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ami r blackwelder

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The Shifters of 2040
by ami r blackwelder   

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Category: 

Science Fiction

Publisher:  Eloquent enraptures ISBN-10:  1453785132 Type: 
Pages: 

315

Copyright:  Dec 2010 ISBN-13:  9781453785133
Fiction

America 2040.
Three Species. Divided Lovers. The Race is on for Planet Earth.


Summary: Set in Alaska in 2040, Melissa Marn and Bruce Wilder must work under the iron fist of the SCM, while still trying to maintain humanity. Discovering a world of shifters and hybrids, the scientists must struggle with human prejudice and betrayal. With the original ancestors, dubbed shifters, still living on earth, humans are in the midst of a fifteen year old war. As the eldest hybrids, Unseen and Diamond, learn about humans the hard way, with the loss of loved ones and sacrifices, love on planet earth proves challenging.

With underlining themes of how prejudice breaks human connections and animal/wildlife conservation, this novel which has received rave reviews will leave the reader flipping through the pages.

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Ami Blackwelder's Novels

Pincers

 

Early March-

 

In the early morning, Melissa Marn rushed down the hall, her high heels clicking against the marble floor, and her white lab coat billowing behind her. The SCM (Shifter Counterinsurgency Military) ID badge dangled from her lapel, bouncing with each step.  Dr. Bruce Wilder, a fellow scientist, followed with just as strong determination. The intensity in his dark eyes, and brows shifted at inward angles, told everyone to move out of the way.

“Please, don’t do this,” Bruce begged behind her, quickening his step, but Melissa moved faster. She jerked her head back in his direction, her hair whipping around.

“I have to. I don’t have a choice. Just like you don’t have a choice,” she argued. Their heated words hit the walls of the SCM base, inviting public ears. Bruce gripped her arm and swung her around to face him.

“Don’t,” he pled one last time.

Melissa lowered her head, sighing.  “If I don’t, someone else will.” She twisted away from him and hurried to turn the corner, disappearing from Bruce’s sight. He shook his head, returned to the lab and quieted his mind with busy work.

Melissa raised her head as she entered the Observation room. This order, however disagreeable, required her participation. Her career balanced on successfully accomplishing such experiments, on such moral ambiguities. Rejecting Colonel Raul’s commands would only lead to punishment, and even dismissal.

To a civilian, the order would have offered a choice. Discharge would not be that bad. Returning to life, to freedom, would bring relief. But to the well-trained SCM, to Melissa, no choice existed. The weight of guilt, disappointment, failure and rejection would stink and hang between her and her father for the rest of her life. She couldn’t accept that. Her father would never accept that.

Her fingerprint identification opened the sealed doors. She walked through to two specially formed plastic cots where two alien shifters had been held since six in the morning. Drained of color, they were nearing death. Another shifter dangled against the back wall, clinging to a web of rubber tubes. The grey fluid within him pulsed in and out of his body. Without consciousness, the shifter hung to be studied, examined, probed.

The rubber locks that held the two shadowy shapes to the cots had been especially designed by SCM scientists to prevent shifters from breaking free, the same rubber-jelly used around the iron bars in the cages of the holding room. Three restraints from the bottom, center, and top ensured each shifter had no wiggle room. A few scientists, along with Colonel Raul, stood behind the observation glass above the lab.  E-boards and video cameras documented all the data, every detail and discovery. 

“You may begin, Dr. Marn.” The ominous, deep voice of the colonel pierced her ears. 

The needle Melissa injected into the first shifter caused the yellow hued internal light to flicker. Pain. She sucked a grey fluid, some kind of blood, from the body. Her assistant, standing beside her, prepared to take the tube of shifter fluid away. Placing the tube into the masculine hand, belonging to a face Melissa hardly noticed, she readied her mind for the next step.

