Reminder For New Readers!

Incoming Transmission from the Wordsmith of Sol…

Just wanted to make new readers aware, as well as remind older readers, of my 2 eBooks for sale on Kindle. The first is an Action Sci-Fi novel, while the second is the first annual ebook of the Archives. (Most proceeds go to upgrading/maintaining the site) So without further belaboring, here’s a couple links and descriptions. Thanks for reading!!

SMN

The Omega Device (The Ha-Shan Chronicles: Vol. 1)

Coming Soon!

Description: When Tattooist Maggie Doherty’s client is found murdered, Detective Russell Williams discovers an identical tattoo on another, recent murder-victim. Her obvious innocence leaves Russell perplexed, and with little more than a promise of future aid from her.

But their brief association has unwittingly made them targets for a group known only as Omega. Both must swiftly accept that life as they know it has changed, and prepare to uncover secrets buried by time, or else fall in a battle that might determine the very fate of Humanity.

The Logbook Archives: Volume 1: July 2015 – July 2016

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Description: Dive into S.M. Nolan’s Sci-Fi Logbook with the first-annual edition of The Logbook Archives. Featuring over 100 short-stories and poems from Sci-Fi Author S.M. Nolan, spanning July 2015 to July 2016, this collection of works will keep you riveted through each story and page. Beginning with a special foreword from the author, this collection is a must-have for anyone wishing to show their support for S.M. Nolan and the Logbook.

Transmission ends.

Poetry-Thing Thursday: Keep On My Way

Keys clack tales,
over the smell of black coffee.
Hands off the rails,
and mind rich like fresh toffee.

Worlds and cities.
Men and women.
All written as ditties,
from others once given.

The only time the keys ever stop,
are to light a smoke, swish coffee, or punch the clock.
Leaving me most days at the top,
but some others, weighted, beneath the dock.

Though I want no sympathy,
I must admit,
that when without empathy,
I often think to quit.

For life is short,
and death far too long,
to waste in the court,
of a lost lover’s song.

But something keeps me calling,
back on my muse,
and whether flying or falling,
I’m paying my dues.

Whether bound to in blood,
or by some sense of duty,
pages and pages I’ll flood,
whether with horror or beauty.

But I must reiterate,
that I’ve come close to starving,
hoping to instill,
mental or emotional carvings.

Without readers and others near me,
to keep me afloat,
I would drown in the sea,
of a success-surrounding moat.

For now I’ll just say,
that no matter the biting,
I’ll keep on my way,
and continue writing.

Short Story: Vanguard

A bright flash. A concussive boom. She stumbled in her run, blind and deaf. Her HUD had been knocked out. It flickered in her vision, spurting lines of colors. That meant her her optics had gone too. An EMP-flashbang. Bastards. EMPs, meant to disorient the cybernetically augmented and their tech, her. Getting out was important, but seeing was even more important.

She felt, rather than heard, the thump of boots. They flooded the narrow corridor behind her. She knew the place’s floor-plan from memory, but in her stumbling run, wasn’t sure she’d make the right turns. She booked it, both oblivious and fiercely aware of the platoon aimed to fire on her.

They told her this would happen; her friends, family. Not the blood kind of course. Shitty parents and siblings had long been an epidemic in this brave new world. Her family particularly, were corp through and through, Aries SC, Guardian LLC, Arc Systems, or one the other big ones, it didn’t matter who belonged to which. Wage-slaves and tin-soldiers were all there was room for these days, and she knew her family was a conglomerate of half of them.

She had meant her real family. Not her blood, but the people down at The Green Fairy, one of the slum-bar-hotel combos where she lived, worked, survived and thrived. Even running blindly from corp-sec down a hallway, optics half-fried, she remembered the first time she’d walked into the place.

She was still a teenaged hell-raiser in those days. Short, spiked, platinum blonde hair accented ever-present facial piercings, and self-satisfied smugness. That was before her eyes had the neon glow of optic augs, but even then she couldn’t have been called innocent, however definite an air of naivete hung about her.

She stumbled again, pictures ebbing back into her eyes. She slid around a corner, felt the thunder of a hand-cannon split the air. It barked after her. Metal on metal grated her teeth.

How the hell’d she get here? She’d showed up at the Fairy to stay the night. With no creds, or even corp-cash, she was forced to slave away mopping floors. They’d lost their only janitor a few weeks before in a gang-raid. It wasn’t the first, and she’d seen her fair-share since. It was how she got the name Cutter; she’d been attacked like everyone else, but by a guy that wanted more than a piece of her ass. She gutted him like a fish with his own knife. The sheer atavism made the other gangers freak. The Fairy’s people took advantage of it. A few more gangers went down in gunfire. The rest bolted.

