19. Circadia X

August 22nd, 2016 § Comments Off on 19. Circadia X § permalink

Chapter nineteen of Unknown North, a novel that will be published chapter-by-chapter until it’s done. All chapters so far: Unknown North.


John Fobell, as luck would have it, knew breathing systems, and he was more than willing to pitch in to keep his mind off his missing father—another synchronicity that made Bransen smile.

After his parents’ divorce, John had discovered scuba diving—initially to explore the shipwrecks that dotted the Great Lakes like grapeshot—and with it the concepts of rebreathing and various other forms of artificial air. Almost by accident he had then designed his own modified rebreather, twice as efficient and half the weight of its nearest competitor. Howard had glowed with both pride and astonishment at the accomplishments of his son, who had yet to finish his first year of college.

And so, with Mouse, he built a rat-sized pod that could keep its occupant alive for up to six hours, and Mouse and Carlos had added the necessary components for remote control between Earth and Mars. According to the design model (and a brief test of the machine, which Mouse had inexplicably dubbed Circadia X), they would simply drive the pod into the beam of light emanating from the machine and—assuming they pointed it correctly—end up on Mars. This, Ana-loop had assured them, would be accomplished in “too little time for you to measure.” Nobody really knew how this was possible, or even what the pool of extracted psilocybin was for (though it did appear to glow as the beam of light passed through it), but Ana-loop assured them it would work. Her cryptic reply had been “one way for your body, the other for your Radiance.” » Read the rest of this entry «

18. Mouse’s Machine

August 14th, 2016 § Comments Off on 18. Mouse’s Machine § permalink

Chapter eighteen of Unknown North, a novel that will be published chapter-by-chapter until it’s done. All chapters so far: Unknown North.


Mouse was getting restless on planet Earth. He’d been hired to get the team to Mars, and he couldn’t wait to go. His only problem was that the machine he’d been cobbling together (via a running tab at a junkyard thirty-fve miles away) didn’t seem like it would do much in that capacity. At least, not in any traditional sense. He supposed he’d been expecting a super-cool sci-fi rocketship of some kind, but when he stood back beside Luci and looked at his machine, he knew damn well it wouldn’t budge an inch under its own propulsion—if it even had any propulsion.

“It’s not right,” he decided. » Read the rest of this entry «

17. Prisms

August 7th, 2016 § Comments Off on 17. Prisms § permalink

Chapter seventeen of Unknown North, a novel that will be published chapter-by-chapter until it’s done. All chapters so far: Unknown North.


John Fobell (who was to have been Johannes Fobell, after Kepler, save that his mother thought it sounded “too Dutch or something”—one of the many points in their marriage Howard had not argued) was worried. His father had gone for a walk in the woods before breakfast, but had not returned. It was not unusual for him to take long walks, even doze off under some shade tree or other, but this morning he had explicitly said he was just taking a quick stroll to the creek and back, because he and John were going to take a lengthy hike after breakfast. And now Howard’s breakfast was cold and John was left playing with the remnants of scrambled egg and home fries on his own plate, worried about his father. » Read the rest of this entry «