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Never a Sun Rises

Never a Sun Rises

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Never a Sun Rises

Lunghezza:
290 pagine
3 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
May 1, 2017
ISBN:
9781370794560
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

The Sun is growing fainter as are the moon and stars. The Earth’s mean temperature is plummeting and the tides are off worldwide.

Orbiting Satellites are out of sync, grounding planes and disrupting communications, and the dwarf planet Pluto has drifted from orbit.

On the 22nd of September, with global panic brewing and the world descending into an arctic winter, nine dedicated scientists are in a race to find an answer.

Never a Sun Rises is a fast-paced story of man’s desperate attempts to avert a global disaster and of his instinctive will to survive.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
May 1, 2017
ISBN:
9781370794560
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

T. E. Mark is an Anglo-American Writer, Screenwriter and Violinist. He has studied Architecture, Music and Literature in the UK and in the US and has been penning stories since childhood. His first novel, Fractured Horizons, set in the wonderful of Bath England, was written at the age of 12.Mark has written novels for young and adult readers and a selection of science articles for national and international magazines. Born in Bath, Somerset, Mark now resides in Seattle Washington where he writes and teaches the violin from his U-District Co-op.Follow T. E. Mark at:temarkauthor.wordpress.commthomasmark.wordpress.comtemarkurbanscratch.wordpress.comContact T. E. Mark at: temarkauthor@gmail.com.

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Never a Sun Rises - T.E. Mark

LUCY

Part One

(Prelude)

To mankind: If any…

Lost in thought, James stopped again to read the mathematician’s cryptic note.

If you’ve survived in the shelters, please know how we tried to avert this disaster. And that what we’re doing now may be your only chance of survival.

The simulation will describe a phenomenon that may well be the answer to how our universe began. And how it ended.

Though we accept the responsibility for our part, we’ve now concluded that this series of events has happened again and again throughout time. But that’s hardly important now.

He was at a junction – the LED lit sign pointing him towards the cafeteria when he noticed something. Something that tugged at his attention.

He was standing normally and his feet weren’t struggling to leave the floor.

Why did Dr Saunders want me to have this? Why not a scientist?

A group of girls passed, all smiling, all gliding the magnetic flooring like bad ice-skaters. They looked familiar. Maybe Anna’s friends. He offered up a thin smile then returned his eyes to the note where they lingered on the inscription.

The name was familiar. Maybe from a school text or journal.

Maybe…

He turned and walked but continued reading.

Time is short for us now. The air is thin and we’re very tired. If we succeed at hastening the end, it may award you the opportunity described in the following equations.

He tried making sense of the maths but couldn’t. This tortured man, whoever he was, was obviously brilliant. He was also well trained in physics. James was not.

He read on.

Space, as you can see, is filled with potholes, where matter, during each formation, has settled, later contracting and igniting. It’s in the very nature of space to recycle.

You’ll find in the formulae an answer. A possible destiny for your ship.

God forgive us for our blunder but not for our curiosity. For without it, we would never have left the savannah.

Dr Richard Touchet

Sat, 25 Sep, 2016

To my wife: I tried to fix it Philli, I promised you I would. I’m sorry…

James folded the letter and zipped it into his sleeve pocket. He passed into the cafeteria still turning the words over and over again in his mind while trying to gain an image of the man.

The grim, desperate words of a dying man trying to…

What? What was he, his team rather, doing? And asking for forgiveness? Forgiveness for what?

James stopped cold at the sight of shaking tables and at the sickening, groaning sound from above. Paralyzed, he looked up.

Wednesday

22 Sep, 2016

(1)

3:02 AM New York

Dim light spilled into the 12th floor bedroom from the lights along the boulevard. The early autumn air, cool and brittle, poured in through a single window carrying with it a mixture of ocean damp and midnight gloom.

The breeze, fouled by the evening pubs, was being sweetened by the morning bakeries.

Lonely horns and drunken laughter singed the quiet calm.

It was all so normal. But hardly the truth.

There could be no normal in a world where never a sun rises.

Beneath a cream comforter, at opposite ends of a posted bed, lie two bodies breathing deeply, heaving the covers as if keeping time with the wall clock above.

