What do you do when the world’s greatest power has no conscience?
Two, not of blood, but joined in blood,
may conquer only as a selfless act of love.
-from The Prophecy of the Dancers of Silence
The illustrated dystopian science fiction epic fantasy BIRTH RIGHT TRILOGY depicts the first battles of a brutal war between humans, cyborgs, robots, and genetically enhanced beings. In the first book, BIRTH RIGHT: GALAK’S RISING, you are introduced to the Valki and Galak.
At the onset of a technological war that could destroy their race and the technology that made them superior, the genetically enhanced Valki traveled more than a century into the future.
In this new civilization, Galak, a cruel cyborg obsessed with creating his own race of superior beings, induces the remaining human feudal and native tribes to war against one another. To limit the Valki population, births are restricted to one per woman, unless they are twins. Galak demands that Valki teen twins compete for a Birthright, the right to have children—or be sterilized.
The courage of two young Valki women to resist Galak's law pits princes, kings, and mighty warriors against a merciless and powerful foe.
To save humanity, the girls, named only 99 and 100, and their allies must resist an opponent who has the field and technological advantages. Only those willing to sacrifice everything can defeat their enemies.
The BIRTH RIGHT TRILOGY explores the ethical implications of technology with adventure, romance, humor, and terror.
Kent Burles created the nineteen illustrations for GALAK’S RISING.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.85(d)|
About the Author
Since her father was a computer programmer, Christina developed a curiosity about artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Christina is married and has son and a German Shepherd. Her son designed the book cover for BIRTH RIGHT: GALAK'S RISING. Christina is an avid traveler and has a read a part of a book most days of her life.
Other works by Christina Goebel: GoldenHeart: How to Love Humanity.
www.lovegoldenheart.com Twitter: @lovegoldenheart
Read an Excerpt
Genetic Automation Laboratories, Manhattan, New York
Four hours before the onset of the Great Technological War
Mark Ward looked out of the window of his office in the mammoth Genetic Automation Laboratories' New York Headquarters and wondered how long he would survive. Soon, the disorganized masses below would form organized riots. Thirty-two floors above, Mark felt for them. He had known that the marriage of genetics and automation would cause insurgencies, and that greedy, chronically idiotic boss of his hadn't listened.
Mark stormed over toward Dirk Spitster's office. He submitted to a DNA scan, and when a guardbot tried to check his pockets thoroughly, he brushed it off with an, "I wouldn't." Since he helped create the genetically enhanced Valki who ruled the world, the guardbot moved aside and allowed Mark to pass.
Mark was no longer impressed with the muted yellow glow of the gold techno tiles beneath his feet, or with the brilliant holographic display of their latest discoveries. Mark swallowed hard with disgust.
"Greetings, Mark Ward," the home computer, ACE, said with a female voice. Her medium pitch accent was northeastern, slightly nasal. ACE stood for Autonomous Computer Evolution. She wasn't capable of autonomous machine learning, but she was close.
"Yeah, ACE," Mark said out of habit. ACE didn't assume a pleasant female hologram form in Spitster's office as she did elsewhere in the building. The man had little appreciation for technology, but he controlled most of the world's supply of it. Here, ACE was just a voice coming out of a wall micro-speaker, though she was the world's leading computer.
Dirk Spitster ate chicken, ripping it apart, leaving shreds of it on his face and clothes. He didn't bother wiping his mouth.
"Take a seat," Spitster ordered, while he rearranged his wealthy bulges of fat within the confines of his chair.
As usual, there wasn't an extra chair, and Spitster had overridden ACE's impulse to provide one. Standing, Mark said, "They're here." He waited for a response within Spitster's bulging eyes.
Spitster raised an eyebrow. "Who's here?" Mark always interrupted his lunch complaining about something. If it weren't for the brain inside that head of his, he would have killed the man years ago.
Mark stared at Spitster in disbelief. "Do you watch the news? The Anti-Technology Organization. As we speak, they're preparing to attack."
A trail of drool slid down Spitster's face to his chin. "Oh, them. Don't worry about it. The police're here." He wiped back one of his few remaining hairs, securing it with chicken grease.
"Which would be fine if the rest of the world wasn't backing them!" Mark yelled. "We need to dismantle and call it quits before they destroy ACE and every piece of technology they can. Before they kill the Valki. The world can't afford to lose that. Damn the projects! If we don't do something, the world's going to pay."
"Self-preservation tactics initiated," ACE said.
