Book Promo and Vignettes by by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

Book promo

If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. A COMMISSION IS EARNED FROM EACH PURCHASE.*Note that I haven’t read most of these books (my reading is eclectic and “craving led”,) and apply the usual cautions to buying. – SAH



I don’t make a ton from these, something like between $20 and $25 per book. That’s not why I do them. But they eat my Saturday night or Sunday morning (mostly Sunday morning) and malfunction so often that well…. I feel better getting the price of a pizza or two movie tickets from them. (Not that we can eat pizza, and I think we went to the theater once in five years, but you know what I mean. Also, yes, I know I need donation buttons on the side, not to paypal. Now that I’ve stopped coughing out my brains, I’ll try soon?)

FIRST, under “The Author is a you know what” — the new and glorious covers for Darkships. All of them have new hardcovers now but Darkship Renegade doesn’t have a PAPERBACK because Amazon is not taking new cover, even though I can’t figure out why. (Actually it takes it, it just acts like it’s 10X larger than it is, so the entire cover that shows is a little corner of it.) It’ll resolve. I have a vague idea it’s THEIR bug.

The new one comes out next week. (Well, reissued.) Hacking the Storm, Fuse’s book is almost done and probably…. May? Around there.


Darkship Thieves

Athena Hera Sinistra never wanted to go to space.

Never wanted see the eerie glow of the Powerpods. Never wanted to visit Circum Terra. She never had  any interest in finding out the truth about the Darkships.
You always get what you don’t ask for. Which must have been why she woke up in the dark of shipnight, within the greater night of space in her father’s space cruiser, knowing that there was a stranger in her room. In a short time, after taking out the stranger—who turned out to be one of her father’s bodyguards up to no good, she was hurtling away from the ship in a lifeboat to get help.
But what she got instead would be the adventure of a lifetime and perhaps a whole new world—if she managed to survive….

Darkship Renegades

When you save the world, you expect a hero’s welcome.

Maybe a ticker tape parade.

Instead, Athena Hera Sinistra and her husband Kit find themselves arrested,

threatened, accused of crimes they don’t even understand.

Tyranny has seized the free world of Eden.

With Kit wounded, his life in peril, they must go to Earth and risk all to save him.

And perhaps, perhaps, to save Eden once more.

If it can be saved.

Join Thena and Kit in their desperate quest to save the world. Again.

A Few Good Men

Lucius Dante Maximillian Keeva was born a prince…

or so close to it as makes no difference. He is the son of one of the fifty Good Men who — between them — partition and rule all of the Earth.
But for the last fourteen years, he’s been imprisoned in a small cell, in what amounts to solitary confinement.
You can’t stay sane in solitary confinement that long, not even if someone supplies you with reading material.
When Luce escapes, he finds that his family is dead and people are trying to kill him. He doesn’t respond as a sane man would.
It is just as well.
Restoring a constitutional republic to a world gone mad, five hundred years after the fabled USA vanished from the face of the Earth is not a job for a sane man.
And Luce Keeva is just the madman for the job.

Through Fire

Zen Sienna is a woman from another world and does not want to become the wife of a ruler of Earth. But she also doesn’t know how to escape the man’s courtship.

Which is just as well, because when a revolution happens, she turns out to have the skills to stay just one step ahead of the corrupt revolutionaries and the insane government to keep herself and those she comes to love alive and lead them to triumph.

Follow Zen in a harrowing adventure where a stranger in a strange land proves herself the most qualified to survive.

(And yes, there are paperback and hardcover editions, Amazon is just not linking them. I’ll figure out why. It’s also not integrated with the Baen edition. SIGH.)


Now onto the other ones. The actual interesting people!


John Wolff has been handed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Again. He’s already saved the love of his life from an early death – thirty years after she died. Now, a beautiful young woman, who is clearly his daughter, has appeared from the timeline branch where that same love of his life survived and married his counterpart. She says they need his help fighting off invaders from the far future. Who, by the way, are looking for him. Why? Because they want the starship drive he and a friend invented, the precursor to their time machine. Problem is, in her timeline, it hasn’t been invented yet. What man can resist a cry for help from his own daughter? Particularly when the invaders think she’s a saint. Or possibly, a devil wearing saint’s clothing. And they’re looking for her, too. Thus begins the Timelines Saga, and the story of the Lion of God.

