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    Deep Black Road
    Allen Scovil
    Ricky has a crush on Suzanne, who doesn’t care if he exists. Then they get roboticized, and must find their way in a world uninterested in free-thinking robots. Running afoul of the evil Dr. Mella, they must fix their own differences before Ricky faces the ‘great and terrible’ destiny God gave him.

    Price:  $8.99

    book excerpt

    Ricky stared down from his perch high in the girder-work. He’d been hanging suspended between two pieces of metal framing—his hands gripping one, and his feet hooked in the other—since he had broken in at three in the morning. It was now seven in the evening, and nothing had happened except for a couple of emaciated rats scurrying across the floor. To pass the time, he’d been reading several of the novells and collections of stories that he’d downloaded at the university along with all the technical stuff.

    He was also monitoring the building’s Sentinel in the back of his mind, but when the rear door finally opened, the Sentinel didn’t catch it.

    How’d that happen? Ricky wondered, immediately alert.

    Lights starting coming on, and a man said, “That’s spooky—a door that you have to open yourself, and lights that don’t turn on automatically.”

    “Like I said,” said a second man, “this whole place has been rigged so Sentinel can’t see us if we don’t want it to.”

    “Amazing. I never thought I’d ever run into something like that.”

    “That is what we’re fighting against after all. Because of those accursed links, the authorities can know where we’re at and what we’re doing.”

    “I know, and you Followers have a big problem with that.”

    That got Ricky’s attention. This sounds like a potential insurrection alright, he thought. For sure they must be hiding something if they don’t like the link.

    But I got rid of mine. What’s that make me?

    I don’t have time for that right now. I need to know what kinds of weapons they’re dealing in.

    The men, dressed in the drab gray of workers’ clothing, entered the main area below him. The taller of the two led the way, finally stopping at a stack of medium-sized rectangular beige plastic boxes piled against one wall. “They’re all in these,” he said in the voice of the first speaker as he patted the top one.

    “Thanks for all your trouble,” said the heavy-set man, who was sporting a graying beard. “That should be plenty. Let’s get them out to the truck.”

    They each grabbed a crate and headed to the back.

    As soon as the door closed, Ricky dropped to the floor, using his rockets at the last instant to break his fall. He ducked behind a large container to wait and to study the image he’d gotten of those boxes, to see if there was any way to remove one from the stack without the men noticing right away. He wanted to take a peek inside it to confirm that it did indeed contain arms.

    Yes, he thought. I can pull out that one on the bottom at the back, and the boxes above won’t move.

    A couple of minutes later, he had the surprisingly-heavy box. Opening it, he found it to be full of odd rectangular objects, each about the size of at least a half-dozen interfacers stacked together. They sure didn’t look like any weapons he’d ever heard of. Explosives maybe? Gingerly picking one up, he discovered that its cardboard shell opened on one side, exposing a bound set of paper sheets which had lettering on them, similar to a book on a interfacer—probably not explosive.

    Okay, he thought. Why would somebody go to all the trouble of making paper ‘books’?

    Flipping the one he held around, he searched for a title, and found it inside the lid—‘The Sacred Writings: The Coming of the Anointed One’. Grabbing another ‘book’, he found that its title was the same. In fact as near as he could tell they were all identical versions of the same document.

    He’d seen enough. Hastily scanning several pages into memory as evidence, he returned the ‘books’ to the box, then shoved the box back into place, hopped up on top of the container, and back into the rafters to wait for the two men to finish their task.

    Once the last of the boxes had been removed, he popped through he roof access panel that he’d opened with the test access code when he broke in.

    The taller man was getting into a small blue car, while the other man clambered into a smallish old white truck that actually had wheels, but which had no other distinguishing markings. Once the vehicles were running, Ricky hopped down onto the ground, then leaped up onto the roof of the truck’s box—gently, so as to not alert the man in the front—lay flat on the roof and signaled its link for identification. There was no response, hough the car gave one which he stored for later.

    Did they go and disable its link like they did with the boxes? he thought. Well I better stick with them until I’m sure there’s nothing else going on. Besides, I’d really like to know more about people who use that kind of ‘weapon’.

    And it’s a good thing night’s coming—I’ll be that much harder to see.
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