Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Eleven, Part Three
May 2012 11

Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Eleven, Part Three

Posted In Art,Blog,Books,Entertainment,Fiction,Geek,Internuts

by Steven-Elliot Altman (SG Member: Steven_Altman)

Our Fiction Friday serialized novel, The Killswitch Review, is a futuristic murder mystery with killer sociopolitical commentary (and some of the best sex scenes we’ve ever read!). Written by bestselling sci-fi author Steven-Elliot Altman (with Diane DeKelb-Rittenhouse), it offers a terrifying postmodern vision in the tradition of Blade Runner and Brave New World

By the year 2156, stem cell therapy has triumphed over aging and disease, extending the human lifespan indefinitely. But only for those who have achieved Conscientious Citizen Status. To combat overpopulation, the U.S. has sealed its borders, instituted compulsory contraception and a strict one child per couple policy for those who are permitted to breed, and made technology-assisted suicide readily available. But in a world where the old can remain vital forever, America’s youth have little hope of prosperity.

Jason Haggerty is an investigator for Black Buttons Inc, the government agency responsible for dispensing personal handheld Kevorkian devices, which afford the only legal form of suicide. An armed “Killswitch” monitors and records a citizen’s final moments — up to the point where they press a button and peacefully die. Post-press review agents — “button collectors” — are dispatched to review and judge these final recordings to rule out foul play.

When three teens stage an illegal public suicide, Haggerty suspects their deaths may have been murders. Now his race is on to uncover proof and prevent a nationwide epidemic of copycat suicides. Trouble is, for the first time in history, an entire generation might just decide they’re better off dead.

(Catch up with the previous installments of Killswitch – see links below – then continue reading after the jump…)

[THE KILLSWITCH REVIEW – CHAPTER ELEVEN, PART THREE]

[SUPERBOWL CXC]

[Previous Chapter]

“Go nail that fucker!” Regina yelled, ripping a colorful airboard from one of the fans’ backpacks and clutching it to her chest. By the time the boy got to his feet Regina had powered it on, leapt over the rail, and was plummeting toward the field with the board stretched beneath her at arm’s length. Haggerty felt a surge of pride and admiration as she rolled her foot atop it, balanced on the edge of the wall, pulled up a few feet above the field, and surfed the green toward the center of the game, cannonballing straight for the players.

Haggerty tore off after Stelwyn.

“Hold on a minute, folks,” the sportscaster announced. “There seems to be a girl hurtling across the field on an airboard!” Regina appeared on the viewscreen, tacking through the air, gaining speed. The players halted, unsure what to do. “Must be a Clone Jesus fan. Look at her go. There’s a flag on the field! They’re stopping the clock.”

The stands erupted with laughter, disbelief, and outrage.

Haggerty pushed himself to midpoint, a stitching pain in his side. On the giant screen a half-dozen security guards converged behind Regina, unfurling barbed catchwire nets; more guards moved toward her through the players up ahead, stunners held high.

“It looks like we’re getting a little extra entertainment for our money,” the sportscaster observed merrily.

Stelwyn was far ahead of Haggerty, several yards from the door to the suite. Haggerty willed himself to move faster. Looking out he saw Regina nose right and one-eighty to avoid security. She didn’t have long before they either snared her or stunned her down. A fall from that height and speed could be serious. Haggerty ran on — desperate to properly spend the time she was buying him.

Stelwyn pushed through the final throng of fans to the suite. He turned back, saw Haggerty, drew his revolver, and pounded on the door. Haggerty fumbled for the stunner in his pocket, arriving just as Stelwyn grabbed the security guard by the collar, dragged him outside at gunpoint, and shoved him backward down the steps. Haggerty leaped over the flailing guard and rushed into the suite, stunner raised.

Max and Corbin turned from where they leaned against the suite’s fully stocked bar, registering surprise and raising their hands.

Max smirked beneath flushed cheeks. “I knew you were too dedicated to miss the game, Mr. Haggerty.” He was still wearing his tuxedo.

Corbin laughed under her breath.

“And the game is back on,” the sportscaster’s voice filled the suite. “As they restart the clock, there’s one minute left and it’s third down and twelve yards to go for a first. NewVada better move fast.”

“You little worm,” Stelwyn said contemptuously as he kicked the door closed behind him and stepped beside Haggerty.

“That quaint term is out of date, old man,” Max said derisively. “And a bit misleading, seeing that I hold the power here.”

A dark shape hurtled from the shadows and tackled Stelwyn to the floor, sending his antique gun spinning into the corner. Haggerty kept his stunner trained on Max, who seemed utterly unconcerned.

“I control Shintag Lake, the band, this show, the police, and I’m this close to taking over NewVada’s underground,” he said. “And at the moment, Mr. Stelwyn, it would appear I control you.”

Brian dragged Stelwyn to his feet. The ape seemed indifferent to his mutilated, gauze-swathed hand.

“Stupid punk,” Stelwyn snarled. “Lake is using you, the police will sell you out to the highest bidder, and if you move against the Triads, they’ll cut you to pieces.”

“I’m a song away from cowing them all,” Max said, a nasty grin on his face.

“Why are you doing this?” Haggerty demanded.

The ape’s head snapped around; his eyes narrowed on Haggerty. “You’re the sonofabitch who ruined my hand!”

Stelwyn butted his head into the ape’s Adam’s apple. Brian released his hold and Haggerty stunned him. Stelwyn pulled a small revolver from his jacket pocket, blowing a hole in Max’s face and showering Corbin in blood. The loud report was muffled by a million screaming fans as NewVada scored with a last-ditch shot. No one screamed louder than Corbin.

