My most recent novel manuscript, and I think the most promising, is “Angel’s Brother“, a science fiction story that brings “us” into hands-on contact with angels and aliens, who turn out to be the same, more or less. Sometimes, you have to be your brother’s keeper!
The action is all on Earth, except for a space ship and space station on Titan, at the very end. There is no attempt to present an extra-solar planet civilization, although that could be a sequel (maybe along the lines of “Prescience”).
Most of the action is told through the eyes of two major characters: Sal Garcia, 20, a junior ROTC college student in Dallas, and Randy Ephraim, about 40, a high school history teacher with a wife and three kids, one of them “adopted”. Sal will gradually discover that he is to become an “angel”, and, so to speak, Randy is the big brother (though still just a mortal). Then there is “Bill”, (me), who first is known through his writings on the Internet, and whose deeper writings that, along with “remote viewing”, point Randy toward the “point of contact”. And there are some characters from other manuscripts, like falling (or fallen) angels Frankie and his predecessor Femeri, and Ali Mogul, the retired FBI agent married to a surgeon who discovers the “new disease”, which propagates a virus that transmits the ability to become an “angel”.
Randy’s job as a teacher is a cover, as he also “stomps” as a liaison for the CIA, as a followup to an earlier career in military intelligence himself. Randy goes on trips to pick up and send back “evidence” from tipsters, while as Sal hacks his work, and then tracks it back to other characters, whose past activities track amazingly to manuscripts developed by “Bill”.
I thought that the idea of telling a story like this through the eyes of someone “you look up to” (upward affiliation, again) was interesting. I began to see this around 2002 or so watching WB’s “Smallville”, where we do learn the story through Clark Kent’s eyes, and he isn’t completely sure who he is during the earlier years (where the episodes and basic story line were more compelling and mysterious).
I started the original manuscript in 2007, and it had 42 chapters, with Randy running around the world several times. The second half of the book somewhat paralleled the latter part of “Tribunal and Rapture II”. I later decided to simplify the book to make it more manageable, to 27 chapters.
Synopsis by Chapter:
Part 1: First Movement:: “Friends” (starts in May)
Chapter 1: “Polish Epiphany” (2 sections)
Randy has been called away from his AP History teaching job in Dallas for a trip to Germany and then Auschwitz in Poland. As the book opens, he is touring the outdoor site of the infamous concentration camp when Sal approaches him. They share a cab ride back. Sal describes what he knows about Bill
Chapter 2: “History Teacher:
Randy reads his own history on his tablet, after learning that “Bill”, who had generated a tip, was a memoirist. He looks at his own history in the Army, his heterosexual initiation in Basic, intelligence school, his own skipping out on a second male initiation which he misses, his marrying Erin, adopting Dick, then having his own kids. He hasn’t been interrupted much in the past few years to play G-man. He looks at himself in the mirror. He still thinks he is kind-of-perfect. He measures himself mentally against what he remembers from Sal. He became a history teacher (after a year as a sub for “show”) while still working for the agency on special projects.
(Hooks): Randy also recalls how he learned that a mystery real estate agent had introduced him to his current wife; his boss at the CIA has learned that she is the same agent who had worked with Bill decades before when he got into trouble with his condo. Randy wonders why this matters and if it connects to Sal, who had been in his class once a couple years back (before his adoptive family took him to Wisconsin).
Randy adopts a boy from a “green boss’s” family when he marries almost on day 1, and that makes him more interested in women, as it costs him less.
Also, explain how Erin (Randy’s wife) as a nurse moved into contact tracing, setting her up to anticipate the coming epidemic. (2014/11/16).
Randy, though knowing less about Bill than Sal, is puzzled about what happened when Bill was subbing, since Randy had subbed himself before becoming a “real teacher”.
Chapter 3: “History Student”
Sal goes to a gay bar in Amsterdam, and while playing with a cat, an eskimo-looking man named Irku contacts him, not wanting to dance. Irku is accompanies by Tovina. He shows Sal an unusual tablet computer.
Sal recalls his own history. He was born in South Texas, became multilingual very early, and is thankful that he looks white while identified as Hispanic. He is adopted by a family in Wisconsin but the father’s business often has Sal in Texas. At 14, he visited a church near the Gulf where the Virgin Mary appeared, and then very quickly went into puberty with his teen growth spurt. He took a pal Rusty on a hike in the Gaudalupe Mountains in Big Bend. They both got sick, mysteriously. Sal recovered quickly during the trip, but the friend was left a diabetic.
Sal would have a photographic memory and learn about 8 difficult languages.
Sal also meets with Lurku in a bar in Amsterdam, but doesn’t see Randy. Sal explains how his hacking escalated. Then Sal recalls how he met Matt on Popo in Mexico, and got that idea from Bill
Sal also reviews one big legal hack, of one of Bill’s early real estate closings. The closers works for the CIA.
