23. Light in Dark Corners

September 27th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

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


Security had been tightened at Bransen Labs and the patent for the Circadia X had been secured—one of the benefits of working for Bransen Labs was how much speed in bureaucracy his money could buy. Unfortunately, there was also talk about an emergency session of Congress to pass legislation regarding the use of any such device—a move for which Uncle Sam could not be blamed. If the experiment hadn’t been so fruitful, historical, and globally important, the whispered chatter contended that PISA would have been shut down and the Mars team arrested. After all, had some unfortunate airliner passed through the beam and instantly been whisked to a barren, airless planet, there would have been trouble. Big trouble.

Instead, PISA negotiated a sort of plea bargain that awarded Bransen Labs the patent but demanded that NASA would be given equal (and free) access to the design and related trade secrets, and would serve as an oversight committee to its use. Bransen’s attorneys assured him that accepting the offer was his only real option, so Bransen put on his best smile and announced at a press conference the joint NASA-PISA venture to explore Mars. Contracts were signed, loopholes were closed, and in the end the world suddenly had Circadia X1 and Circadia X2, and two wholly separate teams intent on exploring the red planet. » Read the rest of this entry «

22. Body of Light

September 18th, 2016 § Comments Off on 22. Body of Light § permalink

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


Hiram McKenzie was nervous. R’dau had told him that Ana-loop was making real contact with several people from Earth, but he’d had no idea the contact was connected to a project so scientific and high profile as PISA. She’d also mentioned that someone had been traveling to the Lands Below, and this had concerned Hiram more. The Lands Below were the domain of the Golgantry, and the Light Beings rarely went there.

He wondered how much of his concerns he should share now. It was his first daily end-of-day team debriefing, when they could all get together and share their day’s work, and so far they were treating it all exactly as he’d anticipated: Like a perfectly controlled science experiment.

What was of immediate concern to Hiram was that, while he was sure Bransen had read Unknown North, he feared the team Bransen had assembled was blissfully unaware of their Radiance. And if one didn’t understand their Radiance, one should not dangle at the end of their silver cord. Even more unnerving to Hiram was that he knew they would go ahead with their mission anyway, even if he spelled everything out in plain English, because people often mistake comprehension for understanding. » Read the rest of this entry «

21. Debriefing Dreams

September 11th, 2016 § Comments Off on 21. Debriefing Dreams § permalink

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


“Jesus, it was beautiful, Luce,” Mouse said later, during the team’s private debriefing. Of all of them assembled, Henry and Sophie seemed the most enrapt. “I was in, like, a jungle or something. Swear to God, man—huge trees and all these ferns and lots of strange noises. I assume they were animals…”

He shrugged and trailed off; Howard adjusted his glasses and lent in.

“I told you!” Henry declared.

Lorna gave him a stern look—the kids had been invited to the meeting because their dreams and remote journeys seemed eerily similar to what Mouse had experienced, but it was still a scientific business meeting first.

“Are you sure you were on Mars?” Howard asked Mouse quietly, offering Henry a sympathetic wink that told him he’d get his turn soon enough.

Mouse shrugged again, “That’s where you sent me, right?” » Read the rest of this entry «

20. Mouse on Mars

September 5th, 2016 § Comments Off on 20. Mouse on Mars § permalink

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


The media didn’t change its feelings about the PISA Mars mission until Bransen labs sent a monkey to Mars and back—alive. Now they could adjust the spin of their stories into an animal-rights arena, where clicks and visits sadly outnumbered the previous spin of children in danger. It didn’t matter that Bransen treated the first Earthling on Mars like a hero—and better than most zoos—because the question of the animal having a choice about the risks involved was still there. But even then, the interest didn’t start to peak until NASA admitted that PISA appeared to have beaten them at their own game. The naysayers no longer had a leg to stand on, and the spin started to right itself to what Bransen thought was the real issue at hand: A creature from Earth had finally visited another planet. If the Moon had been the bronze medal, then this was the silver, and the gold—visiting another planet in another solar system—was finally imaginable, with PISA pulling ahead. » Read the rest of this entry «