Author: CE Kilgore
Genre: Space Opera
Publisher: Tracing the Stars
Available: Amazon $0.00 (Kindle) 52 pages
Dreams. Friendship. Love. As a Mechatronic Automaton, these elusive constructs maintained a barrier between Brel and his Organic crewmates aboard the Telasari. A single moment of connection threatened to tear that barrier down and expose him to the raw biting nature of emotions he had no way to logically define. As he fights to hold onto that connection to the very end, it leaves him doubting his preconceptions about the world around him, and about himself.
For a short story, this little space opera has the depth and emotional punch of a much longer work. You don't have to read the previous story (Ghost in the Machine) but I'd recommend you do. I adore Orynn, but I learned so much more about her from this story and the reason for some of her future reticence. Brel is the kind of hero I adore, and all the more admiral because he isn't human and therefore human emotions and values are not expected of him. Yet he has those qualities far more than the actual humans.
What I didn't like:
A smidge of head hopping - my major bug bear - but the majority is told from Brel's POV and the head hopping is minimal.
This short story totally broke my heart. If you love stories about mecha/artificial humans/androids, but want emotional depth rather than it being based purely on sex, this is for you. Just don't hold your breath for even a happily for now as this is a tragedy, not a romance.