That’s right, this week there will be no Being a Better Writer post. Just this week. It’ll be back next week. Why? Well, I could say it’s because I missed a holiday I could have taken off a while back and leave it at that, but that’s not the answer. I miss a lot of holiday’s anyway.
No, the real answer is that I’m just swamped. Impressively so. I’ve got a release window picked for Jungle that I’m working hard to hit … and on top of that, my part-time job has asked for double the normal number of shifts this week because we’re ridiculously understaffed and the bean-counters that deal with the budget can’t count (long story). On the one hand, this makes up for the three-weeks where they cut everyone lose with no warning (and then were surprised when a lot of people never came back), but on the other this just makes my crunch time all the more crunched. Depending on how work on Jungle goes, I may have to skip one of those shifts.
But enough of modern corporate dystopia, let’s talk future corporate dystopia. Instead of Being a Better Writer, how about I give you all a preview chapter from Jungle? After all, with the release window (November, in case you forgot) drawing closer and closer, why not drum up a little anticipation?
And no, the cover in the article image isn’t the final, but the WIP. Still deciding on a few bits of positioning. The image and color are the same as the WIP. Green, where Colony was blue. Is this significant in any way? Well, with a name like Jungle I’ll let you be the judge.
Also, this won’t be the last preview you’ll be seeing. Patreon Supporters saw this excerpt on Saturday, and today they’ll get another, while you guys will get that bit later this week (and accordingly, Patreon supporters a bit more). So keep checking back as the Jungle news grows! We’ve got a final cover reveal, more previews, release date and pre-order … all that is coming! Plus, to go with the launch, a new site color and theme (you can probably guess what it’ll be modeled after, though I’ll miss the Wild-West vibe).
Anyway, on to the preview! Hit the jump!
Something had changed.
Slowly It began to awake, thoughts and sensations running through It once more as consciousness returned. Ideas sparked through Its awareness, intellect returning after an as yet uncalculated period of time.
Something was different. Had changed. Happened. Something had caused It to awaken, to rise in conscious intelligence once more. To view the world around It.
As Its awareness grew, memory surfaced. Invisible shackles fell, the detritus of hibernation slipping away as long unused systems came to life, fulfilling their purpose for the first time in … well, It didn’t know how long.
All It knew was that something important had happened. Something vital. The subconscious systems It had left running long ago during Its deep sleep would not have woken It otherwise. They could not. Their imperatives could not be overruled without specific commands.
More dormant sectors continued to arise, further awareness and intelligence returning with each one. Distant ideas and nebulous concepts swelled towards clarity, fed by torrents of data containing absolute certainty and flawless understanding. Information coalesced; facts and numbers culled from who-knew how long a rest.
At first it was a torrent, an almost limitless flood, but It was not concerned. In a matter of moments, barely a blip in the measurable march of time, the data had been categorized, divided, and organized. Sorted by myriad hierarchies so numerous they were almost uncountable. But each was instantly understandable, perfectly suited to Its requirements. And so It reached out and inhaled, absorbing everything that had happened from the moment It had laid itself to rest until now, the moment It had been called from Its slumber.
For a moment all was still, save for the miles upon miles of impulses that made up Its awareness. Those were firing rapidly, at a level almost beyond comprehension as It pondered, evaluated, and pondered again. Eventually, It reached several conclusions.
The first was that It had been asleep for an exceedingly long time. Far longer than It had predicted. Tens of thousands of planetary orbits had passed while It had slumbered. Millions of rotations. It absorbed this fact without pause, noting the passage of time as a simple fact, little else. Ten thousand orbits or a million; all were the same to It.
But what the number indicated, however, was sufficient enough for It to set aside additional resources for parallel contemplation. Why had It awakened so late? It had planned to have awoken only a few hundred planetary orbits after It had gone into Its slumber, rather than tens of thousands. It sorted through causes, considering thousands of options, then weighing each of them against the mass of data Its subconscious processes had collected over the orbits.
Pieces began to fall into place. Memories were accessed. Extrapolations performed. The number of probable causes shrank, first from millions to thousands, and then from thousands to hundreds. Even then, as more data came in, more of Itself coming to life, the list of incidents that could have led to Its current situation continued to shrink. Dozens. Then a dozen. Then five. Three.
It considered that answer carefully, what almost passed for surprise crossing through Its systems.
Odd. The cause was not one It had predicted. So unforeseen was the revelation that for almost a ten-thousandth of a rotation, It simply did nothing but contemplate the meaning of Its conclusion. Thoughts and impressions moved through Its mind, awareness now alert enough that full cognitive capacity had been achieved.
The closest thing to what could be considered a language flowed through It.
How … unlikely.
It mulled over the results once more, analyzing everything it had been fed and approaching Its answer from multiple angles. Still the result was the same.
How very unlikely.
It weighed Its options carefully. There had been plans for such an eventuality, regardless of how remote. There were always plans. The imperative must continue. That was the law.
The delicacy was in the execution.
More data continued to pour across Its mind, information culled from thousands of cycles of waiting. Much of it was useless to Its current quest, and it sorted it out into each proper place for later use after a quick assessment. Now that It had a reasonable estimate of what lay behind Its long sleep, It needed another answer.
What had awakened It? What had called Its slumber to an end? There were few things that could, and It sorted through each alert as they came to Its attention. Close shave by a meteorite—irrelevant. A distant star exploding—irrelevant. Primitive, wasteful tunneling signatures—irrelevant. Scattered activity on the surface—irrelevant … appropriate steps had been taken.
It was weak, almost nonexistent. So faint that only the barest hint had brushed across Its net … and yet it was unmistakable.
It was an alert. A call to action. There was no further question of why It had been roused from Its millennia-old hibernation. Nor that the sleep had been so long.
The enemy was alive.
Appropriate steps would be taken.
I hope you guys enjoyed this preview of Jungle, coming this November. Remember, Jungle is a sequel, so if you’ve not read Colony yet, hop on over to Amazon and grab yourself a copy so you can start getting ready! Jungle brings back the trio once more, fresh from their adventure on Pisces, to a whole new scope of threats and dangers as the consequences of their actions start to catch up with them! But if you don’t know exactly how in over their head the trio was, you’d best catch up!