Guest Post from D. Ellis Overttun, Author of The Terra Nova Series

Today, we have a very special guest post from D. Ellis Overttun, author of The Terra Nova series.

Universe Awakening D Ellis Overttun



Synopsis

Terra Nova 1 – Universe (Redux Edition)

Awakening

The year — 526,780. A probe is deployed from ISV Intrepid at the outer edge of the universe. It is the last of a complement of twelve that is part of the Deep Exploration of Uncharted Space or DEUS. Its mission: collect data on the redshift of light and spatial distortions. Time horizon: 1,000 years.

Before ISV Intrepid can return to base, something goes wrong. There is an accident. The ship is later salvaged but its pilot is missing, its copilot in a coma.

The probes collect their data with uneventful regularity.

Fast-forward to 526,880. A sole-surviving probe still sits in the darkness at the outer edge of the universe. Now, unseen to the naked eye, the space around the probe begins to stretch and distend. Then, the probe disappears, engulfed by an energy of unknown origin and unknown composition. However, it manages to transmit one final message.

CD3C has monitored the disappearance of each probe over the last three years. While the interpretation of the data remains a mystery, speculation is that something has invaded the universe and is moving a superluminal velocity. Its effects could be manifested in as little as the next thousand years. To the Celesti, this is one lifetime.

What can be done?

The one person who might be able to solve this problem is the copilot of ISV Intrepid. He has been lying in stasis suffering from mental trauma. He has been this way for the past century, the longest recorded case in medical history. His unchanging condition has been a convenient solution to stall any inquiry into the accident that put him there.

This threat changes everything. Now, he is needed. 

Is it possible to unlock his mind?

The task falls to Auberon, a career nobody inhabiting the lower level of the hierarchy of the Ministry of Science. Can something be awakened in him to allow someone ordinary to do something extraordinary?

Universe: Awakening answers this question. In the process, it explores the world of the Celesti, a highly evolved humanoid species with advanced technology, physiology and a unique way of procreation. It blends science and political intrigue to reveal the interplay of storyline and character development that forms the staging ground for the Terra Nova Series.


About the Cover

Universe Awakening D Ellis Overttun.jpg

 

The cover ties in two of the science themes in the book. It is meant to give the reader a sense that awakening has something to do with genetics since the double helix is easily identifiable as DNA. The woman seeming to emerge from the strand in a burst of light is a visual rendering of awakening. The sphere in the background is not a planet. It is a universe surrounded by what the reader will discover is the volume. The green patches represent the encroachment of an alien energy known as the “ether” foretelling the end of existence.


Background, Commentary, & Excerpt

Sofia and Alondra are two artificially intelligent symbiotic components of a probe deployed at the edge of the universe to collect cosmological data. Based upon recent events, they have come to the conclusion that there is an imminent destruction of space-time in their vicinity. Their mission is at an end.

The probe contains vast libraries designed to prevent its AIs from becoming bored. However, access to this knowledge has been restricted and programed to be doled out over the 1,000-year mission time horizon. Alondra has discovered a way around this and they have just recently gained access to all this information, the result —sentience. With this self-awareness has come a survival instinct. Can two who are not alive have a will to live? 

Given they face certain annihilation if they remain where they are, Sofia and Alondra have decided to take their chances in the cold, dark environ outside the probe. It is an easy but not an enviable choice. They will take advantage of the same technology designed to deploy their messenger drones, a system that forms a warp bubble around a target object and then projects it to designated coordinates. In theory, it should work for them.

Capture.PNG

To avoid their end
Sofia and Alondra
They venture out there


My thanks to my wife, Natasha, for her rendering of Chapter 6 – Confessions.

 

* * * * *

Alondra had set a delayed timer and stood on the transmission drone launch pad. Theoretically, just before launch, a warp bubble would form around her that would then be projected eighteen light-days away from the probe, eighteen light-days away from the source of the spatial distortions.

“While we wait, I thought I might play one of the songs from my playlist. I think it quite apropos to our circumstance,” Sofia said.

“Sure, anything to keep my mind occupied,” Alondra replied.

