The Odyssey Gene

The Odyssey Gene

by Kfir Luzzatto

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940033083886
Publisher: Kfir Luzzatto
Publication date: 03/01/2012
Sold by: Smashwords
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 284 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Kfir Luzzatto was born and raised in Italy, and moved to Israel as a teenager. He acquired the love for the English language from his father, a former U.S. soldier, a voracious reader and a prolific writer. Kfir has a PhD in chemical engineering and works as a patent attorney. He lives in Omer, Israel, with his full-time partner, Esther, their four children, Michal, Lilach, Tamar and Yonatan, and the dog Elvis. Kfir has published extensively in the professional and general press over the years. For almost four years he wrote a weekly "Patents" column in Globes (Israel’s financial newspaper). His non-fiction book, THE WORLD OF PATENTS, (a not-so-boring tale of what patents are about, in Hebrew) was published in 2002 by Globes Press. He is the author of several short stories but now mostly writes full-length fiction. His first novel, CROSSING THE MEADOW was published by Echelon Press (October 2003) and was voted "BEST HORROR NOVEL" in the 2003 Preditors & Editors Readers Poll. Kfir is an HWA (Horror Writers Association) and ITW (International Thriller Writers) member and also serves on the editorial board of The Harrow Press as Anthology Editor. His second novel, THE ODYSSEY GENE, was published by Echelon Press (July 2006) and was a finalist in the Indie Excellence 2007 Book Awards. He got the inspiration for his new thriller, "THE EVELYN PROJECT", from an in-depth research into the family archives. You can visit Kfir’s web site and read his blog at Follow him on Twitter (@KfirLuzzatto).

Read an Excerpt

"May I join you?"

The passenger sat all alone by the table on the main deck. He lifted his head and gazed at the young woman who stood before him. She wore a crewmember uniform; a nametag, neatly placed above her shirt pocket, advertised her name and position: "Dana, Entertainment Officer."

"Go ahead," he answered uninvitingly. "My name is John," he added with a belated spark of politeness.

If his tone and lack of interest hurt her feelings, her face didn't show it. Her smile remained steady on her lips and she slid her thin body between the table and the chair that stood in front of John's.

"I noticed that you have been sitting here alone during the last few days and I thought I might offer you some more interesting options to pass the time," she said. She moved elegantly, even when simply sitting down, and her voice harmonized with her motion. "We have quite a good music library, movies, books, and more. Are you interested?"

"Not really, thanks," he answered flatly. "I'm comfortable here, and anyway we have only a little more than a week left before we reach our destination."

Her face dropped and she waved her hand in despair. "It's very frustrating, you know," she said. "This is my first assignment as an Entertainment Officer and I really want to do a proper job of it, but nobody seems to be taking me seriously. I tried to talk to that group of mining engineers over there," she added confidingly, pointing with her chin at a group of people sitting at a table at the edge of the hall, "but they are busy all the time studying and exercising, and they don't need my services. Apart from you and them, all other First Class passengers are either oldercouples or government officers who keep to themselves. All right," she concluded resignedly. She let out a quick sigh and pushed her chair back a little, preparing to get up. "I won't keep bothering you," she said bitterly.

She stood, but didn't walk away. John looked at her, his interest aroused by her behavior. Dana stood there, seemingly unbothered by his piercing gaze.

"You are not bothering me," he said at last. "Please sit with me. A little company won't hurt me, but I'm not in the mood for entertainment right now."

"Talking to passengers is also part of my job," she answered earnestly. Her face showed her relief at the invitation as she sat down again.

John studied her delicate features, amazed at his temerity in fixing his eyes on her so openly and directly, but feeling no embarrassment. Dana's body language had made it clear that she didn't mind.

"How old are you?" he asked.

"I'm twenty-three."

"And what brings you to this ship?"

"Well ... I thought it would be exciting to fly to another planet and see things I have only heard about in school. But in reality, so far it has been a big disappointment. I'm cooped up in this box all the time and see nothing at all. I hope that New Australia will be as interesting as they say."

"What do you know about New Australia?"

"What everybody knows," she answered mechanically. "Until about one hundred and fifty years ago the planet served as a prison of sorts, to which dangerous criminals were exiled from Earth. With the establishment of the New Nations Organization, the practice of exile was discontinued and the planet became a member of the NNO. The truth is," she said, her expression changing from scholarly mechanical back into her previous lively one, "I am really excited at the thought of landing there, and I hope to return with many interesting experiences to tell."

"You know something about the history of New Australia all right," John admitted. "I hope you also know that the planet is dangerous and that you'll have to take good care of yourself there."

Dana sat up straight and waved her hand in a discounting gesture, as if the dangers were no concern of hers. "Obviously the crew, and I among them, has been told all about that before we took up the job. I don't plan to go into the savage Newist territories, although they say that visiting them is an amazing experience. And you," Dana asked with open curiosity, "what's the purpose of your trip? Are you an NNO observer or something?"

"No. I wish..." He looked at her, then immediately moved his eyes to the corner of the table. "The truth is that one month ago I took the test and came out D-positive."

Dana's expression turned from excited to serious, and John could scarcely hide his surprise in seeing that she looked even more beautiful when she seemed concerned.

"Oh, I'm so sorry," she said, and her voice had an unmistakable ring of true sympathy. "It must be terrible for you."

"It's funny, but in a sense it's great. To be immune to that horrible disease, I mean. Do you know anything about the Davies Gene?"

"I know what they teach you in school. I know about the pestilence and about the limitations imposed on those who, like you, are D-positive."

"I understand that you are D-negative..."

"I haven't been tested yet. I'll do it as soon as I return from this trip, but there isn't a chance in the world that I'll test positive. Both my parents are negative, and nobody in my immediate family is positive."

"I'm sure it'll be okay and I don't want to worry you, but do you know that one half percent of those with no family history for the D-gene turn out to be positive?"

"It's a very low percentage, and I've never met anyone like that."

"I'm like that."

"Oh, that's terrible! How did it happen?"

"As you know, everybody has to take the test before the age of twenty-five."

"Or earlier, if he is a candidate for a classified job or wishes to marry," she pointed out.

"Right. I was doing well at my job, and had my entire life before me, until..."

John looked above Dana's head, far away in time and place. The images came back to him with a quality of unreality, like a movie in which somebody else is playing the leading role. He started describing the images etched in his memory to Dana, or perhaps to himself, in a low, flat voice:

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