She still remembered feeling the guy hard against her. He’d grabbed her from behind in a room she’d been cleaning. He stank like month-old ashtrays smothered in grease and piled with stale butts. She managed to wriggle from his grip, slip out and behind him. As he turned to grab her again, she gave his testes a full, hard kick. The force staggered them both. He toppled onto her, screaming. She fought to get out from under him, somehow grasped a knife he had hanging from his belt.

She remembered everything clearly, like it had only just happened, but not the murder. Her first blood. She only remembered standing just outside the room, covered in blood, bile, and stinking of the guy’s bowels. The knife trembled under her white-knuckles as Den Mother found her. The Old lady was a whore, running the place as a brothel– among other things. That Cutter’d drawn blood, nearly been killed defending the place, made her one of the Fairy’s Vanguard from then on.

That’s why she was here now, in this damned corp building. She’d actually been fooled into believing the place was home. Hell, maybe it was by now.

She hurled herself around another corner. Her vision had almost fully returned. Her optics were still going haywire, but she saw the double-doors leading to the loading bay. Its internal storage room stretched out behind a wall beside her. She could feel the van waiting, already running. Too bad her augs were scrambled, or she might’ve called for suppressing fire.

Den Mother had sent her here– all of them actually– but the rest weren’t forced to come inside. Den Mother had long been paying-off corps to keep the Fairy in business. One owned the deed, another the land. As much as they wanted to, they couldn’t take it from her, no matter the amount of illegality going on. Sure, they could send in corp-sec, but Den Mother had made it well-known that she’d blow the place apart with her in it before she’d let them take it. Cutter’d seen the C4 stacked in the basement. It wasn’t a bluff.

Until now, corp-sec had stayed away from the Fairy and its people. In fact, aside from a few skirmishes and narrow escapes after petty theft, Cutter’d never had any trouble with them. But sure enough, after someone in a suit showed up in the Fairy– a weasel-looking guy too sharply dressed for usual, Fairy business– Den Mother pulled the Vanguard in to a pow-wow. Cutter’d never been sure what that really meant, but she knew, when it it was over, that she was about to infiltrate a corp. With the aid of a remote receiver and the Fairy’s resident tech-genius, Dan “The Man”, she’d been tasked to locate and delete all deed information relating to the Fairy and Den Mother.

Cutter watched one of the doors open. Jack the Ripper appeared. Ripper was lethal at any range, and the aimed baby-eagles in his hands said he was all business. The door beside him divoted from rifle fire. Cutter pumped her legs. Ripper stood stock still, damn near invincible with his Kevlar-woven skeleton and armor-plated torso augs. The baby eagles barked and spit lead at corp-sec that dodged for cover at the far end of the hall.

Cutter dove past Ripper into the van’s rear, landed half-in. The Man yanked her the rest of the way. Ripper’s eagles barked. He back-stepped confidently, unrushed and unswayed. He fell in backwards, rolled to come upright, still firing. The baby eagles clicked empty. The Man hit a key on his laptop. The auto-van growled, tires spinning, and tore off into the night.

“You alright?” Ripper asked reloading his eagles.

The Man was too busy hacking the autopilot, spoofing its travel information. A sign on the side of the van said “Aries Security Corp,” so the corp they’d just hacked would have no idea who’d really done the job.

Cutter’s chest heaved for air. Her hands ran along herself to check for holes. Other than a splitting migraine and some wonked-out optics, she was fine. Fine? Alive, more like. She’d probably never been fine, never would be really. At the very least though, her home was safe, secure. The Vanguard had prevailed again.

She swallowed hard, “Yeah. Five-by-Five.” He handed over a canteen and she drank deep. Then with a breath, “Vanguard always wins, right?”

The Omega Device release date and more!

Forgive this post if it turns out a little raw, it’s coming straight from my brain (and heart.) Usually, I write things ahead of time and then sit on them for a few days before posting them. Not this. There’s a reason for that, but I’ll come to that later…

For now, The Omega Device is up for preorder on the Kindle store! By following this link you can pre-purchase it, or if you’re iffy about preorders of things (and I can understand that) just bookmark the page and return on September 6th to pick up your ecopy.

For now, the book will only have a digital release. Why? Because I am self-publishing and cannot afford physical printing, BUT providing the book is successful enough, I will do my best to have it printed.

In addition to this release, I will be launching a Patreon page in the next week or so. If you don’t want to buy the book, (you should, it’s pretty awesome) but would like to see my work continue coming, this is the best alternative. Committing even a dollar a month will help me to continue producing my work and allow me to add more– and trust me, I’m nothing if not full of ideas.

