Bringing That Funky Beat Down

a NICK BEAT single

Nick Beat studied the map in the sunlight, a beautifully hand-drawn waterfall with a walkway along the cliff detailed in the center that had a vibrant Brasilian village lining the river at the top.

His companion was flustered. “No, this isn’t right,” Maria said, poking her golden-brown head from behind the map to look at the actual land. The real village was in ruin, crumbling buildings overgrown with vegetation. Only the beautiful waterfall remained, and its proud blue flow.

Her hair blew in the breeze. “Why would my father hide a studio here?”

Nick was confused. “Why would a musician set up in a waterfall canyon?” The map bent in his hands, revealing Nick Beat’s square black sunglasses and tanned, freshly bruised face. “For the acoustics,” he said, and snapped the paper back rigid. The map put their days-long adventure into perspective. All that was left was to find the legendary funk hero Marco Zaya’s lost studio.

“You continue to justify your price.” Maria said. “Your agent was right.”

“She knows you send a musician to find a musician,” Nick said. “And I’m a one man band.”

Maria laughed. “A band without instruments.”

“I’ll play if the mood strikes,” Beat said. “You hired me to bring you closure.”

For the dozenth time during the trip, Nick glanced at the poem written in the upper right corner.

Sing to me, Lady in My Heart.
I hear your voice across the land, this land I love.
Sing to me, Lady in My Heart.
I will always be with you, even when I’m gone.

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ZIGZAG Chapter Five


*This is a sample chapter from the revised Grand Slam Edition. Cover by IMbeta.

The Circuit Breaker warehouse was by the train depot in the kingdom’s eastern industrial district. The walls of the dark office were hit by softly sparking light, showing three computer terminals and desks, dirty ashtrays, and a motivational poster with a green frog.

Sparks shot from the portable server strapped to a man with many roles. He was an Urban Archivist, a Street Scribe.

The man’s black gloves flew over the metal computer tablet he’d placed on the corner desk. A spray can was Velcro’d under the backpack and a data cable was extending from a hole beside it, its connector tapped into the first terminal storing the warehouse’s reports.

He wore a black soccer jersey with a white stripe across his shoulders and black athletic pants that fastened around the ankles inside his black high-tops. His elbows and knees were cushioned by thick black pads while slim guards protected his forearms.

As far as anyone could possibly know him, he was a hooligan.

The Hooligan dug through the facility’s archived emails. The last one they received was dated a few days earlier, three simple words in the subject line: ‘Close Up Shop’, sent from Vikky Relay. There it was: the next clue in his investigation, now he needed to copy the drive.

He typed a few commands and a green progress bar filled until a large ‘EXECUTE’ button popped on the screen. He smacked it with his thumb.

The square backpack whirred and was soon shooting sparks from the side vents as it transferred the data. When it was all copied, his backpack sent a surge of energy to the terminal and overloaded the drives. They burped smoke. The Hooligan unplugged the jumper from the front port and let it zip back into place under his pack. He was confident this data would accelerate his investigation. His city counted on it.

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ZIGZAG Chapter Four

ZIGZAG COVER (no titles)

*This is a sample chapters from the revised Grand Slam Edition. Cover by IMbeta.

The song the music app on Alex’s phone was playing gave the royal cemetery a somber tone that fit it perfectly, as electric and vibrant as it was melancholy and remorseful. Alex had come to the sequestered plot off the castle courtyard to sit under the warm sun and read, but the comfort of her father’s headstone and the melody had overcome her, carrying her to sleep.

Like other apps released daily, the music program had linked with all her social media accounts and traded data, its algorithm slowly learning her preferences until it could automatically find a song for her mood. It was so accurate, there were times she questioned if the music suited her feelings or caused them.

Two books sat on a bench beside her. Their titles read ‘The Long Memory of The Electron Gods’ and ‘The North American Motherboard’s Divine Tech’. A third book lay on her lap called ‘A Plug N Play Nation: How the ZetaPort OS Connects Society’ open to a diagram of a fifty-foot cylinder, a line near the top representing the ground it was screwed into. Alex had drifted off studying the schematic.

A bulky shadow moved over the book. Alerted by the presence, Alex’s eyes snapped open, and she pulled her headphones off.

“I know,” she said guardedly to the figure standing above. “It’s time to get back to work.” She marked her page with a baseball card. It had a young man in a red batting helmet featured in its frame, ‘Quentin Diamond’ written along the bottom. The book flipped shut.

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ZIGZAG Chapter Three


*This is a sample chapter from the revised Grand Slam Edition. Cover by IMbeta.

The Diamond Kingdom was home to many faces and dozens of different cultures. The resource-rich territory was a fluid flow of streets and concrete bridges spread across its fertile agricultural lands and lumber mills. And in the center of the labyrinth of residential and commercial property was the neon purple beam shooting from the top of the Diamond Castle, its color splashing out across the buildings for miles.

A siren pierced the air as the knight cruiser it was mounted on raced down the empty streets, the spinning blacklight bulbs cutting through the neon purple. Alex sat in the caged back seat, forcing herself to remain stoic with the driver’s glances in his rearview mirror. If she couldn’t handle this, she wouldn’t be able to overcome real pressure when she was needed the most.

Since he took command of the military, new faces had entered Drake’s increasingly tight army, and with them an increased rigidness. She was glad her escorts hadn’t confiscated her headphones or the .357 – it meant they either didn’t respect her or were secretly allies that knew what she was capable of. In a time of murky allegiances, both were an asset. She occupied her mind by focusing on the chatter.

As if a stream of consciousness from many minds, she heard “they have her” and “‘bout time the cops did something right” and “spoiled princess, whatcha gonna do now?” A single calm voice broke through. “She’s not like that. She saved me. If she hadn’t shown up when she did, I don’t know what would have happened.” But that was quickly drowned out. “Hahahaha” and “yeah right, shut up” and “kill yerself.” Alex turned tiredly to the window and the passing streets.

With every second they drove, the purple beam became stronger, splashing the buildings with the warmth of royal light for a mile around. It was the soul of the city, and everything flowed outward from it.

It was the Diamond Kingdom’s ZetaPort.

As massive computer terminals installed directly into the Earth’s crust, the ZetaPorts network together to form The North American Motherboard, the thirty-two nodes spread over the entirety of the continent. By utilizing a port’s natively running Zeta Operating System, lease holders can design custom-built societies, with infinite possibilities. Since The North American Motherboard’s launch, a hundred civilizations have risen, from the barbaric Hammer Valley to the beautiful Blackletter Coast. But a society is only as stable as its leadership, so dozens had fallen into chaos and defaulted on their leases. With the king’s death, the Diamond Kingdom was in danger of a similar fate.

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