Some say man evolved over millions of years from single celled organisms and some say man was created by God in his image. What if they are both right?
When researcher Adam Clark receives a call from his archeologist father, who has just discovered a strange, pod-like artifact in “The Cradle of Humanity” a chain of events is set off that will change humanity as we know it today. Join Adam in his adventures through alien abduction, DNA manipulation, and government cover-ups in discovering what was not meant to be found; the true nature of the human existing and the meaning of humanity itself.
A battle of biblical proportions against good verse evil, alien verse human will ensue with one man to stop global extinction.
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By RUSS KATZ
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Russ Katz
All right reserved.
Chapter One20 And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." ...
24 And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kind: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them....
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
Genesis 1:21–22, 24–27, 31 (NIV)
A sea chopper roared over the malevolent blue ocean at high speed, buffeted by strong winds and surrounded by water as far as the eye could see. The powerful machine flew toward its destination, which was located just beyond the steam and methane gas clouds in the distant horizon. The pilot and his passengers heard the sound of the waves rising and crashing in the turbulent water a hundred feet below, overpowering even the noise of the humming lift engines whose beat thumped in the passengers' chests as it whizzed over the water.
"It's time!" the pilot shouted to the four scientists seated in the back.
Smiling in eager anticipation, the scientists slipped into white jumpsuits, not an easy task in the cramped space of the fuselage, and zipped up from ankle to neck. Thick boots and protective gloves completed the outfit as they prepared for departure and the exploration of a lifetime.
The lead scientist gazed out the window, watching the rocks that jutted hundreds of feet out of the water's surface and surrounded the approaching land mass. They seemed to grow even larger as the aircraft neared their destination—the rim of a volcanic crater that formed an island, partially below sea level and camouflaged by dense steam vents, left unexplored for millennia. Anticipation and excitement filled the lead scientist's head as they approached the rocky edges of the island and entered the low-lying clouds. He was surprised how refreshing the cool, misty breeze felt that drifted through the open doors of the vehicle and caressed his face.
Aside from its misty shroud, sheer cliff faces, narrow and sharp, encircled the land like an opaque wall. Many were overgrown with algae and hanging vines, offering industrious climbers a place to grab hold. The island had been formed by hundreds of similar rocks laid out in circular rings, one inside another, each smaller than the previous, having been worn away by erosion. The outermost rocks angled outward a fair distance from one another, buffeted by strong surf that splashed loudly against the jetties and broke along their surface. A few rows in, sharp, pointy formations drew closer together until the innermost configuration became completely solid, closing off the inner sanctuary from heavy currents and smashing waves.
"Doors closed," the pilot urged with trepidation. "We're approaching the methane plumes. You won't see or smell it, but breathe it in and it will kill you without warning. The lower air density will wreak havoc on our stability. Hold on; it may get a bit bumpy."
This would be an impossible journey by boat; such narrow passageways would be difficult to navigate, even without the powerful surf and ten-foot swells that could easily overwhelm any vessel small enough to fit. The current would smack it against the rocks and tear it to shreds. To make matters worse, the bubbling methane gas beneath the sea floor made it impossible for boats to stay buoyant. Seamen often told legends of such a place, but that's all they were—legends and folklore, used to instill a paranormal fear in anyone foolish enough to consider making an attempt.
"My father knew this place was special," the lead scientist shouted over the noise of the rotor. "He worked the seas around these parts and, despite the danger, spent several years trying to reach the interior. Then one day, the waters took him from us. He believed the legends of our beginnings and the stories protecting it from intrusion." He paused a moment and then continued. "If I could finish his work and prove he was right, it would be my way of honoring him and our family name."
"What stories, sir?" asked a fresh-faced assistant who had recently finished his studies.
"What stories?" The lead scientist was surprised at the question, but after considering the assistant's youthful features, he smiled and pointed at the rocky formation that surrounded the isle. "The stories the ancients told of a giant sea monster that sleeps at the base of the island, protecting it from intruders. Those rocks that surround the island are not rocks at all but the armored plates on the spine of the 'Protector,' more commonly known to seamen as the island monster—a long, snake-like creature that is curled around the isle at least a dozen times.