As for why this post is raw, well, needless to say things haven’t been great, personally speaking. Between medical and other issues, the last few weeks have been sort of harrowing, and even though releasing this book is kind of terrifying, it’s also exciting as hell and I couldn’t do it without the support of all of you kind people. So I wanted to take a minute to, as sincerely as possible, show my gratitude.

I was kind of hoping I’d have more to say there, but I digress, my gratitude is eternal, please know that.

So, there’s my short little thing I wanted to say, straight from the brain; The Omega Device, a Patreon Page, and my thanks. If you follow my twitter or facebook, (and you should, ’cause I’m great) you may see me mentioning the book and Patreon a lot in the next few weeks. Sorry if it comes off as spammy, but I’m trying to market it, and I’ve chosen to post a couple times a day in lieu of spending obscene amounts of money on advertising (that I don’t have anyhow.)

So, thank you in advance to everyone who donates or buys my book, and also thank you to everyone who comes by to read my stories. Your regularly scheduled programming will not be effected by this, so make sure to check back for more short stories, poems, and novellas!

 

Short Story: A Lost Cause?

The Paris Incident… what more can be said that hasn’t been already? Everyone knows how it started, everyone knows why it went to shit, and everyone knows how the Americans– the biggest bulls of them all– were silently and willingly castrated. Jesus Christ, we were so stupid.

To understand why Lemaire’s death had such little effect on us, you have to understand where we’d come from. Then, once knowing that, you’d have to understand why we did what we did.

When Lemaire died, and Paris went up in flames, we watched with the rest of the world, petrified just like them. The difference was, we could mount no revolution of our own. Funny thing about being the one with the biggest stick– when its turned on you, you’re pretty well fucked. Blue-collar, white collar; didn’t matter your shirt-color, if you’d found a place to bitch about things, you were jailed before the broader ‘net heard your complaints.

But like I said, you have to understand where we came from. It started decades ago with the first, foreign terrorist attack this country had seen. It wasn’t just a tragic occurrence for us. Other places in the world were used to that sort of thing. Not us. Between the IRA, the middle eastern sects, and the average, everyday nut-jobs Europe was rife with those attacks. Paris, London, Berlin, hell even Belgium and Sweden had felt their fair share of the dirt being kicked up by those fucking jihadists to the south.

Us though? We weren’t like them. We had security, sanctity, sovereignty, and in them, peace of mind.

So when that first attack hit, it was more than just a pin-prick in our overblown ego, it was a god damn gaping hole in the balloon. Unfortunately, that balloon was also our heads and what we did after, even if for the best of reasons, made sure of it. When the time finally came for us to face our demons, we realized we’d left ourselves powerless.

For decades we’d heard from ultra-leftists about the “erosion of freedoms,” while the right pitched its agenda as the “protection of rights.” It was all just rhetoric meant to hide what people were really afraid to say; we were becoming slaves– either to our government, or the corps that eventually took over. We were all chained to 9-to-5s, rising taxes, and crippling debt. Not even the best and brightest of us could escape after college tuition went through the roof. For the first time in history, we started seeing cities– literal cities– go belly up from outrageous debt and unyielding corruption.

So we did what any first world nation would, printed more money and gave it out by the bucketfuls to people whom promised to protect our economy. Ha, yeah, bullshit. What most did was take the money and run. Turns out ol’ Steve Miller was right after all, but our Billy-Joe and Bobby-Sue were Wall Street and the Financial industry. The difference? They didn’t so much shoot a man after robbing his castle as knock us down and trample our faces in mud as they ran roughshod over our country and economy.

So what we eventually had was a whole country of people terrified from a blow to their ego, scraping to get by after a near-totally collapsed economy. Understanding that makes it easier to understand what came next, and led us to our… current, predicament.

It became obvious about a decade after the first attack– the only attack, really– that our freedoms were eroding. Even as the politicians called for increased security, safety, and freedom, they forced laws past that tightened their grip around our throats and our own belts. They bludgeoned rights and freedoms with repeated attempts to pass harsher and more ambiguous laws, gave total power to acronym and police agencies. The shit storm that hit the fan when we later found out– shockingly– that power was used for all the most malicious purposes, was too little too late.

Whod’ve thought, right?

All kidding aside, what we had was a country of pissed off, desperate people too poor, hungry, and terrified to lift themselves up. More importantly, they clutched for anything and everything that even remotely resembled security– you know, that bygone illusory thing we’d always thought we’d had. So when the corps came in to downsize the police force, clean-up the borders, and take-over the already-corrupt justice system, who’d have thought it could get any worse?