Except for the electronics, set in a lavish ebony case, the room struck a likeness with a 19th century painting. Chandeliers, drapes, ornate mouldings - like in a Charles Dickens novel.

Suddenly, the peaceful scene was jarred by the shriek of a bedside phone. The first ring went unnoticed. The second one too. On the third, a soft white hand emerged followed by a slender pale arm.

‘Hello?’ The woman spoke in chilled, gravelly rasps. ‘Oh, Mira. Yes… He came in a while ago. No- No, I was just watching a little TV, hold on.’

More sleepy than startled, the barely alert woman pushed at her husband who had fallen into bed scarcely an hour earlier. ‘Richard.’ She pushed again. ‘Richard, it’s Mira.’

The slight, dark-haired man cleared his throat and sought distance between his tired head and the cream-white pillow.

‘Richard!’

Phili! What is it?’

‘Here.’ She grasped a yawn with her hand. ‘It’s Mira – it sounds important.’

Phillia Touchet, an attractive woman in her middle years, shoved her dishevelled husband the telephone, closed her eyes and reclaimed her pillow.

Haggard looking, and unremarkable in his hanging pyjamas, Richard tried focusing. He rubbed sleep from his eyes as he pulled the handset to his head.

‘Mira, what’s happened?’

There was a long pause while he received from his colleague that there had been a development, and that an emergency meeting was to be held within the hour at the American Academy of Sciences.

Mira Somerfield was not difficult to read. She was no alarmist, but he could feel his colleague’s tension.

‘I’ll need to… Okay… I’ll be there in a bit. No- No! I’m on my way.’

Richard ended the call, dropped the handset to the bed and sat as if in a coma.

‘Are you going back there now?’

‘Hmm? Yes. I have to, but, go back to sleep, Philli.’ He stretched and yawned and pulled up straight.

‘Eat today,’ she said with a gentle hand massaging his back.

‘I will, after the meeting.’

‘If you don’t get a full night sleep soon, Richard, you’re going to fall ill.’

‘Yes. I’m sure you’re right. Well… Get a good night sleep for both of us. I’ll rest in the taxi.’

Phillia gasped her exasperation and concern. She was awake now, and the sound in her husband’s voice unnerved her.

She continued massaging his neck and shoulders fully aware of her boundaries thus chose her words with care.

‘Is it bad?’

He turned looking gaunt, sleep deprived and just barely alert. His mouth was slack and his skin sallow in the twilight.

‘We can fix this,’ he said as if more to himself than to his wife.

‘How bad?’

His cool hand found her cheek. ‘I’ll know more in two hours. Try to get some sleep. It’s only…’ He leaned towards the bedside alarm. ‘…three twenty.’

‘Call me when you can?’

‘Sleep now,’ he whispered. ‘We’ll fix this, Philli.’

As much as she tried to avoid the feelings of concern, she could tell in his strained voice, and see in his thin eyes that things were not right with him. The deferential tone with his colleague, the four o’clock emergency meeting and his guarded remarks about needing to fix something were a giveaway.

Over the years, the cultured woman had grown to accept the inept feeling that accompanied the constant denial of knowledge of her husband’s work.

Hardly contentious now.

An old battle, never won.

Richard sauntered to the washroom where he ran a razor across his face, washed in the basin then set to changing.

‘I can make you breakfast.’ called Phillia from the bedroom. There again was that motherly tone.

He looked back into the room and smiled. ‘I’ll get coffee and something downstairs. Try to get back to sleep.’

‘Call me?’

He looked at her warmly. ‘As soon as I address the Advisor and the others.’

Phillia pulled back beneath the covers, there was little left to say.

Bothered by something, the stoic man of numbers returned to the washroom. He had one rudimentary experiment to perform requiring the crudest of instruments.

Pulling the digital scale from beneath the basin, he stepped on it and recorded his mass. Sixty six kilograms. One hundred thirty five pounds in imperial units.

‘Dear, God.’

He did the calculation quickly in his head. The gravitational force of the planet had fallen another 0.25 Newtons per kilogram. What was nearly 10 for billions of years was now a mere 8 ½.

