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Rogue Wave

Rogue Wave

4.2 64
by Boyd Morrison

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This book was previously published as The Palmyra Impact.

A minor seismic disturbance in a remote section of the Pacific causes barely a ripple of concern for Kai Tanaka, acting director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu. But when an airliner en route from L.A. to Sydney vanishes in the same location, Kai is the first to realize that a


This book was previously published as The Palmyra Impact.

A minor seismic disturbance in a remote section of the Pacific causes barely a ripple of concern for Kai Tanaka, acting director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu. But when an airliner en route from L.A. to Sydney vanishes in the same location, Kai is the first to realize that a mysterious explosion has unleashed a series of massive waves destined to obliterate Hawaii. In just one hour, Kai will lose all he has ever known—including his wife and daughter— unless he can save them from nature’s most destructive force.

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8:41 A.M.

CAPTAIN MICHAEL ROBB OPENED his eyes and found himself lying on the cockpit floor. Heat washed over him as if the airliner had been plunged into a blast furnace, and multiple warning horns blared. Blood trickled from his brow, stinging his eye. For a second he lay there, dazed, wondering what had happened. Then he remembered. The impact.

He had just returned to the cockpit, swearing off coffee for the rest of the trip. It had been his third trip to the lavatory, and the flight from Los Angeles to Sydney wasn’t even halfway over. His copilot, Wendy Jacobs, a good twenty years younger than he, had smirked at him but said nothing. He had been about to climb back into his seat when a streak of light flashed by the airliner’s starboard wing.

Robb thought it was a lightning strike from the storm they were flying above, but then the plane was thrown sideways, as if batted away by a giant hand. A sonic boom blasted the plane, and he smacked into the bulkhead, his head and shoulder taking most of the blow.

He must have been out for only a few seconds. Though his mind was still fuzzy, his vision quickly came back into focus. Robb sat up and wiped the blood from his eye. The instrument panel was intact. Jacobs had disengaged the autopilot and grabbed the yoke, which she now fought for control. Robb pulled himself to his feet. He had no idea how badly he was injured, but he was moving. That was enough.

As Robb clambered into his seat, he glanced at the cabin differential pressure gauge. Its needle was pegged at zero. Explosive decompression.

Reflexively, he reached for the mask hanging to his left, years of training taking over. His shoulder protested the motion, and he winced in pain.

“Oxygen masks on, one hundred percent!” he shouted.

Robb pulled the mask over his head, and Jacobs did the same. The masks in the passenger compartment had already dropped automatically. He mentally raced through the possibilities for the blast. A terrorist bomb? Missile attack? Fuel tank explosion? To depressurize that fast, some of the passenger windows must have blown out, maybe an entire door. The aircraft was still flying though, so that meant the fuselage was intact.

With his attention focused on getting the airliner under control, there was no time for Robb to talk to the passengers. The flight attendants would have to deal with them. The best thing he could do for the passengers was to get the plane down to ten thousand feet, where there was breathable air.

He pushed the yoke forward and silenced the decompression horn, but another one continued to wail. The lights for the starboard engines flashed red, meaning both were on fire.

“Pull number three engine T-handle!” Robb barked out. He suppressed the panic edging into his voice.

Jacobs pulled the handle and pressed the button beneath it, extinguishing the fire. She glanced out the starboard window to make a visual check.

“Fire’s out on number three engine! Number four engine is completely gone!”


“Sheared off from the pylon.”

Robb cursed under his breath. His 747–400 was certified to fly with only three engines, but with just the two port engines they’d be lucky to stay in the air.

He turned to Jacobs. Her face was ashen but otherwise professional.

“Issue the distress call,” Robb said.

Jacobs nodded, understanding the implications. Even if someone heard the radio call, it would make little difference. The best they could hope for was to report their position in case they had to ditch. She keyed the radio.

“Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! This is TransPac 823. We are going down. We are going down. We’ve lost both number three and number four engines. Our position is seventy-five miles bearing two four five from Palmyra VOR.”

No answer, just static.

“Activate the emergency transponder,” Robb said. He knew activating it was a useless procedure. They were beyond the range of any radar units.

“Setting transponder to 7700 in squawk emergency,” Jacobs replied.

As their rapid descent took the plane through thirty thousand feet, an unearthly glow bloomed within the cloud cover ten miles to their right. At first the clouds softened it, but then the light pierced them, shooting toward the stratosphere, for a moment brighter than the sun.

“What the hell?” Jacobs said.

A fireball rolled upward in the distinctive mushroom shape Robb had seen in countless photos. He gaped, mesmerized by the sight. Atomic weapons testing in the Pacific had been outlawed for years, and there were no volcanoes in this region of the ocean. What else could have caused such a massive explosion?