Chapter 4: “The Lapp” (2 sections)
Randy gets instructions to go to St. Petersburg. Despite the anti-gay environment, he enterains himself in a porn shop, and then goes to the Hermitage to get contact intructions. He then rents a car and drives north, into the lake country near the Finnish border. Intelligence had been passed years ago through a steganographic hack on one of Bill’s websites.
He meets Lurku in a shed, and sees an odd assortment of hardware, including very old computers without graphics. He’s also given an sample to carry back, of a rare element, astatine, which is in an unusual stable form.
(Hook): Lurku mentions the hack of a website (Bill’s) that predicts re-emergence of Russian aggression near Finland, and again this seems related to Sal. Will Russia become a bigger enemy again than radical Islam, and if so, why? Or do the Russians know some game-changing technological secret?
Randy is chased as he leaves Russia and gets into Finland. His bosses back at the CIA think that Finland will be Russia’s next victim after the Ukraine, but even that is a diversion.
Chapter 5: “Family Background”
Sal is spending a weekend at home (from his sudden field trip and school in Texas) in Wisconsin. His younger sister was said to be slain in the spirit but is still sick, and Sal finds out she got altitude sickness on a church retreat in Colorado.
Sal also contemplates his attitude toward his Hispanic ancestry but white appearance, and wonders why ROTC sent him on “vacation”. He still doubts “they” know the angel “Matt” (new).
Chapter 6 : “The Lake”
Listening to the insistence of his wife Erin and Dick, Randy takes his family on a vacation from Dallas to the northern woods in Minnesota as school ends. He’s glad to have his family unplugged. A vicious computer virus that frames users for child porn has been running loose in the country.
Randy wonders if a computer hack reported in the media has any connection to the “dud” he picked up in Finland. Randy makes the connection because of Bill’s paranoia about being framed, as indicated on Bill’s own published writings.
In the meantime, Sal has called Randy (perplexing Erin) and told him he will attend the Army language school in San Francisco, not to study but to teach a class. Sal will look further into Bill’s background to clues to his own experience in the SW mountains.
Chapter 7 : “Looks like a Scottish Castle”
Randy, through snooping, learns that Bill was given his own mystery load (the astatine) when visiting the Yucca Mountain area. Bill gets a traffic ticket from an OK cop that seems bogus. Bill seems to be on the way to a place called “The Academy”, actually predicted in his own secret writings.
Chapter 8: “Academy”
Randy arrives at the Academy, near Abilene TX and debriefs Frankie before finding Bill. Frankie will explain why Bill was on a “vacation” picking up “goodies” (for “Special Troops”), and that Bill can “get what he wants” here.
Chapter 9: “Visiting prof”
Sal also visits the Academy. He teaches a two-day language course (interpreting Chinese from intonation). He visits one student, Amos (son of Ali) who had been caught in a bizarre computer “thoughtcrime”, and that provides an entry into discussing Bill’s life and writings. He’s told that the staff wants Bill to learn to swim again.
Sal learns about how Bill wound up at the Academy after being chased out of his home with “mom” s she recovered, partly because of his web activity. He had been “homeless” so the Academy seemed like the best possible new life.
Chapter 10: “More Family Trips” (2 sections)
Having turned in final grades, Randy makes a quick overrnighter to Washington to meet with Qulller, his interim boss at the CIA. Quiller wonders about his marriage, which might ordinarily be none of his boss’s business. Randy mentions the trip to Minnesota and they talk about the computer viruses, then real viruses. Quiller encourages Randy to make a trip to the high country.
Quiller doesn’t explain the intelligence that has come from other agencies, who share more data now in this NSA-driven, post 9/11 world, but they do talk about the CDC. After all, Randy had become an academic himself, post military. This is not like other bioweapons. They needed stompers to get this one out, someone to talk to real people and bring them in.
Randy takes his family to Leadville, CO, goes to the opera, and sees some of the people who have been getting sick. Many, especially the men, develop curious gray lesions on their lower legs, which go bald.
CDC has said that their prognosis isn’t good. Most of them get hallunciations that they are someone else, but die of cardiac arrest in a week or so, So far, there are clusters, mainly in higher altitude areas, but a few even in mountainous areas in Appalachia.
When Randy talks to the people, he finds a curious speculation that mountaintop removal could be a good thing.
He wonders what Sal must have found out about Bill’s writings, and begins to sense a point to it.
Chapter 11: Song of Solomon (Following Sept, 2 sect)
As his senior year starts, Sal and Rusty arrange a little hazing session for the plebes. It’s still illegal. but fun and often done.
