33. The Epiphany Directive

January 17th, 2017 § Comments Off on 33. The Epiphany Directive § permalink

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


Admiral Thomas sat in a conference room at Bransen Labs and calmly told Howard and Hiram everything about his involvement with the Mars project thus far, including what he knew about the Light Beings and the Golgantry. He was even candid about his relationship with Carlos, who had been spying on Perendjo for years, and the reasons General Rauchbach had removed the admiral from the project, which mostly had to do with the admiral’s reluctance to shoot first and ask questions later. Hiram liked the Admiral and was glad he’d visited them. Howard, on the other hand, was perplexed.

“You mean you knew?” he blurted. “This whole time, you could have… have… backed up my claims?”

“No,” Admiral Thomas stated simply. “To back you up would have required me to expose what I knew, and I wasn’t at liberty to do that, even to you.”

Howard waved him off with a dismissive snort, but Hiram grinned.

“Until now…?” » Read the rest of this entry «

24. The Science of Faith

October 9th, 2016 § Comments Off on 24. The Science of Faith § permalink

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


Bransen was not entirely thrilled by his impromptu meeting with Hiram and Carlos. He liked to think of himself as a very understanding man who would always evaluate everyone’s opinions before making any decisions, and to never intentionally sow the seeds of division or doubt. As he looked at the faces of Hiram and Carlos, though, he discovered his own personal nightmare: If he listened to their opinions, he may indeed be the farmer who was sowing the seeds of division and doubt.

Bransen looked evenly at each of the two men, who both sat politely quiet, waiting to be called on to speak.

“I think I knew this would happen,” Bransen admitted plainly. “I think I knew this project would evolve in unexpected ways. But gentleman, I cannot believe for an instant than Howard and John Fobell are here to open some kind of gate to the underworld to let demons run amok over the Earth.”

He held up his hand to stop Hiram from speaking and finished, “Even if I were to allow for such things as demons, I am quite confident that the Fobells would have nothing to do with them.”

“They aren’t demons,” Hiram blurted. » Read the rest of this entry «

23. Light in Dark Corners

September 27th, 2016 § Comments Off on 23. Light in Dark Corners § 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 «

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 «

15. The Lights Below

July 24th, 2016 § Comments Off on 15. The Lights Below § permalink

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


There she was, zipping down a state route on the back of Mouse’s hog, without a helmet, her thick black hair pulled out behind her on curtains of wind. It felt good to ride without a helmet, just like Mouse had said it would. Really good. But it was ultimately Nate’s fault, she considered with a private grin—he’s the one who’d taught her that a life without risk wasn’t worth living at all. Then the grin faded as she understood the real kernel of her concern: she had never in her life driven to a “lover’s lane” with anyone, and yet here she was, on the back of Mouse’s motorcycle again, heading to an overlook above Bransen Labs.

Mouse hadn’t called it that, of course—he hadn’t used the words “lover’s lane” and he never insinuated anything beyond an innocent ride to see the lights—but Luci knew better. Actually, Luci began to realize that the ulterior motive may be hers. Luci didn’t know better… she wondered if she hoped better. » Read the rest of this entry «

14. Normal Lives

June 26th, 2016 § Comments Off on 14. Normal Lives § permalink

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


Carlos Resua was a people watcher, a habit that had got him accused of making people uncomfortable more than once. It might be closer to the truth to say that Carlos was a people studier—he didn’t just casually observe those around him, he watched them intently, taking in every nuance of motion and expression and dialog. People said he could read minds, but Carlos always countered that you didn’t need to read minds when everything we felt and meant came through in body language. » Read the rest of this entry «

13. Deep-Space Ops

June 19th, 2016 § Comments Off on 13. Deep-Space Ops § permalink

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


Despite outward appearances, General Rauchbach was quite disturbed by Dr. Fobell’s resignation. Not because he worried the government would be outed—the nice thing about the “crackpot” projects Dr. Fobell had worked on was that no one who blabbed ever fared well under public scrutiny—but because he realized that Howard Fobell had no intention of going to the media with what he knew. Instead, the scientist who believed in intelligent light had gone to the competition, and in this case, that was even worse than going to another country’s government.

Fobell had entered the private sector and was continuing his studies unabated. » Read the rest of this entry «