She pointed an elongated metal stick with a sharp point over the shifter’s lower jelly-body. Her hand quivered a second before she remembered the colonel watched her, examined her, like she was the experiment. After a moment of hesitation, she pierced the jelly-skin, slowly inserting to reach the cylinder of light. The photons flickered and shards of photons propelled from the shifter’s malleable body. 

The heat of the light burned Melissa’s uncovered forehead and she withdrew a minute before returning to finish. She lowered her face mask and continued inserting the long metal stick. Pincers emerged from the end and broke off a small amount of the cylinder before retreating back inside the metal stick.

Melissa pulled the stick out with precision. She wanted to inflict as little harm as she could in this inhumane research. But then, the shifters didn’t remind her much of anything human, or of anything living.  They had invaded Earth in 2020 and, since that time, had acquired the ability to turn into animals or humans for short periods of time.

The assistant took the metal stick away from Melissa and placed the pseudo-biopsy into a plastic red bag next to the bagged tube of grey fluid. Melissa curled her lip in disgust with herself, with her predicament. But curiosity drew her forward. She knew conducting this kind of biopsy when the shifter had died would not provide as useful information. They needed to study the cylinder of light while it still lived. 

Then the colonel commanded the third part to the research.  “Let’s hurry up, Dr. Marn. We must finish studying these...things... before lunch. I have a meeting.”

Melissa’s glance darted to the glass up behind her. Then, a knife sliced a thin piece of the jelly-body off the shifter, leaving the entity flickering in dimming lights, causing the shifter beside the cot to jerk in attempts at freedom.

As the shards of intense photons flew from the wounded shifter, Melissa approached the second cot and raised the electrical prod. The rod of electricity stung the jelly-skin of the prisoner, and jolted the already fueled photons to overcharge. The shadow shifted into a human, then a bear, a wolf and then returned to the shadow shape as if each change offered a better chance at freeing itself from the rubber locks. The shifter convulsed for several minutes while the yellow lights turned gold and then black.

Melissa turned her head away and refused to watch the deliberate pain inflicted, to merely learn how much electricity the SCM needed to wound, stun and kill shifters. Once the shifter returned to a still state, the shadow regained what Melissa called consciousness, and the blackness retreated as yellow lights returned.

“Why doesn’t it just transform into a mouse and slide out from under the braces?” scientist Ned Tesk asked from behind the glass.

“It must transform into only living animals, and must also occupy at least the same amount of space. Like water, fluid in form, it can alter to the container’s shape. But whatever it chooses to alter into, the shape will always remain at least as large as a human, still limiting itself underneath the clasps,” scientist Roger Furre behind the glass responded.

“We need to know how they transport, penetrate,” the colonel’s harsh voice interrupted over the intercom. “Move on to step five.” 

Melissa hit the red button on a screen above her. Manipulating different environments, a box above the cot lowered and when it opened, plastics, rubbers, metals, nano materials, and finally wires extended one-by-one and lowered to the prisoner, testing each material’s effects.

When the wire extended over the jelly substance, the jolted shifter disappeared. The scientists pressed their faces against the glass for a closer view. Melissa glanced up at the wire and the usual pink hue fell from her face, instantly recognizing what the shifter had done and the power it wielded.

“Where has it gone?” the colonel shouted. scientist Samantha Croon scrambled for a solution, an answer to soothe him. Tossing e-papers, she replayed the video.

“Inside the wire,” Melissa commented with a grin, either at the genius of the DNA code of the shifter species, or at her talents as a scientist and observer.

The room filled with silence and then the shifter who had vanished spilled out of the wire and reassembled over the hard floor. The shadow shape metamorphosed into a large white bear, thrusting wide paws at the assistant. Growls permeated the room. Melissa leapt toward the wall behind her while the large beast clawed the assistant dead. His lifeless limbs fell, his head hit the floor with a thud and Melissa jumped at the sound.

The colonel hit his palm against an emergency knob next to the sealed door, causing red lights to alarm and beam inside the Observation room. The oversized bear bellowed, his jaws dropped open and extended, sharp teeth protruded. Drool dripped from his mouth and he swung his head around at Melissa in one violent jerk.

