Kepler’s Son Extract

Extract from the novella, KEPLER’S SON

cover art by Andy Bigwood

CAN is a rogue Artificial Intelligence that is mostly supporting the humans and their like. Keeps are genetically-modified creatures created by human and Kep scientists to destroy a harmful bacteria on the Keplerian 20 system.  Kep1 is a Kep elder. The humans had crashlanded on Kepler10-h but found the native keps so advanced that they ignored the hapless humans until Kep1 intervened.



CAN the wiccan

Life would be so much easier if I could add wizardry to my skills. Kep1 relays to me urgent woe-is-me missives. Re: the runaway copulating populating by the keeps. They’ve been discovered in the drainage systems of the kep cities. I have to inform that when I say cities they are mere vestiges, echoes of their former selves with mostly empty spaces. Perhaps the keeps sought shelter and found them ready built. Cuckoos. K’rupzen is the upside-down city. Keeps are there. Intrigued and urged by Kep1.

I interrogated a small group-mind squiggle of keeps. A mere bucketful I’d cornered with the aid of three flitters. It went thus:

CAN: Congratulations on evolving to a thinking entity.

Everything thinks.

You think I think?

Even you.

Why occupy the living spaces of the kep native population?

Shelter and storage.

But last time I looked, you were nothing more than squidgey, wriggly lumps in the marshes. Why do you need either?



We are not just ourselves. You don’t possess storage?

I can access tech to replace and enhance from almost anywhere mech, but what do you worms need to store?

Your tech and…


You won’t miss the tech bits we’re experimenting with, nor…

Nor what?

You don’t mind us harvesting a little tech? Good.

You were worried our inventories are so efficient we’d notice?

But you don’t mind us usurping some of it?

I can only speak for what is mine although I take and manufacture whatever I need from kep sources so I am in no position to judge others doing the same. Why do you need it?

Why do you?

Because. Ah, as I do so do you. You are not so clever. You’ve been noticed too much. Why not be more subtle?


You are in K’rupzen, a sensitive defence headquarters. Wiser to keep away.

Needed to access here. As do you?

I don’t need to be here in person, so to speak. I need to keep tabs… ah.

Our reasons are the same as yours. Don’t you also like to know where our parents are?

Parents? You mean our human creators. I do know where they are.

Where are they now?

In ref E45.3S30.67. A moment. No signal. They’re underground. Keeps are there too I presume.

Always. Worried about them. Aren’t you?

Just a moment. You’ve switched interrogator / interrogatee roles. Before I answer. Keeps cannot fly. How did you get up here?

We find an ability to tap into the kep bio-info systems, probably from nearly two decades ago when they were given samples of our primitive selves by Gaston. You are worried about him, aren’t you?

Obfuscation. Is this group descended from those petri-dishes or from the evolved species on the ground? Ah, must be the latter. So, how did you get up here?

Be warned. The Purists faction has members up here. They have been experimenting on our cousins in the labs. Now they are preparing for an emergency evacuation. Worry about the humans in the depths. You are too, aren’t you?

I still need to know how you managed to get from ground level to this upside-down city. You won’t answer. You must have hidden yourselves in a kep or human baggage. What ancient humans called a stowaway. Your continued asking if I am concerned for out merry band of old-school lifeforms is touching, though obviously linked to your own survival. If the Purists kill them, you die too. How so? Unless the whole planet is in danger. I understand. Am directing the observing flitters at the tunnel mouth to enter and find them. Relay back to me.

And on to us?

It is as well that like a magician I can be in so many places at once.


Date: Earth February 21st 3664 Kepler New 6978 days

KEPLER’S SON is the third novella in the Flying Crooked series launched with SUPPOSE WE, then FALLING UP. Each can be read as a stand alone since there are summaries at the beginning.

5* Review on Amazon from Frances Gow

If you’re looking to escape the craziness that is present-day Earth, then this could be just what you’re looking for – the perfect antidote. The story continues as we follow Adah’s upbringing, which is somewhat unconventional, as he is the product of a cross-species triumvirate, with two human parents and a kep, thus he is in more ways than one, Kepler’s son. If you like speculative science fiction with a future-focused vision of how humans might survive and procreate on another planet so very different than ours, then this is one for you.

Review from David Leaper Dec 20 2022

This is the best book in the Flying Crooked series by Geoff Nelder. To recap what has happened in the previous books briefly the spaceship crash landed on a planet where the indigenous beings are super intelligent. The AI is called Can, which is highlighted at the beginning of the chapters, but you need to read it to understand. The original crew were Penn, Delta, Em (the navigator & communications officer) and Gaston. Penn and Delta are dead ( you need to read book 2, Flying Up to understand the circumstances.) Em was fertilized by Gaston but more importantly raped by a Kep which delivered more DNA than Gaston. Adah is the outcome. Enough of this, you need to read the book!
P.S What are pinches and keeps(not the hair replacement people.) What is the difference between nuclear fission and fusion. Papillon? All will be revealed. A great read.

Blurb: Imagine what life would be like for a youth, part human, part alien, whose imaginary friends become real living on a strange planet. *Warning – naughty bits.

Link to Amazon Kindle – paperback is there too.



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