Sal notes that even with the repeal of DADT he doesn’t have the right to talk about what he likes on the Internet. He’s pretty well figured out Bill’s story on the web. He also found out about the ingot of astatine that Randy had transported while at Academy. So he calls Randy and offers to help, but wants Randy to be more “honest”.
Randy is still trying to solve his slowly lessening passion for his wife.
Chapter 12 : Erotica I;
Randy spots Sal playing chess with Wilson, “the greatest of all time”, outdoors in the Cedar Springs area of Dallas.
Randy meets Sal in a gay bar in Dallas. They dance. The next day, they drive out to Abilene and the Academy, as if Randy could “go home” with him at the Academy.
Sal shares his hacking. He has gotten a hold of one of Lurku’s old computers with special links. Randy sees how much Sal has found out about his work by hacking. Randy becomes intimate, initiating a back rub through the shirt at first. Eventually, they wind up in bed.
Chapter 13: Dead Reckoning
Quiller calls Randy by Skype in Dallas, and quizzes him more on how much he’s picked up from Sal’s hack of Bill.
Randy is having to approach his family problems and is noticing the barest traces of lesions on his lower legs. Maybe. He thinks “I’m still good.”
Chapter 14: Bilbao and homage to Guggenheim, 3 sections (2 somewhat separate)
After seeing his own son off to a science fair and pep-talking is history students (and parents at PTA), Randy flies to Bilbao. On the streets, after visiting a drop in a bar (one of Lurku’s associates, maybe) with the remaining codes of Sal’s hack, he mugged, left with a harmonica, containing yellow and black powder, and two small ingots that had held the material, stuffed into his socks around his ankles.
He then meets Sal for a bike ride in the Netherlands, and they spend a night together. Sal, who notices everything, notices changes in his legs.
Chapter 15: Lionsgate
Sal visits Toby, Shelia, and Matt (other characters in Bill’s stuff) at the Lions Gate in Greece, and then goes up (after a chess game). He winds up at Big Bend.
Chapter 16: Archangelsk Variation
Randy meets Lurku in Finland, follows a treasure hunt, and in October snow, goes up. He has intense dreams about his activity with Sal, but of mainly being held. He wakes up in Russia, Archangelsk, with a chess board in front of him, and notes his own deterioration.
Chapter 17: Shavedown (2 separate parts)
Back in Dallas, for classes, Sal gets debriefed by his ROTC commander Mertz, who is concerned about his visibility.
Sal goes to a “health fair” and sees Matt, super-tall, and already a “new angel” (June 9). Matt tells Sal that he (Matt) is the character in Bill’s “Ran on the Snow” document who gets “murdered” by an encounter with Bill in the desert. To prevent more stuff in Bill’s writings from coming true, Matt wants Sal to intervene, and give Bill “what he wants” (so that he will “go away”).
Sal drives out to Academy quickly, and tracks down Bill, in his room, but only after reserving a motel. Sal stops at a convenience store and asks Bill to pick up an odd oil product, which might normally not be carried. Bill somehow thinks it is like a prescription and he doesn’t pay for the item. They go to the motel, and gradually become intimate. After some time, Sal undresses Bill, gives him a full body rub, and then shaves Bill’s chest. Bill climaxes. Sall suggests Bill go back to the room. Bill then goes out to the convenience store to find more items and notices (as in the rear view mirror) his appearance has changed. He is “younger” in several aspects. He goes back to the store and buys some rolaids (contraband at the Academy, which is a bit like the military). After he leaves, police cars chase him. He is arrested. He checks himself in a mirror and thinks he looks young, but he cannot see himself in jail (a first time ever).
Chapter 18: “Family Bed” (3 sections)
Randy makes one last attempt to have a real experience with Erin, Next day, she confronts him, and Randy admits he is distracted by younger men. He admits to being intimate with Sal, Erin wants the marriage to end.
Randy meets with Bill, finally, after Frankie has bailed Bill out of jail. They talk about “erotic royalty”, and what that would mean for “society”. Randy has only glimpsed Bull as an old man in previous visits and notes that he looks “younger” to him, but maybe not in desirable ways.
Randy reports to DC and has various medical tests. His own legs are “attenuating”.
Part II: Second Movement: Interlude
Chapter 19: “Westover”
Randy and Sal, reasonably dressed, meet at the outdoor Westover Market in Arlington VA to trade notes. Sal gives Randy hacked copies of the most critical parts of Bill’s manuscripts, for Randy to check out.
Randy checks his son Dick into a private school., and they meet Erik.
The Interlude 1 would present Bill’s writings of Ali Mogul, and how his surgeon wife discovered the virus. But Sal can’t view Bill’s potential for the illegal relationship. Sal did find writings about the birth of Matt.
Chapter 20: “Intentional Community:
Randy goes to Faber, VA, near Charlottesville, to recreate Ali’s remote viewing experience of the “angels”. He realizes he can do so now because he has found a real life person likely to become an angel (Sal). He also undergoes “baptism”, along with a view of a moneyless society.
