It was great fun doing the project. I want to give a shout out to my writer/musician friend, Joe Canzano, for inspiring me to do the project. Also, thanks to my narrator, Caitlin Willis Frizzel, for doing an excellent job of bringing my characters to life.
Special Offer: Get a FREE Micromium audio book by following these easy steps: Go to the Micromium page on Audible by clicking https://tinyurl.com/yar5hmsk. Listen to the five minute sample (optional). If you like what you hear, contact me through my website at www.davidgittlin.com. The first ten people who contact me will receive a promo code and instructions for downloading a free Micromium audio book. Be sure to send me your email so I can send you the code and instructions. I will NOT use your email to send offers or promotions. I DO NOT keep email lists for promotion. (I hate spam, and I’m sure you do, too).
Synopsis: The year is 2038. Earth’s biosphere is on the brink of destruction from the effects of global warming and pollution. The World Energy Council has awarded a lucrative contract to a major US corporation to mine a precious ore discovered by the first manned mission to land on Mars. One kilo of Micromium can power a large city for a year without environmental side effects. A few grains of the ore can fuel a car for a year or longer. Micromium promises to provide clean energy to a thirsty planet far into the future.
When two people die in a mining accident on Mars, the World Energy Council sends Commander Logan Marchant and a crack team of astronaut specialists to investigate.
Confronted with a lack of cooperation from the mining colonists, the investigation is further complicated by Logan’s growing attraction to the team’s beautiful and brainy geologist. While tensions and tempers rise, Logan and the audit team make one shocking discovery after another, until the investigation leads them into mortal danger, and ultimately, to a surprising conclusion.
“A fun science-fiction thriller with both unique and familiar concepts, MICROMIUM delivers a satisfying story with memorable characters you don’t mind spending time alone with on a desolate planet, millions of miles from Earth.”
“Versatile in its imagery, characters, and storyline, Micromium: Clean Energy from Mars will take readers on a journey throughout the galaxy. With scenes ranging from intense and scary to action-packed and awesome, the novel will never cease to wow readers. The pages of this easy-read will fly through readers’ hands while its story and characters remain in readers’ minds.”
David Gittlin has written three feature length screenplays, produced two short films, and published three novels. Before quiting his day job, he spent more than thirty years as a marketing director building expertise in advertising, copy writing, corporate communications, collateral sales materials, website content/design and online marketing. For more information, please visit www.davidgittlin.com
Verdict: A fun science-fiction thriller with both unique and familiar concepts, MICROMIUM delivers a satisfying story with memorable characters you don’t mind
spending time alone with on a desolate planet, millions of miles from Earth.
MICROMIUM by David Gittlin is a delightful science-fiction adventure set in a near-future where a possible clean energy source from Mars has captured humanity’s hope. A team of scientists travel to the red planet to perform an audit of the privately run mining operation. The team does their job a little too well, uncovering a secret that the company was desperate to keep hidden.
The story that unfolds in this novella is very compelling and carries the reader along with a fast-paced tale that isn’t difficult to follow. The characters are at their most interesting when they are working to solve the central problem of the book and working together as a team. When major twists are thrown their way, readers are eager to follow along with the team wherever they’re headed. There is drama and excitement, and all of it serves the larger story.
The characters’ stories are full of gripping drama and very real stakes. In sci-fi, it can be difficult to cut your characters off from the help they might need in a technologically-advanced society. Stuck on a planet millions of miles from that help, where the very atmosphere is deadly, solves that problem in a very real way. Like other recent stories focused on the red planet, the threat of being stranded there is ever-present, adding another layer of stakes to an already high-tension story.
Like all good science fiction, MICROMIUM features both a specific narrative that is enthralling and a larger universe that seems ripe for future storytelling. Many writers fall prey to focusing more on the latter element than providing a resolution for the former that is both complete and satisfying. Gittlin does not. The story he sets out to tell is resolved very clearly, but how that ending unfolds opens the possibility for more stories about both these characters and the world in which they live. Readers are left wanting more, but not because the story that drew them into the book was left unfinished.
This interview and a spicy excerpt from an early chapter appear at Fang-Tastic Books; a well-known book review site.
Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to write in this particular genre?