FROM KAREN MYERS: On a Crooked Track: A Lost Wizard’s Tale


A clue has sent Penrys back to Ellech, the country where she first appeared four short years ago with her mind wiped, her body stripped, and her neck chained. It’s time to enlist the help of the Collegium of Wizards which sheltered her then.

Things don’t work out that way, and she finds herself retracing a dead scholar’s crooked track and setting herself up as a target to confirm her growing suspicions. But what happens to bait when the prey shows its teeth?

In this conclusion to the series, tracking old crimes brings new dangers, and a chance for redemption.


In a brutal cross-dimensional Empire where everything is about ownership and control, and the strongest mentalists rule . . .
Karl Traeger has a problem.

His elderly father has died, and sixteen-year-old Karl is going to be at the mercy of very unsavory relatives.
And since he’s the oldest of his generation—ahead of his cousins in the line of inheritance—he knows his uncle will never Present him: never allow him to demonstrate his fitness for the title of Lord. No, he’ll be one more brain-chipped servant.
But maybe if he moves quickly, before anyone knows his father is dead . . . he can save himself, then get to work saving the people he cares about—maybe even save his budding antiques business.

A stand alone novella in the Fall of the Alliance Series.

FROM LAURA MONTGOMERY: Like a Continental Soldier (Waking Late Book 3)

The starship Valerie Hall failed to reach the terraformed world of its original destination. Instead, it found a habitable substitute where the settlers split into two factions. First Landing devolved into a rude replica of medieval despotism. Seccon might promise more.

Or so hope Gilead Tan and his companions.

Gilead spent three centuries in cold sleep, held there by a First Landing custom that decreed only one sleeper could be awakened every fifty years. Once awake, Gilead freed two dozen of his fellows—all soldiers like himself—and led them into the wilderness.

Close to two hundred civilians still lie trapped in the decaying cryo-cells of First Landing. Their captive slumber haunts him.

But despite its vaunted freedom, Seccon has one rule. No one goes back to First Landing.

LEIGH KIMMEL: A Hymn for Those Who Fall Forever.

Endings always hurt, but Vitali Grigorenko never expected a nightmare in orbit.

Assigned to command the last flight of the orbiter Baikal, Vitali had started the mission in a nostalgic mood. That went out the airlock when he saw the body tumbling through space just beyond the flight deck windows. A body in NASA blue, not Russian tan.

Now he’s trying to get to the bottom of a murder in space, and his own country’s space program as much a hindrance as a help. It’s becoming clear that politics is involved, on both sides of what used to be the Iron Curtain, and he’s going to need to go clear to the top.

A short story of the Grissom timeline.

DAVID COLLINS: The 2,000 Year War (Wars Without End Book 1)

The war between different alien groups had been going on for over 2,300 years. But Keith Robinson didn’t know anything about that. He assumed that the job he had applied to was to work on an arctic research ship. He thought that he would be assembling parts for upgraded sonar buoys. He thought wrong.

The AI on the derelict spaceship wasn’t opposed to lying if that could finally get the ship repaired. Hiring a repair technician from the primitive planet Earth was a crazy plan. And even crazier, it worked.

After salvaging an alien ship Keith finds himself owner of his own ship. But something is deadly wrong in the depths of space. With the help of a temperamental AI, Keith then manages to rescue several alien refugees from stasis pods on damaged ships.

They head off to one more promising location, a supposedly minor mining station, so insignificant, they had hoped the war had missed it.


This is a collection of the last few months of pamphlets and booklets. I wanted to get it done this year so it’s a bit shorter than my other books. I’ve also organized it differently. I’ve grouped the material together by subject matter, trying to move in a general direction of different aspects of the world we’re in now. Side B is a more overarching analysis of what is going on overall. I don’t know if I come to any great conclusions but hopefully it will be a better reading experience.

As always, I did run an ongoing stream of news headlines in-between each article, just to keep the flow. I’ve never figured out why I decided to do these books that way but I’ve always liked it so I need to find some reason to justify it.

This is a very dark time and it’s not going to get better for any of us for a long time. Hopefully I’ve done something to help you start a resistance, or even going on strike. We can’t let these tyrants win, whatever it takes. May God have mercy on us because nobody in this world will.