Spitster bore the look of thinking. "I'm not gonna stop genetic editing because of a few lousy protests by uselessly brained morons. They'll mean nothing in the next ten years. Half of 'em were replaced by robots. We're improving the world, remember? Machines're damn near ready to make themselves! ACE here'll make a fleet of ACEs or whatever she names them."
"I would give them independent names to avoid human confusion," ACE interjected.
"That's nice, ACE!" Mark threw up his hands and paced the floor. "They're not a few protests, Dirk. People are blaming technology. They're out of jobs, replaced by the Valki, computers, and robots. They have nothing to do but revolt! Now with machine learning on the cutting edge — it's been too fast, and they're not ready." He stopped and stared hard at Spitster. "We have all this technology and no systems to protect the people's income. You can't take away the world's livelihood and not expect repercussions."
"Reper — ? Let them eat cake!" Spitster laughed. "We're surpassing trillions in revenue. Frankly, a few trillion cryptos are all I need to retire. You scientists die in poverty. Sit back and shut up, and you'll live a life of luxury in your old age. Just lemme take care of this. With time, the military'll see the value of Galak, pay up more than private industry, and we'll make more than any company ever."
Mark swiped the contents of Spitster's desk to the floor. Missing a chicken leg, Mark took it and threw it at a window.
Both he and Spitster shared a moment of surprise. Was this Mark?
"Housekeeping is dispatched," ACE informed them.
"You blithering idiot!" Mark yelled, breaking the silence. "The last person who said, 'Let them eat cake' as a political statement had her head cut off! Serves you right if they do the same to you for being ignorant. Do what you want, but you can't do anything without me. I'm resigning. Furthermore, I'm dismantling our laboratory, and there won't be a thing you can do."
A vacuum bot raced over, swept the contents from the floor inside it, and then whirred away.
Spitster leaned back, and Mark would have given anything to knock the smug look off his face. "I'll have you arrested and sued. You'll be a lousy nothing."
"I'm not a lousy nothing with all the passwords you never cared to have," Mark said.
"That true, ACE? Am I powerless against this nitwit?" Spitster asked.
"You are powerless. Mark has the top priority passwords for my systems," ACE said. "I'm not permitted to override his command."
"Huh." Spitster's voice was still calm, damn him. "I don't care what happens so long as everything goes back to the way it was before. You'd be wise if you did the same."
Mark calmed somewhat, carefully picked his words — an approach that meant nothing to Spitster. "I don't care what happens so long as everything goes back to the way it was before. At least until governments determine what to do with people, so they're happy. You'd be wise if you did the same, Dirk."
A roar shook the room.
Mark ran to the window and looked down. Clouds of blue smoke billowed up from the base of the building. He shook his head and turned back to Spitster. "That was a kamikaze drone. They're storming through the police. Some protection. They're using our weapons against us!"
"Emergency protocols have been initiated," ACE said.
Spitster shrugged. Mark knew why he felt confident when he heard the clatter of metallic steps. Galak. From the sound of it, Galak wasn't levitating, his usual mode of propulsion. He walked to scare the hell out of them. It worked.
Mark watched the door with trepidation. He hadn't counted on Galak being here. He had thought he would test today. This was the oh shit moment of Mark's life.
In a few moments, Galak entered.
"Welcome, Galak," ACE said.
Galak looked at the micro-speaker providing ACE's voice in the ceiling. "I prefer your holoform. She's attractive. ACE, we'll be joined soon."
"A pleasure, I'm certain," ACE replied.
"At least she likes me," Galak said with a low rumble as he glared at Mark Ward.
"She's programmed to like us." Mark took a deep breath, realizing how menacing Galak appeared now that Mark opposed Genetic Automation and his interests. This monster prototype Super-Valki exuded evil like a carnivore intent on devouring its prey.
Mark knew why he was here. Galak wasn't satisfied with his sterility. He wanted his genetic makeup altered so that he could reproduce. His mission was to make his new race the most superior on earth, and he didn't keep it a secret. More disturbing to the world was Galak's desire to connect his brain with ACE, who was poised to develop a new private industry international computer network if governments couldn't outbid them.
The media had hypothesized that when Galak joined with ACE, the duo would construct weapons of terror. Military technology had fallen behind private industry. Spitster had declined a government contract, despite presidential pleas. They couldn't pay as much as private industry.
Now Mark held many controls. Spitster had caused more employees to quit these last six months. Interim employees left Mark as the only senior employee to hold the keys for the genetic editing and machine learning divisions — an inhuman amount of authority for one person.