No-one. Why? Because we’d never seen such atrocities committed by our own people, let alone against our own people. We were simply naive; a country too young and juvenile in mind to realize we should be careful of the silver spoon fed to us, lest it contain arsenic and cyanide. Instead, we swallowed it whole, gorged ourselves on lies, empty promises, and rhetoric and propaganda that would have shamed the Nazis. All of that, in the hopes that everything would “get better soon.”

The eternal why is simple really, we are naïve, both as a country and as a culture. The English empire has spanned millennia. Even most, legal orders of European countries were hundreds of years older before they fell. Comparatively, we were short-lived. It made us that much easier to conquer. Hearts and minds were a hell of a lot more effective than guns and bombs, and most of corp execs knew that. We didn’t. So they promised everything our hearts desired, and the return of peace of mind through it, and we didn’t hesitate.

In a matter of months, the US police forces were eliminated by various sects of corporate security. The Military went with them. Soldiers were given a choice to stay on with one of various corporations or leave without a second consideration. The Navy was outright eliminated, air superiority a given from the Warhound-Raptors patrolling the skies and coasts in flocks. More to the point, we relinquished any hopes of self-defense in a bid to keep foreign execs happy.

The State and Federal Governments stuck around a little while longer than most civil services to “ease the transition.” More bullshit. What they did was pass a whole slew of laws all that pretty much eliminated the bill of rights and nullified the constitution. Why? They were all bought and paid for. Every last one of them held positions in corps, received weekly checks from their payroll. We learned that the hard way when the last of the governments dissolved– and we clapped and hooted and hollared about it.

And then there was silence.

Fucking deafening silence.

Media outlets went off the air, the ‘net went down, and all but a few vehicles were banned from the streets and skies. Conventional vehicles were outlawed to fatten the corps’ bottom lines through public transport and electric vehicles. The only thing we really owned anymore was our debt– hell from what I hear, even our sperm and eggs aren’t really ours anymore. It belongs to the corps now. Everything. All of it’s just waiting for some reason to be cut off and sold off to lower our life-debts.

I can’t even really be angry. Not really. I’m just disappointed. Our country had so much potential, such an unbelievable beauty and spirit. It seemed nothing could crush it except us. Then we did. Our streets turned into mostly dilapidated, abandoned memories outside inner-cities. Homes are gone too, everyone stuck in corp-owned buildings, prisons, or risking the elements hiding on the cities’ outskirts. None of those is a viable option to me, not really, but I take what I can get.

So, just like yesterday, I’ll slip into my boots, strap on my armor, grab my rifle and go to work. Maybe today someone will stand against us. Maybe I’ll be forced to gun them down. Then again, maybe not. Maybe we’ll be faced with another person standing beside them. Then another, and another until the whole damned country’s ready to die to take back what’s been stolen.

If not, I’ll just go lick the hand that feeds me again. I’d rather bite it, but I’m not gonna’ let it beat me into submission like the other inmates and homeless unless I’ve got a damned good reason. I may have a gun, but really, I’m just another wage-slave with armor in place of a suit.

I don’t know if it matters, or if it really could– you know, to be one who stands up. All I know’s the older I get, the more I start to wonder; are we really a lost cause?

Bonus Short Story: Just Another Day

The horizon was a mix of neon and white with the occasional yellow of an old incandescent or fluorescent bulb in the quilt-work of high-rises. Their exteriors were either gleaming, freshly cleaned cement and steel, or dilapidated brick-work, soot-covered from decades of smog. From a distant enough overhead view, sections of the city-streets would be plastered with headlights from vehicles whose owners had yet to make the switch to flying craft. Only the police craft would stick out, their red and blue flashing in groups or singles.

At one corner drugstore with them, was Detective Arnold Rhein. It wasn’t a stretch to call Rhein a veteran of the force. Indeed, he was well-known by most in the precinct. Even for a brief while, by the Press, when he uncovered a Mayoral-aide’s murder that implicated the Mayor in a scandalous conspiracy.

Those days were long gone now. Rhein was near the end of his rope. He’d prematurely grayed decades ago, before cars flew. Now steel-haired, a permanent, salt and pepper tinted his five o’clock shadow. He’d often scratch it to think, infect the air with sand-paper sounds of nails on scruff.

Presently, sand-paper sounded in Armen’s Corner Drugstore. Rhein squatted at the feet of a fresh stiff. The body wasn’t even cold yet. Obvious signs of a struggle adorned the counter in over turned beef-jerky stacks, scattered candy-bars and other miscellanea.

