nicholas hopkins

SAIN

A Novel in Progress

This story, set in the not-too-distant future, is of some well-meaning, if somewhat over-enthusiastic environmentalists who see the dangers of climate change and truly want to do Something About It Now (SAIN). They have outlandishly cool resources at their disposal but there's at least one splinter group that may or may not be crossing the line with their latest project. They have a Brilliant, Audacious and Admitedly Dangerous plan for climate modification. On a global scale. Okay, they're definitely crossing the line, but no one else knows they've decided to go rogue - until Guy Grayson, a co-founding leader of the group and Susan, his new girlfriend, who also happens to be his new lawyer, start putting things together. 

But the Dangerously Audacious plan is already in motion and the clock is ticking.

It's an entertaining story of intrigue, takng the reader through twists and turns as the plot unfolds and some of the characters unravel. 

As something of a teaser, here is an excerpt from the opening chapter.



1 - January 23, 2021

 

It was a chilly morning in the western Mojave as dawn crept toward the jagged horizon. Barely preceded by an aura of hazy brilliance, a tiny dot of blazing sun appeared, growing slowly, inexorably larger as it rose to defeat the darkness once again.

In the middle of this alien terrain, a small team of workers went quietly about their business. Business that required the sort of discretion that borders on paranoid secrecy. And so they didn’t have time to notice the grand, brilliant kaleidoscope being painted across the desert sky, or the tormented beauty of the alien landscape around them.

The tallest among them broke the stubborn silence.  “Okay, we’re just about there, people. It’s taken us too damn long though. It’s getting un-dark. Be ready to pull the plugs and get the hell out of here as soon as we finish our checklists.”

If anyone heard him, they didn’t respond and he didn’t seem to mind.

He tapped his earpiece as he barked into it. “Computer Ops, tell me the field unit from hell is working.”

With just a touch of resentment, Norm, who held the honorary title of Chief IT Geek told him, “Ha! It’s running like a champ. I told you it was the mother board. You owe me fifty, Billy Bob. Pay up.”

A small grin threatened to steal across Bill’s face but was quickly suppressed. “You get nothing, until that piece of crap does its job. And if you ever call me Billy Bob again, I’ll punch you in the throat, you freakin’ geek.”

After a quick scan of the area, he said, “Boom Team, you’re absolutely sure the charges are hot?”

In answer, a rustle in the nearby scrub brush made everyone jump, then immediately freeze. After a timeless heartbeat some of them looked to one side of the truck, others to the opposite. The desert seemed to go into pause mode – until huge wings burst from behind a copse of Joshua trees behind the truck. Thumping through the air twenty feet from the cab, a tremendous Turkey Vulture, struggling against gravity and the cold, thin air, clutched a dead snake in its impressive talons. 

From somewhere near the trees, a muted voice said, “Great. Now I gotta change my underwear.” Laughter bubbled up from various places around the site. Someone, somewhere said, “Could be worse. Could be the snake.”

Chuckled responses of, “Really,” and “Amen” rippled through the crew.

As if nothing had happened, Kyla, the Lead Boomer assumed a very patient look and finally answered the question. “Yes, Bill. Like I told you the first two times, the charges are hot and the signal’s confirmed.”

Striding to the command truck, Bill announced, “All right then. I’m starting the sequence. Remember. This is new shit we’re dealing with and even though we only used a gram, if we did our homework on the vectored casing, we should get a much bigger boom than last time. Set your earplugs and put on your goggles.”

Smiles broke out across the group as they complied with the order. After months of smaller, glitch-plagued tests, with various types of explosives and containers, everything seemed to be running smoothly for once.

On the dashboard computer, Bill typed a series of codes, hit the Enter key and covered the short distance to his foxhole in a defiant, casual stroll. As he climbed in, he shouted one last command over his shoulder, almost as an afterthought, “AV, all of the cameras are running at full speed this time, right?”

The wind whispered through the arthritic branches of the Joshua trees.

“Simon?”

All heads swiveled in unison to the AV van, where the doors stood gaping, revealing the complete absence of the videographer. As if following a horrible tennis match, all heads turned to find the lone figure in the distance moving among the tripods.

Scrambling out of his foxhole Bill shot a look at the display screen in the truck. A large red 00:03 glowed in the light of the cab...

Stay tuned for more details about SAIN. And by all means, let me know what you think.

Copyright © 2018, Nicholas Hopkins. All Rights Reserved.