I believe it started with my struggle with the forces of darkness and light within myself. A year after writing Scarlet Ambrosia, I see the story through a different pair of eyes. At the core of the novel is a young man’s struggle with the forces of good and evil within himself and the world around him. The vampire archetype, I now realize, is a metaphor for my heart’s dream to realize its divine nature. The supernatural powers and ramped-up energy level Devon acquires as a vampire make him half-human and half-god, something like the mythological Greek gods. He can choose to use his new powers for good or evil purposes.
I believe everyone has the potential to become a divinely human being. I’ve been a ‘spiritual seeker’ for most of my adult life. Awakening isn’t easy, but I’ve found it’s worth the effort. What happens for Devon is happening for me in a much subtler way without the super-human powers, but happily, minus the need to drink human blood.
What is it about the paranormal, in particular vampires, that fascinates you so much?
I’m fascinated by the supernatural powers of my vampire characters. They are very powerful beings with the capacity to dramatically impact the world around them positively or negatively.
Please tell us about your most recent release.
My latest release is Scarlet Ambrosia. I’m working on a sequel because I love the characters. Scarlet Ambrosia is the second novel I’ve published. The first one is a humorous Science Fantasy thriller titled “Three Days to Darkness.”
Do you have a special formula for creating characters’ names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?
In most cases, I try to make a character’s name show something about the character’s personality and traits. I try not to make it too obvious. At other times, a character’s name just comes to me and I trust that the name is the right one. It’s interesting that the name often corresponds to a character’s traits by coincidence.
Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?
The antagonist of the story, Egon Schiller, was the hardest for me to write. This is often the case in the stories I write. There is always a tendency to make the villain two-dimensional rather than a three-dimensional person with some good traits and intentions. I feel that the most believable villains are people who have, for one reason or another, given in to their dark side. A good example of this is Darth Vader.
Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
Of all the characters in the story, I most enjoyed writing the female love interest, Mathilde de Roche. Her strength, heroism, and magnetism came naturally as I created her and as I wrote her throughout the story. That came as a surprise. I am, after all, a guy. Like most men, I find women unfathomable in the real world.
Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?
I participated in several online screen writing and novel-writing courses offered through the writers program at UCLA. Professional writers taught these courses. The teachers stressed that the most successful stories have memorable characters in them. I learned to create my characters before writing the story using a detailed character template. I’ve found that knowing what makes my characters “tick” helps make them more interesting and believable.
What is the most interesting thing you have physically done for book related research purposes?
I spent a week in Sedona, Arizona exploring the town’s art galleries, architecture and the energy vortexes.
When did you consider yourself a writer?
When I stumbled into my career in marketing communications, I found writing was the most enjoyable part of the job.
Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
Here’s a spicy excerpt from Chapter Two:
This woman was beyond beautiful. She was exquisite—no signs of breast implants or a nose job and no tattoos or piercings marred the natural beauty of her face and body. Her creamy skin felt like the finest silk to Devon’s probing hands. He unclasped her bra. His loins tingled at the sight of her full breasts. He caressed her erect nipples. She moaned.
The foreplay had started slowly with exploratory kisses and caresses. Now he could barely wait to enter her. Devon removed the last fragments of clothing from their bodies. The smell of her perfume, the feel of her body, and the sensation of her soft hands on his buttocks almost made him explode prematurely.
Being inside this woman was like nothing he had experienced before. Devon lost all sense of physical boundaries. The sensual pleasure of joining with Mathilde seemed to fill every cell in his body. He was only vaguely aware of moving inside her. Their rising passion consumed him. She kept repeating something in French. His back arched. He climaxed. The pleasure was too intense for his senses to bear. He lost consciousness.
He woke up next to her on the bed. She stroked his hair with one hand, propping up her head on one elbow.
Feeling embarrassed, Devon shook his head, unable to comprehend the reason for his lapse of consciousness.
“I’m sorry if I scared you. It’s the first time I’ve ever passed out during sex.”
“You didn’t scare me, ma chère. It only confirms what I was afraid of.”
“If we go on having sex, it will kill you.”
He laughed nervously. Had the sex been good enough to cause a blackout?
“I can think of worse ways to die,” he said, covering up for his discomfort.
She kept looking at him studiously.
“You kept whispering something to me in French. It sounded like: ‘Vous êtez celui que j’ai choisi.’ I think that means: ‘You are the one I chose’”
A whisper of red colored her cheeks.
“Your French is better than you admit.”
“I don’t understand. We’ve just met, Mathilde.”
