Now the boot was on the other foot. It was the turn of Vastos Hugo to feel a whole slew of emotions, not least of which was anger. “You know nothing, Gideon. You have no idea what my destiny is and certainly you know nothing about this alien technology. If only you knew your family history, you would understan…”

Hugo didn’t get the chance to finish his sentence. Both he and Gideon felt a rumbling in the deck plating. Suddenly the ship kilted left and both were knocked off their feet. It seemed the EDF were fighting back and Hugo’s flagship was taking fire from Earth’s Navy.

Gideon was the first back on his feet and took the opportunity to attack Vastos Hugo while he was disorientated. An old-fashioned one-two to Hugo’s stomach and head and Hugo was swiftly incapacitated. Gideon noticed the small device Hugo was handling earlier lying beside Hugo’s inert frame. Gideon picked it up and examined it. “A remote?” Gideon asked himself, before pocketing the device and then setting about disarming the alien doomsday device. Another, sudden sideways lurch of the Dominator knocked Gideon to the floor again. Pulling himself back to his feet Gideon was once more violently thrown to the floor by an even bigger lurch. A red alert claxon sounded, and all decks were ordered to abandon ship by the command AI.

As Gideon pulled himself up once more, he was struck from behind by a heavy force. Vastos Hugo was awake and seething with anger, wielding a large wrench. The pair grappled as Hugo’s ship began its death throes, lurching ever more to the left.  Sliding and tumbling toward the doomsday device, Gideon only just managed to keep Hugo away from the device when a loud wail of shearing metal shrieked the ship’s death-knell to an uncaring universe and a massive ripple in the deck plating threw both Hugo and Gideon against the doomsday device. Gideon gasped as he righted himself and grabbed at the device to steady his legs. Another wrenching shriek from ripping plate metal preceded a sudden howl of wind as air vacated from the breached hull. Gravity suddenly failed, and Gideon caught sight of Hugo’s inert form being swept away when calm and silence fell only briefly as emergency shields stopped the air escaping. Then another and final wail from the stricken ship was just as quickly silenced. With an ominous and deep hum, the doomsday device flashed brightly, and Gideon’s surroundings altered from shining metal and plastic to cracked concrete, falling debris and dust.

Tom Kane © 2017
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You can read other extracts clicking #1, #2, #3#4#5,  #6 or 7#.

My Books on Kindle & Paperback
An Indie Author Guide to Blogging – Helpful advice, hints and tips for bloggers
A Pat on his Back – Lifestyle humour
Living in Cyprus: 2013 to 2016 – An expat’s life in Cyprus
Diary of a Debt Collector – True life humour
Operation Werwolf – WW2 action adventure fiction
Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb – The evidence for Hitler’s atomic weapon program
Ciao Roma – A guide to short stays in Rome
How to Start Your Own Embroidery Business – Home working
The Eternal Man – Science Fiction short stories & flash fiction
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An Indie Author Guide to Blogging – Helpful advice, hints and tips for bloggers
The Eternal Man – Science Fiction short stories & flash fiction

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The Eternal Man – Science Fiction short stories & flash fiction

Coming Soon
The Ragged Edge of Time: Science Fiction Time Travel Alternate History

Welcome to Beyond: 1950s Style Science Fiction

Ascension-Brave – New Earth: First Contact Becomes Humanities First Galactic War

The Brittle Sea – Drama

See details on my website by clicking here.