The next excerpt comes from a Science Fiction series of mine, set on Mars…
Calliope McKinney has the dubious honor of being a member of one of Mars’ famous First Families, and Psi. But when her position as a member of a prestigious family places Calli in the middle of a fight for the survival of all Psis on Mars, she’ll have to decide where her loyalties lay, and whom to trust, because if she’s not very careful, she could end up dead.
“Virtual Reality” – Excerpt from DEAD MEN… (Section Psi, Book #4):
Her gaze dropped sadly to the body, again, and she reached to touch Bryana’s hand – something she hadn’t dared to do with the real body. “Drugs would have messed with the image, eventually, and Bryana was all about her image.”
She blinked, and looked up, surprised to find him crouched on Bryana’s other side, his expression concerned. “You knew her, didn’t you?”
Calli’s eyes dropped away from his, again, determined to not let him see any real emotion. Her gaze dropped to Bryana, and she blinked again. Too bad she couldn’t blame it on allergies, here in the Lexus. “She was my friend.”
Her gaze focused on Bryana’s hands, which were clenched in fists against her chest. Calli’s brow furrowed. A dull glow emanated from the body’s clenched fists. That was something she couldn’t remember noticing at the real crime scene. And yet, she must have, to recreate it here, right?
“What is it?”
Calli ignored Drew as she grasped the Lexus image’s wrist, and eased it away from her body. The arm was stiffened with rigor, and she had to wrestle it over to where she could work the fingers apart. She stared down at the shimmery, phosphorescent substance that covered the inside of Bryana’s palm. “What the hell is this?”
He leaned closer, and she swore she caught the scent of him. No one was that good, when it came to avatar building. She stared at him, and his eyes met hers as he looked up. “VRDs.”
“Virtual Reality Drugs. That’s what killed your friend here. They’re—”
“I know what VRDs are, Drew,” she cut him off in exasperation. “They’re sensation enhancers that can fool people into believing that what happens in the Lexus is real. It could definitely explain why she looks like she’s scared out of her mind. But how do you translate application of VRDs into the real world?”
He shook his head. “You don’t. They don’t exist out there; they’re little more than programming sequence meant to fool the brain. That’s probably why you saw no signs of this out there. The drug only shows up here.”
She frowned, knowing he was right. It was a twisted kind of logic that had originally led to the development of Virtual Reality Drugs. Mostly, they were used in sexual experimentation, but like everything else, they were quickly perverted into a way to detach from reality, and to take another mind captive. She shuddered as she met Drew’s gaze again. “So, how do I find out which VRD did this?”
A small, wry smile pulled up his lips as Bryana’s body faded from view. “Do you trust me?”
That was the million-credit question, and she hadn’t the faintest idea how to answer him.
“Do I have a choice?”
Stay tuned for more from Section Psi — coming soon from Desert Breeze Publishing ! Meanwhile, check out my website for more of my books, both Science Fiction and Fantasy, and the upcoming release of Project Prometheus!