Do the words bounty hunters, cyborgs, mutants and adventures set in the future make your heart skip a few beats? Then you will be quite thriller with the special something I have for you today! As part of the blog-tour for the new SCIFI book Ordnance I get to share an exclusive expert from the book with you!
Ordnance, you say?
Yes, Ordnance is the debut book from Andrew Vaillencourt and the first installment in The Fixer series. The story is set around Roland Tankwicz, who isn’t even legally a person anymore.He is an aging cyborg who never really recovered from being betrayed and enslaved by his superiors in the army and who had to swallow a bitter pill when he got permanently classified as “defunct military ordnance”. Now he spents most of his time drinking beer and working as a fixer for the crime families in 25the century Boston. Easy mony if you were the kind of guy who was bullet-proof en could pick up a house.
Linked by a shared connection to her kidnapped father, the duo will face veritable armies of criminals, mutants, cyborgs, and corporate executives as they search for the missing man. The secrets of the Ribiero family are exposed as they approach the center of the labyrinth, and Lucia’s mental and physical issues present an even deeper mystery than her father’s disappearance.
Roland will have to face the horror of his past one more time, and Lucia will need to get a grip on her future if they expect to survive a running battle with an entire galaxy’s worth of mad science gone awry; and ultimately prevent a terrible history from repeating itself.
I can’t blame you! And I am so happy that I get to share a exclusive expert from the book with you!
Roland pulled his gloves off, revealing jet black hands the size of bear paws, “Yeah, well for all the trouble they went to keep us human, they sure as hell didn’t treat us like people.” He rolled up his sleeves, revealing massive forearms corded with black synthetic muscle fibers that rolled and flexed exactly like human muscle should. Lucia’s eyes widened at the sight. She hadn’t realized it, but only Roland’s face and head had any normal skin tone. The rest of him was kept a flat matte black, because that was the base color of the surface chromataphors that allowed him to assume various camouflage patterns. He could certainly shift the color to something almost human, but keeping his body any specific hue took up power that was better conserved. Roland simply wore long sleeves and gloves most of the time, because life was kind of tricky for a guy who walked around looking like an onyx statue.
Roland did not want to explain this part. He knew that it would likely have a deleterious impact on what Lucia saw when she looked at him. Right now, he was just a big military cyborg; just one of many ex-military veterans walking around with government-issued body parts. But there was real, inescapable ugliness involved in his creation, and nobody wanted to hear about that part. But, it all had a lot to do with Donald Ribiero, so out it came.
“So. You now know that they deliberately left over some of the more… human attributes to keep us psychologically grounded.” Roland wiggled all his fingers in an intricate wave pattern to demonstrate his dexterity, “As far as my nervous system can tell, these are really my fingers.” He picked up an empty beer can, balanced on his index finger for a moment, then let it fall to his palm where he crushed it into a lump the size of a ping pong ball. “I can feel through my skin, even though it’s heavily armored, and I use my own nerves to do it. They get help from force-feedback sensors, but the actual signal still gets carried by my own nerves to my own brain, not a computer. There is no disconnect between what my brain tells my body to do, and what my body tells my brain is happening. I can hold a baby while punching a tank to death with no problem; the same way you can pick up an egg in one hand and swing a hammer with the other.”
The entire design was geared towards making the body feel as human as possible to the brain that would have to live in it. “This is why many of my basic organic functions ended up intact, even if they didn’t have much combat value. Preserving non-essential functions meant preserving the will to live and the empathy required to make the appropriate decisions in the field.” Roland grinned, “I still need sleep. That could have easily been engineered out of the new body,” but the languid, lazy, decadent joy of sleeping in until noon on a Sunday is worth fighting for. He summed it up, “but sleeping is part of being human. Good for the brain.”
Roland smiled, “I still need food.” Which left him connected to eating, and to the simple human joys of mealtimes. Sourcing organic fuel off-world was a logistical nightmare, but, he chuckled, “Steak dinners are worth fighting for, y’know? After your third week fighting aliens in an ammonia atmosphere, the thought of a juicy T-Bone keeps you going.” Roland could still have sex. That sort of thing was not entirely necessary when you are fighting a corrupted AI at a mining station on Enceladus, but getting laid was definitely worth fighting for. He didn’t mention that, though; it felt a little uncouth going there with a girl fifteen years his junior.
All of these things made life meaningful, and keeping those connections allowed Roland’s unit to not lose their minds. They still loved life, and so they wanted to preserve it. They understood what they were taking away when they took it. They weren’t machines, they were men. The small reduction in combat effectiveness was completely acceptable since they did not devolve into amoral murder-bots like their predecessors. Nobody likes an amoral murder-bot.
Lucia cocked her head and sniffed, “Makes sense, when you think about it. They wanted human soldiers, not organic robots.” It really had been much more complicated than that. Rejection of the newly-grown techno-organic bodies was still an issue. Of thirty-six participants who made it to the final stage of integration, thirty-one suffered partial or complete rejection. Only five participants out of an original 230 applicants had made it into the field. This ended up being a blessing in disguise, because it was out there in the cold expanse of space a hundred light-years from Earth that they found out about the fail-safe: or the actual reason they called the project “Golem.”
Curious to learn more?
Be sure to check out the other blogs that are participating in the blogtour!
And take a look at the goodreads page of Ordnance. I myself was quite impressed with all the good reviews the book got!