Tag Archive: scifi

Nanites as internal Doctors

In researching for Azuela and Vaughn I’ve come across some weird things but this is the best.


The Dark Unwinding

The Dark Unwinding is a Steampunk story about a young woman struggling to do the right thing weighed against her own possible destruction. It’s about and eccentric genius who’s world may come crashing down because of the greed of another. The Dark Unwinding weaves and complex web of plots in a beautiful pattern.

The story of Katherine Tulman and her brilliant yet childlike Uncle Tully serves as the catalyst for a vibrant world filled with brilliantly crafted toys, a community built on fierce loyalty, and a plot to destroy the British navy.

Katherine Tulman isn’t your typical young female heroine. She has a strength and intelligent beyond her years. As an engineer myself I really appreciated her skill and appreciation of numbers and geometry. Beauty and brains, what more can you ask for in a heroine.

It’s a fast read but it may be hard to keep up with all the twist if you’re not paying close attention. The ending satisfies all the plots. I would definitely recommend it to any Steampunk lover or anyone who likes a strong character novel.



Genetic Engineering



     In the world of Azuela & Vaughn, every human being has been subject to some form of genetic engineering. Most are as simple as removing certain chromosomal mutations and ensuring the child is free of genetic markers for diseases and mental instability.

The elite take it a step further. Azuela comes from a long line of genetically elite. Generations of her line have been pair to produce the best offspring with the best physical and mental abilities possible.  Unlike most of us who have a family history of some type of disease or condition (diabetes and asthma in mine), Azuela comes from a line of physically perfect individuals. On top of that items like height, weight, muscle tone, where optimized before implantation.

Lord Vaughn too has a complex family history of genetic engineering. From his line, different characteristics were focused on. Height, weight, muscle tone were all carefully manipulated.  The rarest feature on him are his blue eyes. Due to a virus that wiped out more than half the population, blue eyes are literally one in a million. Less than 2% of the population has blue eyes Vaughn’s blue eyes automatically label him as a royal.

Real World:    

Genetic Engineering has affected all of our lives. Much of the food we eat today has been manipulated to be high yield, from the plants to the animals we consume. Stem cell medicine and gene therapies are used to treat and even cure genetic malformations and damage due to injuries. Animals have been cloned, most famous is dolly the sheep. Scientists have cloned human tissue as well. So far, cloning humans is hot button issue but many say it is a matter of time before people have designer babies or clones.



In Azuela & Vaughn there are two schools of enhancement, nano-technology (nanites), and cybernetic technology. Those that go the cyborg route are willing to  augment their bodies with mechanical parts (sometimes permanently).  Examples in the book include miners who have been fitted with limps with interchangeable attachments for drilling, scanning, collecting ore. Military personnel fitted with wings for aerial recon.

Real World: A cyborg, short for “cybernetic organism”, is a being with both biological and artificial (e.g. electronic, mechanical or robotic) parts. The term was coined in 1960 when Manfred Clynes and Nathan S. Kline used it in an article about the advantages of self-regulating human-machine systems in outer space.[1] D. S. Halacy’sCyborg: Evolution of the Superman in 1965 featured an introduction which spoke of a “new frontier” that was “not merely space, but more profoundly the relationship between ‘inner space’ to ‘outer space’ – a bridge…between mind and matter.” ( D. S. Halacy, Cyborg: Evolution of the Superman (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1965), 7.)

Cybernetic devices have been used to replace damaged organs and limbs, enhance hearing and sight. With the advancements in computer technology these replacement parts are becoming smarter and more user friendly.(http://www.oobject.com/category/16-genuine-cyborg-technologies , Aug. 2. 2012)


In the post-apocalyptic world of Azuela & Vaughn, some areas of technology have gone by the wayside. Others have blossomed out of necessity.  Health and endurance are two main areas of development. In this field, there are two main camps, nanites and cybernetics. The two technologies don’t work well together so you are usually enhanced by either one or the other. In this post, I wish to talk about nanites.

Nanites are microscopic robots. In this case, they reside within a person’s body regulating body systems and repairing any damage they find. In Azuela & Vaughn nanites are a bio-mechanical organism  custom coded in a person’s DNA so the body doesn’t reject them or treat them as an invading body. The people mostly likely to have these are royals, and contracted servants in security and health industries.

The royals can afford such advanced technology and appreciate the extreme good health and extended lifetime. Part of the benefit of being a contracted servant is that your bosses pay for health care. Royals who can afford the best security provide their people with nanites and other hi-tech equipment. Those in the health field are required to have nanites so they don’t run the risk of infection or spreading diseases to patients.

