Frozen Assets (The Cash Chronicles)
The Cash Chronicles is a series of books that tell the story of subsequent generations of the Cash family. In Frozen Assets, Caleb Cash and his intended betrothed, Winnifred Marshall, wake up in 2141 in a U.S. that is not at all like the one they left in 1918. Part of the country has been destroyed and Millicent Davis, The Primera, is the dictator in command,
Book Excerpt from Frozen Assets:
Caleb Cash stared upward, panic seizing him as the huge blob of frozen matter exploded. Swirling crystals showered down. Icicles stabbed the snow, gouging the earth, piercing it like daggers. Blinding snow raged. Stinging needles slashed the army-issued blanket with a relentless rain of spikes. Pulling his coat off, he threw it over his head. Ablaze, a bright green light flashed, its blast rocketing it toward the cave. The red hot ball of flaming ash surged from the sky, prepared to claim the landscape. He turned and ran inside the cave. Sizzling heat crackled in his ears, and exploded through the opening, bent on destruction.
Snow pellets, then sub-zero water flooded the hole, hurling him backwards. Caleb grasped his throat, unable to breathe. Launched helplessly through the air, he grabbed at the ice-filled void as darkness captured him in its glacial, icy fingers. Fire and ice, an atomic mixture of hopelessness. Clenching him, claiming him, for all eternity.
Caleb struggled as his frigid body groped against the solid case of his prison. Shaking like a man too long for a drink, he clawed at the crystalline interior, his movement impaired, his nerves tingling with sharp jabs against otherwise unfeeling tissue. Winnifred, where was she? Complete consciousness evaded him. But his mind. His mind recorded everything.
“Tem-pera-ture rea-ching nine-ty-one degrees.”
Doctor Fran Victor turned to Nicky, Andro Model 6052 circa 2138 to the techs, and chuckled. “What’s with the antiquated speech?”
Nicky grinned. “I watched an old sci-fi vid from the nineteen-eighties last night on the hologramic interphase. They had things called robots. Hunks of tin.” He snickered. “I am a vast improvement, don’t you think?”
“Indeed.” She smiled. Tall and with his dark blond hair and blue eyes, Nicky passed for human as long as he wasn’t wearing the black Andro uniform. “I, for one, think you should have been programmed with emotions.”
He cocked his head and gazed at her, his look thoughtful. Fran would never get over it. As an Andro, he was considered a machine to use and discard. But he was more. He was smart, funny, and she’d swear she saw his soul when looking deeply into those azure eyes.
“I have humor, thanks to my tech. What else should I want?”
“Never mind. If I elaborated, you wouldn’t get my point.”
“If you are speaking of the act of human copulation, you are correct.” He bowed his head. “It appears to be uncomfortable and most embarrassing. Who would want to spread body fluids over each other?” He seemed to shake his head in pity as he looked at her through twinkling eyes.
Too bad. While Nicky wasn’t programmed to act on it, his model was fully equipped to satisfy a woman and his memory banks held the history of sexual techniques. Sighing, she nodded. “Like I said, you wouldn’t get it. Don’t worry, it isn’t important. And since you’re assigned to me and I never get any, you’ll never be exposed to my, um, discomfort.”
“How are the two early twentieth-century humans?”
At Doctor Brock Green’s voice, Fran turned and watched him saunter into the lab, wearing mustard-colored scrubs. She frowned. How could anyone look good in that color? Yet, he did. Tall and thin, black hair, large soulful brown eyes and lashes women spent a fortune to emulate. Too bad his looks were a lie and his sour business-only attitude was the truth.
“Amazingly well. Of course, how they got in that state is the big question. We’re still analyzing the green dust covering them.” She jerked her head toward the electron microscope hooked to banks of computers. “So far, nothing. I hope the procedure used on them in the nineteen-forties hasn’t put them at greater risk than whatever happened originally.”
“Shouldn’t be a problem. The Primera and her husband were cryoed at the same time.” He stared through the one-way glass.
“If I’m correct about the substance covering them, we may finally have a method to put a person in stasis without freezing.” She frowned. “As for what happened in the nineteen-forties, from what I’ve learned the order came from the top of the food chain.”
“Interesting.” Arms folded across his chest, he tapped his lips with his stylus. “Just the beginning of the takeover of free-will.”
She glanced at Nicky and saw his worried expression matched her thoughts. “You’d better watch what you say or the Police for Peace will send you down to Antarctica.”
With a snort, he stared down his nose at them. “The damned POPs are too busy smoking weed and palming money. Don’t get me started.”
Fran exhaled low and soft. Something had gotten Doctor Brock Green’s attention. And for it to break through his science-only mind, it was cataclysmic, earth shattering, life-altering. “What’s happened?”
He looked at her, his mouth still in a thin grim line. “Don’t you ever watch the news?”
Interesting. Once again he’d broken pattern. When did he ever watch anything other than telecast scientific conferences? For that matter, when did he start watching the news? “Not really. I rely on Nicky for a recap.”
Nicky nodded. “Morning news. Regime terrorists strike again, destroying government facility in Atlanta. Ten terrorists in custody, awaiting transfer to maximum security, Antarctica.”
“To die an unnatural death of hypothermia and bodies burned in ovens that operate twenty-four/seven,” Brock added.
“You’re so full of shit!” Fran checked the control on the humans. Almost ninety-three. “They may be in prison, but they live inside a pressurized climate-control bubble.”
He slanted her a glance. “Have you ever been down there or seen the facility using satellite?”
“Well no, but—”
“I got an eyeful before the government discovered that eye-in-the-sky was still operational and accessible by the public. People are stripped and thrown outside in pens. Once dead, the evidence is burned.” He growled under his breath, sounding more animal than human.
“You sound like a Regime Terrorist.”
“Fran, get with it. The terrorists are freedom fighters. People like you and me who want to be out from government control. Not observed through microchips, told where they’ll work and what work they’re allowed to do based on some computer spitting out what’s needed.”
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