Thursday, April 2, 2020

Another SciFi Short Story: Primum Non Nocere


Primum Non Nocere
By Michael Paul Hurd

            Blown off course by the shockwave from a passing asteroid, the craft carrying Kasmek and Bishma, life forms from Proxima Centauri B, crashed into the surface of Deko, the third planet orbiting a star that Proximans knew as Heliosolis. The mated Proximan pair were on a mission to explore the outer limits of their civilization’s knowledge of other planets that could be capable of sustaining life. They had been traveling at two times the speed of light for just over two Dekoan years before the uncharted galactic disturbance that caused their crash.
            Neither Kashmek nor Bishma were injured, but their craft was almost totally destroyed except for the communications array and radiation-shielded storage cases of provisions. It was fortunate they had crashed in a remote area, largely unobserved by the inhabitants. The few uneducated Dekoans that did see the craft entering the atmosphere attributed it to a shooting star and thought nothing more of it. At the time, Dekoan knowledge of interstellar bodies was almost non-existent and space travel was centuries in their future.
            “Kashmek, need we ourselves morph Dekoan form into?” asked Bishma in their native syntax.
            “Affirmative, Bishma. Example without morph cannot. Darkness in can assume Dekoan body,” replied Kashmek.
            The pair decided that they would wait until darkness and take over the first life forms they encountered. It was only about an hour after Dekoan sunset before the first life form made its presence known. However, it was not a Dekoan biped as they had hoped. Instead, it was a brown quadruped with a long, hairless tail, twitching whiskers, and a phenomenal ability to procreate. Dekoans knew this quadruped as the Brown Rat, eventually to be known as Rattus norvegicus.
            The morphing process was easy for the Proximan pair. They simply reduced their size to submolecular particles and waited for the quadrupeds to inhale. Once inside the host bodies, the Proximans established neural connections that made the quadruped forms sentient and communicative; however, their basal instincts for survival and procreation remained intact and overpowering.
            “Kashmek, food consume must,” stated Bishma. “Reproduce now urge strong. Wait consume food first.”
            Unable to control his own host body’s response to the pheromones released by Bishma’s new form, Kasmek did not wait to eat as she had suggested. He immediately engaged in reproductive behavior that impregnated Bishma with a blended Dekoan-Proximan life form. After he had succumbed to the uncontrollable urges, Kashmek was able to eat.
            The reduced size of their furry hosts made it difficult for the two Proximans to operate their communications array. It took most of a day for them to activate the equipment – when they could resist their hosts’ urge to gnaw through the insulation on the wires, that is. Almost immediately after establishing a connection on their lightwave communicator, they received a general alert from the Supreme Council. In that alert, the Council warned that another galactic disturbance was about to hit Deko. In the scientific report, Proximans were believed to be safe from the disturbance as long as they took over a host – something that Kashmek and Bishma had already done.
            What the Proximan scientists didn’t know was that the disturbance would alter their hosts’ blood chemistry and render it infectious to Dekoan bipeds. The scientists were also unaware that the little dark creatures whose itchy bites annoyed Kashmek and Bishma would be the transmission vector to the biped life forms, who in turn would become infectious to those around them. In a matter of weeks, the illness spread throughout the bipeds and was generally fatal. Making matters worse was that over the next two three Dekoan centuries, the disease would resurface and wipe out entire segments of the biped population. By that time, Kashmek and Bishma, along with several thousand other Proximans, had been authorized by the Supreme Council to take bipeds as hosts, albeit with the admonition in an ancient Dekoan tongue, “Primum non nocere,” which was translated to mean “First, do no harm.”
            After taking biped hosts, Proximans were allowed to share their superior intellect with other non-host bipeds. The sharing of Proximan knowledge was quite subtle and intentionally slow. Too much information too fast would definitely harm the emerging enlightenment. Instead, the Proximans spread out their contributions over the next three centuries and enabled Dekoans to acquire significant new knowledge, navigate uncharted waters, and question the longstanding tenets of their own religions. Kashmek and Bishma were, because of their seniority on Deko, always among the first sharers of Proximan knowledge.

T he preceeding short story is the intellectual property of the author, Michael Paul Hurd. It may be subject to copyright laws of the United States and other countries. No part of this story may be used without permission of the author, except for limited quotation in literary journals or reviews.



