Set on an enormous (nine million kilometer circumference) space station in orbit around a black hole, The Deep Dark Well is a grand adventure in the tradition of Larry Niven and Poul Anderson. Once the center of a Galactic Civilization that used the station to tap into the gravitation energy of the spinning black hole, the Donut generated the millions of worm hole gates that linked the human and alien planets. That civilization fell, violently, trillions dying in a night. Now the station is the home to the remaining survivor of those times, an immortal genenged being known as Watcher. Or is he the only survivor? Around the black hole orbits the Supersystem, eight stars, each home to a number of terraformed worlds supporting humans and aliens at various levels of technology. Intruders form outside of the system have come to take the technology of the station. The xenophobic Nations of Humanity and the egalitarian but forcefully missionary Kingdom of Surya are warring polities among the stars, deadlocked in a forever war. Each see the station as the way to victory. But Watcher is not ready to give that tech to what he sees as primitives. Enter Pandora Latham, a late twenty-first century Ort Cloud miner from Alabama. Pandi is forced to jump through a worm hole gate when the ancient ship from the future she and her crew were exploring is destroyed by a Universe abhorring a paradox. She finds herself forty thousands years in the future. In front of her; a five thousand year old mystery. And the threat to her own existence from the same force that wiped out a galaxy spanning civilization.
Pandi caught the movement out of the corner of her eye. Something in motion among the stillness of the station. Her body tensed as she slowly turned toward the movement, not sure what to expect. Some kind of animal was her first thought, as she watched the thing moving in her direction. It was all the way across the long room, a hundred meters or more, and she wasnít sure if it had even spotted her yet. It behaved as if it hadnít. Its six legs moved in a most peculiar manner, rotating up and over as the long body slid forward. Not like the movements of a beast. Its skin seemed to be made of a series of small scales of equal size. It had no discernible head, just a continuation of the long body. No mouth, no ears. Spots on the forward scales could be eyes, or something else? A robot of some kind was her second thought, though like nothing she had ever imagined. She couldnít guess its purpose from its configuration. Slowly she put the helmet on her head, not wanting make sudden movements that might alarm it. She pushed a button above the faceplate, engaging the helmet sensors. The creature leapt forward in her vision, as the faceplate magnified the image. Definitely some kind of robot, she thought, wondering if it might be dangerous. On infrared it glowed an even orange color, no apparent power-generating center, as if the entire robot was equally power producing and using. Suddenly her faceplate went blank, opaqued over as if struck by a bright light. That was when she knew she was under attack.
The Deep Dark Well is offered for sale exclusively at Amazon.com for $2.99.