Queen of Babylon
187 pages

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187 pages

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In a bleak, post-apocalyptic Earth ruled by powerful machine intelligence, a teenage girl from Oakland is given super abilities and charged with saving the world. 

Thirteen-year-old Josephine has always seen herself as a loner, not a hero. She survived the end of the world—and what came after—by talking to her twin’s ghost in a secret language they call the Twinkling. Transformed into a biomechanical robot, she’s been charged with protecting the Bay Area—now Yerba Cityalongside an army of her clones called the Josephines. 

But when Yerba City is threatened by a devastating language virus, the Twinkling is the only thing that stands between the last shreds of civilization and the Babble. There’s just one problem—the head of Josephine One has been stolen, and it contains the language’s secrets. In the wrong hands, the Twinkling could be used to take down the entire Josephine army before laying waste to what’s left of humanity. Only Seven, a Josephine aberration whose brain is strangely different from her sisters, has a shot at stopping the Babble from taking hold. 

In this thrilling sequel to Babylon Twins, it’s up to Seven and a group of unlikely allies—including feisty twins Clo and El, the Josephines favorite frenemies—to guard the Twinkling and destroy the language virus. The second book in the Babylon Twins series, Queen of Babylon is a story about loners becoming leaders, children becoming gods, and everyone trying to have a semi-normal life among biomechanical heroes and monsters. 



Publié par
Date de parution 17 janvier 2023
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781954854727
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0000€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Also by Michael Ferris Gibson
Babylon Twins Book 1
Also by Imani Josey
The Blazing Star series

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organizations, places, events, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Copyright © 2023 by Michael Ferris Gibson and Imani Josey
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.

Published by Girl Friday Books™, Seattle www.girlfridaybooks.com
Produced by Girl Friday Productions
Cover design: Dan Stiles Development & editorial: Clete Barrett Smith Production editorial: Abi Pollokoff Project management: Emilie Sandoz-Voyer
ISBN (paperback): 978-1-954854-71-0 ISBN (ebook): 978-1-954854-72-7
Library of Congress Control Number: 2022917246
First edition

To all the forgotten girls.

Prologue: A Song Like Bells
Chapter 1: Unmeshed
Chapter 2: Sheep’s Clothing
Chapter 3: Defending Utopia
Chapter 4: Sea and Snow
Chapter 5: The Hunter
Chapter 6: The Village
Chapter 7: The Brother
Chapter 8: The Shaman
Chapter 9: Eclipses
Chapter 10: The Chitakla
Chapter 11: The Curator
Chapter 12: The Cicada
Chapter 13: By Faith
Chapter 14: Circus Acts
Chapter 15: Found Family
Chapter 16: Swimming in Siberia
Chapter 17: Solgazeya
Chapter 18: The Wizard
Chapter 19: Space Is the Place
Chapter 20: A Great Hunger
Chapter 21: Power Grabs
Chapter 22: From the Ruins
Chapter 23: Queen of Babylon
Chapter 24: Sun and Moon
Epilogue: A Walk in the Woods
About the Authors

A Song Like Bells
Jingletown, Oakland
There once was a family full of music. A mother and father. Two little girls. Each with their own song. Daddy’s was funky, filled with hi-hat and winding bass. Mama’s was sweet as jasmine, melodic like jazz. The kind of tune for easy listening. And then came the twin girls. They shared a song. Daddy often said it rang like bells. This family’s music was unique but perfect. Why? Because they loved each other, if sometimes in ways only they could appreciate. They lived in a city known for eclectic music: Oakland. Rock and blues. Jazz. Crescendos. Whispers. Hip-hop. The Pointer Sisters, Sheila E, Too $hort, Goapele. Pharoah Sanders. So many artists. And church. Lots and lots of singing in church. And this family, like many other residents, loved to sing and loved to listen. None could have known the music would one day stop.
Mama’s song went first. Silence descended in a vicious swoop. Daddy’s inevitably followed: a silence to crush even the harmony belonging to one of their little girls. Soon the quiet not only coiled around this family, but held all the world in a too-tight grip.
And what of the last little girl? What did she do in this time without song? It was simple, really. She didn’t let hers go. It rang in a secret key, filled with so much love that the great silence couldn’t find it. And when there was no music anywhere, the song like bells remained. My song remained. So I’m going to sing it.

