by Elena Dorothy Bowman
People vanishing 10 years before the new millennium, the first space-exploration starship, Earth Star-I, lost in deep space fifty-one years later - Is there a connection between these unexplained disappearances and a village along the rocky coast of New England, a place called Sarah's Landing? Joshua Morgan is the Astronaut/Biologist searching for answers and is unaware his quest will take him to the far reaches of space and to an alien planet no one knew existed. Joshua's finds love for two different woman on two different worlds, light years apart. His love for these women results in the birth of two sons - one from the alien planet, one from Earth, and both empowered with mind-linking capabilities.
ISBN 1-59431-510-8 sci-fi / romance /mystery
Cover Art by David P. Bowman
Also available in RTF and HTML formats.
“—Sarah’s Landing is a work of pure imagination. This sci-fi tale is a perfect blend of fantasy, mystery, and romance working together in a most
seductive way. The peaceful setting of this New England coastal village is anything but what it seems…”
—Sandy Bernstein, Editor—Sour Grapes Magazine
C h a p t e r 1
Three years is not a long time but when you’re trying to erase a memory it can seem forever. Sometimes, while walking across the base, the noise of a machine would startle Joshua. He would stop as if waiting for something. Other times, someone’s laughter would bother him, anger him, and cause him to remember the violent churning static, the endless silence. What did happen out there in space? How could the starship disappear so completely? Joshua remembered sitting in that stark white hospital room three years ago listening, waiting throughout the night—pounding the video monitor with his fists, but there were no answers, no human voices. Now, more than ever, reports upset him, especially reports of disappearances. Why, he wondered, did it bother him so much when people, he did not know, mysteriously disappeared just because they happened to be in the right place at the wrong time?
His memories of Earth Star-I were bad enough, but his reassignment was worse. He was told his ear problem, a result of a viral infection, made it impossible for him to remain an astronaut. He could help, he said, training a new crew or being part of a design team for the next mission. After all, could SICOM afford to throw away a trained astro-biologist?
“Use me, damn it,” he demanded. “Let me be a part of all of this.”
The Space Intelligence Command (SICOM) agreed Joshua Morgan’s talents were important and useful for the success of future efforts. But the budget cuts had trimmed down their teams, so all he could hope for now was a slot as a floating alternate. He would be used whenever and wherever SICOM had need of him. Joshua reluctantly agreed. So until a permanent slot opened up, Joshua was transferred to the Space Intelligence Alien Investigative Team. His job, as part of Alien Intelligence, was to investigate any unfinished cases of strange incidents that had occurred, and perhaps were still occurring. He closed the book on the last of his present cases. There was nothing to it. The man disappeared because he wanted to. Now Joshua was flying home and back to SICOM after two months of intensive field work in various parts of the world. He sometimes wished all of his cases were this easy, but then he would not have a job.
Back in Houston, life was more pleasurable. His office on the fourth floor of the Administration Building overlooked the entire base. Furnished during the days of prosperity he had many plush comfortable chairs, lush tropical plants and a large mahogany desk. Across the hall from his office, behind heavy glass doors, an environmentally controlled complex protected several highly sophisticated computers. It would be easy, he thought, to correlate two months’ fieldwork.
Having entered the case file information into the computers Joshua returned to his office and sat back to wait for results. Old tapes and modern data crystals from other agents had been stacked on his desk, “Bury them or resolve them!” the note attached to the top stack ordered. How lucky can I get? He thought, smiling wryly.
Staring out the window he absentmindedly watched white puffy clouds expand and separate. Sighing he leaned over, inserted the first tape and turned on his recorder. He listened intently to each one of the individuals being interviewed as they related their experiences. They were intelligent and not easily frightened people but strange events had changed their lives. They had been witnesses to unbelievable occurrences. The data crystals weren’t anymore definitive, he discovered, when he inserted them into his computer.
Joshua was skeptical yet, he had to admit, they seemed levelheaded and sincere.
He had not heard any of their stories before but here in his comfortable office each one sounded similar. How many of them, he wondered, were missing? Was there a rational explanation? Why had these people vanished?
He spent the entire morning talking to other agents and playing and replaying the voice recordings and data crystals.
“What the hell is going on? Am I crazy? People don’t disappear. Humans are tangible, solid entities.” He rubbed one hand against the other. “No. It’s not possible. It can’t be.”
The tapes have been around for years. He knew everyone had a crack at them and they came up empty-handed. No one really expected him to do anything about them. But the voices on the recordings haunted him…and those on the data crystals were just as compelling.
Information from the computers confirmed his suspicions. There were many similarities. People who did not know each other, who lived in diverse places, were experiencing similar phenomena. Witness after witness repeated the description: “…suddenly there was a brilliant, blinding flash of light!” Some of the stories had been discounted. Missing people were found, or returned on their own. But certain cases could not be so easily resolved. Were they coincidences, or were the implications far more reaching?
Why should these people suddenly vanish? Joshua sat down at his desk and tabulated a long list of names. He could not find one common denominator. The missing people came from all walks of life. The less fortunate were as likely to disappear as executives, and children vanished as often as adults. There was no pattern.
Joshua ran another correlation check through the computers. This time he fed all the data he could find into the memory banks, beginning with SICOM’s first reports of unusual events up to and including the information on the data crystals his “buddies” left on his desk.
He did not know what to expect, but learning that many reports were never investigated astounded him—like the Deming, New Mexico case. The Air Force was far more interested in the discovery of extra-terrestrial crash sites with body remains near Roswell, New Mexico than with bizarre disappearances, which the Air Force considered a ‘local’ problem. Youngs Creek, Indiana, among others, was another report that fell through the cracks. Then there were the missing children cases among others in New England. SICOM believed the local “Feds” should handle them.
Someone else would have dropped the whole thing, but not Joshua. He could not let go. If there was a linkage between people disappearing and his starship, he would find it or die trying. At least that was how he felt about it at the moment. There had to be a link somewhere. But where? How? Something kept nagging at the back of his mind. Joshua had a feeling a trip to Washington, DC. might provide some clue. SICOM did not agree. Joshua argued that every effort had to be made. SICOM said he was wasting everyone’s time.
“Maybe,” Joshua said. “But if we don’t try, we’ll never know. Will we?”