ACE had developed so far that she would think more than a human in a few months. She had broken contact with the world governments' computers. With Galak planning to join with ACE, things looked their worst.
As Galak's huge presence filled the room, Mark watched his fiercely cold black mechanical legs and arms move with precision toward him.
Galak stood twelve feet tall with the added height of his robotic legs. In his usual manner, he had drawn his mechanical arms up to his chest. The cybernetic arms layered above Galak's natural ones, allowing him to retain the ability to use his hands. He resembled a nightmarish praying mantis. The media hadn't been wrong. "The praying mantis that never prays; The mantis that will devour humanity," headlines had read.
The only thing that kept Galak from resembling a demon was his handsome face, which rested upon his body like a stolen angel's head. Luckily, he wasn't wearing his helmet today. The helmet's sharp, pointy edges were a terrible weapon.
Galak's cold, blue piercing eyes focused on Mark. "I'm just in time to catch you. It's challenging to find you, Mark." His low voice rumbled and echoed as if coming from an otherworldly being. His voice was a result of a genetic mutation that had occurred during voluntary genetic editing research conducted on him.
Mark drew in his breath. He would die at the hands of his creation. The air felt glacial. Mark shivered. "I've been avoiding you, Galak." His left eye twitched.
Spitster laughed behind Mark, but neither he nor Galak took notice.
Galak's eyes narrowed. "You helped create me, Mark. How could you deny me the right to bear progeny? I'm flawless. Is it my fault that you spoiled my reproductive ability?"
"You're not human!" Mark retorted. Not human was the understatement. Cold, calculating, lethal, hateful — those were accurate descriptions he didn't voice. Mark shook his head. "Maybe once you were human."
* * *
Galak considered Mark's comment. Mark knew that the mutant thought more deeply than humans could hope to dream. Unfortunately, Galak would use his brilliance for his own needs. Mark was shocked that such high intelligence had resorted to survival instincts. Galak was an animal in cyborg form, with a mind more lethal than any predator.
Galak tilted his head. "No, I'm not quite human, or Valki. I'm better." He smiled. Mark thought that Galak's handsomeness must devastate women. "I wouldn't want to be like you," he turned disdainfully to Spitster and continued, "a weakling," Galak turned back to Mark, "that can't catch up with his brilliant mind. Nor would I wish to be like your senseless, peaceful Valki. Still, Creator Mark, I demand — note the word demand — that you edit my DNA for virility. To stop the process would be lethal."
Mark studied Galak's arms and recalled the tons of force they could exert — if he chose not to impale him with the razor-sharp points. Mark knew he wouldn't outwit Galak or offer an acceptable excuse for refusal. His throat constricted so tightly that he could barely swallow.
20 Miles Away, in a New Jersey Laboratory
3 hours and 30 minutes before the onset of the Great Technological War
Miles away from Genetic Automation, someone stood for the Valki.
Against her laboratory's vastness, Darissa da Vinci's form looked small, though she stood over six feet tall. Her svelte figure appeared more so because of her signature black turtleneck and matching lab coat. She tossed back her dark wavy hair, and it brushed against her waist. Darissa had meant to cut it, but her deceased husband, Hunter, had loved it.
Darissa admired her accomplishment, her golden green eyes shining. The time machine would send her Valki children 100 years into the future — a safer place. Her moment of victory was short-lived with the regret that she wouldn't accompany them. She must stay behind with the backup computers to protect them from the Anti-Technology Organization — and Galak.
She squinted her eyes, requested some music from the laboratory computer, and swayed as a Celtic beat soothed her nerves.
While she checked the holo-panels of the machine, the Savior, she mused that the average human would have found its completion astounding. To the musical logic of her mind, it wasn't a big deal.
Genetically unaltered humans were confused by their lack of faith in themselves and balanced their insecurities with a foolish attention to detail and perfection that never comes.
Although human, Darissa's mind was like that of the Valki: logical, ethical, unhindered. Intelligence quotient tests had been redesigned because they were too easy for her. In the past, the media would have called her a freak, but in the age of capitalism, she was a "marketable product."
The time machine glowed in rainbow hues. It was a quantum teleportation device and time travel machine combined. Darissa had thought of it, had utilized a vast computer network to solve some equations, and had built it, nothing more.
* * *
If only her husband Hunter could see this! They had met during the Valki Project. She was the world's most perfect woman, and he, the world's most perfect man.
