‘That first domino began an endless chain of events that cannot be escaped …

not by the limitlessness of space,

nor even by the end of time itself …’

Chapter One

 —

637th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron

Long Beach, Southern California

1710 hours – July 3, 1947.

 

‘Warning to unidentified aircraft. You are entering United States airspace. Please identify … over.’

The spirited banter that bounced around the dimly lit control center had turned to the following day’s Fourth of July celebrations and planned holiday weekend activities. Half a dozen crew members sat at various workstations with their facial features accentuated by the soft glows coming from radar screens. Nobody had really noticed Betty’s withdrawal from the conversation.

‘We’re taking the kids to Coronado … sort of a tradition.’

‘Well, that explains why there’s no fish …’

Hunched over a screen with hands clasped tightly over her headphones in a vain attempt to block out their chatter, twenty-seven-year-old radar operator Lieutenant Betty Fielding felt her adrenalin rise to levels she hadn’t experienced since active duty in the Pacific. Unusually heavy static coming through her headphones washed like waves onto a shore. Could it mask a response? She lifted her head above the screen partitions to address the other team members through the haze of cigarette smoke being randomly dispersed by the rhythmic pulse of a large overhead fan.

‘Shut up will you, please?’

Curious, the crew manning the new high-tech radar installation abandoned their stations, rushed over, and jostled for position in the cramped space behind her. Something immediately apparent … this was no ordinary incident. An aircraft of unknown origin had just entered the United States at extreme velocity and altitude.

Crossing the US/Mexico border about fifty miles inland from the western coastline, the contact was heading north at an altitude greater than 70,000 feet. Betty’s initial velocity determinations seemed completely implausible. She tweaked the radar’s settings with unsteady fingers trying to get a better fix, acutely aware that her every action was being scrutinized.

 ‘… please identify,’ she repeated, more forcefully this time. ‘Over.’

‘Go find the CO,’ somebody ordered from behind. Outside daylight burst into the murky room as the youngest member of the team rushed out the door.

Just seven weeks operational, the installation boasted the highest signal-processing radar detection technology operating anywhere in the world. Rumors that the Soviet Union possessed captured Nazi Germany advanced military technology meant that the 637th was on high alert, surveilling the skies of the southwestern United States with expectations of hostility at any moment.

The role of the 637th was of heightened importance that day, and for the previous three days. Top-secret, experimental jet aircraft testing was being conducted by the Air Force Flight Test Centre from the Muroc Army Airfield, about a hundred miles to the north. Actual testing would only occur in restricted airspace northeast of Muroc around the Nevada Test and Training Range. The testing area was strictly off-limits to unauthorized aircraft. Apart from border security, an additional responsibility of the 637th was the monitoring of air traffic that might potentially compromise the no-fly zone. Betty suspected that the testing area might be the aircraft’s ultimate destination but …

‘Some sort of surveillance aircraft?’

‘At least it’s heading away from densely populated regions … a nuclear demonstration maybe?’

‘Nuclear attack?’

‘Be quiet,’ warned Betty. The contact’s declining altitude and velocity projections required her full concentration.

‘You’re right. The isolated destination … it can only mean one thing.’

‘They minimize collateral damage.’

‘That’s it!’ Betty ripped off her headphones and swung angrily around. ‘If you don’t shut up …’

The entrance burst open to announce the arrival of Commanding Officer, Colonel Stuart Hughes, who forced his way through to stand behind and to Betty’s right.

‘Sir, an unidentified aircraft just crossed the border at high speed and isn’t responding to my broadcasts.’

‘Jesus H. Christ! Do we have anything that fast?’ It was a rhetorical question that only the colonel himself could comprehensively answer.

‘It was actually much faster when I first detected it, sir … more than Mach 2. It seems to have steadied now to just under Mach 1.’

‘Altitude?’

‘Descending. It crossed the border at greater than 70,000 feet, but it’ll drop through 50,000 any moment. Sir, it’s heading directly towards the Nevada no-fly zone and today’s testing. Maintaining current speed, I estimate it’ll enter restricted airspace in about fifteen minutes,’ offered Betty, her thoughts spiked with concern for her family in Los Angeles. The fallout …they’ll be safe if the wind doesn’t change direction. She swiveled her chair to look up at her CO directly. Could this be an attack, sir?’

‘Get me the officer in charge of testing over at Muroc. Pronto!’

Muroc Army Airfield

(Later to be known as Edwards Air Force Base)

Kern County, Southern California

1716 hours

Runways were hectic with late afternoon training and testing, with thunderous reverberations from aircraft taking off, landing, and racing across the skies disturbing the air. The potent sweet scent of high-octane fuel added to the sense of awe and rush of adrenalin one could not help but feel when witness to such top-secret events.

Air Force Flight Test Centre Commanding Officer, Colonel James “Raffy” Rafter, stood alone on the control tower outside viewing platform to witness the spectacular display of man defying nature. I love this shit, he reflected. His heart skipped momentarily as a massive, heavily-laden B-29 Superfortress briefly hesitated before conceding to flight. Wearing thick-framed black sunglasses and smoking his favorite “MacArthur” pipe, he often imagined himself looking a bit like the famous general himself.

 

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About the first book:

For most of his adult life, Evan Armstrong has been afflicted by strange dreams that warn of an apocalyptic future. A traumatic incident ends the dreams, to be replaced by fractured memories of something he was never meant to remember.

With his time drawing near, Evan reaches out as he realizes that back in Roswell, 1947 … they made a huge mistake!

“We should never have trusted the aliens”

Julius “Caesar” Romeo, has a secret passion … he loves to chase aliens. A world-famous lateral thinking entrepreneur, Julius considers his meeting with Evan to be a coincidence, but as their time together forges a powerful friendship, Julius realizes that Evan is in fact handing him a terrifying legacy.

Melanie “Mel” Stuart works for Caesar. She’s his strength and his keeper, and she’s the real power behind the rise of the Romeo business empire. Mel also has a secret … she’s in love with her boss. Evan’s “story” doesn’t sit well with her beliefs or her plans.

Julius and Mel are polar opposites in almost every way … it’s what makes them such an effective team. They find an unexpected new common purpose … to unravel the events of 1947 that threaten our future survival.   

Michael Muxworthy Sci-fi Novel
Coming soon – Michael Muxworthy

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