Atomic Age

The Peacekeepers p. 4
2/13/67: After Sampa

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Eddie Dowd’s apartment building

NUMBER ONE on the Billboard Charts

“Hey, Vinnie! You listenin to me or what?” Dowd shouted out into the living room, as he finished with dinner in the small galley kitchen. The smells of fish filled the tiny lower east side apartment. It might have been a pleasant smell if Dowd hadn’t scorched it. Instead, it was burnt fish. Dowd didn’t seem to mind much.

“You just wait, pal. This is better than any of that junk you get back home. I know, I know… ain’t nobody do seafood like you cajuns. You tell me that after you take a bite of THIS. The secret is the rosemary rub.’

Corporal Eddie Dowd was one of the lucky ones. When Hill 112 blew to Hell, Dowd got enough shrapnel to mess up his face a little. After the medics sewed him up, he seemed to pick up even more chicks. He was pretty far from the landmine when it detonated. Outside of the pain, Dowd ended up winning the lottery. He got a combat wound serious enough to ship him stateside, without any serious lasting damage.

Dowd’s buddy and NCO,Sgt Porter,on the other hand wasn’t so lucky. Dowd didn’t actually see what happened then, or what happened later that led to his buddy going missing for so long. All he knew was that when the chopper took them out of there, the medics were pretty frantic to help Sarge. That was a bad sign. The chopper set down for only a moment, and from there he got stretchered out at camp. Sarge was apparently a lot worse off. The chopper pilot said they were headed to a hospital ship or something. They never made it. Vinnie and the medics disappeared. It was many months later when Dowd got Sarge’s letter. The two wrote back and forth a time or two, and soon after his pal was coming to New York to pay him a visit.

“Anyway, like I was saying. I heard crazy things about this doc. Some of the boys down at the clinic are sayin he ain’t right in the head. Just be careful ok? When’s this colored friend of yours comin by anyway? She bringin a friend or what? You know, I don’t care so much about all that. It ain’t what a broad looks like on the outside, except how big her cans are, amiright? Aww, c’mon. I’m just kidding around. I mean, I’m kinda kidding.”

Dowd wiped his hands on his apron with the words “Kiss the chef” stenciled in blue, purple and pink screen printing. He walked into the living room to tell his buddy that dinner was about ready. Sarge was asleep on the couch, his feet kicked up, and sawing logs.

“Ain’t that some kinda nerve. You come all the way to New York, and you pass out on me. Guess I’ll just have to eat your fish, huh?”

The buzz of the front doorbell told Dowd that Sarge’s friend was here. Maybe she brought a friend. He kicked some of his dirty laundry in the living room floor out of the way, in a vain attempt to make his oversized closet more presentable. He muttered to himself, and opened the door.

“Hey hey, it’s your lucky day! You hungry?” Dowd opened the door to greet the woman on the other side.

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Tales of Damocles p. 4
12/24/66

Sam watched the snow fall for a minute then in a quiet voice said, “Well Hell finally froze over.”

“What was that Mr. Tuttleton” asked Dr. Dewain.

“Just observing that Hell had finally frozen over Dr. Dewain,” Sam said with humor obvious in his voice. “If you’ll excuse me I’d like to see more about this.”

“Of course, I quite understand…” suddenly realized that snow meant water. Ran toward the artifact collection area waving and yelling, “Cover the artifacts quickly!”

Sam got in the jeep that had brought him to the site and told the driver to return to base as quickly as possible. Once there he gathered his equipment and made several calls over his implanted radio to his team to assemble at what appeared to be the epicenter of the newest event. He started to head back out to the jeep when he caught sight of his jetpack. He had never really had an occasion to use it outside of the rather tame training class and wondered why it had been assigned to him. Today appeared to be a good day to really try it out. He told the driver to pick up Chessman and get him to the site as quickly as possible.

It took Sam a few minutes to settle into the jetpack but once he did he took the throttle to the stops. Oh man, flying in a plane was cool but this was something else. One hundred and fifty miles an hour with nothing between him and open air. He just barely resisted the urge to “whoop and holler” at the top of his lungs but there was no way to contain the fierce grin.

All too soon he saw the blue column and throttled back.