She had enjoyed the feel of his crushing arms around her and the lovemaking. The things two perfect bodies could do. She blushed.
Days after the passing of the DNA Enhancement Act, Mark Ward had altered their children's DNA to an unimagined level of perfection. Thus, the Valki were born — genetically perfect children. To the da Vincis, they were just children.
Hunter never accepted the world's response to their kids. He felt for the humans who lost jobs, power, and authority to the peaceful, yet overly competent Valki.
Two months ago, as talks of a Technological War filled every living room, bar, restaurant, and business room, Hunter had shame and regret concerning Galak.
Because of that wretched creature Galak — who only posed as a Valki and knew nothing about their peacefulness and love — the world wanted to destroy everything related to him.
Galak would merge his mind with ACE and destroy the world, activists said. Possibly, Darissa thought. Genetic Automation and others were promoting legislation to circumvent ethics for ACE or the other master computers. The central computer would evolve as she wished and create more computers her way. Who knew if ACE would deem humans unimportant one day?
Hunter knew humanity would destroy what caused uninterruptable change — technology — and sacrifice its conveniences for peace of mind.
No one predicted Hunter's torment. He injected himself with a lethal dose of nanites and left behind a letter of explanation of his actions for Darissa and his children. Darissa hadn't understood it through her tears. Intelligence couldn't always protect the heart. She could have saved him if he had trusted her with it.
Now, she must preserve their children's lives — alone.
She brought together her children this morning, and they would depart in minutes.
Galak would predict her actions. He was part Valki — and, unlike his pacific Valki cousins, Galak was devastatingly dangerous.
She should have informed Mark Ward of her plans but was uncertain if he would have demanded that she perfect the time machine. She pitied him! Mark couldn't understand her mind's certainty and precision.
Darissa pulled back her dark hair that was like a thick rope in her hands, tied it into a knot around itself, and checked the quality assurance reports.
The Savior was ready. She called to the Valki, "It's time, everyone. Board the Savior, please."
They were silent, logically sensing questions would add to her pain. Now was the time to trust Mommy.
She had been egg mother to them all, though most hadn't been delivered from her womb. As she watched them fill the time machine, she felt as if she pulled out her heart with her own hands.
Artimon, her oldest son, waved timidly, despite his seven-foot stature. Eliak and Tarnus, the twins, nodded. Parnissa, clothed in her usual silver silk robe, pursed her lips and closed her eyes. She read Darissa's mind and paused at the Savior's door. They smiled at one another. The rest passed Darissa wearing kind expressions.
Her youngest child, Sila, was the last. Two-years-old and bright-eyed and dark-haired, Sila would never know that her mother was Darissa, though she was the only child Darissa and Hunter had conceived naturally and raised at home.
Crystal Page, an average human, would raise Sila. A Non-Valki. It wasn't fair to think of other humans as Non-Valki, because Darissa was the same. She confused her identity with that of most of her children, the Valki.
No, she was human and wanted to preserve that in Sila. Darissa wanted Sila to share some common bond with humans — to help in the future. Humanity's perfect imperfection would save the future. She smiled. It always had.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Birth Right"
Copyright © 2019 Christina Goebel.
Excerpted by permission of Christina Goebel.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
The Prophecy of the Dancers of Silence xiii
2071 A.D. 1
1. Galak’s Quest 2
2. The Praying Mantis 14
2203 A.D. 25
3. The Prince of the Future 26
4. The Birthright 36
5. Eyes of Love 53
6. The Beat of Life 58
7. Losing Family 67
8. The Promise 77
9. The Coronation 88
10. The Fate of Champions 99
11. The Spiral 111
2207 A.D. 119
12. 99’s Departure 120
13. Destiny’s Second Call 125
14. Dancing with Fire 134
15. The Prophecy 148
16. Dagmak’s Challenge 162
17. Kissing a Reflection 176
18. The Nocturne 188
19. Galak’s Overture 195
20. A Pirate’s Desert Paradise 206
21. Inspired by a King 217
22. The Error of Aron 226
23. Death by Bliss 239
24. Fifteen Ancient Mares 251
25. Ragar’s Riddle 267
26. Secrets Revealed 279
27. Ser’s Moment of Truth 290
28. Prophecy Fulfilled, or Failed? 299
29. Jessica’s Leap of Faith 311
30. Life, Death, and the In-Between 322
31. Longing 332
32. Life Flight 339
33. The New Kingdom 347
34.Wandering Hearts 357
From the Author 361
Read my other book . . . 363