Saturday, April 27, 2013

teaser trailer

Here's your first official peek at "Sleepwalkers" - which, of course, I'm still writing and revising. But I'm happy enough with what I have that I don't mind sharing the first scene with you. I'll probably still give it another polish before posting, but it's almost where I want it; and I think it's hot enough to whet your appetites for the rest.

Feel free to make any comments you like below, or ask me any questions about the world I'm creating here. In case you haven't noticed, I've set up my blog to allow for totally anonymous comments, and I'll never delete anything that isn't spam or trolling. So jump on in if you like! Now's your chance to offer feedback on a story in progress.

by thrall

synopsis: The battle for an empire grows desperate after a leading Resistance figure is brainwashed.

color code: purple
story codes: mc, nc, md, fd, mf, ff, mm, ma, sf, ex, ft


Note 1: If you are under eighteen years of age, this story is not for you. Go away.

Note 2: Thanks to Lady K, the friendly neighborhood orc, and Callidus for helping me brainstorm, proofread, and generally make sure the volume was turned up to 11.

Note 3: This is not a stroke story. It’s an X-rated novella with plenty of sex. If stroke is what you’re after, save yourself some time and bail out now.


Part 1 of 11

Despite himself, Paul couldn't stop staring at the Peacekeeper. He knew it was safe enough to *look* at them, though not to touch; but free citizens avoided attention from the General’s forces as much as possible. The less they noticed you, the less likely you were to become one of them.

Paul couldn't help staring at this sleepwalker, though. The private stood just a few feet away, facing him across the narrow aisle of a crowded monorail. Her body swayed slightly with the movement of the car and her chest moved with her breath, but otherwise she was still as a mannequin.

Even her skin seemed molded from plastic, since her armor was as clear and polished as glass almost everywhere. But Paul knew it was flexible and porous; the diamondoid fibers were just too small for him to see. He also knew the suit could have been programmed to display any color or pattern the user desired, but General Hawthorne was the real user here, and she desired her slaves to appear naked. The private’s d-suit clung to her body like a glaze, showing off her perfectly sculpted muscles, her total lack of hair, and her tattoo.

The tattoo, her mark of ownership, hung just above her left eye. At its uppermost point was the crest of her prime, a free-minded member of the General’s Cabinet. That Cab had imprinted a sleepwalker who’d imprinted another sleepwalker, and so on down the chain to this poor private. Counting the number of gray bars below her crest, Paul could see that she was a Level Seven. Each intermediate imprinter between a sleepwalker and their prime represented a loss of initiative, functionality, and selfhood; and this private had seven intermediaries. That made her little more than an automaton.

At the bottom of the private’s tattoo was her serial number, riding just above the brow line. Below that was the only part of her armor that wasn’t soft and transparent: her faceplate. It was the color of brushed steel, and it curved outward just enough to give her the appearance of facelessness; but it, too, was diamondoid. It was also perfectly breathable.

Paul watched the movement of the private’s chest, noting how the late-afternoon light made it glisten. Whatever identifying marks she’d once possessed, they’d been erased by the Empire. Then her body had been toned and sculpted and augmented into this…thing. This sexualized, depersonalized threat of what could happen to Paul, or to Shara, or to anyone else they cared about – at any time.

Even if Paul could have pulled his gaze from the Peacekeeper’s body, he still wouldn’t have seen her eyes. That, too, was a threat. Any time a Peacemaker was around – and they were always around – you could never be sure they weren’t watching you. It didn’t even matter if you were a loyal bootlicker who never even *thought* about the Resistance. No one was safe but the narcs, and they had to buy immunity in installments. If they waited too long to rat someone else, they were just as vulnerable to snatching as anyone else.

The Peacekeepers didn’t even care what skills you had. When Paul was a kid, one of the bag boys at his local supermarket had been snatched and no one ever found out why. No one ever saw him again, either, since sleepwalkers were never returned to their old neighborhoods. If they had been returned, some loved one would have tried to rescue them. That never ended well for anyone.

Paul still wondered about that bag boy sometimes: why he’d been taken and what had been done to him. Probably he’d just had some scrap of information the Empire wanted, and once they extracted it from him they’d shipped him off to Greenland or somewhere as a Peacekeeper private.