Blood drained from the assistant’s body behind the beast as the bear approached Melissa and she screamed, not realizing the intensity of her fear. Upon her dropping to her knees, the Observation room door slid open and five SCM soldiers fired their rifles.

Bullets thudded into the back of the beast, knocking him forward and landing on his chest a couple feet from Melissa. The bear shifted slowly, resuming his natural form, with black light inside of him. With her back pressed against the wall, her hands shook. The white lab coat had stained with squirted blood from the assistant, and again from the bear when bullets ripped through his fur and body.

Melissa held herself as her shocked stare dropped to her knees, witnessing the splatter of blood all over her clothes. One of the soldiers rushed toward her and extended his hand to help her stand.

When she found her balance, he let her go and resumed his duty. But before she had time to flee the room, another soldier, under command from the colonel, positioned his rifle over the restrained shifter and fired twice, blowing a chunk of the jelly substance onto the floor. He then shot a few times at the shifter hanging against the wall. All the alien lights dimmed permanently to black.

 

* * *

 

In the dark, musty lab room, shifters of internal pulsating light moved in slow motion and surrounded her, threatening to overwhelm her as they shot electricity toward her. They looked like a storm of falling stars, beautiful and dangerous all the same. Raising her hands to hide her eyes from the blinding photons, she stumbled two steps backward. A shifter lunged, knocking into her shoulder bone, but her refined reflexes gripped the monster, hand to beast, and she thrust the monstrosity down with one hard thud onto a cot in the lab.

Other shifters faded around her, lights dimmed. Restraining the shifter in her hands, she bound the monster with rubber clamps, and leaned over the glowing eyes to begin research. From her elbows down, her arms had now become two stainless steel pincers, clicking the blades together, moving closer and closer to the squirming shifter, the sight of her metallic arms repulsive to her. Inserting her right pincer, she winced when the shifter image mirrored her own face and emitted a scream, high and piercing.

Bolting upright in bed, she scanned her dark bedroom and held herself in her arms, calming her breathing. Stroking her arms, she stared at her hands, her human hands, and realized the event was only a nightmare, but her body still shook at the dreamed image of her face staring back at her on the cot in the lab. For a moment, she felt fragile. She grabbed two white sleeping tablets from her nightstand and sipped from the glass of water by her bedside. She relaxed and lowered her body under the sheets as she dropped her head to the pillow, telling herself “it was just a dream, just a dream.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Excerpt