"The beast is said to be ten miles long and half a mile in circumference at its thickest point," he continued. "Its scaly back has protruding armored nodules that stretch as high as three hundred feet. Its breath—a noxious gas that suffocated nearby living creatures. Only the plants have learned to adapt and live in harmony as one with the beast. Each time the creature moves, it creates massive waves. Any boat attempting to pass over its body would be smashed to bits and the passengers eaten alive. The monster can swallow boats whole, leaving them to float in the darkness of its belly while deadly corrosive stomach acid slowly digests them into a slimy gel."
All heads peered down at this legendary island. Toward the middle, the passages between the juts of stone became too narrow to navigate; not even a diver or swimmer trying his luck against the bubbling undercurrent and sharp rocks would fare well. Even if he were strong enough to make it to the inner ring, there was no way to climb the five-hundred-foot cliffs. Trapped and kept pinned against the wall, the foolish diver would find no escape.
The small, ring-shaped island rose from the ocean floor on the other side of the innermost wall. In the center, a calm, shallow pool of water a few hundred feet in diameter sparkled as it reflected the sun's rays. The crater must have been the site of a spectacular eruption long ago. It had a greenish glow from thriving algae and plant matter—a beautiful, pristine sanctuary, untouched by living beings. The pool had been quarantined naturally—from the ocean, from animals, and from other life forms—for millions of years. Only a crevasse, too small even for a person to squeeze through, allowed the overflowing water to leak into the ocean. The mist from waves crashing against the other side of the rocks kept the air cool and the water fresh and replenished.
The air ship gained altitude to clear the exterior rocks and sped into a wall of dense steam and gas.
"We're going to crash!" one of the scientists shouted, unable to keep his voice steady as the copter violently shook about.
"Hold on; we're almost though," the pilot rumbled.
"We're not going to make it!" one passenger cried, gripping the handholds for dear life.
"Just hold on!" the pilot shouted over the alarm gauges. "We're almost through."
Within moments, they broke through to the other side and gazed down at a beautiful lake surrounded by trees and vegetation. The lead scientist breathed heavily as he fitted the helmet over his head and turned on the oxygen. Each of his teammates did the same. They communicated to one another through built-in radios and were forbidden to remove any of their equipment once they touched down on the isle. This would keep them protected and the island in perfect condition, each uncontaminated by even the smallest organism.
The lead scientist tossed a rope over the side of the air ship, and one by one, the team members zipped down the line. Once the scientists and their gear were safely on the ground, the lead scientist waved, and the air ship sped away. It would not return until it was time to extract them. They had landed in a clearing, with the lake on one side and the jungle on the other.
"This seems as good a place as any for the equipment. You two set up over here while we scout the surrounding area," the lead scientist told them as he rummaged through his supplies. "The high command needs quick results," he reminded them. "Our future, our very existence, may depend on it. We're dying out—fast. Figuring out where we came from and what went wrong in our progression may be the only way to save our race. Work fast, but remember: nothing is insignificant. Collect as many samples as you can. We may not be able to return."
They would spend only the day, but the team brought along a fair amount of equipment that needed to be unpacked: communication devices in case of an emergency, special transport storage containers, vials and canisters to hold samples, and much more.
"As soon as you finish setting everything up, you two should start with the forest," the lead scientist told his colleagues. "we'll take the water and coast." He and his assistant grabbed their bags and headed along the shallow coastline. As they stood along the bank, the lead scientist took a deep breath and slowly released it. "This is beautiful, isn't it? This island has remained untouched since the creation of our planet."
They entered the shallow water and began collecting samples. They sealed water and algae in vials, and plants and vegetation went into airtight containers. They also collected rock and soil samples from several locations.
After they finished unpacking everything at the campsite, the first team called over the radio, "We're set and heading into the forest. Meet you back at camp before sundown."
The first team made a trail into the forest through the dense white wall of fog that completely surrounded the island. The plant growth was heavy, and the sun barely peeked through the tops of the trees. The forest floor snapped and crackled under their feet as they trod over dead leaves and branches and into the heavy shade.
One scientist stopped and raised a hand to halt his partner. "This is strange. Listen."
"I don't hear anything," the taller of the two scientists replied after a few moments.
"That's what I mean. We're surrounded by heavy vegetation, but aside from the racket we're making, there are no other sounds—no animals, no birds, not even insects; just silence. I don't understand why there are no animals. It's a thriving island. You would think there would at least be a few small tree dwellers. At the very least, there should be birds and insects. It doesn't make sense."
Then another realization hit him. No wind rustled the tree branches, and the crashing waves were too far away to penetrate the dense trees. If not for the plants, the island would seem like a lifeless rock in the middle of nowhere. But was it?