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The Peacekeepers p. 3
12/24/66

Evangeline circled around to the outside kitchen where she had hidden her costume. Imagine that, she thought to herself-Evangeline Ortego, who couldn’t even sit at the same table as her white “betters,” had a hero costume. She held it up for a moment and looked at it, purple and gray with her signature nova on it, and wondered why God had chosen her for this path. She was very aware of the weight of responsibility that came with putting on this outfit. She was scared, no doubt about it, but she had to have faith that if God had chosen this path for her then here is where she should be. She made a silent commitment to the suit, for what it stood, to herself and to God, then suited up.

Getting off the ground was the easy part, she soon discovered. Flying wasn’t as easy as it looked. She had waited until dark but she still prayed no one was around to hear, or see, her; graceful she was not. Khel’s inate ability helped and soon she was shooting up into the night sky. She set her sight on the stars and flew higher, and faster. She was fine as long as she didn’t really think about the fact that she was flying! All the memories she had seen from Khel said she could do this but if she stopped to think about it her heart felt like she just might have a heart attack!

But then, suddenly she cleared Earth’s atmosphere and like the fastest jet, she took off! The fear was gone, there was only the exhilaration of freedom. Her father had driven trucks in the Army; he had even been part of the Red Ball Express in WWII-but he had always wanted to fly. He’d heard when they started accepting and training negros for the Tuskegee Airmen but even if he’d been offered he was already an important part of his division. But it had been a dream and now she understood. She missed him so much.

“This is for you, Dad,” she thought. She rocketed upwards until she was surrounded by nothing but stars then turned to look behind her. Earth was breathtakingly beautiful. Even from space the oceans were amazingly blue, the forests were vibrant green and the lights of humanity lit up the planet. But as she looked around, she realized that Earth was still only one small part of the whole. Earth, home to over 3 billion souls, was dwarfed by the endless magnitude of the universe. For the first time in her life, she began to understand the scope of God. Had He created Khel’s race, too? And if so, how many others? So much she didn’t know or understand but then that was the nature of faith, wasn’t it?

It took her another four hours to travel to Iraq. She had a limited amount of time without oxygen so periodically she would fly down into the atmosphere, but still it was amazing how quickly she could cross the world. When she saw the massive blue column rising into space she knew that was where she was headed. She followed it down to meet her team.

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The Peacekeepers p. 2

“Mama, where you want this?” Evangeline called, trying to see around the box she carried into the kitchen. She lay the box on the counter. “Mitch, where’s Mama?”

Crash! “Sabine, was that Cam? Where’s Cam?”

“Out back, checkin’ the gumbo,” Mitchell called back.

“He’s fine,” Sabine laughed, “he found the boxes, didn’t you, b├ętail?”

“Tammany, move your stuff into your room, please-and shut the door! You’re lettin’ all of Mama’s new air conditioning out.”

“It’s gonna take a while to get used to that,” Mama said from behind her. “It’s like a dream-some good, like this house, thank you, Jesus.” She made the sign of the cross and looked at Evangeline with tears in her eyes.

“Some scary.”

Evangeline hugged her mother tightly. “It’s gonna be alright, Mama,” she told her. “I promise.” She prayed she could keep that promise. Ever since that night at the hospital her world and everything she thought she knew had been turned upside down. Agent Kiruk said she wasn’t alone, that there were others like her, but that was being euphemistically kind. The truth was there were no others like her, not that they knew of anyway. There were other people with certain unique abilities, true, and that was fantastic enough; but no other symbiotes-she’d figured that part out at least, eventually.

Khel, she called it-she had no idea if it was male or female, or if there even was such a thing with its kind. By the time they’d gotten Corp. Jansen Thibodeaux to the hospital it was already too late. Infection had set in on the transport plane from ‘Nam and he’d gone too long without proper treatment. His family had been called but she’d known they wouldn’t arrive in time. He’d been out of his mind with fever, thrashing on the bed. She’d done her best to make him comfortable, held his hand and waited. She’d sung hymns, soulful songs of the glory of Heaven and a Father’s love, a place of peace. It had seemed to calm him some. He’d been unconscious for a while when suddenly he sat straight up in the bed, his eyes clear and lucid. His entire body had begun to glow and for a moment she’d thought she was witnessing some kind of angelic visitation.

