By Alan Burt Akers
The twenty-first booklet of the chronicle of Dray Prescot, and the 3rd quantity of the Jikaida Cycle.
Fame and fortune could anticipate the winners of the existence and demise online game referred to as Jikaida, yet for Dray Prescot his triumphs appeared merely to deliver infamy and misfortune. An Earthman transposed to the far away global that circles the dual suns of Antares, Prescot needed to have the opportunity out of his Jikaida urban exile - for his native land wanted him in its hour of hazard. however it appeared that destiny now may position him in an excellent extra terrifying video game - a treasure hunt performed out within the phantasm webbed catacombs of a haunted valley the place determined males got here to discover fortunes on the danger in their fans lives and their very own sanity.
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Extra info for A Fortune For Kregen (Dray Prescot, Book 21; Jikaida Cycle, Book 3)
Rathere herself had changed the AI: their interaction, their constant proximity as she embraced new experiences, the AI's care and attentions reflected back upon itself as she matured. It loved her. She loved it back, and that pushed it toward personhood. But now it was blinded. The manual said that an AI unit cut off from stimuli might gain a hundredth of a point or so in self-reflection, but that wouldn't be enough to finish the process. Rathere had to act to save her friend. With only a few days left before they reached the HC, she had to quicken the process, to embrace the most intense interaction with the machine that she could imagine.
Rathere told stories about them to the starship's AI. Tales of their fierce, glacial battles, of betrayal on the mating trail, of the creatures' slow intrigues against the human colonists of Petraveil, millennia-long plots of which every chapter lasted centuries. At first, the AI gently interrupted her to explain the facts: the limits of scientific understanding. The lithomorphs were removed through too many orders of magnitude in time, too distant on that single axis ever to be comprehended. The four decades they'd been studied were mere seconds of their history.
Perhaps the lithos had noticed the whirring creatures around them, or more likely had spotted the semi-permanent buildings around the square. But the lithomorphs' reaction to the sudden human invasion produced only a vague, cosmic worry, like knowing one's star will collapse in a few billion years. For Rathere, though, the lives of the lithomorphs were far more immediate. Like the AI minder, they were mentors, imaginary friends. Their immobility had taught her to watch for the slightest of movements: the sweep of an analog clock's minute hand, the transformation of a high cirrus cloud, the slow descent of the planet's old red sun behind the northern mountains.