“Don’t worry. It’s just a game I play with myself. You remind me of someone I once knew: a handsome, high-minded young man with a sensitive heart.”
“I’m flattered, but it sounds a little more like a fixation than an innocent game to me.”
“Please don’t play the amateur psychologist.”
She pushed him off the bed with a movement almost too fast to see. One second he lay facing her. The next thing he knew, he lay on his back on the floor. Her sudden display of uncanny strength and speed frightened him. Clambering to a sitting position, he began to collect his clothes from the bed.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I wasn’t thinking. I didn’t mean to alarm you. Are you injured?”
“I’m still in one piece.”
“I actually do study martial arts, in answer to your earlier question. Sometimes I forget my own strength. Let me help you with your things. Are you sure I haven’t hurt you?”
He had the impression she was lying.
“I’m fine. I just think it might be better to leave now. Who knows what could happen if you toss and turn in your sleep?”
“I apologize for leading you on,” Mathilde said. “I only intended to meet you in the bar and talk with you. I thought of it as a minor indulgence, to take my mind off things for a while. I let my curiosity about you cloud my judgment. Then, meeting you face to face, you had much more of an effect on me than I anticipated. I lost control of myself.”
“Is that something that happens often?”
“No,” she answered curtly. “I’m not that shallow.”
Devon’s thoughts and emotions spun like pinwheels. Part of him wanted to bolt out the door and finish dressing in the hallway. Another part, the accountant, needed explanations; wanted to analyze and quantify Mathilde de Roche. In the end, his own curiosity coupled with her charisma kept him rooted by the bedside.
“I’ve studied martial arts myself. I’ve never seen anyone move as quickly as you just did.”
She continued to regard him with a serious expression for a full minute before responding.
“You should leave now, Devon. I won’t be offended.”
If there is a hall of fame for under-appreciated or misunderstood movies, then “The Family Man” belongs in it.
For the record, I have studied screenwriting at UCLA, have written three screenplays, and watch at least two to three movies a week. I mention this only to point out that my opinion is not entirely uninformed (off the wall—maybe—uninformed—no.)
Despite this informed opinion, “The Family Man,” starring Nicolas Cage and Tea Leoni, met with lukewarm reviews by critics and movie fans when it came out in 2000.
The story opens with a day in the life of Jack Campbell, a thirty-something, wealthy investment banker who captains a boutique investment firm on Wall Street. Jack is intelligent, ambition consumed, bold, self-centered, and charming. Even though his life revolves around the pursuit of money and the pleasures of the flesh, he is hard not to like. His appreciation of classical music and opera displayed in the opening scenes hints at the presence of a soul.
When this movie was made, Nick Cage was still at the height of his acting career. I believe Jack Campbell is one of his more memorable roles. All of the characters in the movie, for that matter, are finely drawn and acted.
After becoming acquainted with Jack Campbell and the world he inhabits, the screenwriters (David Diamond and David Weissman) waste no time in spinning the tale. Jack drops into a fast-food mart after work on Christmas Eve to buy eggnog and stumbles into an armed altercation between a disgruntled customer and the store owner. Jack intervenes to prevent a violent incident by offering to buy a lottery ticket the owner claims is a fake.
In the aftermath, outside of the store, Jack speaks with the disgruntled customer, played by Don Cheadle. Cheadle happens to be an angel on a routine mission designed to teach the Chinese convenience store owner a lesson in racial tolerance. The owner doesn’t learn his lesson, which puts the angel in a foul mood. Unwittingly, Jack contributes to the angel’s frustration with the human condition by making a condescending remark indicative of his superior attitude. The angel decides to teach Jack a lesson by sending him into an alternate reality that “might have been” if he had not deserted his college sweetheart to launch his career as an intern at an investment firm in England. The angel gives Jack a chance to get a “glimpse” into a life based on a completely different set of values than the values he now holds dear.
A big dog slurping Jack’s face wakes him up in bed next to the woman he left cold “in real life.” He is shocked and horrified when two young children pile on top him. The kids are under the ridiculous impression that Jack, a lone wolf of Wall Street, is their father.
In “The Family Man” Jack’s disdain for middle class values slowly turns into respect, caring, and finally a deep concern for the people who surround him. This synopsis really doesn’t do the movie justice. I found almost every scene in the movie poignant. Many of the scenes are multi-layered with subtle observations about human nature and social issues. The dialogue and situations are clever and insightful without a hint of cliché.