He kicked the scale and watched it slide to the tub.

He grasped the pedestal sink and stared blankly into the mirror – into his own despondent eyes. ‘We have to stop this!’ he said, then turned off the light.

(2)

3:20 AM New York – The American Academy of Sciences

Still in the corridor, Mira pocketed her mobile and turned towards the large conference room. Nathan and Robert were there in the doorway.

‘Well?’ began Nathan. ‘Did you get our math- master?’

‘Yeah.’ she grinned, but just briefly. ‘He was asleep.’

‘Ah, sleep.’ Nathan, the young astrophysicist with hair to his shoulders and puffy red eyes smiled. ‘Can I get a dictionary reference on that?’

Robert threw a fatherly arm around him. ‘C’mon kid, let’s go do some physics.’ He yawned as he pulled his young colleague into the room. ‘It’s more rewarding.’ He chuckled. ‘You should try to blink more.’

‘Yeah? Does that work?’

‘Yeah,’ he said casually. ‘They’re like little naps.’

They laughed together as they shuffled into the brightly lit room and pulled back a pair of tall leather chairs.

It’d been a long night, and it was far from over.

Wed 3:45 AM

In the lift, gazing into the reflective glass, Richard tugged at his dated tie and ran cool fingers through his wiry black hair. He was still groggy in his cold grey suit but already playing with the words he would use.

Without his consent, his mind wandered into the safer world of mathematics. He saw crimson numbers and sapphire charts, and in the middle of it all he saw himself, a mere boy in lonely grown-up clothes.

In his partial delirium he could see a line graph. A gift he shared with a rare few. The ability to see equations and diagrams in his head had distinguished him from his peers early and sent him into his career

It was accelerating. But, here’s the problem with that. An easy one, indeed. Classical, that is, Newtonian, physics didn’t work that way.

Newton, wrong?

It was near sacrilegious to even think it.

Would it stop? Could it be plotted? Could they conceivably stop this? These were questions the National Security Advisor would ask. But, even more disturbing was… he didn’t own the answers.

He grabbed a coffee in the lobby, chatted briefly with Marvin, the night doorman, left the building and climbed into a cab.

‘Twenty fourth and Piedmont,’ he said through the yellowed Plexiglas.

‘Right,’ said the driver. ‘The Academy.’ He hit the meter, and they sped off.

Richard found a cup holder for his coffee and pulled open his briefcase. He had a 15 minute ride ahead. Enough time to plot the acceleration based on his bathroom experiment. He felt like a commanding General heading into battle, Alexandre perhaps, going over the attack plan to see if he’d missed something.

The taxi sped through the wide vacant boulevards. Only taxis, now, with some of the night people still out. And an odd, but telling mist, like San Francisco, or London, he thought, nestling the ground.

He looked up, at one point, at the rising tall buildings and thought of canyons.

The gloom seemed gloomier, and the cold colder and it made him feel less than eager, yet more resolute.

Like a boy, he thought.

I feel like a boy who forgot to do my homework.

He pulled out a note pad and began scribbling thoughts and numbers.

‘Good Morning Doctor Touchet!’ said Peter pulling open the cab outside the Academy. Peter was a forever smiling. A man with a job that, to him, was a blessing.

In his tortured state, Richard felt envious of the man’s laudable ignorance. He wished, for the moment, he could share in it.

‘Good morning Peter.’

‘Gonna be a glorious morning, Doctor.’ His teeth gleamed bright in the solemn darkness.

Richard smiled, acknowledging his jovial optimism.

‘Say, don’t you people ever keep real hours?’

‘Have others arrived?’ he asked while paying the driver.

‘Yes sir! Been coming in all morning.’

‘Well, I guess I should get in there,’

He climbed from the cab, pulled tight his suit and shivered in the harsh, fall chill.

‘Thank you Peter,’ he said shoving two bills into his hand. ‘Have a good day, my friend.’

‘Always, Sir. There’s nothing like a September morning. Good day, Doctor.’

