Wearing a simple flowing robe, the old man stared out from his wrought-iron balcony to the quaint buildings below. “Is everything in place?”
“Yes, Your Holiness,” replied an eager young man in far more splendid robes.
“Failure is not an option.”
“We will not fail. We have planned for every circumstance. Project Einstein will not succeed.”
“But it will not come back to us?”
“No, Your Eminence. No one will blame us for their demise.”
“How many back-up plans?”
“Not enough.” His ancient hand quivered as it rested upon the metalwork. “Fifteen. I want fifteen plans, each certain to succeed without the blame reaching my feet.”
“I will see it done.”
The old man turned and studied his devotee. “You have doubts, Thomas?”
“It is not my place to doubt God’s work.”
“Earth is about to fall into an ice-age of such duration and frigid temperatures that nothing is expected to survive. So you wonder why God would wish to destroy one of our chances to continue mankind on a different planet.”
The man fell to his knees and pressed his forehead to the floor. “Forgive me, Your Holiness.”
The old man walked around the prostrate body and returned to his red velvet chair with authentic gemstones cresting each upholstery tack. He sat with a heavy sigh. “It is better for the human race to die in its entirety than to survive without God.” He stared up to the arching ceiling painted with clouds and angels. “The time has come to choose eternal Heaven or Hell.”
The young man’s head rose. “Yes!” His face filled with joy and wonderment. “I understand now.”
The old man’s head wobbled, perhaps in a nod. “Then go, and see God’s will is done. Only Project Chosen can succeed. Project Einstein must be destroyed, at all costs.”
With Earth destined for a new ice-age, seven scientists and twenty-two brilliant teenagers are gathered in a compound deep within a mountain. There they struggle to come together as a group and complete the projects needed for their survival in the inhospitable environment of Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. However, certain factions on Earth have no intention of letting Project Einstein succeed. Keeping the group alive and productive is the hardest task Colonel Lancaster and his soldiers have ever had, but they are determined to succeed no matter how well the saboteurs have planned. The continuation of the human race depends upon it.
“This is not how I wanted to tell you, but I’ve four minutes left, and I need you to hear the truth from me before you hear partial truths from Dr. Tong.”
“Dr. Tong?” She was now completely confused about their topic of conversation.
“I dated—actually lived with—Dr. Tong when she attended Berkeley for her undergrad degree. We were not in the same field, so I saw no issues. Still, we kept it very quiet. And honestly, I wouldn’t be telling you now, except I’m almost certain she will.”
“The first chance she gets.”
“No, I meant when did you live with her?”
“I met her during her freshman year and she moved in with me the following summer. She didn’t move out until her senior year. That would have been your second year at Berkeley.”
Tam blinked in confusion. “But you were always with me at the lab.”
He laughed softly. “That was her opinion as well. It’s why we broke up. It’s why she changed schools for her doctorate.”
“She thought you and I…”
“Yes, and that’s why she was so rude to you and will likely continue to give you a hard time.” His face hardened. “I know your temper, but I need you to continue to show the restraint you did today. If it comes down to you and her, I fear it will be you who is left behind.”
“Why? She’s a linguist. What do we even need her for?”
“It’s not her knowledge; it’s her DNA. Janise is genetically flawless. The future of the human race needs her. In a crunch, I could cover your skill requirements, but there’s no one close to her genetic purity.”
Just then, Lancaster entered and declared he needed Tamara.
Max sighed. “This is not where I wanted to leave this conversation. We’ll talk about this later tonight.” He gently pulled her from her chair and handed her over to Lancaster.
She felt Lancaster’s eyes on her; no doubt Mr. Busy-body wanted to know what Max had told her. As he rushed her down the hall, her mind kept repeating Max’s declaration that Dr. Tong was genetically perfect. His lover for two years was genetically perfect. His genetically perfect lover who’d left him, but now clearly wanted him back.
“Are you crying?” Lancaster demanded.
She shook her head no and suddenly wished she had long hair like Tong’s so she could hide her face.
Lancaster pulled her into a room and closed the door.
“What happened?” he demanded.
“Nothing.” She tried to move away from him, but his arms pinned her to the wall.
“I need to get you to the medic, so I don’t have time for twenty questions. I am ordering you to tell me what upset you.”
“Nothing of importance.”
“Bullshit! You’ve been a trooper all day. You’re the only one who hasn’t caused me trouble, and I want to know what Max said to change that.”
“Max wasn’t trying to make me cry. In fact, he was trying to prepare me so I wouldn’t be hurt. Unfortunately, Max’s attempt inadvertently hurt my feelings. It’s no big deal. I’ll get over it.”
“What did he tell you? And answer my question this time,” he added with a growl.
“He told me he and Dr. Tong used to be lovers, that she blames me for their break-up, and she is genetically perfect and more important to this project than I am,” Tam replied.
“And was it the latter part that made you cry?”
She nodded, careful not to look him in the eye so he wouldn’t see she was lying. However, that meant she did not see his intent until he kissed her. She stiffened at first and tried to push him away, but his chest was so wonderfully hard and muscular, and it had been ages since anyone had kissed her. He felt so amazingly delicious that she stopped resisting and kissed him back.
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About the Author
Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.
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When the end if coming for Mankind, scientists have found a way to survive but only specially selected people will be asked to help on the secret project. Destination: Titan is a wonderfully told story of a last ditch effort to save the world, even as another group sets out to ruin any chance they had.
I really enjoyed the characters who came alive with Ms. O'Connor's writing. They were compelling and people I longed to meet in real life. The story kept me on the edge of my seat and I wasn't able to put it down. With twists and turns, I couldn't anticipate, this story had my heart beating fast!
I'm excitedly waiting for the second book!
Musings from Michigan