The movie moved me to the point of tears in three or four scenes. One example involves Jack’s relationship with the little girl who would have been his daughter in his alternate life. The little girl, Annie, senses Jack is not her “real father.” She concludes Jack is an alien and asks him where the mother ship is so she can get her father back.
In a scene towards the end of the movie, Jack and Annie frolic in the snow on Christmas morning. By now, Jack has formed a bond with the child. Jack falls down and Annie crawls onto his chest. With a precious smile, she says, “I knew you’d come back.”
I lost it right there.
Many critics commented that the movie over-sentimentalized middle class life. I disagree. I feel the movie artfully portrayed the bumps and warts of middle-class existence, as well as the pitfalls and emptiness of Jack’s investment-banker life. Neither of the two Jacks had it all. Regardless, I found the lifestyle issue secondary. The element of the movie that spoke to me the loudest was Jack’s transformation.
“The Family Man” isn’t the only movie I liked that critics and movie fans, in disturbing numbers, deemed “overly sentimental.” Either my sensibilities are inverted, or I’m incredibly sane. Whatever the case, I’m sticking to my guns. I just want to point out that as the world grows more cynical and hardened, it appears good movies are becoming an endangered species. I believe there is a direct connection here. Think about it.
Fictional movies reflect our world while creating their own realities. They are, by definition, abstractions. However, good movies have the power to inspire us to rise above fears and other roadblocks in the way of a better life and a better world. They teach us, often, to listen to our hearts. This isn’t always easy. One has to develop a relationship with one’s heart to hear it.
Feeling, I find, is a first step in cultivating a relationship with the heart. I believe that cultivating a relationship with the heart is essential to leading a full life. There is no one way to do it, but I feel strongly that the human heart needs to be cultivated, just like abs, biceps, WordPress blogs, and Facebook pages.
I liked the “The Family Man” because it made me feel. I practice meditation every day to cultivate a relationship with my heart. You might say the practice helps to “tenderize” my heart center. This movie reminded me that I have one.
Seagulls falling out of the sky raised a line of puffs on the barren beach as they smacked into the sand.
Darren glanced upward shielding his eyes from the blazing sun. Nikki, lying on the pink towel next to him, rose on both elbows. She screamed.
More birds pelted the beach. A few hundred yards to the south, it was raining seagulls. “It’s coming this way,” he told the hazel-eyed beauty.
“Head for the water. It’s the only safe place,” he shouted.
They raced towards the incoming tide, extending their long, lean bodies over the surf. The couple pummeled the aqua water with furious crawl strokes, side by side. When they were far enough from shore, Darren pulled up, treading water. Nikki’s head broke water just as a wave rolled over her. She came up coughing and spitting water. Darren reached out. She flattened her curvaceous body against his hard torso, encircling his neck with long, slender arms.
Thunder rumbled. The waves grew higher. Darren watched in disbelief as the storm of falling seagulls engulfed the Canyon Ranch Spa and Hotel.
“The ‘Millennium Predictions’ are coming true,” Nikki gasped.
The seagull storm swallowed up the hotel. The bird-cloud mushroomed towards the sleek concrete and steel skyscraper to the north. The sky darkened. A squall rippled towards them from the macabre scene unfolding on the shore.
Darren held her tightly. “I’ll always love you, even if the world ends.”
Nikki pushed away from him with a wild-eyed expression.
“Cut,” the Director yelled from the filming platform six feet behind them.
The computer-generated effects Darren had spent hours studying the night before dissolved on the screen of his imagination. The newly built Canyon Ranch Hotel gleamed in the South Florida sun, perfectly safe as a dreamer waking from a nightmare in a comfortable bed.
He had been lost in the moment. He had made it all real. Instinct and a script two revisions old had taken over.
Darren smacked his head with an open hand. “Sorry.”
“You’re supposed to say, ‘I thought we could change the future,” the pot-bellied, bearded Director said. He pulled off his black sunglasses and glared at Darren. A gust of wind rustled his mane of graying hair. “Let’s take it from Nikki’s last line, then we’ll break for lunch.”
“Soften your expression,” Nikki told him. “You look too serious.”
One of the benefits of working with your real-life girlfriend was honest feedback.
They sat at a table for two in the crowded Spa restaurant, next to a picture window overlooking the beach. Darren munched on an under-sized grain burger with sprouts and raw carrots on the side—no dressing. Nikki played with a small bowl of whole-wheat spaghetti topped with a hint of marinara sauce—hold the parmesan cheese.