Azuela and Vaughn both have nanites. Azuela’s are constantly needing maintenance in order to keep up with the various injuries she accrues in the course of her job. As a result Azuela is often on a high-protein, high-vitamin/mineral diet in order to keep her little buddies-as she calls them-fueled up and working properly. The nanites do have their limitations though. They won’t make you immortal but do make you tougher to kill.


According to Wikipedia :  Nanorobotics is the emerging technology field creating machines or robots whose components are at or close to the scale of a nanometer (10−9 meters). More specifically, nanorobotics refers to the nanotechnology engineering discipline of designing and building nanorobots, with devices ranging in size from 0.1-10 micrometers and constructed of nanoscale or molecular components. The names nanobots, nanoids, nanites, nanomachines or nanomites have also been used to describe these devices currently under research and development. (accessed July 21, 2012)

The big breakthrough today is in the treatment of cancer. http://technorati.com says, Scientists throughout the world are working to develop novel and potent therapeutic strategies for cancer and in this field scientists including Shawn Douglas of the Wyss Institute at Harvard University and collaborators have successfully treated the cancer with the help of “DNA nanorobots”.

Scientists have developed nanorobots having the ability to transport payloads such as drug molecules and antibodies to specific cells of the body. They used the method of “DNA origami” to develop the containers with folded DNA chains. Aptamers were used to lock the barrel shaped robot and to recognize the specific cell types. Scientists mimic the white blood cells for the robots.

The New Crusader

Purpose: I wrote The New Crusader with the idea that cloned humans are treated like chattel in a nearby future. I carefully choose an Asian female lead because the modern day parallel was inescapable. Even today in many countries, including China, women are considered second-class citizens. Female babies are aborted by the hundreds in China because they are allowed a limited amount of children and they don’t want to waste them on females. It felt natural that this mixed-race Asian female should feel so intensely about the fight for these throw away people.

I hope this short story isn’t too short. Please enjoy The New Crusader.


Joss signaled to go left.  He swung right, disappearing into the heart of the cargo ship.  I rounded the corner, crouched low, and gun steady in my hand. Ardengrazed my shoulder to let me know he was still tight on my six.  Good boy, thatArden, he learns quickly.  He might have a future in this business after all.   My little brother, a crusader; the idea made me smile.

I heard hard footfalls on the metal deck a few feet ahead.  We halted.  Tucked up against the bulkhead I scanned the area.  The multi-colored cargo containers chopped up my field of vision.  The steps came closer and my heart beat faster.

Sun reflected off a gun barrel as the guard came toward the edge of the container fifteen feet in front of me.  I came around the metal box and hit him from behind.  A sharp blow to the head with the butt of the gun and the guard was down.  Leaning down to secure the weapon a shot went off behind me.

Even with a silencer, I heard the odd thunk of the shot.  I whirled. Ardenstood over the second guard, gun raised, eyes wide.  I placed my hand on his arm so he knew I was coming around him.  The second guard was clutching his left shoulder, his face wrinkled up in pain.  I pushed his gun away before leaning over him.

“Where are the girls?”

He looked up at me confused.  He spouted off a hurried stream of words I couldn’t understand.  Damn, Mandarin.  I heard Joss speak it enough times to recognize it but not enough to understand.  Thanks to daddy, I may look as Asian as they come, but little brother and I were raised inLondonwith no attachment to our Chinese heritage.

I put my hands up in surrender, hoping he would calm himself.  “I don’t understand.  Night, night.”  I pistol-whipped him.

Reaching into my right, bottom pants pocket I pulled out the pressure bandage.  I wasn’t going to let him bleed to death, forArden’s sake.  After bandaging him up, I searched his pockets.

“You alright,” I askedArden, as nonchalant as possible.

“Yeah, I -” he lowered his gun but kept a weather eye out.  “-just a little startled.”

“First shooting’s like that, but he’ll live, so don’t worry about it.”

It was my turn to keep watch while Arden moved both bodies out of sight.  I kept thinking we had to be close if two guards were watching the same area.  That still left a dozen containers to search.


“Container by container, Arden.”

He nodded.  We walked abreast, barely squeezing down the rows.  Good thing we’re both slender.  I knocked while he watched.  Carefully I listened for any signs of life inside.

Five down, no more guards, but no girls either.

Six must be my lucky number.  I knocked and listened.  At first, there was nothing, and then I heard a faint rustling.  Maybe it was the wind kicking up.  Then it came again and with it, a greeting.

“Ni hao.”

We struck gold.  Arden and stood back to back, as I used my pocket torch to burn through the lock.  It only took a minute to cut through the steel padlock.

Joss taught me to say, we come in peace.  I hoped the girls understood.

Pulling the double doors open there was a collective gasp as daylight poured in.  Fifteen girls packed into one cargo container wasn’t a pleasant way to cross the Pacific.  None of them could have been older than twenty-five.  At least they weren’t under sixteen.

