Monday Sampler: Crystal Deception by Doug J. Cooper

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In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle has launched a new series featuring writing samples from some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Monday’s Sampler is an excerpt from Crystal deception, science fiction from Doug J. Cooper.

As one reviewer said: Looking for some great Sci-fi reading with a touch of romance, a ton of intrigue and an ending that not only will you NOT see coming, but you actually feel good about, even though there is that slight tinge of “what will happen later?” Crystal Deception by Doug J. Cooper will take you on a trip into the future where aliens plot to steal the sentient artificial intelligence created by Earth technology.

The Story

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?

The Sampler

Doug J. Cooper
Doug J. Cooper

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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