Pincers

Early March-

In the early morning, Melissa Marn rushed down the hall, her high heels clicking against the marble floor, and her white lab coat billowing behind her. The SCM (Shifter Counterinsurgency Military) ID badge dangled from her lapel, bouncing with each step. Dr. Bruce Wilder, a fellow scientist, followed with just as strong determination. The intensity in his dark eyes, and brows shifted at inward angles, told everyone to move out of the way.
“Please, don’t do this,” Bruce begged behind her, quickening his step, but Melissa moved faster. She jerked her head back in his direction, her hair whipping around.
“I have to. I don’t have a choice. Just like you don’t have a choice,” she argued. Their heated words hit the walls of the SCM base, inviting public ears. Bruce gripped her arm and swung her around to face him.
“Don’t,” he pled one last time.
Melissa lowered her head, sighing. “If I don’t, someone else will.” She twisted away from him and hurried to turn the corner, disappearing from Bruce’s sight. He shook his head, returned to the lab and quieted his mind with busy work.
Melissa raised her head as she entered the Observation room. This order, however disagreeable, required her participation. Her career balanced on successfully accomplishing such experiments, on such moral ambiguities. Rejecting Colonel Raul’s commands would only lead to punishment, and even dismissal.
To a civilian, the order would have offered a choice. Discharge would not be that bad. Returning to life, to freedom, would bring relief. But to the well-trained SCM, to Melissa, no choice existed. The weight of guilt, disappointment, failure and rejection would stink and hang between her and her father for the rest of her life. She couldn’t accept that. Her father would never accept that.
Her fingerprint identification opened the sealed doors. She walked through to two specially formed plastic cots where two alien shifters had been held since six in the morning. Drained of color, they were nearing death. Another shifter dangled against the back wall, clinging to a web of rubber tubes. The grey fluid within him pulsed in and out of his body. Without consciousness, the shifter hung to be studied, examined, probed.
The rubber locks that held the two shadowy shapes to the cots had been especially designed by SCM scientists to prevent shifters from breaking free, the same rubber-jelly used around the iron bars in the cages of the holding room. Three restraints from the bottom, center, and top ensured each shifter had no wiggle room. A few scientists, along with Colonel Raul, stood behind the observation glass above the lab. E-boards and video cameras documented all the data, every detail and discovery.
“You may begin, Dr. Marn.” The ominous, deep voice of the colonel pierced her ears.
The needle Melissa injected into the first shifter caused the yellow hued internal light to flicker. Pain. She sucked a grey fluid, some kind of blood, from the body. Her assistant, standing beside her, prepared to take the tube of shifter fluid away. Placing the tube into the masculine hand, belonging to a face Melissa hardly noticed, she readied her mind for the next step.
She pointed an elongated metal stick with a sharp point over the shifter’s lower jelly-body. Her hand quivered a second before she remembered the colonel watched her, examined her, like she was the experiment. After a moment of hesitation, she pierced the jelly-skin, slowly inserting to reach the cylinder of light. The photons flickered and shards of photons propelled from the shifter’s malleable body.
The heat of the light burned Melissa’s uncovered forehead and she withdrew a minute before returning to finish. She lowered her face mask and continued inserting the long metal stick. Pincers emerged from the end and broke off a small amount of the cylinder before retreating back inside the metal stick.
Melissa pulled the stick out with precision. She wanted to inflict as little harm as she could in this inhumane research. But then, the shifters didn’t remind her much of anything human, or of anything living. They had invaded Earth in 2020 and, since that time, had acquired the ability to turn into animals or humans for short periods of time.
The assistant took the metal stick away from Melissa and placed the pseudo-biopsy into a plastic red bag next to the bagged tube of grey fluid. Melissa curled her lip in disgust with herself, with her predicament. But curiosity drew her forward. She knew conducting this kind of biopsy when the shifter had died would not provide as useful information. They needed to study the cylinder of light while it still lived.
Then the colonel commanded the third part to the research. “Let’s hurry up, Dr. Marn. We must finish studying these...things... before lunch. I have a meeting.”
Melissa’s glance darted to the glass up behind her. Then, a knife sliced a thin piece of the jelly-body off the shifter, leaving the entity flickering in dimming lights, causing the shifter beside the cot to jerk in attempts at freedom.
As the shards of intense photons flew from the wounded shifter, Melissa approached the second cot and raised the electrical prod. The rod of electricity stung the jelly-skin of the prisoner, and jolted the already fueled photons to overcharge. The shadow shifted into a human, then a bear, a wolf and then returned to the shadow shape as if each change offered a better chance at freeing itself from the rubber locks. The shifter convulsed for several minutes while the yellow lights turned gold and then black.
Melissa turned her head away and refused to watch the deliberate pain inflicted, to merely learn how much electricity the SCM needed to wound, stun and kill shifters. Once the shifter returned to a still state, the shadow regained what Melissa called consciousness, and the blackness retreated as yellow lights returned.
“Why doesn’t it just transform into a mouse and slide out from under the braces?” scientist Ned Tesk asked from behind the glass.
“It must transform into only living animals, and must also occupy at least the same amount of space. Like water, fluid in form, it can alter to the container’s shape. But whatever it chooses to alter into, the shape will always remain at least as large as a human, still limiting itself underneath the clasps,” scientist Roger Furre behind the glass responded.
“We need to know how they transport, penetrate,” the colonel’s harsh voice interrupted over the intercom. “Move on to step five.”
Melissa hit the red button on a screen above her. Manipulating different environments, a box above the cot lowered and when it opened, plastics, rubbers, metals, nano materials, and finally wires extended one-by-one and lowered to the prisoner, testing each material’s effects.
When the wire extended over the jelly substance, the jolted shifter disappeared. The scientists pressed their faces against the glass for a closer view. Melissa glanced up at the wire and the usual pink hue fell from her face, instantly recognizing what the shifter had done and the power it wielded.
“Where has it gone?” the colonel shouted. scientist Samantha Croon scrambled for a solution, an answer to soothe him. Tossing e-papers, she replayed the video.
“Inside the wire,” Melissa commented with a grin, either at the genius of the DNA code of the shifter species, or at her talents as a scientist and observer.
The room filled with silence and then the shifter who had vanished spilled out of the wire and reassembled over the hard floor. The shadow shape metamorphosed into a large white bear, thrusting wide paws at the assistant. Growls permeated the room. Melissa leapt toward the wall behind her while the large beast clawed the assistant dead. His lifeless limbs fell, his head hit the floor with a thud and Melissa jumped at the sound.
The colonel hit his palm against an emergency knob next to the sealed door, causing red lights to alarm and beam inside the Observation room. The oversized bear bellowed, his jaws dropped open and extended, sharp teeth protruded. Drool dripped from his mouth and he swung his head around at Melissa in one violent jerk.
Blood drained from the assistant’s body behind the beast as the bear approached Melissa and she screamed, not realizing the intensity of her fear. Upon her dropping to her knees, the Observation room door slid open and five SCM soldiers fired their rifles.
Bullets thudded into the back of the beast, knocking him forward and landing on his chest a couple feet from Melissa. The bear shifted slowly, resuming his natural form, with black light inside of him. With her back pressed against the wall, her hands shook. The white lab coat had stained with squirted blood from the assistant, and again from the bear when bullets ripped through his fur and body.
Melissa held herself as her shocked stare dropped to her knees, witnessing the splatter of blood all over her clothes. One of the soldiers rushed toward her and extended his hand to help her stand.
When she found her balance, he let her go and resumed his duty. But before she had time to flee the room, another soldier, under command from the colonel, positioned his rifle over the restrained shifter and fired twice, blowing a chunk of the jelly substance onto the floor. He then shot a few times at the shifter hanging against the wall. All the alien lights dimmed permanently to black.

