Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Cybershot (The Empathic Detective, Book 3) by Jaxon Reed

Release date: July 12, 2018
Subgenre: Science fiction thriller, Cyberpunk

About Cybershot:


An ancient organization has created a psychic with untold power. Raising the boy in secret, they hope to make him a world leader. But he escapes and heads for Texas to find his father, Gerald Bryce, the empathic detective. When someone tries to warn Bryce, a criminal mastermind uses the latest technology from neural immersive video games to kill the informant. Now Bryce and his partner must race the clock as a level three psychic terrorist battles the military for control of the city, and perhaps the world.




The man in the white lab coat said, “Now Jacques, listen to me very carefully.”
The boy wondered again, briefly, about the man’s occupation. He had been able to discern the man’s medical training, in the milieu of overheard conversations combined with his extra-sensory perception. He knew the man also had a background in the social sciences, though which specific discipline he was not quite sure. He thought almost certainly it had to be psychology.
But Jacques had not been able to figure out the man’s title. Asking questions had proven fruitless over the years. All the lab people avoided discussion about themselves. They were obviously trained to deflect personal inquiries. He could see that clearly now, in retrospect.
Jacques looked up and locked eyes with Michel. The scientist/doctor/psychologist stood at medium height. Mid-thirties, prematurely bald with a thin ring of brown hair on the sides.
“No, Michel. I am tired of you telling me what to do. You and the other swine.”
Michel stood up straight, his white lab coat rustling. Jacques knew he had not hurt the man’s feelings. Michel looked unperturbed as ever.
Jacques snorted and said, “I know you feel nothing, no matter how much I insult you. You are on a drug cocktail called Hexenhammer.”
Michel stared at the boy, blankly. Jacques stood up to his full height, 181 centimeters. Just under six feet, as the Americans would say. He was skinny. He felt gangly, and his body did not yet work as smoothly or gracefully as he would prefer.
The lab coats told him this was normal for a 15-year-old boy. He smirked at the thought. The woman who said that, the one who had called him a boy, slipped and fell on her way out, badly spraining her ankle . . .
“How do you know about Hexenhammer, Jacques?”
Jacques snapped out of the memory. He swept long dark bangs out of his eyes and stared back at Michel. He said, “Always poking. Always prodding. Always questioning. You and the other lab coats.”
He looked in the direction of one of the many cameras hidden in the wall and said, “I know my entire life has been observed and recorded by you people.”
He walked over to a window and peered out at the street, watching people walk back and forth. A couple sipped coffee at a sidewalk café nearby. Someone played chess alone at another table. Notre-Dame Cathedral’s twin spires stood majestically in the distance.
“I know the window is fake,” Jacques said. “It’s just a fancy monitor. This same street scene played last year. I remember the man playing chess by himself. In a moment, a gendarme will walk by and watch him for a while.”
A uniformed police officer appeared, following the flow of pedestrians. Seeing the man playing chess alone, he strolled to the table, his curiosity piqued.
Michel’s eyebrows furrowed. The drugs held his emotions in check, but Jacques had no doubt he was trying to sort through this new information.
Michel said, “We know your intelligence is extraordinary. We did not realize how good your memory is. What else do you know, Jacques?”
“I know there are cameras, hidden ones, all throughout the suite. I know that I am watched day and night. I know that even when my own mother comes to visit me you dose her up on those drugs so I can’t control her.”
He had first discovered the power of emotional control about three years ago, when one of his tutors scolded him for not paying attention. In a hot flash of anger, he projected feelings of disgust and profound contempt on the man. The tutor seemed to crumple, like a deflated balloon, and had to leave. He found out later the man committed suicide that evening. No one visited Jacques since then without emotion-damping drugs in their system.
“I know that I am not supposed to go out that door, that there are four guards stationed outside at all times, armed with weapons and holding strict orders to prevent me from leaving.”
That irked Jacques most of all, the guards and the expectation he would stay in the suite. Possibly forever. No one would talk to him about the outside world or plans for the future.
Jacques’s pale white face flushed with anger. He drew closer to Michel, who drew a cautious step back, keeping his distance.
Jacques said, “I am nothing but an experiment to you. Everyone wants to know what I can do. But I know I can do more than all of you. Otherwise, why keep me here like a prisoner?”
He turned away from the man in disgust, his threatening stance instantly changing to a dismissive one.
Michel said, “Jacques, you have no idea how important you are.”
“Yes, so I’ve heard many times from you and my mother over the years.”
“We are just learning what you can do. Your powers. There has never lived anyone quite like you. No one has come close in many generations.”
Michel took a step forward, closing the distance between them. He said softly, “You have the power to change history, Jacques.”
Jacques turned around quickly, his cheeks flushing red again. He said, “I’ll change history because I can control how people feel?”
He snorted and gave a contemptuous chortle, his mood changing again.
“I can do more than you know, Michel. I doubt I can change history on the power of emotions alone. . .” Jacques waved around the room. “And yet . . . All this technology, all this equipment to watch my every move, and no one knows I can do so much more!”
