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The moment is rapidly approaching when humanity must choose its future. What appears a simple choice between love and fear is complicated by the desires of two opposing cosmic forces.
Artemis Andronikos rushes to discover a message the ancients left in stone ruins around the Earth. Aided by her partner Lucy and the rogue astrophysicist Wolfgang Strang, Artemis assembles a team of brilliant young scientists to decode when, where, and how the choice is to be made.

Convincing the former Harbinger children to listen to their inner voices is the first step. Preparing them to accept a new version of reality proves more difficult. Artemis must deal with an existential threat of her own; one that could separate her from her soulmate for eternity.

Theories of consciousness and philosophy battle as the cosmos bears down. How does one select a future when everything one has been taught is wrong? When knowledge fails, only the gods of one's own heart remain.

First Edition
288 pages
Paperback $15.99
ISBN 978-1-64890-254-3

E-book  $5.99
ISBN 978-1-64890-253-6

Blue and purple night starry sky.jpg

Lucy tapped the blinker and looked to her right, impatient for the delivery van in her way to either move ahead or slow down and let her into the adjacent lane. When it didn't oblige, she blared her horn and sped up to go around the vehicle. Strang stomped his foot down on a brake he didn't have. "Lucy, I consider it preferrable to forestall our conversation until we have reached your intended destination." Lucy hit the horn again and swerved to the right and then around a corner in a manuever that earned her a loud trail of expletives from the van driver. "Oh, dear God!" Strang whimpered. Spying an empty spot, she pulled to the curb and parked, leaving the engine idling. Strang released his white-knuckled grip on the armrest. "My dear woman." He sat up and repositioned the cap that had slid into his eyes. "Have we arrived at some place of interest to you?" "No. I decided to spare you the heart attack." She smiled innocently. "I just wanted to get you alone out of range from ... you know those incredible senses of hers." The scientist wiped the sheen of sweat from his forehead. "I doubt there is such a distance, but perchance Temmie's attentions are currently occupied elsewhere."

Dr. Wolfgang Strang erupted from his chair, sending it clattering loudly to the tiled floor. He whipped off his glasses with a shaky hand and tossed them to the desk. "By the gods!" The rangy astrophysicist stared at the map, amazed at what he was seeing. Impossible! An yet there it was. Perfect in its simplicity. Strang ran his hands through his hair and heard the echo of Willa's voice. Breathe, Wolfgang. Strang took that breath and felt himself begin to calm. His first impulse was to reach for the phone and summon Artemis to come share his discovery. Seeing the lateness of the hour, he decided to wait until morning, although he half expected Artemis to appear at his door if only to inquire about the midnight clatter. Standing motionless, he willed the pounding in his head to lessen. He closed his eyes and listened to the sound of crickets chattering in the yard and felt the cool breeze slipping through the small open window. Once his composure returned, Strang found himself pleased to be alone with his discovery. The time to share it would come soon enough, but for the present it belonged to him alone.

"Have you a moment?" Stefan tapped on the jamb to catch Artemis's attention. "Two if you need them," Artemis replied, setting her musings aside and giving him an easy smile. Stefan was the favorite among the three scientists she'd selected. The juxtaposition of his large, intimidating physicality with his understated sense of irony resulted in an adorable persona. And Artemis enjoyed their frequent conversations. Stefan lumbered into the office and dropped into the side chair at Artemis's overflowing desk. Uttering a rumbling sigh, he leaned forward and plopped huge hands on equally huge knees. "I wish to know our deadline." He twitched his mustache. "I work better with a deadline. Without a gun on my head, my ideas wander away, and I make no progress." Artemis contained a chuckle that wanted to break through. "I see. A deadline helps you focus. Is that it?" "Well, many things give me focus," Stefan said seriously. "Hunger, curiosity. At the moment, looking at a most beautiful face." He cleared his throat when he saw her eyebrow arch. "But these things do not help me work I need a deadline for that." He cocked his head to one side. The uncombed dark brown hair and the dancing mustache gave Artemis the impression she was looking at an inquisitive bear. She lifted a hand to hide the smile refusing to be stifled. "Okay," she said. "There is urgency to our work, but no definite date by which it must be completed. What if I gave you 30 days to finish your work?" Stefan was taken by surprise. "30 days?" He stared at her. "I have 30 days to determine how to manipulate perception? a methodology for communicating a specific message in an unidentified situation?" Artemis settled back into her ergonomic chair and crossed her legs. "Too long?" Stefan blinked. "Yes." It was Artemis's turn to be surprised. She sat up and folded her hands on her desk. "Then tell me how long you do need?" "For a miracle, no time at all." He grinned. "Only I do not perform miracles, Miss Andronikos. What happens if I am not ready in 30 days?" Artemis finally let the laugh escape. "Then I will have to give you 30 more. But you are right to question how much time we have, Stefan. In truth, I don't know." The banter continued for a while until, faced with a final opportunity to bring up the real reason for the visit, Stefan lost his courage. A premonition was nothing new, he had experienced scores of them even as a child. And the last thing Stefan wanted was to trouble his captivating boss with the terrible visions he experienced in his sleep.

General Maria Vergara fondled the cool disk in her hip pocket. A lesser woman -or man -might have been tempted to take credit for the ease with which her plans were progressing. But Vergara did not consider herself lesser to anyone. She had the blood of the Mapuche in her veins, warriors who had defeated the Inca at the battle of Maule, ending the invasion from the north long ago. Vergara had begun her conquest at the place the Mapuche had originated, along the Amazon River. Using the power of the disk, Maria had demonstrated the usefulness of famine, and now the presidents of seven nations were firmly in her sway - Brazil being the greatest of them. Ready to step out of her superiors' shadows, Vergara was about to turn her attention south, gathering Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina into her fold. She tucked a riding crop into her uniform belt and strolled into the bright Chilean sunlight. Maria mounted her magnificent black stallion, jerked the reins, and brought the animal to a trot. The thought of riding Destino straight into President Caron's office made her laugh, and she spurred the animal to a gallop. Maria had no expectations the countries had yielded to her personal charm. She had none. What she did have was the ability to instill fear, and she wielded the weapon with great success. Famine had long stalked the poorer nations. Using the disk to wither crops and send forth the langosta to devour harvests, Vergara had not needed the army to bend panicked politicians to her will. They had sought her patronage, and now they were in her pocket like the peasants she fed. Destino trotted along the hills, sensing they were approaching their destination. With Chile's neighbors proclaiming Vergara's leadership and a restless army whispering sedition, President Caron had sought refuge at his family's farm outside Santiago. But Vergara had no intention of disposing of Caron just yet. It was time to remove the man between them. The disk warmed her pant leg. She slowed the horse and surveyed the countryside. It was hers - this beautiful, amazing continent with its history and its resources and 423 million souls to do her bidding.

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