Sunday, March 29, 2020

A Short Story: "Proxima Centauri B, Please Respond" ((EDITED))

Dear Readers,
This is my first attempt at both SciFi and short story writing, so please be gentle with me. I hope you enjoy the very short short story, complete on two pages.  //It now includes the March 30 update//

Michael Paul Hurd
Author/Publisher
Lineage Series
Lineage Independent Publishing

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Proxima Centauri B, Please Respond
By Michael Paul Hurd

            Left behind on the third planet orbiting Heliosolis, Kashmek was desperate to return to his homeworld. He had tried to assimilate into the society on the planet, known as Deko to Proxima Centaurians, and had been quite successful. Kashmek had already been a resident on Deko for nearly seven centuries and had survived many of Deko’s disease outbreaks. Living as a quiet, unassuming assimilee into Deko societies, Kashmek knew the sources and causes of diseases that seemed to decimate the population on Deko roughly once a century. He had seen the Black Death, cholera epidemics, yellow fever outbreaks, and influenza – all terms used by Deko societies to describe diseases that Proximans had long ago learned to avoid.
            This time was no different. Normally, scientists on Proxima Centauri B would  communicate with Kashmek or his mate, Bishma, on a lightwave communicator to warn them of an impending outbreak. You see, Proximan scientists had discovered that most contagious diseases on Deko were caused by spaceborne residue from comets, supernovas, and stellar collisions that often took light years to reach the Deko orbit around Heliosolis. They knew that the only way to escape infection was to completely and totally isolate themselves from Deko lifeforms.
            Kashmek and Bishma were not the only Proximans on Deko. There were at least 140,000 others scattered across the inhabitable areas of the Deko landmasses. They, too, were assimilated into the local society; some of them had even achieved positions of power in the bodies that governed those societies. Most of the assimilees, however, were not lucky to have Proxima Centaurian mates and were forced to procreate with Deko natives, a process which Proximans found inherently distasteful, at least when the progeny began life. Regardless of the messiness of the process, the assimilees knew it was necessary for their survival as a race, even though the hereditary pool was diluted by the procreations.
            Right before the Dekoan celebration known as Christmas, Kashmek and all Proximans on Deko received a message on their lightwave communicators:

             “In two Deko moon cycles, the planet and the entire Heliosolis system will pass through the residue  from the collision of two comets. Unlike other comets, one of these contains frozen proteins from the Beta Anteros quadrant. These proteins are highly toxic to all Dekoan life forms, including those of mixed breeding with Proxima Centaurians. They only need a host to replicate before becoming contagious to those within ten feet of a respirating Dekoan life form. We recommend that you take extreme precautions to ensure your own survival; we are not yet sure of the effects this protein will have on Proxima Centaurian life forms.”

            Kashmek knew the message was valid from the hologram of the Supreme Council that appeared after the message had been received and translated from their native language. He also knew that it was imperative for him and his fellow Proximans to take the necessary precautions. They quietly and unobtrusively began stockpiling provisions necessary for survival, using a centuries-old handbook that had been handed down through generations of their revered ancestors since they first arrived on Deko several millenia ago.
            Kashmek's species also made sure they had ample supplies of biohazard waste removal paper, as their excretory functions were considerably messier than the comparable Dekoan functions. Dekoans eliminated waste through a single orifice at the end of their digestive tract, making clean-up relatively easy; in contrast, purebred Proximans released waste through a ringed array of seven orifices around a central expulsion tract. The mere difference in physiology meant that Kashmek and his kind would need roughly ten times as much biohazard waste removal paper as their Dekoan counterparts.
            As predicted by the Supreme Council, the Heliosolis system passed through the comet’s residue right on schedule. In a matter of days, Dekoans began dying. Not the prepared Proximans, though. Kashmek knew the measures they had taken across Deko would ensure the survival of his species and all of their progeny, no matter how diluted their descendancy had become.
            Six Dekoan moon cycles later, the planet was devastated. Their economy had collapsed. Looting was everywhere. Anyone showing symptoms of infection from the comet waste was summarily executed and their bodies burned in large incinerators.
             Kashmek, Bishma, and their fellow Proximans assembled in one of the most devastated areas. They were survivors. They could continue. They could take over Deko. It was just a matter of informing the Supreme Council that their moment had come to completely destroy Dekoan society and replace it with their own. They began compiling their message to the Council that very evening.