“Take care of Khel,” he’d told her, quite clearly. “Remember.” He’d touched one finger to her forehead and it had been like being touched by pure energy. She hadn’t been able to move, or breathe; it hadn’t hurt, really, more like high speed vibration, incredibly high speed, like every cell in her body had just become super-charged and she’d hummed with it. She’d felt…expanded, like she was more. Frozen, she’d watched as the glow flowed over her, connecting her to Corp. Thibodeaux. Then another mind had touched hers and if she hadn’t been humming with energy she probably would have fainted. This presence, this awareness-Khel-had been sad. There was affection for Corp. Jansen, a bond of some kind
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The young man had smiled. “Go,” he said, and the glow had fully transferred to her. As the energy left him, Corp. Jansen Thibodeaux had closed his eyes, and was gone. She’d had one last impression of sadness then her own glow had faded. It was still there though, this “Khel,” she had still felt the presence. The realization that something was inside of her had hit and she had panicked. Her jumbled apology as she had raced out of the hospital had been written off as shock she’d learned later. But she’d needed time and somewhere to think, to figure things out, and there was only one place she had thought of.

She spent that night in the hallowed peace of Our Lady of Perpetual Help’s sanctuary, thinking and praying. The simple fact that she had been able to walk inside of the church without dire effects had made her breathe a little easier. Nothing about what she had felt from “Khel” had felt evil but her mind had still been struggling to make sense of what had just happened to her. Part of her had been petrified, but part of her had also been exhilarated, both of which had left her shaking. Another part of her had been outraged at her lack of choice, at this invasion of her body. She’d lit a candle and prayed, trying to calm herself. Kneeling there in the pew, after she’d asked for help and guidance, she’d thought back to what Corp. Thibodeaux had said.

“Take care of you, how am I supposed to take care of you?” she’d thought to herself-ourselves? “And what am I supposed to remember?” She’d tried to focus on Khel, like turning her senses inward, she’d tried everything she could think of and eventually something had started to happen. At first she’d thought that she had fallen asleep and was dreaming but then she’d realized she was seeing parts of Corp. Thibodeaux’s life! Little scenes, like mini movies, had started playing in her mind, including one where she’d watched that glowing energy flow into a younger Corp. Jansen from a wisened old man dressed in what looked to be Buddhist monk robes. Fascinated, she’d focused on the monk and the scenes had switched to a temple filled with brothers in prayer, scenes of a life of service but also persecution, and the now-familiar transfer of energy to a young monk from-Holy Mary, mother of God-something that wasn’t human! Again, she’d focused on the new host, as she was figuring out they were. This one had a definite upper and lower body, with tentacle-like appendages at the top and a narrow lower body with a split “tail,” for lack of a better word. By now she had figured out these must be memories of Khel’s hosts, and how fascinating was that?!? An alien world with an impossibly tall city rising on the bank of a pink sea; flying-flying?!?-through space-oh sweet Father, this had to be impossible!-at unbelievable speeds!

She probably would have been more sure that she had lost her mind if each set of memories hadn’t held an unmistakable affection, a connection or loyalty that Khel had felt for each of these past hosts. That emotion had gone a long way in helping her accept what had to be impossible. But she believed in miracles and those were supposed to be impossible, too. The next day her trip into the Twilight Zone was completed when she met the young man soon to be known as Reaper, and Agent Kiruk and Proxy 6 from Damocles. There was a frantic drive to New Orleans where she’d gone from healer to killer in 24 hours. Khel had taken over and done what had to be done but it had been a harsh introduction to her new “powers,” powers she was still exploring. She’d spent the last few weeks delving as far back into Khel’s memories as she could, trying to learn what they could do.

Damocles had offered her a place to belong and a job that needed doing. As exciting as that was she had hesitated, not wanting to leave her family without help. Ever since Daddy had gone missing, presumed dead in the war, Mama was having a hard time. She’d never even gotten to tell him about Cameron, Jr. who had just turned 2. Everybody helped but Sabine was married and expecting her own child; Mitchell was a whizz with engines, just like Daddy, but jobs were hard to come by for Negros. Tammany helped with the baby but she was just 13. Her father’s death benefits had allowed Evangeline to go to school but every penny was needed and her income would be sorely missed. Damocles had stepped in again and here they were, moving Mama into a wonderful 3 bedroom home with central air conditioning! No more box fans in the windows and the insufferable heat. Agent Kiruk had also arranged to increase her pay, most of which would be sent home to help or set aside for school. She was beyond grateful.

“I have to go, Mama,” she said, stepping back. They’d decided not to tell her siblings about Khel but her mother knew, she’d told her everything. Mama had called her a protector, not a killer, and she prayed she could live up to that.

“I have something for you,” Mama said quickly. She opened a small box and took out a necklace. She placed the shiny St. Christopher medal aroud her neck and said, “I will light a candle for you every day. Be safe, cher-je t’aime.”