Chapter 1
Yerba City, Eastern Sector Zone 3, Project Chimera
I woke up immersed in liquid, surrounded by a dull golden glow, not knowing how I got here. Without thinking, I slammed my hands against the glass. The goo around me absorbed most of the thrust. “I’m drowning!” I wanted to scream. “Aunt Connie never taught me how to swim!” But I didn’t dare open my mouth. Panic was flooding me, but . . . already different. I could feel myself scared, I knew my heart was beating fast, but it was already distant, already far away. Different from the time that boy pushed me into the pool at the YMCA. Still, I knew I should be scared, so I was.
I forced myself to focus. The tank was made of thick glass. But glass was still glass. So I tried harder this time, ratcheting myself back. I hurled my entire body forward, and this time, instead of my palms, I slammed closed fists against the pane. Some momentum was again gobbled up by the liquid, but I must have had enough might to do what I needed to do. It was a tiny pinprick at first, one that only some aquatic creatures would be able to make out. Then that pinprick became a scratch, one that grew up the tank like a coiling vine. In moments, golden goo began to ooze from the little white threads that were overtaking the glass. It all happened slowly at first, until the threads buckled under mounting ooze. The drop was coming. One moment I was suspended in the tank, and in the next, the container had shattered completely, allowing me to spill, with all its contents, on the lab floor.
I gasped, clawing at my throat. Then my hands slowed. A strange understanding came over me. I’d been in that tank for a long time, but my chest didn’t burn. My lungs weren’t full. I wasn’t dizzy. This wasn’t at all like getting pulled flailing from the water at the YMCA. Somehow, air wasn’t a top priority right now. I glanced over myself. I was soaked in the goo and wearing a white dress, tennis shoes, and purple headband. The outfit I had worn to meet the scientist. And just as my breathing was different, so was the air outside. Not cold as it should have been against my skin, although I knew it was cold. None of the elements seemed to bother me —like they were all just ideas now, suggestions of sensation. What was happening?
Just then, voices carried into the space. That fear spiked in me, so I scuttled behind what was left of the tank just as a woman waltzed in. She and her companion had come through a heavy door to survey the lab. Recognition sparked through me. I remembered this woman. In fact, my talk with her had been one of the last conversations I’d had before sleep the night before. She was a white woman, tall enough, with blond hair that was tousled like she’d slept in the woods. I’d made a bargain with her, which was likely the reason I’d woken the way I had. I bit the inside of my cheek. I couldn’t let her see me.
“Dr. Yetti,” said the lab technician —one of the android so-called “angels,” with the white coats and the upside-down triangles on their foreheads —to the scientist. He was one of those overly pleasant servant types, who for some reason everyone around the Local One called Paddington, maybe because they all seemed to have that fake-sounding English accent that the little cartoon bear had.
“Yes,” she began. At the sound of the scientist’s voice, I gritted my teeth. We’d made a deal, but in no way had I imagined it would suck me into a tank of golden goo. Then I couldn’t make out the rest of their conversation. Maybe it was too low and quick. Maybe I was just too upset. Either way, the pair quickly ended their talk upon finally seeing the new destruction in the lab, the goo and glass lying over the otherwise pristine floor. “Oh no. What on earth happened here?”
“The tank,” said the Paddington. “It is destroyed.”
“Obviously,” said Dr. Yetti. “But who did it?”
“I believe it was Unit 778676,” the Paddington said. “Apparently there was an error in replication.”
“And she just broke out . . . ?” The white scientist’s voice trailed off as she stepped gingerly through the muck, examining the remains of the tank. And then her eyes lit.
“This unit should be found and destroyed immediately,” the Paddington quickly said, and he began barking urgent-sounding commands into a nearby comm device. His strange machine-to-machine language couldn’t conceal the fact that he was calling in the dogs.
“Wait!” Dr. Yetti said. “We can’t lose any part of her!” Then she had a realization, turning to look around the room. “Josephine? Are you here?” She was asking calmly enough, but still my muscles froze. “Come out so I can help you.”
“No” was the only word I could scrounge out. It was like I had to figure my vocal cords out. My next words were hoarse. “And what have you done to me, lady?”
“I did nothing but make you the most exceptional girl the world’s ever seen, just like I said I would. Now come out here and I will explain it all to you.” And then there was quiet again as we all determined what the next move would be.
I made it. Slowly, my body unfolded, and I rose to stare both the scientist and her android in the face. Neither seemed to expect the shard of broken glass in my hand. I almost didn’t understand it myself. I hadn’t gotten into a fight since kindergarten, but now I could feel deadly aggression in me like a tool I’d lifted from a toolbox. I extended the makeshift weapon toward them both as the Paddington stepped protectively in front of Dr. Yetti.
“What were you doing to me in there?” I demanded.
“This unit is faulty, unstable,” the Paddington said. “It is a danger to us and the entire facility. It should be destroyed now.”
“As if you could.” The scientist stepped calmly in front of the assistant.
“Dr. Yetti —” the Paddington protested, but she just waved him silent.
“We need every part of her,” she said. “Josephine.” Dr. Yetti took a step forward, and I waved the glass at her. She stopped short but didn’t seem wary. “You’re frightened. That’s my fault. I should have been here when you woke. I usually am. I thought I had timed it perfectly, but I am human after all. I’m here now to explain everything.”
I looked down at the blade in my hand, at the cuts on my hands from breaking the glass and now from gripping the shard. Only thick, golden ichor formed around my wounds. “My blood!” I demanded. “What did you do to my blood?!”
“The unit’s memories are faulty,” the assistant said. “Its code will be useless, and it will not mesh with the others. It should be destroyed a

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