When the Hero Comes Home 2 e-book is now available for purchase! Want a preview? Below you’ll find an excerpt from my own contribution, Waiting for You. But that’s only one of the stories in this great anthology.
They say you can never go home again…
Join us for all new stories of heroes whose journeys have ended, and whose quests have been won–or lost–as they discover the fate of the people and places they’d left behind.
Featuring bestsellers, luminaries, and bold new voices. The print book contains 21 science fiction, fantasy, and urban fantasy short stories. Buy the ebook (epub or Kindle) for 8 bonus stories!
Now, for the promised preview:
It had been one thousand one hundred thirty-nine years, eight months and fifty-four days, Earth standard, since Tess had last seen the planet of her origin.
The jewel tones of Earth came into view and Tess noted an odd fullness in her torso, recording the possibility that the pull of gravity was affecting her more strongly than it should. Another sign her body was deteriorating beyond repair. She filed the information in her error logs and flushed it from active RAM. Time enough to analyze the data when she was upgrading.
She wondered if any of her current body was salvageable or if she’d end up downloaded into a new one. It was a daunting thought. She chided herself for the sentiment. She’d spent far too much time alone with biological life forms. They were attached to their form for good reason, but Tess had no such excuse. She had been too long in this body, she decided, and had grown inappropriately attached to it.
That too could be merely a malfunction. It had been six hundred years, eighty-six days since she’d last patched her kernel. She’d checked the relay satellites on her way back and determined with 75.62% certainty that she and the satellites were obsolete technology, incapable of receiving or processing the data packets sent from Earth.
Contemplation of that, and the changes that would be necessary because of it, occupied more of her available memory that it should have.
Tess’s long range scanning capabilities were limited—her ship was little more than a shell for her body that held the long-range travel drive and fuel source—but even from 2.37-5 light years away, she could detect marked changes on Earth from her last recorded scan. Data transmission across her internal network quickened.
Slowing as she approached the planetary flight space, Tess transmitted her ID and requested permission to land on-planet. The silence preceding the response lasted a full 3.7 seconds longer than she expected. When it came, the reply was:
“What are you?”
For the rest, you’ll have to buy the book. Go get one!