Once through the large glass doors, Richard set about collecting his thoughts. He made a brief stop at the security desk, signed in and met with the scanner.

As he headed for the lift lobby, he again felt like that little boy who’d forgotten to complete his assignment and was destined for detention.

Within minutes, he and the others were to tell an international group of scientists, representatives from various countries, the Science Adviser to the UN Security Council, and the National Security Advisor to the president that their breakthrough discovery of isolating and seeing the theorized gravitons, and of their subsequent experiment of sending two of those particles along the LEARN collider hoping to reveal what made gravity, the force that baffled Newton and led Einstein on a merry chase, act differently than the other three forces, had released an unidentified field disturbance.

And the energy released was rippling space with gravitational waves.

And that the team at LIGO was baffled and holding an emergency meeting of their own as they were desperately trying to comprehend the nature of this event.

But there was more. A rebound effect was happening and already observed. Which could only mean one thing. The energy field, whatever it was, had sent gravitational waves to the very perimeter of space and were now returning, but no longer as graviton waves. They were coming back as anti- graviton waves. And the net effect was mystifying. Like matter and antimatter, gravity was being annihilated by its counterpart.

The constant – the gravitational constant of the universe was falling.

The concept was as absurd as it was alarming.

But, equally disturbing was… the effect was accelerating rather than diminishing, further refuting the known laws of physics.

At the 14th floor he left the lift, rounded the corner and made his way into the conference room ‘Hey, Richie,’ said Nathan as he joined them.

‘You look like shit in a nice suit, dude.’

‘Thanks Nathan.’ He nodded to the others as he grabbed a tall chair. ‘What made you dress for the occasion?’

With his shoulder-length, sand brown hair and fashionable beard, Nathan, in his corduroy blazer over his university T-shirt looked like a third-year grad student. The only thing missing was his backpack, which, Richard assumed, was stored somewhere beneath the table.

Nathan did a spontaneous drum-roll and shot Mira a wink.

‘Time?’ Asked Leon the sturdy project leader from the head of the table where he’d been pouring over his presentation notes. Though a brilliant physicist, his casual appearance, tall frame, and slight paunch more easily drew the image of a car salesman.

‘Ten minutes,’ said Robert grabbing Richard’s cab ride notes. ‘What are these?’

‘Calculations of the acceleration. I did them in the taxi.’

Even the soft humming lights grew quiet.

Everyone owned the question, but no one wished to voice or face it.

‘It’s accelerating?’ Leon broke into the hard silence.

Richard nodded.

The strained levity was gone now.

They focused on Robert who was eager with the math man’s notes and equations.

‘Mira,’ asked Richard.

‘Yep?’

‘The development you mentioned.’

‘Right,’ said the thin-faced specialist in orbital mechanics. ‘Sorry to sound vague on the phone. It’s just that…’

‘I know,’ he interrupted. ‘House phone, and all. But, you said something happened.’

‘The data we requested from NASA. Yes.’ She reached into her soft warn briefcase. ‘This came in an hour after you left.’

She handed him a lengthy spreadsheet.

‘That’s when I called the White House,’ said Leon with his hands clasped behind his head. ‘And suggested this meeting.’

Richard buried his eyes in the endless rows and columns.

‘And that’s when I started calling everyone back.’ She looked at Nathan who smiled.

‘Hey! I’m here.’

She scanned his T-shirt.

‘Awe, fuck em,’ he said sporting a grin. ‘Do you really think they need to hear that the universe is fucked from a bunch of weirdo scientists in tuxedos?’

Their smiles were a reflexive cough or a sneeze, with a possible hint of that innate human urge to release tension or to feel even the briefest moment of something other than dread.

They all turned as Deborah Wu, the team’s climatologist, and Werner Eckardt, the Danish astronomer entered.

Tense, harried and sleepy they greeted everyone and made their way around the table.

‘Debbie,’ said Nathan eyeing the pretty woman in a deep blue dress. ‘You look…’

She kissed him on the forehead. ‘Save it, kiddo. I feel like shit – I look like shit, but trust me, the sentiment is totally appreciated.’

‘Jesus,’ he replied. ‘What a gloomy bunch. After this

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