“Dead Reckoning” by David M. Kelly

David M. Kelley, Author
David M. Kelly, Author

Author Bio

David M. Kelly is a writer of speculative fiction. Raised on the classics of Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Harry Harrison among others, he focuses on character-based fiction, fascinating plots and solid story-telling.

David’s interest in science and technology began early. At the age of six his parents allowed him to stay up late into the night to watch the television broadcast of Neil Armstrong stepping on to the surface of the moon. From that day he was hooked on everything related to science and space.

David writes about science, technology and politics on his blog. His short story “Inser” was published in Canadian science fiction magazine Neo-opsis. He is currently working on his novel, “Mathematics Of Eternity.”

David has worked for many years in project management and software development. Previous interests have included IPSC combat (target) pistol shooting, crew chief on a drag racing team, and several years as bass player/vocalist in a heavy rock band. He also managed to fit in some real work in manual jobs from digging ditches and work on production lines to loading trucks in a haulage company.

Originally from the wild and woolly region of Yorkshire, England, he emigrated to Canada in 2005 and lives in Northern Ontario with his patient and supportive wife, Hilary. When not writing, David can be found driving his classic Corvette ZR-1 or exploring the hiking trails around Lake Superior.

Dead Reckoning cover

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Book info

Dead Reckoning And Other Stories is a collection of ten science fiction short stories available as an ebook and paperback.


From David M. Kelly comes a cast of characters all in need of some serious therapy.

In Dead Reckoning, Hector discovers that life after death ain’t easy when your shorts itch and your ass belongs to a whip-wielding giant. And pity poor Murphy, struggling to keep the peace between his team of geeky scientists and a gung-ho lieutenant, as they investigate a mysterious alien ship—all while dealing with his own personal case of Murphy’s Law.

First Contact is always complicated, especially when you have to call in cranky old relic, Casteneda, to bail you out. Fresh off the battlefield, Matt Holbrook is also grappling with a perplexing new species, but all he wants is to make it home.

Earl Duarte is in for some interesting pet therapy in How much is that doggy? And as for Elvis, he definitely needs some therapy. In One for the Money he’s re-entered the building, but is kinda confused. Meanwhile, lovesick Dan wonders if Mel will ever notice him in the technology-obsessed world of Version Control.

Dead Reckoning and other stories: science fiction with character.


Dead Reckoning 

Hector Tren-Hump smiled as he lay on the dais waiting to die. The projected MemChron of his life flashed around him as his memories were downloaded, cataloged and indexed one-by-one into the glowing LifeCube hovering just above his forehead. Now and then he heard the gasps and collective ooh’s of his assembled family as the Cataloging threw up a LifeScene they recognized.

He laughed as an image of Miley-Ellyn filled every screen, her chubby face looming close as he held his first born, moments after she’d entered the world. The delicious scent of her fresh baby skin replaced a few seconds later by the stench of cheap cigars. Monty, his first business partner appeared, skinny features whitened and drawn.

“You can’t Hector, it’s not right. You can’t fire people just because they strike…”

“Of course we can,” Hector sneered. “Effective human capital management will optimize our profits to over three hundred million. How can that be wrong?”

Monty’s eyes were wide. “But it’ll cost over fifty thousand jobs.”

“Sure, sure. And ten thousand Thingamese that would otherwise starve get work. Sentiment has no part in business. You know that, Monty.”

“But the Unions? They won’t stand by and let this happen.”

Hector let out a disparaging grunt. “Those guys are like anyone else. All you need is the right leverage.”

“You can’t buy everyone, Hector.”

“Says who?”

“And the virtual services? We said they were free and now we’re selling the clients down the drain to every marketing company going.” Monty scowled.

“Those idiots? Listen, if you’re not the one paying, you’re the one getting sold. Even a half-wit knows that.”

Another montage of LifeScenes appeared as the memory of Monty blurred with many similar ones, the Cataloger automatically indexing the events according to the priority Hector’s neural pathways gave them.

Hector lingered on the deal with Monty. Damn he was proud of that. They’d made a commission of fifteen million each that year alone. Monty had handed his share over to some ridiculous charity, but for

Hector it was a stepping stone to more extensive projects with ever bigger percentages. That was what had put him in the position he was in now.

As the brochures said, MemChron was just the beginning.

After all, anyone with the smarts to put together a couple of hundred K could afford MemChron. Then, when the big day came, they could parade their LifeScenes in front of family and friends, recording them so that their nearest and dearest had a complete record of their life experiences.

So what? Like life insurance, it didn’t help you.

But, if you wanted something really special…

“As one of our Select Mortizens you will enjoy unparalleled freedom to indulge yourself in Elyzium. LifePlus has over thirty years’ experience in assisting our clients to live their deaths to the fullest. We honor the people we serve with quality as our cornerstone and integrity, respect and compassion as our building blocks. It’s like Life, only more so.”

What did they say? If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it. But, if you could, there was Ascendance.

“Yes Sir, Mr. Tren-Hump. Ascendance in no way interferes with your life-span; you are absolutely guaranteed to get every second coming to you. In fact you may get a few seconds not coming to you.” Indulgent chuckle. “Once diagnosed as terminal and, with your consent of course, you’ll be brought in to LifePlus Inc’s own facilities, where you’ll be given the utmost care.”

“First, you’re stabilized so that we can manage the LifeScene Cataloging. It’s a beautiful ceremony, Sir. I can tell you that many times I’ve wept at a client’s cataloging. Family and friends can attend, of course. Some clients like to invite their hmmm… rivals too, in order to… share… the glory of Ascendance.”

“Once brain core shutdown is detected, the final transfers are completed and your new life begins. You become a LifePlus Select Mortizen, maintained forever in our Elyzium servers. You can continue life’s journey for as long as you care to, free to pursue your interests, free to indulge your ambitions and desires in any way you choose.”

“Yes, of course, Sir, you can keep in contact with your family. Most Select members find they enjoy themselves so much they don’t feel it necessary, but that’s entirely at your discretion.”

Hector rubbed his wizened hands along the fine grained leather of his luxurious chair; he would even be able to keep his feckless son in check.

“That’s right, Sir. Now if you would just care to make your gene imprint here…”

Gloating over his enemies wasn’t necessary; out-existing them was revenge enough for Hector. All he wanted was to ensure he — and his fortune — continued. As a Mortizen, he had no real power, but he had no doubt he could direct his descendants appropriately.

The rousing strains of the classic “My heart will go on” lilted from hidden speakers and tears welled up in Hector eyes. The LifeScene showed him marrying Kaydianne, despite both his children’s objections and his first wife’s tears. Kaydianne’s cleavage swelled up on the display, filling his world with a pink flesh sky, her heady perfume warming his nostrils, and then…

Contact Links

David M. Kelly’s Blog

David M. Kelly on Amazon




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