“Like what, Jacques? What can you do?”
The social scientist in Michel had taken over, Jacques decided. Curiosity. Probing. Prodding. They all bubbled to the surface.
Jacques snorted again and said, “I grow tired of my confinement. I’ve been here seven years. I am ready to leave. So, I will show you what I can do, Michel. Then, you will let me go.”
Jacques waved a hand around the room and said, “These gadgets, these gizmos you have hidden everywhere to watch me, they’re not foolproof. In fact, every night the last few months they’ve been very glitchy, have they not?”
He waited for a response, but Michel said nothing.
“Yes, Michel, I can control all the devices in the entire suite. Look at the window.”
Jacques pointed and Michel turned his head. The monitor flickered out. The scene from the street disappeared, leaving a pale white rectangle in the window frame.
“That is impressive, Jacques. You should have told me you can manipulate electronics.”
“Why? So you could run more experiments? But that’s not all I can do. While the cameras were on the fritz I’ve been exploring all sorts of things. Like this.”
A table and chair floated up in the air at a sharp angle. The lamp slid off, but before it reached the floor it stopped and floated in the air beside the table.
Michel nodded. “Telekinesis. Impressive.”
He did not feel impressed, Jacques decided. He just noted it, like a clinician jotting it down on a form. It was nothing more than new data to Michel.
Jacques spread his arms in a dramatic flourish. He said, “I can control electronics. I can move things with my mind. And now that I’ve shown you what I can do, it’s time for you to do something for me.”
Michel looked at him with cool, calm eyes. When he spoke, no emotion carried with his words. He said, “You can’t leave, Jacques.”
The boy’s face blushed again and his eyes flashed with a red glow, like an old-fashioned camera bulb going off in his skull. The table and lamp and chair crashed to the floor. Michel’s body jerked up, taking their place in the air. He twirled his arms, trying to maintain balance.
Jacques walked briskly to the door, his hand seeming to pull Michel along as if he were a balloon on an unseen string. Jacques thrust out his other hand and the fortified door to the suite blew off its hinges.
Four guards wearing body armor sprang into position in the foyer, kneeling down and aiming their guns at him.
Jacques smiled and said, “Would they kill me, Michel, if am so valuable?”
Floating above and behind him, Michel said, “They are armed with rubber bullets. Like you said, non-lethal. They won’t kill you, Jacques, but you will not be leaving. There are others behind the next door, and a veritable labyrinth of security measures with even more guards behind that.
“We took precautions, Jacques. You don’t remember coming in, do you? Seven years ago, when we brought you here, we made sure you were unconscious. That was even before we realized how good your memory is. We were careful. We’re always careful. You may have fooled us with the electronics, but you are not leaving.”
Jacques looked at the man suspended in the air, and his eyes flashed red again. He said, “Then neither are you.”
He flicked a finger and the man’ wrists snapped back, the bones breaking. Michel screamed.
“You will suffer a very painful death, Michel.”
The squad leader gave a signal, and all four guards fired their weapons. The long rubber bullets stopped mid-air. Jacques’s eyes flashed red. He twirled his finger and the bullets reversed course, shooting back with far greater force. Each projectile embedded itself in the neck of a different guard, just above their chest plates.
They collapsed on the floor, clawing at their throats. One of the men pulled out his baton. Another scrambled to his feet despite his wounds. Jacques tilted his head and four necks snapped, simultaneously. The guards slumped to the floor, lifeless.
He turned back to Michel who whimpered softly in pain, his arms spread wide, broken wrists dangling.
“Now, where were we? Ah, yes. You wanted to know more about what I can do. I’ve been dreaming about torturing somebody for months. Watch now. Have your people record this while I do it without touching you.”
Another door opened, this one past the fallen guards. Phoebe Renard burst into the room. Short, thin, and intense, her black hair was cropped short. She looked down at the bodies in shock, then gaped up at Michel dangling in the air with his white lab coat hanging limply, and his hands flopping about at the broken wrists.
For the first time in years, Jacques realized his mother was not on Hexenhammer.
“Jacques Bryce Renard! You put him down this instance!”
Jacques let Michel fall out of the air and tumble to the floor. Michel groaned in pain from the impact.
But the moment of reflexive obedience passed. Jacques reached out and took over Phoebe’s emotions before she could say anything.
“We’re leaving, Mama. We’ve stayed here long enough.”
His resolve and determination flowed into her. His emotions. His will.
She nodded and said, “Yes, dear, of course. Where are we going?”
“It’s time to visit my father. You’ve told me so much about him. Now I want to meet him. We’re going to Texas.” | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon ES | Amazon IT | Amazon NL


About Jaxon Reed:

Jaxon Reed is a science fiction and fantasy author. Amazon's digital imprint, Kindle Press, selected his book The Empathic Detective for publication through Kindle Scout. Recently the sequel, Ghostsuit, was also awarded a publishing contract through Kindle Scout. He is the author of Thieves & Wizards, an epic fantasy, and The Redwood Trilogy, a science fiction series. Jaxon is an Aggie, living in Texas on a ranch with his wife and boys, several cats, and one pound dog.



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