Darren reveled in the few moments of leisurely time they shared before the long night of shooting ahead of them. Two days of bad weather had thrown production behind schedule. The production crew had to squeeze six days of shooting into three. The Director expected actors and crew to stay fresh and energetic, despite the hectic schedule.
Nikki had piled her long red hair in a bun atop her head. She wore no makeup, only a thin layer of moisture cream for protection. Darren had met countless beautiful women in his acting career. Nikki was different from all of them. She wasn’t self-absorbed, and she wasn’t petty, as most of the women he knew tended to be. She read voluminously between acting roles, and was a fine painter. She could be intellectual and sophisticated or simple and playful as a happy child, depending on her mood.
She had stolen his heart shortly after they met at a wedding party eight months ago. There was only one problem. It haunted Darren day and night.
“There’s something we have to talk about, Darren darling. It’s been on my mind for the past few weeks.”
He felt an ache in his heart. He knew the issue had to come up eventually.
“Not now, Princess.”
“It makes me feel like your daughter when you call me that.”
“I can’t help it. I believe you’ve come to me from some enchanted land, or sprung up whole from a ponderous book of fairy tales.”
She stopped smiling.
“What’s wrong?” he said.
She appeared to grapple with what to say next.
“Let’s agree to hold off all serious discussions until the film wraps,” he said. “Until then, we should only try to amuse one another in the few private moments the stingy Director allows us. Now, stop nibbling at your food. Eat up. You need your strength.”
“You eat your grain burger.
“It has no taste.”
“Use your imagination,” she said.
Darren took a bite. “Mmmm. He picked up the remaining piece of grain burger and admired it as if it were the Hope Diamond. “Remind me to ask the chef how they make it taste like dried corn-stalk compost.”
He watched her turn and gaze out the window. The surf was up, reaching with long fingers, almost up to the concrete foundation of the hotel. The sun had disappeared behind late afternoon clouds. He noticed her mood remained somber.
“If you insist on being serious, you might as well tell me what’s on your mind.” He felt the ache in his chest again.
She sighed deeply. “These past eight months have been much more than I ever expected, my love.”
“There’s no reason to believe the next eight months won’t be even better,” he said in his best imitation of a well-known motivational speaker.
He had imagined this painful moment too many times. “I’m concerned about the age difference,” she would say. “What will happen when we get older?” No matter what he said in response, her words would mark the beginning-of-the-end their relationship.
“I fell in love with your humor before I fell in love with you,” she said, instead of the dreaded words he had anticipated hearing.
“And you’ve been dying to confess this to me but you didn’t know how,” he improvised.
“Don’t make this into another game.” Nikki kept staring at him with a horribly solemn expression.
“I’m not from this world,” she said.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t hear you correctly. The acoustics in here are awful.”
“Please try to believe what I’m about to tell you.”
“It’s perfect, sweetheart. Who offered you the role?”
“I’m not trying out a character, Darren.”
“Can’t we just be ourselves with the little time—“
“—I am being myself. Listen to me.”
He stared into the depths of her searching eyes. Nikki lowered her voice. “There are about a million travelers like me scattered in every country of your world.”
Chills ran through his body. “What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about the events depicted in ‘The Millennium Predictions.’ I’m talking about a decision you have to make.”
“You’re telling me they changed the script again and didn’t tell me. They’ve cut down my role. That bastard who calls himself a Director doesn’t like me. That’s it. Isn’t it?
She stared back at him, perfectly still. “I’m not talking about the movie.”
“You can’t be an alien. I’ve kissed every inch of your body. Every part of you is perfectly, beautifully human.”
“Calm down. We’re attracting attention.” She placed a hand over his. “We have the same origin. Our ancestors seeded the galaxy with our kind millions of years ago. It was a grand experiment to study how civilizations develop in different environments. The project is also intended to ensure the survival of our genome.”
He sat there in stunned silence.
“We thought we could blend in and help your civilization grow in a more constructive direction—until recently. We’ve determined your problems are too severe. It’s too late for our help. Your civilization is a failed experiment. Our work here is finished.”
“—Hear me out, Darren. Some of us, like me, have formed strong relationships while we’ve been here. We’re allowed to take one person back with us.” She held his hand tighter. “I want you to come with me when I leave.”