BY HAL ANNAS VIA D. JASON FLEMING: The Sundering Cosmos (Annotated): The epic pulp space opera classic.

Surrounded by violence and intrigue, a frightened girl vowed to do everything in her power to bring peace to the planets.

Why, then, was her every act destined to bring more bloodshed and betrayal to those she loved best?

  • This iktaPOP Media edition includes a new introduction giving historical context to this novel.

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: RAIN

33 thoughts on “Book Promo and Vignettes by by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

  1. The Warrior chuckled, “Is the Great And Powerful Wizard afraid of a little rain”?

    The Wizard replied, “I’m afraid of any rain cloud that contains that much mana. Either it’s sent by a very powerful weather-mage or it’s a storm-elemental.”

  2. Julian glanced out the window. “Looks like rain.” Then he went in.
    Ava looked out the window. Dove-gray clouds, and not sharply defined. Perhaps it already rained out there and only had to approach. She sighed. At her parents’ castle, she would only have to check the report for farmers.

  3. John; “I’m at my wits end, can’t you do something about the monkeys living in your banyan tree?”

    Rain; ”Why whatever is the problem? They’re cute and I love them so.”

    John; “I know, I know they’re dear to you, but they’re incontinent, Rain, drops keep falling on my head.

    1. Don’t park your unpainted aircraft beneath that tree.

      You want to avoid having the incontinent rain fall mainly on the plain plane.

    2. Intercontinental Ballistic Carpapult: Ready
      Load: MIRV warheads, multiple fish per head
      Targets: Acquired
      A rain of carp over both locations.
      Conclusion: The Schoolmaster system is a resounding success!

      (Ducks and runs from counterbattery carp launchers.)

  4. Back to these guys, who I think have been missing this place… This one’s from a long overdue different perspective, though!

    The coastal rains pounded the streets of Agkelos, sending the denizens inside their homes and businesses. The citizens often said only fools and fiends went out during these storms and for good reason. Yet this very saying was exactly why a group of cloaked men walked the drenched streets. They may or may not be able to do anything about the fools but the fiends? That was the whole purpose of their existence.

    “Halt.” the man in the lead ordered, raising his left hand. The group with him stopped their march as the man looked around, drawing a revolver as he peered down an alleyway. He knew it. A wraith hunched over a slumped figure whose sobs were audible even in the downpour. A good blast of lightning would put an end to it in a hurry, but…

    “Klaus,” the man said, turning to a short man. “Can you make a shot in this weather from the alley across the way?”

    “Of course, sir!” he replied, muttering an enchantment on his rifle before moving into position.

    “Thomas, be ready with a cleansing strike with your blade in case he survives my spell.” he continued, turning to another man.

    “Yes, sir!” Thomas responded, taking up position on the other side of the alley they were near.

    Klaus’ shot rang out in the downpour, wrenching a pained shriek from the wraith as it tore through its form. It came speeding towards the end of the alley in the direction shot only to fly into an electrified green single-edged blade. The phantasmal blade sliced the creature up in a spiral before coming straight down on its head, shattering it into a spectral mist. The bricks and ground were charred from the energy that arced off the blade during the assault, leaving no doubt that this demon had just had its last meal.

    “I knew you wouldn’t need my help, Major Gehring.” Thomas said sheepishly, sheathing his sword.

    “Only a fool doesn’t have a backup plan in case of emergencies and I don’t plan to live down to that part of the old folk saying.” the officer replied, holstering his revolver as he walked through the ashes to check on the man.

  5. The mud seemed to cling to her feet as she stood. It was one thing to consider the need for haste, and another to hurry on with no care for whether she was slowing herself. Caught in the mud, she might trap herself for any pursuer to find. And were there none, why hurry?
    It did not look like rain.

  6. In January 1969 the state of California was hit with day after day of rain. I was five at the time and still remember staring through our sliding glass door giving on to the back yard. The patio was flooding, as the drainpipe had clogged with leaves and other garden detritus; my dad was out there in pouring rain armed with a plumber’s snake, trying to clear the drainpipe in the middle of the cement slab. The water level had risen nearly to the level of the door by the time he was able to clear it. I found it tremendously exciting, but then I wasn’t the one standing out in the rain.