Tears and hugs all around, she said her goodbyes and started to leave. “Wait, how are you gonna get there?” Mama asked.

“Mama,” she said with a huge smile, “I’m gonna fly!”

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The Peacekeepers p. 1
12/24/66

It didn’t take much, it never had, to get Vincent to sign on with Damocles. He had volunteered for enlistment rather than having to be drafted and if not for the demons he brought back with him he would have called it worth it with a bit more enthusiasm. Losing his eyes, while horrifyingly painful and frightening, seemed a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things. The Reaper however…he could’ve done without it’s evil presence. He certainly could have done without the constant fear of it’s release, or the hellish nightmares that seemed to accompany it; he still couldn’t sleep more than a few hours at a time before he woke up screaming. He still wasn’t sure where it came from, or how it got to be ‘bonded’ with him but they were stuck together now. Despite Reaper’s constant and vehement claims that it had no interest in the blood of innocents, preferring the taint of those who killed without remorse and even with elation in their hearts, Vincent wasn’t willing to chance mingling with crowds unless he had to and Damocles offered him an alternative; let the demon loose on the very beings it claimed to prefer. He wasn’t much for fighting fire with fire, but he had to admit it had a poetic justice to it that he found comforting.

He had only been in Baghdad a day before he found something to pull him out of his room. A feeling, much like when the Reaper ‘smelled’ blood on a person, but…different. It felt familiar; it felt the same as him. The Reaper was beyond excited, he could feel it trying to burst out of his skin. It’s reason? ‘To play’ it said, and the reason became obvious the closer he got. He had to dig his fingers into his arms, as if he could physically hold the Reaper in, as he wove his way through the streets. Even without his sight he seemed to know exactly where this ‘other’ was and the feeling he got just from being near- like his skin was crawling. He knew what that meant, even without the Reaper’s abilities he could feel it to a limited extent; this one killed, and enjoyed it-a lot. They continued this back and forth for days, even occasionally letting the Reaper out at night to try to and get a bead on this ‘other’, but that all ended the today. He had felt what others had apparently seen. A massive explosion of light according to his C.O. He had only just started out when the Reaper took over. It was so unexpected he couldn’t even resist. Before he fully grasped what was going on he was racing across the desert, many times only a shadow flying across the sands. It took a minute but eventually Vincent was able to feel what had made the Reaper so impatient; the ‘other’ was also heading towards the coordinates his C.O. gave him. Reaper was excited, that much was obvious, but the magnitude was surprising. It didn’t matter though, right now he needed the speed and strength and Reaper wasn’t holding anything back, and so they raced across the sands the feeling of blood and evil growing stronger every second.

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Secrets of the Tome p. 4
12/24/66: Magic comes to the Atomic Age

iPhone_pictures_059.JPGThe city was real, but those who converged on the Iraqi desert must be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Any with an understanding of history and archaeology would identify it as a Babylonian or Sumerian city. A startling difference was the striking color. The buildings were made of massive stone and mud bricks. The Babylonain style of having most walls whitewashed gave the city an appearance of glowing. It was the other colored dyes that indicated wealth, and a surprising number of large structures were dyed in blues and reds. This included a palace, a large temple on a Ziggurat, and what appeared to be wealthier homes near the palace. Walls standing 15 feet high, and 30 feet across encircled the modest sized city. As one got closer, they noticed two other striking details.

The first of those was that the city appeared to be empty. The streets were quiet, no sign of activity existed anywhere. There were no markets, there were no sacrifices at the temple, there were no travelers, and for that matter there was no road. This city emerged from nothing, in the middle of the desert. It was a landscape that was desolate and unpopulated for miles around. This was fortunate, as the force of the strange energy erupting from the city through the clouds and into space left a wake of destruction on anything caught in it’s path.

The desolation and desert was the cause for the second striking detail. The city was laced with waterways and gardens. A tall terraced building had gardens floating in its pools, as water cascaded from the top tier, to the next, and so on. There was a large canal running through the center of town, and pedestrian bridges that crossed it; connecting one side of the city to the other. There were water gardens in front of the wealthier homes, and fountains throughout the city. Yet there was no discernible source for the water. There were no lakes, no oases, no rivers anywhere nearby. The canal began and ended at the walls on either side of the city. Much like the city’s existence itself, there was no seeming explanation for the water.

