Literary Nymphs Interview
Title: Gravitational Attraction
Author: Angel Martinez
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Genre:M/M Science Fiction
Release Date: 2/25/12
What inspired the story?
I get inspired by a lot of random things but this one has a specific origin. My son was working on a bit of world-building of his own for some RPG stuff and wanted to come up with 'a different kind of interstellar travel.' He had some thoughts about a possible, not-yet-discovered link between magnetism and gravity. While we hashed out the practical issues of the GEM drive and I sketched a possible spaceship design, the seeds of a story formed. I asked if I could use his creation - he said yes - and the story flew off my fingers like nothing ever has before.
A distress call draws the Hermes to a drifting ship, empty except for the gore-spattered corridors and one survivor. Drawn to the traumatized man, Isaac offers the kindness he needs. But Turk harbors secrets, his brain a dangerous military experiment. It will take more than kindness to save them all.
Empty silence enveloped them as the suits left the bay. Isaac’s own breaths had always sounded like a windstorm to him in the utter absence of other sounds. New recruits often passed out from lack of oxygen as they fought against breathing too loudly, panic and claustrophobia often weeding out the ones unsuited to deep space work early in training. But for Isaac, planet-born dirtsucker that he was, the wonder of moving so freely through space, inimical to life, hostile and breathtakingly beautiful, had never worn thin.
Isaac reached the Marduk first to punch in the code he had left on the temporary airlock hatch. The six of them kept their face shields down as they slipped inside. Atmospheric levels might be all right, but the possibility of breathing in airborne blood particulates was not a pleasant thought.
A little whimper drifted through the audio.
“Hold together, people,” Travis growled. “Oz promised to get us out and back quick.”
“Sorry.” The whispered apology came from
Rand, his suit’s helmet swiveling back and forth, as he picked his way through the carnage.
Rand, stop looking!” Sylvia snapped. “Focus on the suit in front of you.”
While Isaac couldn’t run in the heavy exo-suit, he did pick up the pace. Unlike his first foray with the remote, now he knew exactly which cross-corridors and doorways to use. Within three minutes, he had them in the lift, headed toward the holding block. The heavy blast door slid aside to show the gruesome tableau at the comm console. A catch of breath in his pickup told Isaac that
Rand had probably missed this the first time through. He couldn’t be sure, but their nervous scan tech had most likely been one of the bridge officers throwing up.
“Still only showing one heartbeat,” Isaac said to distract them all. “This way.”
He led them down a corridor marked “A-block” where they passed one empty cell after another, not empty because the occupants had been torn to pieces but entirely empty.
“What kind of Jud ship carries one prisoner?” Sylvia asked.
“Maybe they were trying to evacuate before…” Lester’s deep voice trailed off.
“Don’t waste time on speculating,” Travis cut in. “We’re close.”
The last cell held an occupant, it’s transparent, electrified door still intact and locked tight. The man lay curled in a tight ball against his air pallet, dazed eyes half open.
“Hey,” Travis shouted through the door. “Can you hear me?”
The man didn’t move, though he shivered violently, hard spasms running along massive arms and a broad back. Probably in shock.
Isaac found himself staring. Dark shadows marred the prisoner’s skin, but the strong jaw and even features spoke to a devastatingly handsome face when he was well. Even curled up so tightly, he could see the man was huge, easily two meters tall, maybe more. Golden-blond stubble atop his head indicated a recent shaving, though Isaac had no idea if he wore it that way out of choice or if prisoners were routinely shorn. He wore only a sleeveless, mid-thigh shift, which caused anger to rise in Isaac’s chest. Bad enough they locked him up, but to take away a man’s pants? Such calculated humiliation seemed cruel.
“Get the damn door open,” Travis said, bringing Isaac back to the task at hand.
“Attaboy,” Travis said. “Now go back out to the console and download the logs.”
“Out there? Alone?” The audio picked up
Rand’s hard swallow.
“Dammit, son, they’re just pieces of meat out there. Nothing’ll hurt you.”
Travis sighed. “Sylvia, go with him so the ghosts don’t eat him.”
Rand’s fears, Isaac had missed the moment their rescuee began to move. He had pushed up on trembling arms, hard muscles corded with the effort, and turned his head to face them, teeth bared in a snarl.
“Shchfteru scum,” he whispered in a cracked, ruined voice. “Damn you…”
He’s going to hurt himself. Or lunge at Travis, and then someone’s going to panic and shoot him… “Humans.” Isaac held the hands of his exo suit wide. “We’re not some damn chuff, we’re humans.”
A low growl came from the man’s chest, a sound Isaac had never heard from a person before. The man was obviously too far gone and the suits looked too menacing. He reached up, undid his helmet latches, and lifted the whole assembly off his head. “See, human. We’re here to help you. Get you out of here.”
The man stared at him, something flickering in his eyes through the rage. During his moment’s distraction, Travis and Lester grabbed him and pinned him so Dr. Varga could get him sedated.
Isaac caught a whiff of the foul air and slammed the helmet back on his head, coughing fitfully as he got the latches secured. “Oh, shit…that’s horrible…how was he still breathing?”
“Don’t know, bud.” Travis stood his suit back up for the return walk. “But the shchfteru, if they were here, it explains a hell of a lot.”
“Explains why the crew’s in shreds,” Lester rumbled. “Doesn’t explain why the ship’s whole and the boards are untouched. Or why this guy survived.”
Lester was right there.
“We need to get the Hermes away, Trav,” Isaac said softly. “The chuff don’t leave things half done. They’re bound to come back to finish.”
Where can we find your website?