What Does Cara Bristol, Woman’s Best Friend is a Robot Dog, and Pets in Space, Have in Common?

Pets In Space 600x900I am thrilled to be one of nine authors in the anthology, Pets in Space, combining two of my big loves, space and pets. A portion of proceeds are being donated to hero-dogs.org who raise and train service dogs for US veterans.

I am delighted that each author in Pets in Space has agreed to share with us an insight into their story in the anthology and a little bit about why they decided to write for the anthology. Today’s guest is Cara Bristol:

Maltese puppy, 6 months old, sitting in front of white backgroun

My pet in Spark of Attraction is a robotic dog named Sparky. I’d call him an android, except “andro” specifically refers to a man, so by definition an android is a robot with a human appearance. So maybe Sparky the canine is a “candroid.” Lol.

In any case, he looks and acts like a real dog. So real, that when hero Dante first encounters him, he mistakes him for a real animal, which is not allowed on a military spaceship, and so immediate friction results between him and the heroine. Then Sparky bites the captain with his electrically charged teeth, and that doesn’t go over well either.

Sparky is a K9-500 model, a prototype invented by the heroine’s deceased father, and is all Miranda has left to remember him by. The K9-500 is programmed to protect her no matter what. The protection sequence cannot be halted, not even by Miranda herself.
If you were going to create a robotic dog, what traits would you want it to have?

Spark of Attraction blurb

Memory: intact. Cognitive function: enhanced. Emotion: erased.

After becoming a cyborg, Captain Dante Stone didn’t think he’d ever feel again, until a traumatized young woman and a ball of synthetic fur named Sparky helped him to love.

An excerpt from Spark of Attraction, Pets in Space

“Sparky, no!” Miranda grabbed her robotic dog and tried to pull him off the captain. This was awful. Stone would airlock him for sure. “Release, Sparky, release!” she cried, but the companion-model robot hung on. “Let go!”

The captain bent, and gripping the dog’s upper and lower jaws, began to pry its mouth open with his bare hands.

“Don’t hurt Sparky!” He was all she had left, and the captain could break him, dislocate his jaw.

“Hurt him?” He peered up at her. “Might I remind you its teeth are imbedded in my leg?”

She reached under the collar for the power switch on the dog’s nape. He jerked, released the captain’s ankle, and fell over. Still. Silent. “I’m so sorry,” she apologized, wringing her hands. “He’s programmed to protect me, and he perceived you as a threat.” Maybe if she’d explained at the start her dog was a canine artificial intelligence model, all of this could have been avoided—but at the captain’s edict, she had panicked.

She scooped him up and clutched him protectively to her chest, stroking his soft synthetic fur. He looked and acted so lifelike, sometimes she forgot he was a robot. They’d have to eject her from the ship before she’d allow them to remove him. If they put him on a pod, how could she be sure she’d get him back?
He hadn’t been bothering anything.

Well, not until he bit the captain.

If Stone’s eyes had been cold before, they were positively flinty now. She’d never seen such a dark scowl.

Blood stained his pants leg, and he pulled it up to reveal a lacerated ankle. For all its small size, the K9-500 had a jaw like a vise and sharp metal teeth. If the bot had attacked a human, the damage could have been severe. Rumor had it Dante Stone was a cyborg, a computer-enhanced human with biomimetic parts. She’d heard cyborgs were immune to pain and practically indestructible.

“I’m sorry,” she repeated. “It doesn’t hurt much, though, right?”
“Of course, it hurts!” he snapped. “Why would you think it doesn’t?”

“Don’t you have those nano thingees?”

Her fellow colonists were staring, watching the interchange, waiting to see what would happen. Would the captain toss her into the brig? Airlock poor Sparky?

Cara Bristol’s website: http://www.carabristol.com
Cara Bristol’s newsletter: http://eepurl.com/9aRJj
Cara Bristol on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cara.bristol.3
Cara Bristol’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Cara-Bristol/e/B004D8KZTQ/

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