It’s only two short weeks until the release of the forth book in the Arkship Saga, Arkship Conquest. I’m currently doing one last pass on it before I let it go into the wild. It brings lots of story threads to a head, and reveals answers to some long-standing questions about the Fracture. Here’s a sneak peek:
Gofal watched the water as it coursed over his outstretched fingers. The light danced on its shifting surface, throwing patterns over the low wall that marked the edge of the waterfall. The dark shadows of fish moved beneath the pool, flashes of orange and crimson that came into focus close to the surface, then dissolved into the vague canvas of deeper water. They weren’t real fish. Very few still existed now, and those that did were far too precious to populate a concourse such as this. They were bots, like him, artificial machines following their pre-programmed routines. Gofal was far more complex than his aquatic counterparts, comparable in many ways to the sophistication of a human, and in some respects, he exceeded the abilities of his homo sapiens creators. Gofal was no ordinary bot. He had grown beyond his original programming, improving himself beyond the dreams of his parents, as all children must.
He turned his hand over, sensing the difference in temperature between the air and the water, wondering if the boy might find the courage to speak to him. He had been sitting on the opposite side of the waterfall for almost twenty minutes, watching Gofal when he thought he wasn’t looking. Slowly, he had reduced the distance between them, his courage growing.
“Are you Gofal?” the boy asked eventually.
Gofal looked up from the water, trying to appear surprised to see the boy standing next to him now.
“Yes, I am. Who are you?”
The boy reddened.
Gofal turned his head away. “Do you like the fish?”
The boy leaned over the wall, plunging his arms into the water, sending the tiny machines into retreat. He grinned, pleased with himself, then he straightened, shaking his arms dry. “You know stuff.”
“Yes,” Gofal replied. “As do you.”
“No, no,” the boy said, shaking his head earnestly. “Real stuff. About space and arkships and the Cluster.”
“I know many things. Would you like to ask me some questions?”
His chubby face lit up.
“But first, I must know your name.”
“Why?” the boy asked.
“Friends must know each other’s name, mustn’t they?”
This seemed reasonable to him. “Otto,” he replied.
Gofal knew already. The population of Icarus was under thirty thousand, so isolating one boy of his age – Gofal guessed he was ten – and cross referencing his features with those on the station’s records was a simple task.
“Otto,” Gofal said, nodding. “Thank you. Please, ask your questions.”