“Nikki, please, this isn’t funny. You must stop it now.”
“I’m not joking. I understand how overwhelming this must be for you. I’m asking you to be strong.”
“You’re asking me to give up everything and pop off into space with you somewhere. Why can’t you stay here with me?”
“Your civilization will most likely destroy itself,” Nikki said.
“How can you make a statement like that and sound so sure of yourself?”
“To put it in simple terms, we can chart the future of a civilizations based on socio-economic, environmental, birth rates, art, scientific measurements and other factors. Our predictive model comes from thousands of civilizations we have studied.”
Darren strained to wrap his mind around what she was telling him.
“What if you get tired of me?” The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them. His composure was melting like a sandcastle at high tide.
“Don’t be insecure,” she said.
“I’m twenty years older than you.”
“It never occurred to me. The average life span of my people is two hundred years. A twenty-five year difference in couples is quite common.”
“But I’m not going to live that long.”
“You will once you begin taking the bio-agents we’ve developed to stay young. You’re at the height of your powers, Darren. I’m offering you the chance to stay that way for at least another five decades.”
“It sounds too good to be true. For all I know, you’ll put me in a cage five minutes after boarding your ship.”
“Darling,” she said with a gleam in her eye, “we’re vegetarians, not meat eaters.”
He smiled, despite the feeling of utter uncertainty. “Do you think we can last a hundred a fifty years together?”
“Wouldn’t you love to try,” she said, deftly lowering one eyelid.
He leaned close to her. “Do they need actors on your planet?”
“Yes, my darling. You’ll have time for at least five different careers in the dramatic arts if you get bored.”
“Look at me, sitting here thinking only of myself while you’re telling me the end of the world is at hand.”
“There’s nothing you can do about it.”
“Can’t your people warn us in some way?”
“The warning signs are everywhere. Only a handful of people heed them.”
“There has to be a solution.”
“There is, darling Darren. Come with me.”
“You make it sound so simple.”
It’s not that complicated, my love. You have no children. Your parents are gone. And you’re an only child.”
“I’ve taken a lot of chances in my life. But this…I need time to think.”
“I understand completely,” she said. “We’ll talk again after the film wraps. In the meantime, don’t say a word about this to anyone. It could jeopardize my safety.”
“That’s the last thing I’d ever do.”
She looked at him with an intensity he had never seen before. “We can do this, darling. I know we can if you give it a chance. You’re the perfect man for me.”
He squeezed her hand, kissed her, and walked out of the restaurant on unsteady legs.
The woman known to Darren as Nikki turned to watch the sunset through the picture window. The orange sun plunged into the ocean surrounded by a bevy of pastel pink clouds.
Darren was perfect, she thought—bright, handsome, hardy, talented and most importantly, virile. His sperm count ran off the charts. She had tested it herself with a kit hidden in her dressing trailer. It was a miracle the man hadn’t accumulated a brood of children inside or outside of marriage. She guessed it was due to his exemplary character. He didn’t believe in having children if he wasn’t going to be there for them as a proper parent.
It was ironic that Darren was destined to father thousands of children though he didn’t know it yet. He was going to be on the star ship with her one way or another. Preferably, Darren would decide he couldn’t live without her and leave voluntarily. That way, she could break the news to him gradually during the journey to his new home. He would have time to adjust to the idea of becoming an alpha breeding male for her dying race.
She regretted lying about the nature of her mission and the prospect of her lover living another hundred and fifty years. Even with the bio-agents, the strain of steady breeding would shorten Darren’s life span considerably. But there were much worse fates in the universe than sleeping with gorgeous women like herself who possessed brilliant minds and a multitude of fascinating professional abilities.
The new job came with an array of attractive benefits. Aside from his conjugal duties, Darren’s schedule would include a healthy chunk of time in a classroom to avoid his becoming a conversational bore. Good conversation before mating improved the conception rate dramatically.
To avoid psychological problems, Darren would continue his career in the dramatic arts on her planet as she had promised, under careful supervision of course. She might even be his “girlfriend” for a while to make the transition smoother. Yes, Darren would adjust and eventually thrive in his new role. His qualities of optimism and flexibility almost guaranteed it.
The more she thought about it, the more good ideas came to her for selling the new role to Darren. When you sat back and added it all up, she believed he was a lucky man. This was especially true, considering his slim chances of survival on the sordid, troubled world he would soon be leaving behind.