Whatever it was, the explanation didn’t matter.

“Roll left!” he yelled. Stabilizing the plane should have been his highest priority, but they had to get away from the blast zone.

“Rolling left,” came Jacobs’s response after only a second’s hesitation.

Robb just had to hope that he could ride out the shock wave and find someplace to land. They had passed over the Palmyra Atoll only ten minutes before, but the runway built during World War II had been abandoned decades earlier. Christmas Island, five hundred miles away, had the closest operational runway. Despite all the damage the plane had sustained, it was still flying. They might make it.

“Come on, you bastard!” Robb grunted as he strained at the controls.

The nose of the enormous plane came around slowly. Too slowly.

The blast wave from the explosion caught up with them and slapped at the plane from behind, heaving its tail up. A colossal crack of thunder hammered the aircraft. The windows shattered and wind howled through the cockpit. The number one engine was wrenched from its mounts, shearing half the port wing from the plane and setting the fuel tanks aflame. The plane plummeted like an elevator cut from its cable.

With two engines gone and another shut down, the airliner was mortally wounded. Thinking of the 373 men, women, and children in the plane—people who were his responsibility—Robb didn’t give up, but he had no more hope of flying it than one of the passengers. He battled the controls trying to level the plane, but it was a dead stick. Despite his efforts, the plane spun downward in a death spiral. By the time the airliner plunged through the lowest cloud layer, the altimeter read one thousand feet. For the first time in an hour, Robb could see the blue water of the Pacific.

Realizing that their fate was inevitable, Robb let go of the yoke and sat back. He held out his hand to Jacobs, who grasped it tightly with her own. Never much for religion, Robb nonetheless closed his eyes and found himself reciting the Lord’s Prayer. He was up to the words “Thy kingdom come” when the plane slammed into the ocean at over five hundred miles per hour.

© 2010 Boyd Morrison

Meet the Author

Boyd Morrison has a Ph.D. in industrial engineering and has worked for NASA, Microsoft’s Xbox Games Group, and Thomson-RCA. In 2003, he fulfilled a lifelong dream and became a Jeopardy! champion. He is also a professional actor who has appeared in commercials, stage plays, and films. He lives with his wife in Seattle.

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Rogue Wave 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
lilk More than 1 year ago
Rogue Wave had me at the first page. Boyd Morrison doesn't fail in bringing this "edge of your seat" suspense thriller that will keep you spellbound to the very end. You'll be drawn in from page one with his very believable characters that will leave you with a lasting impression of their lives and their determination to live. In Rogue Wave Morrison has done his research and displays a true setting for a very real tsunami disaster that makes you think "it's not if, it's when." Rogue Wave will bring to mind just how tragic the December 2004 tsunami really was and how it affected everyone across the globe.
DelUmp More than 1 year ago
I found this story thrilling from the first chapter. I hadn't read any books by Mr. Morrison prior to Rogue Wave but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It's not too technical and doesn't go deep into character backrounds but keeps up the pace of the action very well. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys thriller/disaster stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an incredible and fast moving book. I had difficulty putting it down aand when I had to, I couldn' t wait to start reading it again. Constant action.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow! This book grabs you from the beginning and takes you on a mile a minute wild ride. Characters to cheer for, enough disaster for the apolcalyse crowd, and everything backed by scientific truth. This was one of those heart stopping books that not only was well written, but hard to put down once you started reading. A mega wave is rushing toward Hawaii at 1200 miles an hour...what would you do...where would you go...and how fast can you run. I may be re-thinking a trip to the islands anytime soon. This definitely is NOT a beach read book! Jp
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Keeps you on the edge of your seat from page one!
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cjmaine More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book and fast moving. I like it very much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! Couldn' t put it down. Was bummed when it ended; wanted it to go on and on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Honestly did not even finish it. One of those books, where I did not care what happened to the characters. Going to try his new series. Have not given up on him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think the author tried too hard to make this into a gripping, heart stopping, nail biting novel. The plot was action packed and thick with danger, in fact it was so fast paced that I felt it swirling right past me. I wanted to stop the pace and enjoy the story a little more. It started out at an even pace with fairly good character definition, but once it picked up pace, I barely had time to absorb one castastrope before the next one. At times I had to turn back pages to re-read so that I could understand what had just happened. This just isn't the style of writing that I like. I like smooth and flowing sentences. I felt that despite all the drama and the hecticness of the events, the author could acheived this.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It was nonstop action and very enjoyable. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy disaster books.
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dogWY More than 1 year ago
very good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago