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Biotime 34: Would killing 10,290 people increase house prices?

Welcome to the next droplet of my dystopic sci-fi novel Biotime.  If you’ve missed the rest, check out the story so far.

Biotime enforcement agent Jake Moonrath knows that he is the only “informal” Biotime enforcement agent left on the planet: the other 11 were erased in the same instant as the attack on the Hughes Procreation Center in Santa Monica.

Someone has killed plus 10,290 mothers, infants, medical staff and visitors to increase the price of Biotime.  Now they’re after Jake.  Instead of hiding, he decides to rattle their cage.  Go Jake!

Meanwhile at Moon Beach resort, gangland boss KY Sutanto watches whale hunting and indulges in other time-rich activities as he waits for his henchmen to arrive – including Athena, the woman who watched as Santa Monica was destroyed.

Biotime Cover

Biotime.  The future, today.  Excerpt 34

When Jake left the Rescue Center he saw dozens of holo crews gathered beyond the cordon. In the absence of new developments, they had formed a glittering armadillo of recording equipment focused on the two rescuers with the net-on-a-pole inside the razor-wire fence. The objects of their attention were competing to deliver the most newsworthy sound-bite.

‘Not a snowball in hell’s chance of anything coming out of this stuff alive,’ the tall man said. He had untidy grey hair and gold-framed glasses. ‘Frankly, we’re wasting our time poking around in there.’

‘Still warm.’ When the smaller man spoke, the cams had to pan down to him. ‘About the only sign of life you’ll find.’

The tall man nodded. ‘Still warm.’


Biotime 33: ‘A 40-storey building melted into peanut butter’

Welcome to the next droplet of my dystopic sci-fi novel Biotime.  If you’ve missed the rest, read the story so far.

Jake Moonrath, having adopted the identity of Michael Novak – a man killed in the destruction of the Hughes Procreation Center in Santa Monica – visits the rescue pod to try and find what has happened.  Could the atrocity be linked to the fact that the killing of 10,290 mothers, infants medical staff and visitors has sent Biotime prices in the US rocketing?  Since everyone in the US owns Biotime – in the form of their own lives – everyone just got richer.  But who benefits the most?

Jake has an idea.  Now it’s time to strike back.

Biotime Cover

Biotime.  The future, today.  Excerpt 33

‘My name’s Michael Novak. My wife and child are missing.’ Jake tapped his bracelet. ‘I’m grieving. I’m angry. And I’m coming in.’ A dozen holo crews were crowding around. Jake stepped forward. The cop hesitated, and Jake was inside. When the news teams made to follow, one of the traffic police unholstered a Big Fright, and everyone froze.

Except Jake. ‘You can’t disable me,’ he said. ‘I’m bereaved.’ He entered the rescue center before the cop had a chance to consider this further.

The interior of the pod was crammed with emergency personnel, communications equipment and holo images. Jake saw a huddle of men in one corner in what looked like army uniforms. Everyone seemed to be shouting.

‘Mr Novak!’ A man with a bushy moustache was approaching, wearing a bright yellow firefighter’s helmet emblazoned with the words John McNeill Chief Rescuer. ‘You’re alive! This is great news.’ He grasped Jake’s hand in a two-handed grasp and shook it vigorously. ‘You just doubled our survival ratio.’


Biotime: ‘A deceptive air of calm lay over Santa Monica’

Here is another droplet of my dystopic sci-fi novel Biotime.  If you’ve missed the rest, read the whole, awesome story so far.

Biotime Informal agent Jake Moonrath debates with his boss Devonte Ray, head of the Home Security Bureau of the Central Authority, how to respond to the killing of 10,290 people at the Hughes Procreation Center.  Devonte tells Jake he’s on his own – only one other Informal agent is left alive.  But when Jake arrives at the scene of the disaster he finds – nothing.  Nothing whatsoever.

Biotime Cover

Biotime.  The future, today.  Excerpt 32

‘I can’t understand why he’s still President of the Central Authority. He hasn’t done a day’s work for two centuries.’

‘He is President, Jake, first, because he was a political appointee. Second, because there is no candidate to replace him. Third, and most important, during his time in office the Central Authority has thrived. Gone from strength to strength. A runaway success. He’s a figurehead. An icon. An institution.’

‘But why not put in someone with ideas?’

‘Never underestimate the desirability of doing nothing, Jake. Put in someone with ideas at the top, and anything can happen.’


Biotime 31: ‘Extreme suffering justifies extreme measures’

Here is the thirty first droplet of my dystopic sci-fi novel Biotime.  If you’ve missed the rest, read the whole, awesome story so far here.

Jake Moonrath learns of the destruction of the Hughes Procreation Center and its 10,290 born and unborn occupants.  He discusses with his boss, Devonte Ray, whether the terrorist organisation The One Life Army (slogan: Extreme suffering justifies extreme measures) could be responsible.  Jake also learns that he is the only Informal agent of the Home Security Bureau who is still alive.  And whoever destroyed Hughes is out to kill Jake, too.

Dev Ray – a man legendary for having known Roland Nelson personally – is one of my favourite characters in Biotime: “After centuries as a bureaucrat, Dev had a tendency not only to speak extremely slowly, but to say everything in triplicate.

In response to popular demand, and as Easter is coming, this droplet of Biotime is longer than previous episodes.  Enjoy!

Biotime Cover

Biotime.  The future, today.  Excerpt 31

Chapter 6


‘My first impression? Like a gigantic dried-up clam and tomato dip, spiced with Tabasco.’

Schlaraffenland Broadcast News reporter Dusty Oldman describing the remains of the Hughes Procreation Center


‘Speak to me, Jake. Speak.’

Jake raised his head. Devonte Ray, head of the Home Security Bureau, appeared to be sitting on the black plastic of the Cheyenne’s rear seat. His short, tightly-curled hair was pure white. His lips were chapped. A line of sun-block ran down the centre of his nose. He looked way older than his 65 biological, Jake thought. If Dev Ray hadn’t known the great Roland Nelson personally, you’d have thought he was a One Lifer.

‘You know?’ It was all Jake could manage.

‘Yes. I know.’

There was a silence.

At last Jake spoke. ‘Is Ed really dead?’

‘Everyone on-site.’ When Devonte Ray frowned, the wrinkles which crowded his face collapsed into one another. ‘Each person. Without exception.’


Biotime 30: “There are no survivors”

Here is the thirtieth droplet of my dystopic sci-fi novel Biotime.  If you’ve missed the rest, read the story so far here.

Jake searches Franco Ardizzione’s house; finds evidence of a Biotime crime; then sets off to meet his best friend Ed Zipper before Ed’s wife Abigail can give birth at the Hughes Procreation Center.  Before he can reach Santa Monica, a news flash interrupts all programming:

In a corner of the holo, Jake saw the anchor shaking her head. Her image disappeared for a few long seconds. When it reappeared, her cheeks and nose were red.

‘This is an announcement from the Central Authority.’ She paused, and took a deep breath.

Biotime Cover

Biotime.  The future, today.  Excerpt 30

Franco Ardizzione’s body lay motionless beside the bed. It took Jake seconds to transmit the contents of Franco’s bracelet to the Home Security Bureau. The experts in Aspen would analyse every detail of the dead man’s credit, purchase and employment records, travel, communications and health. If they wanted, they could access his pulse, blood pressure and drug consumption record since the day was born. Soon they would know Franco better than the little man had ever known himself.

But Jake hadn’t come for Franco’s bracelet.

He checked the bedroom and the holo chamber, where he was distracted to find girl triplets from a romance weepy, undisturbed by the past hour’s events, still plotting their revenge on the cad who’d jilted all three of them. The hygiene area offered little scope for hiding anything; but the kitchen was a favourite place, packed with bulky electrical appliances. An inspection of an antique food processor revealed nothing untoward. The circuitry of the US-manufactured Dial-Eze ordering terminal seemed no messier than usual, and the home laundry center had obviously not been shifted since the house was built.

Jake stood in the centre of the kitchen. It was mid-day. The CA recovery team would be here any moment. “I got ‘Time,” Franco had said. Where did he keep it?


Biotime 29: “A second gladiator, in a studded leather G-string”

Here is the twenty-ninth droplet of my dystopic sci-fi novel Biotime.  If you’ve missed the rest, read the story so far here.

At the Hughes Procreation Center Athena, mysterious and inexplicably beautiful, prepares to commit an unspeakable crime.  Inside, Abigail Zipper prepares to give birth, watched by her antsy husband, Ed.  Abigail wishes Jake Moonrath could be there to keep Ed company.  Meanwhile in Beverley Hills, Jake himself finds his efforts to reach Hughes in a hurry stymied by a medical officer watching a gladiator holo he’s set up on the roof of the cab.

It’s not looking good for Ed, Abigail and the new baby.

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Biotime.  The future, today.  Excerpt 29


Across the road from the Hughes Procreation Center, the blonde woman in the Feeding Frenzy summoned an audio connection on her bracelet and began to talk. The communications link thus established was, by dint of superior processing power, twenty billion times more secure than anything the US government’s security agencies were capable of decrypting. But the organisation she worked for was not short of money; and what was left of the US government had just about given up trying.

‘I am ready,’ she said. ‘Time is 11.45.’

‘Good.’ A man’s voice. ‘Latest figures show over ten thousand inside.’

There was a silence.

‘Ten thousand about the minimum we need, actually,’ the woman said.


Biotime 28: “Something warm spattered his face”

Here is the twenty-eighth droplet of my dystopic sci-fi novel Biotime.  If you’ve missed the rest, read the story so far here.

Jake’s repossession of ‘Time-expired Jennifer’s stolen lifetime ends in disaster as Franco Ardizzione does something utterly unexpected live on-air with “an ancient handgun – a primitive thing made to fire metal bullets”.  Now Jake really has a problem.

Biotime Cover

Biotime.  The future, today.  Excerpt 28

‘It’s my job to return stolen Biotime to its owners.’ If only he could tell her about his parents. But she wouldn’t understand. Jake turned to Franco. ‘How the hell do you know about me?’

Suddenly, the little man’s composure cracked. ‘All I know is, you’re the meanest double-crossing bastard I ever set eyes on and… ‘ he slumped to his knees on the Outlive-U. ‘Don’t put me under, man, I’ll do anything, I got ‘Time. Please? I don’t want to wake up 15 years older.’

Jake stepped back. The mood-swing was wrong. ‘Away from the bed, Franco.’

‘I beg you.’ Franco’s voice had dwindled to a whine. His hand was under the bed.

‘Stand up now. Last warning – ‘


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