You never knew, though. Maybe the General liked ginger bed boys, or maybe she had some other use for him. Not every sleepwalker became a Peacekeeper, and even Paul didn’t know all their possible uses.

He just knew more than most. That was the second reason he couldn’t stop staring at the private. *One day soon*, he told her silently, *I’m going to save you*.

Even as Paul thought it, the Peacekeeper turned her head downward as though she were looking at him. He blushed and tried to think about breasts, only breasts. A sleepwalker at her level couldn’t read expressions in the traditional sense, but she’d be implanted with ‘ware that could gauge the dilation of his pupils and the activity of his sweat glands. Maybe she’d already seen enough to make her suspicious. God, maybe she was beaming a report to her supervisors right now.

No, dammit, Paul was working himself up over nothing. The Peacekeepers’ role was mainly to intimidate. They didn’t snatch many people overall, and they left ordinary policework to the civilian force. Besides, a private was little more than a sophisticated video camera. Paul wasn’t in any danger…yet.

He had to calm down, had to distract himself. He forced his eyes lower, to the lacquered rose between the Peacekeeper’s legs, and they flushed just like his face. She wanted him to look. She *liked* it.

Despite himself, Paul did, too.


As Paul stepped out of the car, the private turned her head slightly, tracking him just a little longer with her eyes.

Peacekeepers were a common sight in the Empire. Anyone who displeased the General or her subordinates, or anyone they’d finished using, could be turned out onto the streets with guns in their fingertips and just enough initiative to storm a rebel cell – with direction from higher-ranking Peacekeepers, anyway. The privates almost *were* security cameras, and just about that common.

It made for the perfect camouflage.

The private logged onto the Peacekeeper comms network and beamed a message to another private standing around the corner: “Subject Paul Medina leaving Blue Line car 135, heading south by foot toward residence.”

Her assignment completed, the first private transferred surveillance to the second one and returned to standby mode.


Anonymous said...

Well, I'm hooked and can't wait for more. Hairless, shiny automatons, yum. The world you're creating already feels fleshed out and will let you take this story pretty much anywhere you'd like.

How did the Peacekeepers come about? When do we meet General Hawthorne and what's her story? Why don't they just take and process everyone wholesale? Is there a group of people *ahem*, who would find that appealing and try to be taken? What motivated Paul to be in the resistance? Why does he think he can save the private?

I can't be the first to comment?! Come on people, there's a new Thrall novella on the way!


thrall said...

Thanks for being the first commenter! :-) I'll answer some of your questions now; you'll get the answers to more of them when you read the whole first chapter (which I'm thinking about posting here in full, ahead of time, if anyone shows interest....hint hint ;-)).

1. Making Peacekeepers and tossing them out on the streets is an easy way to keep the population intimidated. Low-level sleepwalkers are easy to make, but they're not very useful because they don't have much initiative. Making high-level, useful sleepwalkers is more complicated, which is why Hawthorne hasn't taken over the whole population yet.

2. You'll find out more about the whole brainwashing process, and Paul's motivations, when you read the rest of the chapter.

3. No one in this storyverse (or at least no one I'm writing about) wants to be brainwashed. I'm trying to write something that's closer to mainstream SF - though it's very much X-rated - so there aren't any horny subs around this time. The Cabs, however, are pretty much horny doms. ;-P

4. This next answer is just backstory, but since you ask, I'm glad to share. The various countries of North and South America united in response to threats from China, which was the dominant world power before my story begins. Hawthorne was an army general involved in defense efforts.

5. You will meet Hawthorne very, very shortly. ;-)

K said...

Not much to say other than I really liked it. Its going to be up on the site this weekend?

thrall said...

Glad you like it! But no, I'm not ready to post the story on the EMCSA yet. I want to have the whole saga in good shape, and consistent from start to finish, before I do that.

I'm thinking of posting the whole first chapter on this blog a few days before it goes up on the EMCSA, and doing the same for each subsequent chapter - posting them here a few days ahead of their posting on the EMCSA. That way, I give my regular blog readers a special gfit. :-)