Leaning over, she tumbled the bright crystal shards into the dark sea. “Like the ancients themselves, we’re not ready for such power.”


Jack took her palms, cradling them in his own. “Don’t worry. There are other mysteries yet to be discovered.” Leaning down, he stared deeply into her eyes, his lips brushing hers, his voice low. “You just need to know where to look.”


Tuesday, July 24

San Francisco, California

Hours after the eclipse, Doreen McCloud left her office building. She stared down Market Street. The sun was a mere glow on the western horizon. As she stared skyward, she felt a surge of inexplicable joy. She didn’t understand this sudden emotion. She had lost a critical client today, and the senior partners had scheduled an early morning meeting with her to discuss the loss. Where normally such a thought would fill her with dread, this evening all she felt was a simple appreciation of the cool San Francisco breeze.

As she walked toward the BART station, she noticed others glancing skyward, smiles on their faces, laughter.

Stopping atop the stairs to the station, Doreen glanced to the setting sun.

What a strangely wonderful day.

Aleutian Islands, Alaska

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Jimmy Pomautuk climbed down the path, his malamute Nanook at his side. The noisy English trio clambered ahead of him, chattering nonstop, full of grins and jokes. Though the group had complained all the way up here, the eclipse had not failed to impress them. In fact, the sight had even touched his cynical soul: the dark sun, the silver ocean, the brilliant borealis.

He wished he could have shared it with his son, one generation passing a special heritage to another.

Glancing back, Jimmy watched the sun set beyond Glacial Point. For some reason, today he felt closer to his grandfather, his ancestors, even the old gods of his people.

Sighing, Jimmy patted Nanook.

“It’s been a good day, boy.”

Hagatna, Territory of Guam

In the garden atrium of the governor’s mansion, Jeffrey Hessmire stood beside the Secretary of State. Together they watched President Bishop cross the courtyard. The festivities associated with the eclipse were dying away. People were returning to their normal activities.

President Bishop stepped in front of the Chairman of the People’s Republic. He bowed slightly, a show of respect, and held out his hand.

After a short pause, the Chairman lifted an arm and gripped the President’s hand. Off to the side there was a flourish of camera flashes as the press documented the momentous occasion.

“I know there is still much to settle between our countries,” the President said, “but together we’ll find a way to peace.”

The Chairman bowed his head in agreement.

At Jeffrey’s side, Secretary Elliot snorted. “This is just gonna kill Lawrence Nafe—both him and his hawkish cronies. After today, the Vice President’s political support will dry up faster than a puddle in the Sahara. And though it may take some time for Nafe to realize it, his career just ended here today.” Elliot clapped Jeffrey on the shoulder. “All in all, I must say it’s been one hell of a great day.”

Watching the ceremony, Jeffrey could not wipe the smile from his face.

No doubt about it…it was a day to remember.

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