Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Demon Maelstrom, Excerpt #3

Dear Readers,

Here is the third excerpt from The Demon Maelstrom, the second book in the SubVersion Trilogy. I hope you enjoy, and I hope it keeps you guessing! Stay tuned for more news and content about the book, and as always, Let There Be Life!


Her hands fell from her face and she glanced out the window again. It must be almost three o'clock, she thought. She checked her watch and confirmed the time as two forty-five. Her expression softened as she stared off through the falling snow to the west, trying to divine what lay beyond the city, beyond the beltway, inside a house miles away in the middle of a snow-covered field. Three o'clock was the prescribed time for a meeting more important than anything she was doing at Central Admin today.

She was startled from her reverie by Bridgit, who somehow had materialized right next to her without her noticing. Bridgit stood staring down at Anna's large belly with a serious look on her face, her manner uncharacteristically hesitant and quiet. She had only been part of Anna's coding team for a week but had already demonstrated an extraordinary aptitude for her work; she had also shown a penetrating mind that picked apart every bit of their project with a fervor that disturbed Anna to no end. If Anna was worried about any of her team discovering her secret, she was worried about Bridgit.

The younger woman stood wordlessly for a full minute, glancing out the window in the same direction as Anna before licking her lips and clearing her throat to speak. “I've got two questions before you get all gussied up for your party downstairs. If you have the time, that is.”

Anna nodded, her stomach clenching with a vague dread but her face betraying nothing. “I have a couple minutes. Go ahead.”

Bridgit's cocky grin half-appeared, but without its usual gusto. She scratched her chin nervously, the tattooed snake that encircled her wrist flexing with the movement. “I'm concerned about the new module code. I didn't want to say anything in front of Jeremy, but I think he's hit on something. A generic operating system process shouldn't be conflicting with the security software the way it has been.”

I was right, she is sharp, Anna thought uncomfortably. She put on a thoughtful face and regarded Bridgit with a cocked head. “Probably not. This module has been rewritten several times now, though. Did you think to check for any conflicting code from the previous version?”

Bridgit gave her a strange look, somewhere between respectful disagreement and incredulity. “That was the first thing I checked, before you even got here this morning. There was only new code. The conflict is occurring right where the module turns on. You get like two commands in and it just dies.” She narrowed her eyes at Anna. “Jeremy told me once that you sometimes set him up to look like the fool with some sort of 'lesson' in the code for him to pick apart. As fun as it is to do stuff like that to him, please tell me that's not what you were doing here.”

Partial relief washed over Anna and she gave a little smile. Jeremy must have been lying to gain sympathy, but it worked to Anna's advantage. She put a hand on Bridgit's arm. “No, I wasn't trying to test anyone, except maybe my own patience. I'll bring it home with me tonight and try to fix it, I'm sure it was just a stupid mistake on my part.”

Bridgit raised an eyebrow at her, not looking entirely convinced. “But you don't make mistakes.”

I try not to,” Anna replied, growing wary again. “But statistically we're all bound to at some point.”

Shrugging, Bridgit appeared resigned to the answer. However, she still didn't turn to the door, only stood there with the same hesitant attitude. Anna frowned at her.

You said you had two questions?” she inquired.

I did, yes.” Bridgit's gaze moved back down to Anna's stomach. “You're . . . pregnant, right?”