Shifting Reality hardcover



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Shifting Reality is book 1 in the ISF-Allion series by Patty Jansen

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About Shifting Reality

A few years ago, a military doctor walking the corridors of New Jakarta Space Station saved Melati’s life. She signed up for the International Space Force to pay back her moral debt to him. But her family thinks she has betrayed her people. It was ISF who forcefully removed their grandmothers and grandfathers from the crowded slums of Jakarta to work in interstellar space stations.

It is Melati’s job to teach six-year old construct soldiers, artificial humans grown in labs and activated with programmed minds to serve in an interstellar war. Her latest cohort has one student who claims that he is not a little boy, but a mindbase traveller whose swap partner took off with his body. It soon becomes clear that a lot of people are scouring the space station for this fugitive, a scientist with dangerous knowledge about interstellar space.

The best place to hide in the space station is amongst the many cultures and subcultures of the expat Indonesian B-sector. Looking for him brings Melati into direct conflict with her people. She does not want to be seen as one of the enemy, but if the scientist’s knowledge falls in the wrong hands, war will come to the station.

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Then he took the lid off the container, flicked it upside down so that the tokay fell onto the table, and quickly pressed his pocket screen against the animal’s back. Then he let the gecko back into the container, where it ran onto the lid, tail dangling down.

Ari sat down, spending a few minutes punching furiously on the screen, which he then handed to Melati.

The screen showed a grainy image moving in a dizzying, disorienting way, as if someone had dropped a camera while it was recording. Then movement stopped and the image sharpened to show a jumble of rounded shapes. There was a rectangle of light towards the top of the screen. Something moved across it—a person, upside down. Now the rest of the image began to make sense.

Melati turned the screen around, and it made even more sense: it was an upside-down image made from the ceiling of Uncle’s rumak. A tokay’s view of the world.

She frowned at him. “You recorded this just today? The tokay did have a camera on its back?”

“Yep. Watch it.”

The round shapes were the heads of Uncle’s customers at the cramped tables.

The brightly-lit rectangle from the door was interrupted when the enforcers came in, but just then the field of vision moved and the door disappeared from view. Something very bright came into view and the screen turned white.

“Oh, bugger. That’s just really bad timing. We could fix that when we can make the animals do what we want,” Ari said.

“How did you record that image?”

“Well, there’s this new very thin film that you can stick on skin. It has photo-sensitive and EM-receptive cells and storage capacity.”

“How thin?” That sounded like a lot of capacity for something you could barely see.

She studied the tokay in the container, but couldn’t see anything except the orange spots on its back. Grey padded feet stuck onto the clear plastic.

“Here.” He deftly picked up the animal—again without making it drop its tail—and showed her by the blue light from his infopad screen.

There was indeed a very thin transparent film over the animal’s back, cut into a gecko-shaped piece. It was so thin and flexible that it didn’t seem to hamper the animal’s movement.

“What is it? Nano-film or something?”

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Additional information

Weight 0.473 kg
Dimensions 21.6 × 13.8 × 2.3 cm

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