Screen capture of the Cloaked Press website
You may recall that my short story “The Recall” was previously accepted for publication in the Cloaked Press anthology Spring Into SciFi 2019. This was followed by my fantasy tale “The Demon in the Mask” being featured in this publisher’s anthology Fall Into Fantasy 2019.
I am proud to announce that my science fiction short story “The Colonists” has been accepted for publication in the Cloaked Press anthology “Spring Into SciFi 2020”.
© Marie Gail Stratford
It was late when Mikiko Kojima checked into the Four Seasons Hotel at 900 N. Michigan in Chicago.
The building was known as Bloomingdale’s given the shopping establishment’s significant presence, including its name on the structure. It contained some of the most upscale stores in the nation and the rather luxurious hotel in which Mikiko had been booked occupied the 30th through the 46th floors of the building.
There had been a sudden mix up in reservations at the last-minute once unknown government agencies requested that a room be made available for Ms. Kojima’s stay. Accommodations for at least one guest had to be made elsewhere with certain financial incentives added in order for Mikiko to have room 3014 open to her at two hours notice.
Her suitcase had been sent ahead of her, although it wasn’t actually her luggage. A large Louis Vuitton case had been purchased and clothing in Mikiko’s size was bought, packed, and then sent to the Four Seasons and placed in her room. She would seem a more legitimate guest this way since she had left England only with a small handbag and a carry on.
Body being pulled out of the Thames River – found at DailyMail.com
The body of a young woman has been found in the River Thames in Reading.
Thames Valley Police said the corpse was found shortly before 10:00 GMT on Tuesday morning, near the Thames Lido.
She has not yet been identified but officers believe she may have been a recently arrived undocumented immigrant.
Police are currently treating the woman's death as suspicious. According to Det Insp Robert Farming, an appeal for witnesses has been made.
Mikiko Jahn sat reading the BBC news story on the borrowed tablet over and over again, and then after a while stopped being conscious of the words. A photo was run with the story. She recognized the girl from Sebastian Wright’s security file.
The dead woman was a fourteen-year-old Syrian refugee who had been trying to escape to Europe when she and a group of twenty-one other young girls between the ages of twelve and seventeen had been captured by human traffickers. She and four others were routed to the UK, London, specifically to Wright to provide a night’s “entertainment” to a few select delegates at the symposium Mikiko had attended last week.
© Sue Vincent
She couldn’t believe he’d done it again, the assassin-for-hire known to international law enforcement agencies as Hellspite had eluded the American FBI, CIA, and even the unnamed British Agency she was on loan to.
Mikiko Jahn was a unique individual. Six years ago, she nearly died in a nuclear power plant accident and would have if the brilliant and eccentric scientist Daniel Hunt hadn’t saved her, literally rebuilt her from scratch with new and revolutionary processes and materials collectively known as Synthecon.
Now, even though in every manner conceivable, she looked, sounded, smelled, and acted like any other woman, only portions of her brain, nervous system, skeleton, and internal organs were biological…human. The rest, which made up over ninety percent of her physicality, was a set complex biosynthetic structures, maintained by hundreds of thousands of nanoscopic probes coursing through her bloodstream.
After the accident, the Japanese and British governments gave Hunt unlimited funds and resources. They only had two conditions. The first was to give Mikiko back the ability to be human, to interact with society normally, to seem to be the person she had been before. The second was to, as much as the technology would allow, make her more than human, augment her abilities, senses, even her emotions. They had plans for her.
Scarecrow of Romney Marsh – from the Official Disney Fan page
“Why the bloody hell wasn’t I notified earlier? Never mind that. I want every available agent to comb Orly. Thomas might still be in the airport. And get people on her daughter’s disappearance. I don’t mean the local police, I mean our people. Tell them they don’t need warrants, they just need to produce results.”
Geoffrey Colins had been in bed fifteen minutes when the cell on his night stand rang. Amanda Thomas had abruptly left London by air over five hours ago, no explanation and certainly not on her schedule. Ever since Mikiko Jahn had discovered her identity and that she was tied to the Shadow Man, now revealed to be high-priced attorney Richard Singleton, his agency had been routinely monitoring her digital communications, but for some reason there was a foul up and the recording of her conversation with her daughter Sienna’s apparent kidnappers hadn’t been reviewed until less than an hour ago. By that time, Amanda’s flight had already touched down at Orly International Airport just outside of Paris. Agency staff reviewed Paris police computer records and discovered that her nineteen-year-old daughter hadn’t attended classes all day long. Presumably, she had been taken very early this morning by parties unknown.
Black soul – Foto Giovanni Dall’Orto – Wikimedia Commons
Autumn 2017 – London
“Here’s what we’ve got from your video and description of the suspect. Amanda Thomas, 48 years old, born Zuhal Amanda Clarke, Father George Sanford Clarke, British, a nationally syndicated columnist and novelist, Mother Aliya Fowler, moderately successful painter of mixed English-Arab descent.”
Mikiko expected to be debriefed or briefed or whatever in some official government office, like the British Secret Intelligence Service building where MI6 was headquartered, but she found herself sitting in an uncomfortable wooden chair with several other people, none of whom she knew, listening to Geoffrey Colins speaking to them in a darkened room in what seemed to be an out-of-business clothing boutique, or rather the break room of said-business. A small, portable projector was throwing images on the blank wall behind him, showing a loop of the video she’d taken last night of the woman now called Amanda Thomas.
She didn’t get back to her hotel room at the Premier Inn Heathrow until after midnight this morning. She’d walked back to the nearest bus stop from the house she’d been watching and then, in her normal identity, got on board a bus traveling in the general direction she had come from. She’d received a text from Colins as to which stop she’d exit the vehicle. Once on the street and with the bus out of sight, she heard a car engine starting two blocks away and then drive toward her. At the same time she got a text from Colins stating “Get in the back.”
Found at EcoWatch.com
“She’s seizing again, Doctor.”
“It’s a seizure alright, and it’s because she’s panicking. Can’t you bloody fools keep her sedated?”
Professor Daniel Hunt had Ph.Ds in Cybernetics and Synthetic Biology, but not only was he no medical doctor, he had the bedside manner of a highly annoyed badger.
“Thank you, Professor. We’ll handle it.” Dr. Tate tried his best to mimic the annoyed tone he heard in his boss’s voice but if Hunt noticed, he ignored it.
The medical team was the finest in the world. When both the Japanese and British governments had given Hunt a virtual blank check in order to use his experimental techniques to rebuild the horribly disfigured and crippled Mikiko Jahn, a young technician who had been burned beyond recognition while trapped in a control room next to a melting reactor core, he called in the finest practitioners in each required field from all over the world.
Benjamin Tate and Allie Ramirez were the attending physicians, Rosemary Shelton was one of the three top neurologists on Earth, Brent Patrick was the best reconstructive surgeon in Europe and the Americas, and the much beleaguered Edward Simon was chief anesthesiologist.
“There’s a limit to what pharmaceuticals can do, Hunt. Besides, there’s practically no access to her circulatory system. I’ve got just one line into her and it’s on the verge of collapsing.”