    When I went online to look up the details of the 1969 storm season I learned that about 40 counties throughout the state were hit with flooding, similar to what we experienced in the past few weeks… but the damage caused by those storms was significantly worse. Sadly, California still hasn’t taken as many steps as it could to control and store these heavy rains.

  7. It’s common for evangelical preachers to preach about God’s cleansing rain of fire and brimstone. What makes the Reverend Timothy Smyles unique are two acolytes who are also post-doc genetics researchers, working in a fully-equipped but poorly supervised BSL-3 lab. Fire and brimstone, maybe not. An apocalypse, yeah, maybe so.

    1. Just because it’s a BSL-3 lab doesn’t mean they’ll limit themselves to organisms appropriate for BSL-3 containment. Or that it’s maintained and operated competently enough to maintain BSL-3 containment. See: Wuhan.

  8. Even halfway through his year-long tour of duty here at the moonbase, Lucius still found lunar sunrise and sunset awe-inspiring. Up here, there was neither atmosphere nor magnetosphere to deflect the rain of charged particles streaming outward from the Sun. The only protection was mass, which meant that from orbit the moonbase looked like a cluster of hills on the eastern margin of the Sea of Tranquility.

    It also meant that the hemisphere of the Moon that was turned toward the Sun accumulated a charge, while the hemisphere turned away slowly bled that charge away into deep space over the fortnight-long lunar night. This process appeared to be related to the oni, the whirling towers of moondust that rose along the advance of the morning and evening terminators.

    However, it still didn’t explain why they should appear in red and blue forms, often paired. Nor did it explain why it should create such profound apprehension, even in people with no view to the surface. Both astronauts and cosmonauts had reported nightmares, even moments of distorted thinking while awake, during the passage of the terminator over their respective bases.

  9. She held out the bottle. “It holds a sleeping potion. You may find a use for it. But you should hurry back, now. It may rain, and you do not want to fall ill when you must be alert to treachery.”
    With great care, he took it. He must indeed.

  10. It rained. A pleasant drumming on the roof. It could not be the same rainstorm as had met him on the way from the village, Stephanos knew, but the sound haunted him.
    Perhaps one day he would hear rain and not remember blood. For now, he could merely act to avenge it.

  11. I thought the Baen cover of Darkship Thieves was pretty good; it even looks like it was inspired by a scene from the book, which is a pretty rare thing in publishers’ covers. But the new cover…now THAT looks like Athena Hera Sinistra.

    1. Yes! They are most impressive, “looks like her” in the same sort of way as Michael Whelan’s cover for “Friday” (for example) does — almost photo-realistic-ish but also with an illustrator’s eye for the not-quite-literal. The old Baen cover was stylistic, but also “made sense” for once in the world of “this truly isn’t a poster-still from a movie” art. That was interesting, and also actually pretty good.

      This — these — are better.

  12. “Incoming!!!”
    “What do we do, Sarge?”
    “Hunker deep in the bunkers, pray, and wait out the rain.”
    “Yes. The infantry prayer. ‘Oh, Lord, may we be grateful for what we are about to receive…'”

  13. “Rain, rain, go away, and come again another day.” Seems there was a science fiction story based on the rain coming back. All of it. On one day…

  14. She never thought she would see rain again.

    Sunshine she had had, a trickle seeping in at sunset that had kept her sane those long, long years. But rain?

    She lifted her face and her hands and let it flow over her, once more feeling its power.

  15. They ventured outside, where they all shortly noticed a peculiar phenomenon.

    The rain did not fall on her.

    It rained all around her, and on everybody else, but not a single drop fell on her.

    The others looked quite sour, huddled under their umbrellas. “I suppose this is another feature of your force shield?” one of them asked peevishly.

    “I think it must be.”

    “And, it activated on its own? Without any input from you?”


    It was a bit spooky to look at. There wasn’t some sort of invisible umbrella over her head that stopped the raindrops; they just didn’t fall where she was standing. When she took a few steps, they didn’t fall there either. Somehow, the trajectory of every drop that would have fallen on her got altered so that it fell elsewhere.

