“Laika Dosha” project begins.

So, the good folks at the Blackgate Game project have tapped me to write and direct “Laika Dosha”, a hard science-fiction visual novel that tells the story of a deep-space search-and-rescue dog team, that finds itself haunted by the ghost of Laika.

Here’s a blurb to whet your appetite:

Antimatter smells like bacon.

They knew what they were doing when they wired in that association. Two atoms of antihydrogen react off of a fine copper mesh a few atoms wide and light­seconds across. It’s one net of four hundred and thirty eight scattered around the outer solar system. To my proprioception, my nose spans most of the outer solar system, everything from Jupiter to the Oort.

The scent of bacon hits me, and abruptly I’m eight years old, watching my mother make me a BLT. I’m also, simultaneously, a german shepherd pup of only eight weeks, nose to the air, watching the same. Hive mind memories run parallel that way.

Shared proprioception across three bodies, two brains in a can, one quantum computer, and all those sensor nets, means it’s easier to think of every one of me as a body part of a whole. For example:

Right now my sinuses, Rocco, has his nose up in the air. His eyes are squinting, his ears perked forward, and his tail is doing a lazy spiral. Signals from our sensor array get split; telemetry goes one way, quantum spin data goes the other. Rocco’s a four year old german shepherd dog, with some polar bear and luna moth hacked in for the benefit of our vomeronasal organ.

Almost a third of Rocco’s brain weight is devoted to processing scent; and Rocco gets a direct feed into the sensor array. Through him, the aroma of bacon frying is so rich and overwhelming, I find myself salivating from all of my mouths.

Sensors tag the two little spikes of gamma decay as 1.3 milliseconds apart. Trajectory models bloom in our consciousness. My left arm’s name is Pauline, and her brain is doing the math. My left arm is a human, female, aged thirty, and so powerfully autistic-­savant on its own that it medically mandated hive mind integration. Before me, Pauline tried to  communicate with her caregivers through Fourier transforms of Pi, expressed by blinking.

Now, with integration, I can pretty regularly beat the computer on signal triangulation and sequencing. More importantly, I have a backup now in case the computer ever goes down, which my commanding officer assures me is inevitable in this environment.

My mouth’s name is Molly, the communication and integration specialist. I use her to relay the initial report to command: “Command, antimatter delta orbital ­north of Jupiter, relative earth angle one-­fifteen by three point five. Source looks like it’s off the orbital plane­, ninety-three percent certainty. Tracking. Updates will follow.”

Molly’s a genehacked hybrid, a cup of human, a cup of german shepherd dog, a few tablespoons of mynah bird and mockingbird for echolalic transmutations. My mouth has been born for this role; to transform complex hive­mind sensory input into language our command structure can understand. My mouth’s brain specializes in taking the mix of vomeronasal signals that Rocco understands, and the math that Pauline and the computer can come to agreement on, and transform that into words.

Hereford and Libby are my feet, and they boost up and off the station at a lazy two G’s, arcing up to start the long drift towards our target. They’re a pair of pygmy marmosets, eighty percent brain tissue by mass, permanently embedded in their happy little networked cans. Like matrioshka dolls, their cans each nest inside small spaceships with heavy industrial tools.

My job is to rescue people in deep space, and sometimes that means ripping apart a bulkhead or five to get to them. Stasis tanks are typically nestled in the heart of a ship, as far away from hard radiation as engineers can design. Hereford and Libby are here to kick the shit out of every piece of metal that stands in my way, and run those pods back here before the slow freezer­burn of radiation can destroy whoever’s inside.


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