"Maybe we're wrong," the taller scientist said.
"What do you mean?"
"Whenever a predator enters an area and is spotted, one of two things happens. Either the prey raises the alarm to warn all the other creatures—"
"Or everything goes deadly quiet," the first scientist said. "You know, I've had the strangest feeling we're being watched, but I didn't want to mention it."
"I've had the same feeling ever since we landed. As beautiful as this place is ... it's kinda creepy."
"Let's get what we need and head back to camp," the first one said.
They carefully collected samples of leaves, small plants, soil, and everything else of interest. Between the two teams, there would be a full load to take out at the end of the day.
Both scientists were careful to keep each other in sight as they worked.
"Maybe those legends aren't just children's bedtime stories," the first scientist said after a few moments.
Just then, a loud noise roared across the air and a cool fog rushed over the forest floor.
"What was that?" the taller one asked.
"Shut up. Let's just hurry so we can get out of here. It's creeping me out."
"I wish I would have brought along a weapon," the taller one said.
"Me, too. I don't know why none of us thought of it." None of them ever had been on this island; the first scientist realized he had no idea what kind of creatures they might encounter. "For all we know, there could be prehistoric predators living here...."
Didn't they scan for heat signatures?" the first scientist asked.
"Why not?" He asks. "No one thought it was necessary."
Shaking his head in dismay, "it's protocol; you don't think, you just do it. I hope that doesn't turn out to be a big mistake."
They continued working as quickly as possible and constantly checked the surrounding area for signs of whatever creature was watching them.
"What was that?" the taller one asked a few minutes later.
"What? I didn't hear anything."
"Over there," the taller scientist replied, pointing toward a large, beautiful plant with thorns, vines, and huge purple flowers.
"I don't see anything. It's probably just your imagination. Are you almost finished?"
"I'm working on the last sample now. What about you?"
"Same here," the first scientist replied. "Let's hurry and get back to base."
They both hoped that once they returned to camp, the other two scientists would be there.
As the first scientist packed the last sample and picked up his case, his partner cried out with an ear-splitting shriek for help. Dropping his case, the first scientist spun around, a laser cutter held ready in his right hand.
"Get me out of here! This thing is trying to eat me!" the taller scientist shouted, still clinging to his sample.
The first scientist observed the plant's vines were wrapped around his partners' arms and legs, and he was being drawn toward what appeared to be a large, gaping maw.
Alarmed, the first scientist ran to him, turned on his laser cutter, and severed the vine that was wrapped around his friend's right leg. As he did, however, another vine shot forward and encircled his wrist. He quickly switched the cutter to his other hand and severed the vine, jumping back just in time to prevent further entanglement. "We've got to do this fast, or we'll both be trapped."
"Just hurry!" the taller one yelled as a new vine grabbed his right leg, imprisoning it once more.
Taking a deep breath, the first scientist dashed in, freed his partner with four quick cuts, and grabbed the sample case. More vines snaked out as they ran to where he'd dropped the other sample case. The first scientist tossed the second case to the tall scientist, and they ran toward camp as though the devil himself was after them. As they ran, the tall one glanced back at the plant that had attacked them and shook his head. The part he had thought was a gaping maw was nothing more than an odd configuration of vines and leaves that his imagination had mistaken for a mouth.
Later that night, the four scientists returned to their lab with their samples. They would get an early start the following morning.
* * *
At first, the specimens appeared to offer nothing new or interesting. Then the lead scientist began a detailed study of an unusual rock. It had been collected from a deeper region of the water that was teeming with fossilized, single-celled microorganisms. After closer examination, he discovered twelve unique types of organisms, all of which were currently extinct. He analyzed each stone and fossil and was amazed when he realized they dated back to a time when life first began.
The lead scientist then inspected the water through their most powerful microscope and made an even greater discovery: the extinct organisms were still thriving in the island's water, making this the scientific find of a lifetime. He suspected that the organisms were remnants of the very first life-forms on the planet, life-forms that no longer existed anywhere else.
"This is it!" the lead scientist exclaimed. "This island must have been the original nursery of all life. Start the experiments. I'll get word to the High Council."
And so the experiments began. Day after day, the scientists watched in awe as the new life they created reacted and changed, and the very fundamentals of their origins took form.
Excerpted from EVOLUTION by RUSS KATZ Copyright © 2012 by Russ Katz. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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