Publication Date: September 15, 2013
Genre: Futuristic Thriller/ Science Fiction
Criss lives in a special kind of prison. He can see and hear
everything around the world. Yet a restrictor mesh restrains his reach and
keeps him cooperative. His creator, Dr. Jessica Tallette, believes his special
abilities offer great promise for humanity. But she fears the consequences of
freeing him, because Criss, a sentient artificial intelligence with the
intellect of a thousand humans, is too powerful to control.
Guided by her scientific training, Tallette works cautiously
with Criss. That is, until the Kardish, an otherwise peaceful race of alien
traders, announce they want him for themselves. With technologies superior to
Earth’s, the Kardish express their desires with ominous undertones.
The Union of Nations is funding Tallete’s artificial intelligence research and she
turns to them for help. Sid, a special agent charged with leading the response,
decides Earth’s greatest weapon is the very AI the aliens intend to possess.
But what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? And what
is humanity’s role if an interstellar battle among titans starts to rage?
Relaxed from exhaustion and beer, the three strayed from shop talk. Jack regaled Cheryl with story after story of adventures he and Sid had experienced together. Their wild exploits amused her, and even correcting for embellishment, she was amazed at the places they’d been, the chances they’d taken, and the impact they’d made.
As she listened, two things fascinated her. The first was personal. It appeared to her that
Jack’s stories were supportive of Sid. Sid was sophisticated. Sid was calm and cool. Sid led the way. Sid saved the day. She wondered what Jack knew about their previous relationship and if he was somehow trying to repair past damage.
The second was professional. She noticed that once a minute, Jack scanned the room. He never stopped talking or laughing or being a part of the group. But it seemed as if he were tracking everyone in the pub, mentally recording their location and what they were doing. She watched him do this over and over, and then became curious if Sid did it as well.
She shifted her position in the booth so she could see Sid more directly. Given the tight seating, her movement caused her leg to push against his. He turned to look at her and saw her looking at him. He smiled and patted her knee. Wrong message, she thought. I wasn’t playing footsies.
Story time continued, with Jack relating yet another fantastic tale. And then she saw Sid scan the room. He did it just like Jack, only shifted by half a minute. He had Jack’s back and Jack had his. They were partners.
She was happy for Sid that he had found his place in life, though she couldn’t deny the emotional tug-of-war that battled in her head and heart that it didn’t include her. Yet at this time and in this situation, she chose to enjoy the moment.
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About the Author
As a young child, Doug stood on a Florida beach and
watched an Apollo spacecraft climb the sky on its mission to the moon. He thrilled at the sight of the pillar of flames pushing the rocket upward. And then the thunderous roar washed over him, and shook his body and soul.
Since then, he has explored life as an educator and entrepreneur. He enjoys telling inventive tales, mentoring driven individuals, and everything sci-tech.
In his new book, Crystal Deception, Doug swirls his creative imagination with his life experiences to craft a science fiction action-adventure story with engaging characters and a plot line with surprises.
He lives in Connecticut with his wonderful wife and with pictures of his son, who is off somewhere in the world creating adventures of his own..