Particularly, he also sees the details of Ali Mogul’s heart attack, that led to his wife’s exposing the intelligence about the new “virus” that can transmit identities (June 9).
Then he views the story of Matt, back to his birth, and then the gentle encounters, progressive. Bill had already started to look “younger” in the rv’s. The music for the viewing has to actually incite emotion the way Bill experienced it with classical music.
Chapter 21: “Night Initiation and Immolation Scene” (many sections)
Upon instruction (from Faber), Randy travels to a hilly area in Wisconsin with multiple bike trails and tunnels, for an “initiation”
Just before he “dives in”, Randy reviews more material from Sal, giving the history of Matt (Prologues in Bill’s novel) who may be an “original” angel after all.
Matt and Femeri appears, and then so does Frankie, who turns “old”. Bill appears to be “young” again. Sal starts to “do” Randy but “spares” him and turns attention to “Wilson”. Randy then “satisfies” Bill. Bill and Femeri float thorugh the air as “roving eyes” but then Bill falls to the ground,. to be rescued by Tovina, while Femeri goes up and exploded (which did not happen to Sal and Randy).
As Bill and Tovina return to civilization, they go to a fast food restaurant, where they hear the first media reports of evacuation of high altitude areas because of the “new disease”. Sal comes in to greet them.
There is an interlude 3 where Bill’s imagined encounter with Matt is shown, in rv, but at the immolation Matt appears and resists letting Randy (even him) view it. He also views Matt’s and then Bill’s past lives here (the original prelude).
Part 3: Finale: Brothers:
Chapter 22: Divorce Chapter
Erin confronts Randy again, demands alimony, but then notices the changes in bis body,
Chapter 23: Mountaintop removed
Randy has noticed a slight lesion even on Dick, and tries and experiment, motivated by Sal’s earlier life. He takes Dick to moderate elevation, to a strip mine. Dick improved.
One night, Randy goes to the bars in DC. He comes back and finds Dick has been kidnapped. Maybe that was to protect him, even though he already got over the “virus”.
Chapter 24: Stay out of Jail (4 sections)
Cpt. Mears questions Sal about his conduct — hacking and hazing, now that DADT is gone. There’s a discussion of whether this is really about DADT.
Sal visits Bill, who is held without bail on what seems like a trivial charge. He’s no “Charles Severance”. Sal wonders if Randy could help with bail. Sal confirms that Bill still “looks young”.
Randy has taken leave from his teaching job with move to DC, although a “long term sub” (Wilson) was put in his place. A principal notices what happened to Wilson in the immolation and decides to be helpful. They find a clue to help Randy find Dick.
But Randy was briefly in Wisconsin, looking for clues near the immolation scene. Sal joins hin there.
Myers calls in Sal again. Sal has taken “the test” by poking his ankle. Myers tellls Sal he won’t get a commission but can do the same work as a civilian. It’s like DADT, Is this because Sal is no longer completely “human”?
Chapter 25: Fair trial (and maybe Fair Use)
Sal, by agreement with Myers, testifies against Bill in the shoplifting case. But Bill does a shape-shifter duirng the trial and “goes up” in front of everyone.
Chapter 26: Rescue
They go to Big Bend and find Dick unharmed and well. Dick says “he went up” for about a day. Dick looks a little “younger”:
News reports of evacuations increase.
The sub who provided the clue to find Dick gets in legal trouble himself, but provides another clue as to where “it” will happen.
Randy goes on one more road trip: to Wisconsin to get all the remaining secrets of “Bill’s novel”, and then to a mountaintop-removed mine in W Va, where they all assemble to go to Titan. Frankie (once a partner of Bill) has to wonder if he will get arrested first, just as in Bill’s book. He’s no longer “desirable” as an angel.
Bill remains an “old soul”, and then so does Randy, but Sal is an angel. Ther’es a question as to who got to go up as an “angel” besides Sal But both Bill and Randy are saved in some sense by being an angel’s “brother”.
Note: Some chapters could well be broken into smaller chapters, to make each chapter center around one scene or at least one concept. These would include Chapters 10, 17, 21, and especially 24 .
The novel describes two characters who are employed in some way in clandestine service, including the CIA. Yet, here, there is non of the stuff you usually see in the movies, with station chiefs recruiting nationals, no drones, no assassinations, relatively little violence. It’s mostly about solving a mystery — which in this case affect the whole future of mankind. Maybe someone working there will chuckle if he or she finds it, or maybe he or she will think it’s closer to the real CIA than how Hollywood usually presents it.
Just remember, the CIA building at Langley was built the same year I graduated from high school, 1961.
(First posted: Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 11:45 PM )