Armed robbery gone awry. The stiff’s gut-wound said as much. It wasn’t precise or intentional. The bruise formed along the bridge of the stiff’s nose, through its crook and to his forehead, said he’d been headbutted and the gun went off. A trickle of blood that he’d made no attempt to wipe away said he was in shock or dead too soon after for it to gain purchase in his mind.

Rhein straightened to survey the scene better. Armed robbery gone wrong. That was it. Simple. Nothing else stuck out. A few, errant bills had been left behind in the drawer. Small bills, not worth risking the time once the sirens started blaring.

The upstairs neighbor had called the police, come down to check on the clerk and found him dead. The old woman with curlers in her hair was wrapped in a bathrobe assaulting to even the most deadened senses. She was a neon-teal beacon with a powdered-white face from hastily glomed on make-up. The curlers created a laurel around her head of clashing, hot pink.

Rhein looked away. He’d been on the job a lot of years, enough to discern two things; this would end up as another unsolved murder, and that woman had no sense of taste. He strolled back across the drugstore, slipped out for a uniform in charge of the scene. He’d already yielded to Rhein’s experience, acting as middle man to keep the blues orderly while the Detective did his thing.

“Detective,” the uniform said with a nod.

“Officer,” Rhein began. “Call the coroner. There’s nothing here. Typical smash and grab gone wrong. The only way we’d’ve caught the guy is if we’d seen him running out with the cash.”

The officer seemed to understand. He flipped his little memo book closed. Rhein stepped around him and through a line of cruisers to his unmarked, four-wheel car. He’d never cared much for the fliers. They handled like refrigerators, big and bulky with no grace, and undeserving of the power of flight. He preferred the old gas-guzzling, air-polluters he’d known his whole life.

But that was the nature of things now. The old got older until they ended up stiffs, took their ways with ’em to make way for young and new.
He drove on through the city: the future was progress that had no place for him. Traffic was horrendous, but better than before fliers. Everything was different– yet somehow, the same. He wasn’t sure when the change had started, but instinct and memory said somewhere between wives two and three. Now Carol, wife four, was looking to get the long end of the stick. The others hadn’t been so fortunate. Rhein had been “married to the job” before Carol, a cop in his prime, then a detective with something to prove. The relationships could’ve never hoped to survive.

Carol had a detective nearing retirement though. Rhein wasn’t even willing to take the extra effort anymore of double-checking things. He made a call, and it was over. Nose to the ground was for greenies that hadn’t learned the cyclical nature of the city and crime. They were still too young to have the skills that allowed him a lone glance to make a call. Only time and experience could allow for that. Rhein had both, wasn’t sure he wanted either anymore.

To any other Detective, especially a greenie, he’d have seemed a burn out. The truth was paradoxically nearer and further than most knew. Rhein wasn’t a burn-out in the usual sense, he was merely worn down. His mind had gone from the razor-sharpness of a freshly honed blade to the dull, age-worn metal of one eons older. Forty years of work had worn it down.

His unmarked car rolled up to his tenement on the city’s outer-edge. He put it in park and killed the engine. For a moment, he sat there staring, watching cars and fliers pass on the road and in the sky.

The world had changed, and not for the better. His world, the one he’d come from anyway, was smaller, more tightly-knit. People had worked for one another, and with one another, all to make life better. Personal gain had been the side note then, societal gain the main passage. Now everyone was out for themselves. The world was too big. Cities had tripled, quadrupled in size to accommodate the ever-growing global census. With them rose violent crime rates until one could no longer hope to make a difference, no matter how hard they tried. At least, if they could, it took a technique Rhein didn’t know or could never learn.

The old guard had to inexorably resign, move on, fade into history to become a forgotten relic. Why not start here, with himself? He saw no a reason not to.

A few moments later, he exited the elevator to the squalor of his tenement’s hallway, pushed his way into the meager apartment he’d afforded on a cop’s salary. He found Carol in bed, covers up to her chin. He went about quietly undressing, slipped into bed.

She stirred, “How was work?”

He pulled her in to his bare chest, stared emptily at the ceiling, “Just another day.”

Poetry-Thing Thursday: Tech Feelers

Ones and Zeroes
I play the Heroes.
Fantastical realms,
with steel and magical helms.

Engage the light.
Speeds are a fright.
When quantum theory,
becomes computer literary.

With a click and a whir,
holo-screen’s a-blur.
and keys that click and clack,
have become mere thoughts that stack.

Petabytes of information,
become moments of frustration,
as knowledge transforms
and ascends in cyber-storms.

When wi-fi is all around us,
and web 2.0 evolves in a fuss,
the bytes and the bits,
still will not quit.

So don’t fear the future,
or technology,
and don’t try to fight it,
just wait and see–
For reality is realer
when lived with tech feelers