Cloning humans is illegal but smugglers don’t care.  They get caught with the girls, they get a slap on the wrist for transporting illegal contraband.  The girls get shipped back to where they came from, so smugglers can try all over again.  After all, the law doesn’t even recognize them as humans, just material.

I reached out my hand.  They shied away, completely understandable, considering.  Smiling, I tried to show them I meant no harm.  A pale, thin hand gripped mine.  The fierce determination in her emerald green eyes surprised me.

“Ok ladies, hold hands and we’ll get you to safety.”  I switched channels on the walkie, radioing the boat.  “Fifteen coming your way.”

“Got it Capt.,” came backTurin, master of the boat.

Cautiously we made it around the containers and toward our entry point. Ardenushered the ladies down the ladder withTurinand Zeke on the other end.  I had my eye out for intruders when I heard the three clicks.  Someone was in trouble.

“Go, we got this,”Turincalled up before I could ask.

Point was mine andArdenfell in behind me as we descended into the ship.  I heard the gunfire, automatic weaponry, not ours.  My body told me to head away from it but I ran straight for it.  The gun blasts reverberated wildly in the metal box, making it difficult to navigate.

“Joss, position?”

“Captain’s mess, section A-7,” he yelled between shots.

Looking up I saw we were at A-4.  I charged through the next intersection, slowing only at A-7.  The captain’s mess was at the end of the cross hall.  Joss was pinned down outside.  Mara was down.  My stomach flipped.  If she was…  No I couldn’t even think it.

Mara was on her stomach.  I flipped her over fearfully.  She was breathing.  Tension slid off my chest.  She had been clipped on the hip but it looked like she knocked her head on the way down, explaining her current state.

I bandaged her up.

“Joss, she’ll live.”

His usually stoic face softened momentarily.  He nodded.

Ardentook position next to Joss while I pulled Mara to a safer location.  Joss yelled something to the shooters barricaded in the mess.  They answered back with a thick burst of gunfire.  I guess surrender was out of the question.

“Sorry we’re late boss,” Malachi said approaching from the left.

“We grabbed some toys,” explainedNikko.  He signaled Joss and tossed him a couple black cylinders longer than my hand.

Joss smiled.  “Thanks.  Watch our six, get ready.”

I may be the Captain but in tactical situations, Joss ruled.  His military background and familiarity with our crew made him perfect for the job.  I’m smart enough to understand when others’ strengths outweigh my own.

Joss pulled the pins and tossed in the flash-bang grenades.  I folded myself over Mara’s prone body shielding both our faces.  The sound was earsplitting and through closed eyes I still saw the blinding white light. Arden, Joss, andNikkostormed the room, leaving Malachi and I to keep watch.

A few shots rang out, some grunting and yelling.  ThenNikkocalled all clear.  Malachi hoisted Mara onto his shoulder and we both went in. Ardenwas tying the captain to his chair.  One guy was dead, another bound on the floor.

“Where are the girls?”

“I know no girls,” the captain said in heavily accented English.

Joss backhanded him.  With two hundred pounds of solid muscle, Joss is a solid guy who can slap the cocky out of just about anyone.

“We know the girls are here just tell us where.”

“Ain’t tellin you nothin.”

I kept Joss from punching the guy’s face in.

“Listen, we’re gonna find them either way but if you make us tear the place apart you’ll be sorry,” I said sweetly, kneeling in front of him.

“Ain’t tellin you nothing,” he repeated.  “That’s why y’all soft, you take orders from this stupid bitch,” he said staring up at Joss then he spat in my face.

Deep breathe in through the nose out the mouth.  Not a surprise the human trafficker has no respect for women.  I get that treatment a lot in my line of work.   Nice to see the look on their faces though, when they’re staring down the barrel of my gun, knowing a woman helped take them down.

“Tell me where they are or I shoot you and find them myself.”

He looked at me amused, like I wouldn’t dare.

“One, two, -” he wasn’t going to budge.  “-three.”  I pulled the trigger hitting him square in the chest.  His head lolled forward blood pooling out. Ardengasped.

“Talia, how could you.  He was unarmed.”

“He was a scum sucking human trafficker that the world is better without.  Don’t like it, leave.”  I moved from the door to let him out.  He shook his head but stayed put.

I hated to see the look of disappointment and shock in my brother’s eyes, but that’s the job.  We’re not cops or military.  We’re crusaders, protecting our little piece of the world from human filth.  We save those who fall through the gaping holes in the system.  Killing him saves all his potential victims.  A hard lessen we all have to learn sometime.

“Tear this place apart guys, we have some ladies to find.”