    The task wasn’t even all that complex, Daniel realized. Redirecting few dozen drops of water per second would be trivial, given the means to redirect them at all.

    He chuckled. “You just keep coming up with more surprises.”

  16. “I know you came to murder me, Susan.” Wayne wrestled with her for the gun in the driving rain, their bodies pressed close in strife as they had once in passion. “I broke your heart, and I’m sorry. I didn’t even know you had a twin sister.”

    The gun fired.

  17. They’d said it might be today, maybe this very afternoon.

    So she’d managed to put aside all the wonderful minutiae of growth rates and nutrient levels and species balances, for an hour or two, and come up into late-afternoon summer sun and clouds stalking up behind her, in what she’d long since come to call sixty-seven (Fahrenheit!) degrees of warmth.

    Stood there, easily in what she still thought of as three-eighths gravity, almost alone as part of a crowd. Because most of the dozens of people out here around the mushroom-like tunnelhead and airlock stood much as she was standing, off a little ways by themselves, almost meditatively. Or simply and literally as if this was their meditation, or even prospective prayer of thanksgiving (“For the gifts we are about to receive”..?).

    Before the Madness, so many people in Europe had thought themselves grown up beyond religion. But along with all the other things the Crazy Years had brought, had come a renewed awareness of how comforting it really was never to be all alone in an (allegedly or apparently) uncaring Universe.

    Yes, it still felt like the neckseal of the skinsuit she wore was halfway to strangling her — it always had, probably always would. (But you didn’t need to know about the “Armstrong line” for it to hurt or kill you… even if the air’s pressure were enough to not boil the spit on your tongue as you tried to breathe, and it wasn’t, it might not be enough to keep you awake in even pure oxygen.)

    Yes, she’d still have to go through de-con for the ubiquitous perchlorates and all the other UV-spawned surface treats. Yes, she was still exposed to cosmic rays with barely this G-string of an atmosphere between her and all their cumulative nastinesses. And all the assorted rest.

    But if this was going to be the day, she wouldn’t miss it for the world.

    She turned around, looked back at the cloudbank again, which was coming on fast — almost like a sandstorm front, but clearly not. Even here in Hellas Basin, huge old crater and home of the lowest spots on Mars with the highest air pressures to match, high-humidity air masses were yet rare.

    So this was one to watch, figuratively and literally…

    “Zsolt! Radar says positive for precip, up there!” Jens van der Voort, as always plugged into the dataflows, even out here. But he’d stepped only a few steps nearer, said it and smiled, and then retreated back into his own insubstantial bubble of silence and introspection again, leaving her to do the same. (He’d told her the old story of how the Netherlands’ so-called leaders had once tried to keep farmers from fertilizing their crops for a few years, never mind the bankruptcy and hunger, because it might put more nitrogen into the air — that was already three-quarters made of it. They did not call it the Madness, the grandmothers and the great-grandfathers, for nothing. Now, he helped monitor the nitrogen the big ammonia snowballs from the Outer System blazing regularly across the sky put into the air of today’s Mars… along with more hydrogen, to make more water with the CO2 already there. The irony was not lost on either of them.)

    It was amazing, really. The Madness was almost literally a time of being led, sometimes at a run, for a tar-pit or a deadly cliff — but once it’d come to an end, it was as if the lid had blown off a pressure cooker, and mostly in the very best of ways. As if all that insubstantial inspiration and energy to drive it into reality, had been let go like a fountain from a geyser, the deep still water steadily and quietly heated to its boiling point at last.

    The atomic rockets of the 1960s and 70s had been reborn. Next the gas core reactor follow-ons, that they’d also been working on back then. But still more amazing, what von Braun had called “super-nuts” and the Americans had called Orion — nuclear explosions driving spacecraft, what an old Project Orion saying had called “Saturn by 1970!” And not small ones, those would not work for multiple, technical reasons; no, these new ships, they had to be big ones…

    Sometimes, when you take (carefully, respectfully, maybe even reverently) even a single step toward the Universe… the Universe takes a dozen or a hundred steps closer to you.

    Yes, we have controlled fusion, Zsolt thought. It bred the fuel for the reactors that run most of Dornberger Base here, from our native thorium. And shuddered, almost literally, at the idea of depending on solar panels for power to keep you warm and oxygenated, as in un-frozen and breathing. Not a lovely plan when there’s a global sandstorm, tau at 3 above your heads and sunlight down to 5%, is it now, smart guys?

