Mar 31

Sample #1 from Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy Adventure Novel ANOMALY

Posted on Monday, March 31, 2014 in Uncategorized

Here is the Prologue from my newest book, Anomaly. Chapter One appears in a separate post on this blog. Enjoy!

PROLOGUE

Alcatraz Island, December 21, 2021

 

A SINGLE KEYSTROKE changed the world forever.

Three men huddled in front of the computer monitor. The guy pecking at the keyboard appeared young enough to pass for a college student, and his jeans and black T-shirt with a dripping red peace symbol on the front did nothing to disabuse the notion. The other two men—one in his mid-fifties, the other long past sixty—stood behind him, each dressed in a white lab coat. Their hunched postures betrayed their eagerness for this last task to be completed. The big moment was nearly at hand—the moment they had devoted eight years, countless man-hours and millions of dollars toward.

All three men were universally acclaimed to be among the top people in their respective fields. Ask the CEO of any tech giant to list the top five computer programmers in the world and Briggs Sullivan—the man typing at the keyboard—would show up on every list. He had joined the project two years earlier, at the ripe old age of twenty-four. The man on the right was Timothy O’Neill, fifty six years old with doctorates from MIT in both mechanical and electrical engineering. O’Neill’s tall, skinny frame had long ago earned him the nickname “The Stork,” although nobody called him that to his face.

The third man was the project leader, Steven Harrington, widely regarded throughout the scientific community as the most brilliant physicist since Albert Einstein. He was a fireplug of a man whose shock of white hair rivaled the unruly mop of his idol.

Sullivan’s fingers suddenly stopped moving. “It’s done,” he said. “The final fix is in place. All that’s left is to send it.”

Harrington clapped his hands together once. “Excellent. These next few minutes will change the course of human history.”

Sullivan twisted his neck around and looked back at his older colleague. “Are you sure you won’t reconsider waiting? Just until New Year’s. That’s only eleven days.”

Harrington sighed and shook his head. “Look around you, Briggs. Do you know how much it costs to run this place for just one day?”

Sullivan’s eyes swept the room. It truly was an impressive complex. The central chamber had been hollowed out from the main cellblock of the famous old prison. The room was almost two hundred feet long and a hundred feet wide, with an arched ceiling towering nearly forty feet high in the center. Most of the huge place was filled with oversized machines and equipment, including a pair of giant magnetic field generators and a miniature—if something ten feet tall and twenty feet around could be called miniature—particle accelerator. Outside, a power plant capable of producing enough electricity to run a small city buzzed ceaselessly. Computer and power cables snaked throughout the room.

In the center of this mass of equipment stood a small, circular, platinum-coated platform. A tiny robotic rover that looked like a shrunken version of the old Mars Exploration Rovers sat on the edge of the platform. The rover was O’Neill’s baby, and the engineer was anxious to put his creation to the test.

“You’re not still worried about the silly Mayan thing, are you Briggs?” O’Neill asked, shaking his head. “I can’t believe a man of your intelligence would buy into that crap.”

“It’s not crap. I did the calculations myself.” In addition to being a genius programmer, Sullivan had long been fascinated by archeology.

“Didn’t you learn anything from 2012?” Harrington asked. “Half the world was going cuckoo with that End of the World stuff, all because the Mayan calendar ended in December 2012. Heck, that was a thousand years further out than they needed to go.”

“That’s just the point,” Sullivan persisted. “Their calendar didn’t end in 2012. Somewhere in the early translations, two of the digits got reversed. The error was never caught, so it carried through in all future research. The calendar actually ends on December 21, 2021.” He interlaced his fingers in front of his chest and gently cracked his knuckles. “That’s today, in case you’ve forgotten. I just don’t think it’s very smart to try this today. Why take the chance?”

“You afraid we’re going to anger the gods or something,” O’Neill teased.

“I’m going to have to overrule you, Briggs,” Harrington said. He picked up a microphone. “Everyone to their stations. Project Morlock is about to commence.”

Harrington laid his hand on Sullivan’s shoulder. “Go ahead—send it.”

Sullivan shrugged. He wasn’t really invested in the whole Mayan thing. He merely thought it might be smart to be careful—just in case. He pressed the enter key.

The chamber immediately came alive. Lights flashed and machines hummed. So much power flowed into the room that the floor vibrated, even though it had been laid upon the solid rock of the island. Dozens of pairs of eyes moved back and forth from the gauges and monitors in front of them to the platform in the middle of the room. The most important of these technicians was the one who sat with his hand next to a red Abort button that would immediately cut off all power to the machines should something go wrong.

His programming done, Sullivan had no need to watch the monitor. His eyes were glued to the platform and the rover, just like the eyes of his two comrades.

For a few moments, nothing happened as the magnets built up power and the particle accelerator streamed invisible neutrinos and other particles into hundreds and then thousands of unseen collisions.

Suddenly, a tiny black dot appeared just above the platinum dais. Sullivan rubbed his eyes to make sure the dot was not just a trick of his vision. The thing grew slowly larger, no longer a dot. It looked like a spinning black globe now.

“It’s working!” Harrington exclaimed. “We’ve done it!”

Sullivan found he was holding his breath, so he forced himself to exhale. The black thing was now the size of a basketball. It was big enough now to see that it was not a globe at all—it was an opening. If their calculations were correct, they had just created a portal—a portal back into time.

“Why is it so dark?” O’Neill asked. “It’s barely past noon. Shouldn’t it be the same time in there, just a year earlier?”

“Who cares?” Harrington said. “There may be some minor detail about this that we don’t understand. Send your rover in.”

O’Neill picked up a small black device that looked like a video game controller and pressed a couple of buttons. The rover rolled toward the opening. Everyone watched in fascination as the tiny contraption disappeared into the blackness. The portal was now more than four feet in diameter and still expanding.

“Radiation normal,” called a voice from behind them, reading the signals from the now invisible rover.

“Temperature thirty-nine degrees,” reported another voice.

The skin on the back of Sullivan’s neck began to tingle. Why was it so dark and cold in there? He’d checked—the temperature on Alcatraz on this day last year had been fifty-seven. The overnight low had been forty-eight. Just where in hell had they sent the rover?

“I’m not liking this,” he said. “Maybe we should bring it back and see what’s going on.”

“Nonsense,” Harrington replied. “To borrow a phrase, we’re venturing where no man has gone before. We’re bound to run into a few unexpected things.”

Suddenly, the rover came hurtling out of the black globe as if it had been thrown by some invisible hand. Behind it came a dark form, then another and another. Some appeared manlike in shape, some not.

Sullivan’s eyes widened in horror. He didn’t know what these things were, but he knew fangs and claws when he saw them.

“Abort!” he screamed. “For god’s sake, abort!” Vampire was his last thought before a pair of fangs ripped into his throat.

The technician reached for the red abort button. Before his finger could press it, a set of razor sharp teeth in a lizard-like jaw clamped down on his hand, biting it off at the wrist. The portal kept growing and dark forms continued pouring out.

Dr. Harrington had been right. December 21, 2021 was the day the world changed forever.

Here’s the link to Anomaly on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JTK3IHO

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