As the Nightbane as known as the Reaper made his way across the desert, he could feel the evil getting stronger. He had been watching, studying at first, the second Nightbane in the streets of Baghdad. He never imagined there might be others like him. They didn’t look alike, but he instinctively knew they were the same. Both seemed to vanish in and out of shadow as they traveled by a variety of methods to arrive. When the Reaper received word from his commanding officer, he knew something bad was happening. The coordinates he was told to respond to immediately lay in front of him. As he got closer, he instinctively was overwhelmed by death. The death was a massive scale, but old. Older than memory- a truly ancient devastation. Yet, somehow, he could sense it was stirring. He could see the ancient city in his path from afar. There was little time to wait. Agent Kiruk, now to be referred to only as Blackfoot in the field, was moving towards the site quickly.

A separate jeep was flying across the sand, catching air as it leapt over dunes in its path. Thomas Chase, known in the open only as Chessman, was holding on to keep from flying out of his seat. Despite the stinging sand, he was enjoying himself. The sense of what was about to transpire was unmistakable. He somehow knew his world was changing, and he was prepared to be at the center of it.

One other emerged in the ancient city as well. A woman with blue and green hair pulled herself from the three story tall terraced garden. She was soaking wet, and appeared to be wearing a toga that dried quickly. In her hand was a trident, and she exuded power. Poseidon had led her here. She had learned when the carriage arrived, she would have to respond. And she never knew where the journey would end, save somewhere in water. In her short time as Poseidon’s champion, it had been rivers, oceans or Lake Michigan near her home. Today, however, it was an underground lake of some kind. She swam up and towards the light, finding herself in a fountain of incredible size. Poseidon spoke to her in visions. She sometimes would have preferred a simple conversation- but she knew the faces of those who were fighting for the same cause as she. When she found them, she would know. Considering there was no one inside the city itself, she couldn’t help but wonder how long she would have to search.

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Secrets of the Tome p. 3
12/24/66: THE AWAKENING

earth.jpgThe column of pure energy that erupted into the desert sky was several miles across and a bright blue. It pierced the clouds, and anyone who could have survived the eruption (an impossibility for miles and miles around) would have been able to see that the column reached far into space.

The Damocles agent watched via a feed as it was transmitted from DamSat to Strategic Air Command in Bellevue, Nebraska. He was brought in almost immediately. The high ranking officers scurried about the situation room, observing computer generated models and photographs while listening to incoming radio communications.

“What in the name of all the saints was THAT?” The general had asked the question for the eighth time. Those in the room stopped trying to answer it.

Several airmen were working feverishly on their instruments, reporting aloud. “Say again, the signature is NOT atomic. All readings are negative.”

“The Soviets have stood down. MiG’s from the Caucasus have been scrambled. All other forces are on high alert.”

“No movement of forces, identified or otherwise. Performing wider sweep with the same search criteria.”

The General appeared to be formulating a thought. “Someone get me a damned cigar!” He then strode over to the Damocles agent. “So we have an incident greater than dozens of any H-Bomb on record, without a trace of radiation. And all of this happening in the middle of nowhere. Time to earn your pay, mister. What are we looking at?”

The agent continued looking stoically at the scores of screens relaying information. “DamSat has the same signature that we’ve been tracking from DC and New Orleans descending in the desert. That lit what we are looking at now. DamSat can’t get a read on anything as a result. The whole thing may be useless until we can get a new one up and ready. Not sure how we are going to fix that one.”

The general was given his cigar. He bit down, spit out the end, and waited as his junior officer lit it. He breathed deeply, and exhaled the musky smoke. “Do you have any eyes on the ground?”

The Damocles agent nodded. “As it happens, we might.”

The general was growing visibly impatient. “AND?!?”

“You’ll be briefed as soon as we have something to brief you on. As long as this thing isn’t spreading, we should have time to get some answers.”

An audible gasp came up from the control room floor below, as airmen from around the floor exchanged looks of worry, confusion and nervousness.

“General Palmer, the energy is spreading.” The screens showed a web of blue lines crossing the skies around the globe, in a seemingly random pattern and intersecting as they crisscrossed in multiple directions.

“Scramble the birds. Make sure we are keeping in touch with Moscow. I don’t want this getting any worse than it already is.”

