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Gene, an ex-boxer, has made the most out of life on an Earth almost completely covered with water--salvage, smuggling, and avoiding the mafia he owes a debt to. Until he got himself a mermaid.
He didn't want her – the damn thing swam up his ship's vent. She only speaks gibberish, so there's no telling where she came from or how she could exist.
It's bad enough he has to eke out a living on the ocean with only his portable AI assistant, Stitch. Fortunately, there's a sea station nearby where Gene's scientist friend works. Could be a lot of money in it. Meanwhile, Gene could lay low, scrounge for jobs, and fix his spit-and-chewing-gum boat.
But he keeps finding reasons to visit the mermaid. Something draws him to her – a need to know what she keeps gesturing about. A need to protect. Especially when the general populace learns about her. Everyone wants to know if she's a fantasy come true or the bad omen sailors believe she is, especially the scientist who grows more obsessed.
Just as they discover the secret of her existence, a mysterious silver ship attacks the station. Gene attempts to escape in the chaos, like everyone else, and rescues the mermaid on his way. But his scientist friend won't let him through to his ship, accusing him of stealing his find. Gene has an instant to decide whether he will betray his friend or save himself before the station collapses.
MERM-8 is a 86,000 word science-fiction novel in the vein of "The Little Mermaid" meets "Waterworld". I have been previously published in Electric Spec, Flash Me, The Dunesteef, and received an honorable mention in the 2010 Writers of the Future contest.
Thank you for your consideration.