    (Just as “green energy” wasn’t such a great plan for, say, Germany in her great-grandmother’s time. Waiting in lines for hours at the station with bags and buckets and wheelbarrows, hoping for the coal trains from Poland to bring you enough “relief fuel” to keep the water from freezing in your homes overnight, for another week or two at least…)

    But “uncontrolled” fusion did so much of the work, now. It was explosions that pushed “Outer Limits”-class ships to Jupiter, to Saturn, and beyond out where the iceballs lurked; it was more explosions, X-radiating energy into those water and ammonia and methane snowballs that could, if you were clever and careful, blow them into the Inner System to you here. Edward Teller’s and Stanislaw Ulam’s H-bombs, plus Ulam’s idea to propel bangships with them, made it all run; for real, full scale, and now.

    Europeans, like her. For all the feeling it was the New World of North and (increasingly) South America that drove Mankind’s Future Out Here, there was still more than a little room for Europe to have a seat at the table and a share in all the feast. Which would be me; not a physicist or an engineer, but the one putting micro-bugs to making food and air and things for us all… the “feast” or at least what feeds the stock for it.

    And something slid down across the front of her helmet glass (polycarb, yes, but). Something that looked wet, and did not have the mushy look of rare melting snow. One thing, that was joined by another, and another.

    She held out the black card she’d brought. Maybe snow was melting from her body heat, from the heat of the suit machinery. But, no; on the card it did not hit as ice and turn to water… it fell and hit as drops on the coarse recycled deep-dyed fiber. Rain.

    Zsolt knew the datum line, the “mean sea level” for Mars, was set near the old triple-point pressure level — so pure liquid water could exist, below, but would partially boil off till the rest of it froze, above. And Hellas was as far down as you ever got, so here water-as-water had always been possible. But the air was dry, so dry it made Saharan or Siberian air seem damp; so, always only a possibility.

    Until — most miraculously — now. Now… it rains.

    All around her, she slowly became aware as she came out of her reverie and into stark genuine wonder, was more’n a bit of whoopin’ and hollerin’ (as her friend Jim, from a storied place called Huntsville, might’ve said).

    Something made her look back, not conscious calculation but something far more primal and visceral. There was, as she might ought have guessed, a faint but visible rainbow, clear enough even against sunlit clouds.

    Like the ancient promise of the rainbow, after the Flood. Though we’d better not get a real one anytime soon, here at the bottom of Mars’ best monkey-copy equivalent of the Marianas Trench…

    And Zsolt Erdelyi turned her head to the heavens, covered in tough plastic as it still must be for some time to come, so the rain could not yet quite touch her face directly. And watched the drops fall, so closely intimately wondrously, almost and so very nearly onto her face at last.

  18. Be Careful what you pray for:

    “Sam. You’ve got to find the preacher.”
    “What preacher?”
    “The one we got to pray for rain to end the drought.”
    “Haven’t you noticed?”
    “Its been 39 days straight days of rain.”
    “Isn’t that good? She gave us what we asked for.”
    “We need to find the preacher to get her to STOP.”
    “We need to Stop the flood.”

  19. Young Nigel:

    “Take off those wellies at once!” scolded Lily. “We can’t play outdoors in this weather. You’re sure to catch a chill!”

    “Drat!” fumed young Nigel. “And l suppose you’ll get a short circuit or something?”

    “Dear me, no!” said Lily. “I’m wholly waterproof. But I am programmed for common sense.”

  20. Recollections:

    “Decades ago, I insisted Lily come out with me into a rain storm,” sighed Nigel Slim-Howland. “Despite her protests, I dragged her outdoors. How she shivered! I felt awful for making her so miserable.”

    “Indeed sir,” said Jenkins.

    “Years later, I realized this was by design. To teach me empathy!”

  21. The rain had stopped. Well, one particular drop had stopped—in mid-air, in front of her eyes. It hung like a clear, sparkling jewel illuminated by a single ray of sunlight. Looking through it, Naureen saw a kaleidoscope of visions. In just one of those, he looked back at her.

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