Engines Under Ursus

Engines Under Ursus is a science fiction story by Martin Brady that is set far in the future on a world co-inhabited with aliens who compete fiercely with humans and nanotechnology is starting to threaten the population. It is available as a free serialized audiobook written and narrated by the author. The website offers the story in text form, as well.

For three years, Fowler remained a prisoner in the Tank. Daily, the watery grave kept him half-alive half-dead. Prison implants hooked up his mind to prison machines leaving his body limp and lifeless for hours on end. When he reagained control of his body, the only sign of outside life in the Tank had been the dim blue light filtering in through the rippling surface of the water. Memories of his former privileged life as CTO of Citynet had become nothing more than a painful memory. The Nanoteks he had injected into his body no longer spoke to him. He was in the Tank because of them and they knew it. Three years passed in the Tank, three years of self doubt and pain, time enough to contemplate what could have been. On the door of the Tank, a clock ticked down, indicating thirteen more years to serve. Outside the prison walls, humanity has established a strong foothold on Erstol, the artificial world on which Fowler was imprisoned. On Erstol, aliens mix freely with humans but there is more cold ambition than understanding between the species. Humans have managed to find power and prestige in the form of Citynet. However one day, the clock on the Tank stops and Fowler is taken unexpectedly out of the Tank. Nanoteks are running amok inside Citynet and will soon crash all the servers. Fowler is given a choice. He must discover the truth behind the Nanotek attack if he wants his life back. Humanity on Erstol must be saved. There is only one problem. Those who seek his help are the ones who placed him in the Tank.