Max’s body crumpled to the floor. The stadium shook with cheering and jumping and stamping. Stelwyn turned the gun on Corbin.

“Don’t let him do it,” Corbin pleaded to Haggerty.

“Wait,” Haggerty urged Stelwyn. “Think of Tyler. The bitch deserves to die as ruthlessly as she killed him and Zabrowski and the others — and to see it coming. But we need her as a witness to help clear up this mess. Let the Feds take care of her.”

“Both of you drop your weapons,” a new voice said.

Oliver Wendell Primrose emerged from his hiding place behind the bar, plasma rifle in hand. Haggerty dropped his stunner. Stelwyn tightened his grip on the revolver.

“Took you long enough,” Corbin said, lowering her hands and smiling viciously.

“Tell me you’ll really miss that bagbite and I’ll halve your cut for insincerity,” Primrose warned her.

“That’s how you financed things, isn’t it?” Haggerty said. “You manipulated presses where there were no direct heirs, like Nyuga and Rosenberg yesterday morning. Then what? Did you alter the documents so their funds went to a discretionary account?”

Primrose smiled thinly. “Making a favored charity the beneficiary in lieu of or in conjunction with other surviving heirs is a time-honored practice, Mr. Haggerty. And what better charity to benefit than St. Maximilian’s Shelter for Widows and Orphans?”

“I suppose Max was the orphan. Who was the widow?”

“That’s a recent development,” Corbin said coolly, gazing perfunctorily at Max’s corpse.

“Grieving, of course,” Primrose mocked.

“Hardly,” Corbin said. “You were always a better fuck. But I’m not exactly thrilled he’s gone.”

“Come on, princess. You’ve been saying you wanted to kill him since junior year.”

“We needed him. He had the formula for the fucking drug.”

Haggerty realized they’d been classmates together. Primrose had himself aged to join Cromwell and Sons.

“All right, Stelwyn, enough of this. Drop the gun or go for it,” Primrose challenged.

“Don’t do it!” Haggerty warned. “How will Sylvia survive losing you, too?”

Stelwyn hesitated but Primrose didn’t. Haggerty latched onto Stelwyn’s arm and pulled him forward as Primrose fired. The shot missed its target and blasted the wall.

Shards of hypersteel ricocheted through the air. One pierced Stelwyn’s shoulder. A second splinter lodged in his throat, abruptly cutting off his screams. Stelwyn was down, bleeding profusely at the neck, his eyes open and staring, beyond help.

“What a rush,” Primrose exulted. “I killed Antonio Stelwyn! Don’t just stand there, Nia. Lock the damned door.”

“Watch where you aim that thing,” Corbin said flatly. She dusted herself off, crossed the suite, and engaged the digital lock.

Screams shook the stadium. “What an amazing turnaround at the end of the first half of this Superbowl One-Hundred-Ninety!” boomed the sportscaster.

“It’s time we granted your death wish,” Primrose said, training the rifle on Haggerty.

* * *

Excerpt from The Killswitch Review, published by Yard Dog Press. Copyright 2011 Steven-Elliot Altman.

Steven-Elliot Altman is a bestselling author, screenwriter, and videogame developer. He won multiple awards for his online role playing game, 9Dragons. His novels include Captain America is Dead, Zen in the Art of Slaying Vampires, Batman: Fear Itself, Batman: Infinite Mirror, The Killswitch Review, The Irregulars, and Deprivers. His writing has been compared to that of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton and Philip K. Dick, and he has collaborated with world class writers such as Neil Gaiman, Michael Reaves, Harry Turtledove and Dr. Janet Asimov. He’s also the editor of the critically acclaimed anthology The Touch, and a contributor to Shadows Over Baker Street, a Hugo Award winning anthology of Sherlock Holmes meets H.P. Lovecraft stories.

Steven also bares ink on his body, and is bi, as in bi-coastal, between NYC and LA. He’s currently hard at work writing and directing his latest videogame Cursed Love, an online free to play gothic horror RPG from Dark Hermit Studios, set in Victorian London. Think Sherlock Holmes, Jack The Ripper and Dorian Gray mercilessly exploit the cast of Twilight. Friend Cursed Love (Official Closed Beta) on facebook and you can have fun playing out this tawdry, tragic romance with Steven while the game is being beta tested!

Diane DeKelb-Rittehouse spent several years in Manhattan as an actress before marrying her college sweetheart and returning to the Philadelphia area where she had been born. Diane first worked with Steven-Elliot Altman when they created the acclaimed, Publisher’s Weekly Starred-Review anthology The Touch: Epidemic of the Millennium, in which her story “Gifted” appeared. Diane has published a number of critically acclaimed short stories, most notably in the science fiction, murder, and horror genres. Her young adult fantasy novel, Fareie Rings: The Book of Forests, is now available in stores or online.

Interested in buying a printed copy of The Killswitch Review? Well, Steve’s publisher Yard Dog Press was kind enough to put up a special page where SuicideGirls can get a special discount and watch a sexy trailer. Just follow this link to KillswitchReview.com and click on the SG logo.

* * *

Related Posts:
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter One, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter One, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter One, Part Four
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Two, Part One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Two, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Two, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Three, Part One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Three, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Three, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Four, Part One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Four, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Four, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Five, Part One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Five, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Five, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Six, Part One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Six, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Six, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Seven, Part One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Seven, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Seven, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Seven, Part Four
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Seven, Part Five
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Eight, Part One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Eight, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Eight, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Nine, Part One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Nine, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Nine, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Nine, Part Four
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Nine, Part Five
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Ten, Part One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Ten, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Ten, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Eleven, Part One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Eleven, Part Two

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