The Edge of Darkness by Vikki Romano – Blog Tour

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The Edge of Darkness
By Vikki Romano
 Release Date
December 17th, 2015
 
Synopsis
In
2065, corporate sponsored governments jockey for supremacy in the biotechnical
arena. Bullets and missiles take a back seat to cyber-enhanced soldiers and
pulse weapons. In this extreme environment, only the most hardened body and
mind can survive.
Calder
McKenna was a failed experiment in the military’s push for power. Now a special
agent for the metro task force, he lives day by day trying to forget the ones
that were lost… the ones that he could have saved.
When
technology and humanity collide, Calder is forced to make desperate decisions,
but how do you destroy the monster without becoming one yourself?


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Excerpt
He almost crushed the package
that leaned against the doorway as he stepped out into the hall, and bent to
pick it up as the door shut and locked itself behind him.
It was a small padded
envelope and had no return address. No markings whatsoever. He felt the
package, squeezed it. Whatever was inside was small.
Poking his thumb into the
corner of the envelope, he tore it open and poured the contents into his hand.
A single data stick. Generic.
He looked in the envelope,
but it was empty. No note or packing slip.
            “Open the door,” he said, and the door clicked and opened
as he turned toward it.
Going back into his
apartment, he tossed the envelope onto a side table and went into the living
room. Waving the stick near a grid on the wall, he looked up at the large inset
screen. Nothing. He tried to scan it into his home system again, but it
wouldn’t upload.
            What the hell?
He held the small stick up
and looked at it more closely. There were no identification marks, no labels.
Nothing. Just a generic black stick shaped like a tiny, blunted pencil.
He sat at the edge of his
coffee table, leaned on his elbow, and pondered the small item in his palm.
            He didn’t normally do this, but using his own neural
uplink to read it was the only other logical option. The processor had been installed
while he was in service, a mandatory installation the special ops soldiers
needed to covertly share and control documents during missions. It had been
wet-wired into his brain, and the small titanium disc that lay beneath his
skull behind his right ear added the ability to store and upload information at
will from an external wireless source. The security was tight, and viruses had
a hard time getting in, so the risk for him was minimal.
Letting out one last breath,
he rolled the stick in his hand then tapped a few codes into the illuminated
numbers on his wrist.
He felt the data stick pulse
in his hand, and suddenly his mind was awash with excruciating color and sound.
He clenched his teeth and
squeezed his eyes shut against the intrusion of immediate pain that flashed
through his body like molten silver.
His brain felt as if it
caught fire.
Roaring, he clutched his head
in his hands and dropped the stick, but whatever it had encapsulated had
already uploaded into his neural systems.
Moments later he found
himself sprawled on the floor, too weak to move. Every muscle in his body
tensed, hardened, setting him rigidly against the floor, curling his fingers
violently into the carpeting.
Holy
fucking Christ!
Calder used every ounce of
energy he had to open his eyes and turn himself over. It was as if he had been
drugged and beaten repeatedly over his entire body. Every muscle throbbed.
Every joint ached. He could not contain the moan that escaped his lips when he
finally turned over and lay flat on his back. Convulsions coursed through his
muscles and his back arched against the pain until he lay exhausted.
The room became blindingly,
painfully bright. He patted himself down awkwardly until he found his shades in
a breast pocket. Struggling to steady his hand to put them on, he used one last
burst of energy to get them in place before letting his arm fall to the floor
just as another convulsion hit him. Squinting his eyes open once more, he
directed his shades to darken to an almost completely black level. The light
was still painful, but bearable.
Clenching his teeth against
the onslaught of spasms, he breathed heavily until his body finally relaxed and
he panted, spit trickling down his chin.
The grid on his wrist blinked
relentlessly. Whatever it was that he’d uploaded, it was certainly wreaking
havoc with his internal systems.
He tried to uplink to his
augment to see what was going on, but the feedback that reverberated through
his skull nearly knocked him unconscious.
His thoughts scrambled.
Had someone tried to kill
him? Had they found a way past his military security to bug his brain? Dear
God, how do you even get something like that back out?
About
the Author
 
 
I know it sounds cliché, but I’ve been writing for as long
as I can remember, in every capacity that I could manage. From newsletters to
yearbooks, journals to hard cover books. It’s not seeing my name on a cover or
any kind of admiration that does it to me, it’s getting it out. It’s a strange
phenomenon that most writers have, of having stories continually running
through your mind and the nearly painful urge to get them all out before you
forget them. Not sure what the phenomenon is called, but there are days I hate
that I have it. It’s a blessing and a curse. A double edged sword.
My love for sci-fi goes way
back to my childhood. I mean, who didn’t love movies like Tron and Terminator
when they were a kid? Or great oldies like War Games. I grew up in the advent
of technology and rode the wave of the dot com lifestyle in my 20s. It was a
wonderful time to be alive, to see where tech could go. Being involved in the
field as a database admin and then later as a hardware tech and web designer, I
had my fingers in all of it and I loved what it was all about.
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  • Kel

    Thank you!!

  • Tammy Holmes Windsor

    This sounds frighteningly close to what the “world is coming to”.

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