Unprofitables are banished to work camps to pay off their credit. Other tie-men and women look on apathetically. Fair is fair. Everyone knows you shouldn't use more credit than you are worth to the Company. They turn their attention to the next repackaged but highly coveted N-Corp product on the market, creatively advertised on the imager screens that adorn virtually every available flat surface. All the while, their mandatory cross-implants and wrist-worn "ICs" keep them focused on the endless cycle of work and consumption to which they are enslaved.
May Fieldsthe CEO's daughterwould like to believe she is above all that. Head of N-Corp's marketing team, the young woman who has almost everything anyone could want spends her days dreaming up ingenious ways to make workers buy more of what they already have and don't need. Even before May discovers that the Company is headed for its first loss in thirty years, she is feeling the stirrings of dissatisfaction with the system that has given her everything she's ever wanted . . . except the freedom to be herself.
When she is kidnapped by a member of the Protectoratea secret order dating back to the American RevolutionMay is suddenly faced with the frightening truth of what the Company's greed has done to our most basic human rights. Will she embrace who she is and join the battle to restore America's democratic freedom, or put her blinders back on and return to her safe and passionless life?
More prediction than fiction, Blood Zero Sky is a riveting, nonstop, and suspenseful gaze into the looking glass, destined to rise with the zeitgeist of our times to become the anthem of a generation.
|Publisher:||Health Communications, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
J. Gabriel Gates is the nationally acclaimed coauthor of Dark Territory, Book 1 in The Tracks series, and the author of the horror novel The Sleepwalkers. A native of Marshall, Michigan, Gates is an advocate for social justice and participated in the Occupy Detroit and Occupy Lansing protests in 2011. His lives with his dog and faithful writing companion, Tommy. Visit him online at www.jgabrielgates.com.
Read an Excerpt
Gone now is the gun from my hand. Gone, the laughter of my friends. Gone, my father's protective glare. This is the path one walks alone.
Behind me, the N-Corp headquarters building thrusts from the earth like a giant spear, impaling the sky. It, this building, is the axis around which the whole world turns. From its doors flow all the wealth, all the abundance, and all the horror that mankind has wrought. That I have wrought.
Its glistening steps are speckled with blood.
In its mirrored doors I see myself: a skinny, pale young woman, standing alone.
Those black-clad men at the foot of the steps are coming for me. The crack of their bullets shouts my name. And no, this is not a dream.
From all around come murmurs of shock and uncertainty. Hundreds of frowning, watching faces surround me. Women in their designer-cut skirts, men in their impeccable ties, they pull back, dreading to soil their clothes with a drop of my blood. Of all the terrors in the world, they fear for their cleanliness the most.
They would rather slip past me and begin their workday immediately, so they can finish early and go home to dine on steak, sleep in silk. Already, they're desperate to forget me, this sight, this morning. Already they cannot.
All this, after all, has been for them.
There is a snap in my chest as a bullet strikes a rib, and seemingly from nowhere a kaleidoscope of painfully vivid images is unleashed upon me: my life, the Company, the revolution. I see it all. Every breath, every heartbeat, every prayer. A vision so bright I could cry.
But this is not the beginning.
Four hours until the Battle of Detroit.
Ethan, standing on a dusty tabletop, calls out:
'For those of you who are new, welcome. The first thing to know is this: if you're here, it's already too late to turn back. So listen well and understand what you'll be bleeding for.
'We are the Protectorate, the fourth branch of American government. Before there was a president, we were here. Before the Constitution was scratched onto paper, we walked the streets. In the year seventeen eighty-three, George Washington founded our organization in secret. We were and are a group of citizens assembled to live and die in the service of the people, to defend a liberty more basic than free speech, more fundamental than the freedoms of press or assembly or suffrage. We protect the last human right: the right of rebellion.'
There are raucous shouts of assent. Energy courses through the crowd, making the air around us almost seem to vibrate.
'Never forget, my friends, how much blood has been shed in the name of freedom. Any student of history knows it is enough to wash us all away. But do not forget what the word freedom means: we face an enemy today who uses the very word against us. Freedom, to the Company, is the freedom to bleed the poor, to assault our minds with their greedy, warping propaganda, to hold liens against our every possession and our every minute of waking life, to watch us, track us, judge us, and execute us, without our having any recourse at all. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Am I ringing any bells?'
We yell out in agreement.
'The few of us who have been able to learn the true history of our world are filled with regret. There was a time when these atrocities could have been prevented. Once, and many times in history, the people of the world stood together in opposition to those who would make slaves of them, who would drink their blood and sweat like wine. Well, the spirit of freedomof defiancemight slumber, but it never dies. I see it stirring again, in all of your eyes.'
There are nods and whistles among the crowd. All around, the excitement builds. The atmosphere is electric.
'We are the Protectorate, guardians of freedom. We are the fourth branch of American government, the last one that remains. Today brothers, today sisters, the second American Revolution begins.'
The crowd roars. They wave their white guns high. Some weep, some laugh. All seem ready to die.
I can't speak for the rest of us, the hundreds huddled with me in this dark and abandoned place, gripping simple weapons, preparing to face the most advanced and ruthless fighting system humankind has ever devisedbut as for me, I'm scared as hell.
But this is not the beginning.
Morning, three months ago.
I hurry along the electric sidewalk, feeling its polished, stainless steel surface gliding along swiftly and fluidly beneath my fast-moving feet. On the opposite sidewalk, tie-men rush to work at the headquarters' South Tower complex. Everyone on my side of the walkway is heading for the greatest monolith in the Hubthe Headquarters itself. I can see it rising before me from among the other great buildings that pass by on either side.
Above each doorway, a sign: the letter 'N.'