Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Page 99 -- The Discovery of Socket Greeny by Tony Bertauski

Page 99 from The Discovery of Socket Greeny
by Tony Bertauski
A YA, Sci-Fi Novel
Reprinted with Permission: Copyright © 2010 by Tony Bertauski All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

Book Description: The Discovery of Socket Greeny is the first book in a young-adult scifi trilogy that explores love, angst and Zen-like acceptance of true nature in kick ass fashion. Reluctant readers, especially boys, will find this story compelling, enlightening, entertaining, and, yes, even emotional.

Work has always come first for 16-year old Socket Greeny's mother, especially since his father died. But when she shows him the inner workings of the Paladin Agency, he discovers why it's so important. It's an underground world of technological wonder including bat-like grimmets, spherical servy-mechs and humanoid butlers with brightly lit faceplates. They traverse the planet through wormholes to keep the world safe, but from what, they won't say. Although his mother is not actually a Paladin, and neither was his father, both have worked for them for most their lives. Socket, however, is different than his parents. He somehow is a Paladin and soon finds himself in the center of controversy and betrayal when he's anointed the agency's prodigy. He didn't ask for the "blessing" of psychic powers and the ability to timeslice and he doesn't want to be responsible for the world. He just wants to go home and back to school and be normal again. But, sometimes, life doesn't give us that privilege, his mother tells him. And when the world is soon threatened and the Paladins are forced into the public eye, Socket discovers what his mother means. If he doesn't embrace his true nature, life as we know it will change forever.

“There is not much to know.” Spindle’s faceplate was blue. “Pivot has always been withdrawn, but he responded to your father. The Paladin Nation encouraged their relationship in hopes Pivot would fully develop.”

“Develop? What’s that mean?”

“Pivot emits an extraordinary level of psychic energy. He is a minder of another breed. His energy has a profound impact on other Paladins. His presence increases other Paladins’ powers.”

“So they’re using him. They’re leeching off him, is that it? They’re taking from him, does he know that?
Spindle’s faceplate turned many colors. “Pivot provides the Paladin Nation with precognition.”

“He can see the future?”

“It is not so much the future, but a deduction of events to come.”

“Deduction of events…” I shook my head. “That’s the future, Spindle. He’s helping them see the future.”

“The odds of future events,” Spindle said, proudly.

No wonder they built him a jungle. He gave them the ability to see what would happen. There was no limit to that. They were rich: building a jungle for the future was a wise investment no matter how many trillions of dollars it took.

“So that’s why they keep him,” I said. “They’re using him to watch the future.”

“They are not using him like a tool, if that is what you mean. Pivot is a remarkable and highly valued cadet…”

He blabbered the company line, again. Instead of remarkable and highly valued he should’ve just said Pivot was a great commodity. Getting a real answer from Spindle was impossible. He was programmed, after all. He said what the programmers wanted him to say. He couldn’t say what they forbid him to say. He had to follow the script. Every meaningful question just led to another standard answer, never a real one in sight.

Tony Bertauski lives in Charleston, SC with his wife, Heather, and two kids, Ben and Maddi. He's a college teacher and a columnist for the Post and Courier. He's published two textbooks that can be found at most book retailers. He was also a 2008 winner of the South Carolina Fiction Contest for his short story entitled, 4-Letter Words. Check out http://bertauski.com for more.

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