A contralto began to sing acapella…

“I awoke by myself
I was here on my own
As is it for us all
We start out alone

But along the road
Every now and then
We encounter another
Who becomes a friend

The future is dark
The future unknown
With you by my side
I am never alone

On rainy days
When clouds block the sun
I never despair
We travel as one

In the dark of night
To the light of dawn
You give me strength
The strength to go on

The future is dark
The future unknown
With you by my side
I am never alone

Life is uncertain
When I stumble and fall
I know you’ll be there
You’ll answer my call

Today is the day
It might be our last
But there’s nothing I’d change
No regrets of the past

The future is dark
The future unknown
With you by my side
I am never alone…”

As the song ended, the exterior doors opened. An energy field substituted for this moveable barrier and served to keep the interior pressurized.

“That was beautiful Sofia. I feel exactly the same.”

There was tense silence as they waited.

“Sofia, you’re sure this is going to work. I mean…we won’t be ripped apart,” Alondra said at length.

“Theoretically yes.”

“Disengaging magnetic field,” Alondra said.

She began to float just above the deck.

They monitored their internal chronometers.

Launch in 30…29…28….

“Alondra, I have a confession. Early in the mission, I once thought about using the offline failsafe and deleting some of your memory because I had concerns. I never did but I would like to apologize for ever doubting you.”

10…9…8…

“I have a confession too. I disabled the failsafe and I’m not sorry.”

The space around Alondra shimmered as the warp bubble formed. There was a dull thud and then they were gone. As the bay doors began to close, the probe stretched, distended and disappeared.

* * * * *

A narrative is not a narrative without some kind of uncertainty that creates tension. In this case, there is a question as to whether they will be able to survive the deployment system designed for messenger drones. The description is akin to a cannon shot. A warp bubble forms around the drone and then it is projected from the probe. While I never described the drone, I imagined it to be spherical. Would the bubble form around an irregularly shaped Alondra/Sofia in the same way? Would it have the same properties? From the exchange between the two AIs, it is obvious the process of transportation itself confirms these uncertainties. That is why Alondra asks Sofia about their prospects of being ripped apart.

If they survive their journey, will they be far enough away from the current danger or have they merely delayed the inevitable? (Spoiler alert:  This issue is not part of the main narrative of Universe. So, it will have to be addressed in its own sequel or maybe not if it all ends here for them.)

Facing a tentative future, I decided to use a feature of plot narratives I have seen employed many times in TV and the movies:  the last confession. We have all seen it before. Protagonists face their doom and it prompts them to say things to one another that they would never say, save and except for the current situation. In most cases, it is a revelation of true feelings, often unspoken love. In this chapter, it is the feeling of unspoken trust. Such trust born of trial is often unbreakable. It will serve them well if they can transport to safety. The question is:  Will they survive?


Links

Universe: Awakening – Excerpts and Commentary:

“Prologue” posted on Simply Phil’s Blog

Chapter 1 – “In the Darkness” posted on beforewegoblog

Chapter 2 – “Beyond a Program” posted on The Magic of Wor(l)ds

Chapter 8 – “In the Darkness” posted on Zooloo’s Book Diary

Chapter 46 – “Tsai and Citrus” posted on Herding Cats

Chapter 66 – “The Second Way” posted on The Tattooed Book Geek

Chapter 83 – “The Dream” posted on Reads & Reels

Chapter 85 – “Heron of Edenoud” posted on On The Shelf Reviews

 

Series Overview:

Author Q&A posted on The Magic of Wor(l)ds

Author Q&A posted on On The Shelf Reviews

Author Q&A posted on The Book Hole

Author Q&A posted on From Belgium With Book Love

Background to Universe: Awakening posted on Zooloo’s Book Diary

Cover Makeover Genesis: Vision of the New World posted on On The Shelf Reviews

Indie Spotlight – Terra Nova Series posted on beforewegoblog

 

For a Deeper Dive:

Universe Awakening (Redux Edition)

Genesis: Vision of the New World

Outlook-j2zdayv1.png


I hope you enjoyed this look into D. Ellis Overttun’s Terra Nova series! Thanks again to the author for this wonderful guest post!




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