            “Proxima Centauri B, Please Respond…”

The preceeding short story is the intellectual property of the author, Michael Paul Hurd. It may be subject to copyright laws of the United States and other countries. No part of this story may be used without permission of the author, except for limited quotation in literary journals or reviews.

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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Transition Complete (almost...)

All of my books are either available NOW or available for pre-order on the Barnes and Noble website.  Search term: Michael Paul Hurd. 

Happy reading!
Michael Paul Hurd
Author/Publisher
Lineage Series
Lineage Independent Publishing

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

If you are reading this post via Amazon, it likely will be the last one you see on my Author Page.

Slowly but surely, my books are transitioning over to the Barnes and Noble platform.

"Iniquity and Retribution: Lineage Series, Book Three" is available for Nook already; the paperback re-release is March 21.  Prices are $4.49 for Nook and $10.99 for paperback.

"Soldier, Citizen, Settler: Lineage Series, Book Two" will be available for Nook on March 20 and in paperback on March 21. Prices are $3.99 for Nook and $12.99 for paperback.

"Lineage: A Novel" (Second Edition and first book in the series) will be available in paperback on March 25; the Nook version will not be available until May 2. Prices are $13.49 for the paperback and $3.99 for the Nook version. The delay in releasing the Nook version is the result of a duration-specific exclusivity clause in my Amazon arrangement. I have elected not to renew that obligation at the end of its current term (May 1, 2020).

Overall, I am happy to be moving my efforts to Barnes and Noble. Their primary business line is still to sell books.

Oh.... I almost forgot: "Wayward Son: Lineage Series, Book Four" will soon be listed as available for pre-order, with a projected Nook release date of May 12, 2020. I hope to have the paperback ready for release at the same time.

Happy Reading!

Michael Paul Hurd
Author/Publisher
Lineage Series
Lineage Independent Publishing



Friday, March 6, 2020

Decision

I am changing over to Barnes and Noble for my publishing needs.  They seem to be more in tune with authors than Amazon.  My first foray into B&N publishing will be Book Three.  The e-book goes on sale Monday for $4.49.  The paperback will follow on March 21 for $10.99.  Price reductions on both versions, compared to Amazon.  With B&N, I can set lower prices, where I could not with Amazon.

E-Book versions of Books One and Two will be switched over to B&N once my Kindle exclusivity agreements with Amazon expire... The re-release of the paperbacks will happen much sooner!

Michael Paul Hurd
Author/Publisher
Lineage Series
Lineage Independent Publishing

Exploring Other Options

Well... I've been away for some time. The winter vacation to Florida was relaxing, even with the crowds.  I'm back, refreshed and working towards getting Book Four published within the next month to six weeks.

I am still waiting to hear back from three brick-and-mortar publishers on my submissions. Two are home-based in the UK (with US subsidiaries) and the other one is in Pennsylvania. Along with that. I am rethinking the exclusivity arrangement with Amazon's KDP Select e-book publishing process. I may not renew once the terms expire for my three current books. They will all still be available in both paperback and electronic formats, just not as Kindle Unlimited titles. So... if you are currently reading any of the books through Kindle Unlimited or Kindle On-Line Lending Library, the expiration dates (all at midnight, Pacific Time) are:

     "Lineage: A Novel" -- May 1, 2020
     "Soldier, Citizen, Settler: Lineage Series, Book Two": Mar 19, 2020
     "Iniquity and Retribution: Lineage Series, Book Three":  Mar 7, 2020 (that's this SUNDAY...)

Watch this space for more information!

Happy Reading,
Michael Paul Hurd
Author/Publisher
"Lineage" Series
Lineage Independent Publishing

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Excerpt from Chapter Ten, "Wayward Son: Lineage Series, Book Four"

Here is an excerpt from Chapter Ten, "Wayward Son: Lineage Series, Book Four"

"The couple spent the rest of the night, as quietly as they could, making up for lost time. They were still loud enough in their passionate lovemaking that the slaves, stifling their giggles, knew exactly what was going on. Staci had been without Virgil’s physical attentions for so long, and he had been unable to have any dalliance with Naomi since they left the old homestead; their passion for each other was intense. Joshua Haskins was conceived that night."

Happy Reading!

Michael Paul Hurd
Author/Publisher
Lineage Series
Lineage Independent Publising