* * *

In the dark, musty lab room, shifters of internal pulsating light moved in slow motion and surrounded her, threatening to overwhelm her as they shot electricity toward her. They looked like a storm of falling stars, beautiful and dangerous all the same. Raising her hands to hide her eyes from the blinding photons, she stumbled two steps backward. A shifter lunged, knocking into her shoulder bone, but her refined reflexes gripped the monster, hand to beast, and she thrust the monstrosity down with one hard thud onto a cot in the lab.
Other shifters faded around her, lights dimmed. Restraining the shifter in her hands, she bound the monster with rubber clamps, and leaned over the glowing eyes to begin research. From her elbows down, her arms had now become two stainless steel pincers, clicking the blades together, moving closer and closer to the squirming shifter, the sight of her metallic arms repulsive to her. Inserting her right pincer, she winced when the shifter image mirrored her own face and emitted a scream, high and piercing.
Bolting upright in bed, she scanned her dark bedroom and held herself in her arms, calming her breathing. Stroking her arms, she stared at her hands, her human hands, and realized the event was only a nightmare, but her body still shook at the dreamed image of her face staring back at her on the cot in the lab. For a moment, she felt fragile. She grabbed two white sleeping tablets from her nightstand and sipped from the glass of water by her bedside. She relaxed and lowered her body under the sheets as she dropped her head to the pillow, telling herself “it was just a dream, just a dream.”











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