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Secrets of the Tome p. 2
12/24/66

Scourge.jpgGabir could feel his brother following him. He had not ever met another like himself. In fact, he wasn’t aware any others existed. Yet, here was the strange westerner in his midst. Gabir remembered his name, but preferred his new form- a shape he referred to as his morphus. His skin was gray, and stitched together- composed from the bodies of several bodies- a macabre creation out of the American movies. His arm, from the elbow to where his hand should be, was replaced by a rusty scimitar. At night, he roamed the streets with an insatiable hunger. The dead, or the weak, were his prey. His Becoming was less than a year before, but he had reveled in his powers. Since that time he ravaged Baghdad, growing in power, and feeding. The evil that surrounded him was intoxicating. Why had he not felt it before? It was like too much wine- drinking it would likely lead to future regret, but now he could think of nothing else. That is, until three days ago.

He noticed the American in the Baghdad markets. Iraqi people loved Americans, and he was safe despite the dangerous neighborhood. It didn’t take him long to realize that the American was looking directly at him however. The dance had continued for days, each fascinated with the other. Each night, they came closer to the conflict that felt inevitable. Tonight, Gabir believed would be that night. Until he was called.

Hundreds of miles to the west, an explosion of immense power called to him. He had never left Baghdad- either before or since the Becoming. Now, though, he left as quickly as he could. He comforted himself that there would be another time to ‘meet’ his new brother.

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Tales of Damocles p. 3
12/24/66: Dirt and bones

Snow-in-the-desert.jpgSam couldn’t help but feel exposed- vulnerable. Not just at the Temple of Emenanki, but in Iraq at all. The American forces were skeletal, and each and everyone entrenched in their cover. General Arif was a puppet, and the Soviets were extending their influence around the globe. Damocles wanted to make sure every corner of the world was safe for Democracy- but there was something especially strange happening in Iraq. Sam scoffed. It was hard to believe some remote third world colonial outpost could be the center of the world’s attention. No doubt that would never happen again.

Dr. Anthony DeWain walked over to Sam. All he knew was that a Federal agent was inquiring about the progress of the dig. No scholar enjoyed government interference, but today Sam’s cover was that of an official with the Smithsonian. The grant that was funding Dr. DeWain’s work would certainly encourage the archaeologist to be forthcoming. The man was in his early fifties, and his khaki shirt and shorts were sweat stained. His hands were caked with dirt and sand, and in his pocket were some brushes and tools to carefully uncover new artifacts. The dig itself had made its way well into an ancient temple. Most of the burial goods had been removed and taken to the Smithsonian months ago as part of a traveling exhibit. Dr. DeWain was no fool. He knew it was this sort of thing that paid the bills. But he didn’t have time for red tape. He brushed the sand off of his hands before shaking Sam’s hand.

“Mr. Tettleton, what a surprise. We weren’t expecting you. I appreciate your taking interest in our work.”

Sam responded to the name of his cover identity, and remembered some important tools of his training- namely not saying more than was necessary.

“My pleasure. Have you found the location of the second temple?”

Dr. DeWain sighed, unable to mask his annoyance. “We have not. The temple of Emenanki makes reference to the second Eye of Tiamat being taken to the Garden’s of Ishtomb. This was supposedly a small retreat of one of the first Babylonian Kings. The retreat was in an oasis, far into the Iraqi desert. There is no Oasis remaining these thousands of years later- we are looking for a location in the middle of the desert, and in a landscape that constantly shifts as the dunes roll with the wind. We may never find it, Mr. Tettleton.”

Sam Kiruk nodded, looking off to the southwest, shielding his eyes from the blowing sand. The sky was darkening, and Sam assumed it was just cloud cover. That much was true. But the excited voices that came next indicated far more was at work. Some workers started cheering, and pointing with glee. Others fell to their knees, found where Mecca would lie across the horizon, and began to pray. The westerners stared in all directions in disbelief. The desert air had dropped to very cool temperatures suddenly, and snow had begun to fall.

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Secrets of the Tome p. 1

Trident.jpgCarolyn looked down at her sleeping mother, guilt practically dripping from her like sweat. She was leaving and didn’t know when she’d be back. She wasn’t even leaving a note. How could she? Her mother wouldn’t believe her in a million years. With a quick kiss to her forehead, Carolyn scurried down the stairs and out the front door.

Outside her house she saw a horse drawn carriage; quite an unusual site in Chicago. She could tell it was for her. The night was still, except for the occasional whirring of a passing car on a street some place else. Moonlight glinted off the gold of the carriage, and she saw lovely patterns carved expertly into the sides. With a sigh she climbed onto the drivers podium, her heart pounding rapidly.

The sound of crashing waves was suddenly deafening. She had grown used to it since she was first approached, but this was almost too much for her to handle. Almost. She raised up her arms, and was engulfed in a body of water.

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