OCTOBER, 1982: The USS Gearing reappears in the Atlantic, and its proximity to Cuba violates the terms of the Soviet-American Armistice of 1977. President Ronald Reagan leads Free America as fighting is renewed between mighty navies on the high seas, and between soviet occupation forces and homeland defenders in California, Florida, and the Carolinas. A weakened United States on the brink of soviet domination, with NATO and allied governments in exile, prepare for the final battle to decide the fate of the free world and prevent the extinction of freedom and democracy.
Professor Edwin Theodore Burnside and three of his students, due to being in the presence of a mysterious artifact, are alone in their awareness that something is wrong with this alternate reality in 1982. Once investigation yields a plausible theory on how to repair the timeline, Professor Burnside embarks on a mission to save the world from an apocalyptic war. The alteration in reality caused by the USS Gearing travelling through time affords Professor Burnside a second chance to keep his childhood friend from once again becoming the one that got away. Eventually, he will be forced to decide if he should go ahead with his mission even if it means erasing from history the woman he loves.
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THE GEARING INCIDENT
By W. D. LAREMORE
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2012 W.D. Laremore
All right reserved.
Chapter OnePOINT OF DEPARTURE
October 6, 1982; University of Virginia at Belle Haven; 7:12am
My story begins in the early morning of October 6, 1982. Perhaps you remember what you were doing that morning. Having your first baby? Perhaps you were a kid yourself, playing with your cereal while Mommy packs your lunch for school? Perhaps you were reading articles in a magazine about the release of one of the first compact disc players, or examining the newspaper article detailing the dramatic swapping out of chancellors in Germany after a vote of no confidence. On that day, as the sun began to rise, I was sitting at my desk watching wisps of steam unfurl into the air and dissipate from my mug of Columbian java extra dark roast. Within moments of settling in for my ritualistic morning date with the newspaper, I found myself holding an unplanned meeting with three irate students of mine who were less than amused with the mark I'd given them on an assigned essay about the Atlantean Bust.
If you are one of the very few people on this planet who actually gives a damn about the Atlantean Bust in all its seemingly irrelevant mystery and controversy among the ten people who felt the same need I did to write about it, then I wholeheartedly invite you to read any of the four books I wrote about the bust starting with the most recent one, 'Goddess of the Depths: Symbol of Cultural Miscegenation' primarily because it is the most comprehensive and least longwinded of the four. It serves as a good introduction in great part because I authored it in my later twenties, after I traded the tediously dense academic rhetoric for language of real people.
Essentially, the Atlantean Bust is an ancient sandstone carving of a woman's head and shoulders ending abruptly at a simple flat bottom just beneath the breasts and shoulder blades. She is approximately eighteen inches in height by ten inches from shoulder to shoulder. There are three primary facts about the piece which lend themselves to the mysterious nature of its origin. First, I found it while deep sea diving off the coast of Puerto Rico in 1977. Second, the piece has blatantly Greek-influenced characteristics, such as the facial structure and facial detail matching descriptions and other art pieces in Ancient Greece representing Poseidon, despite that this bust is clearly depicting a female subject. Third, this piece has clearly been made using tools, techniques, and decorative styling of the Nordic and ancient Germanic peoples. The distinctive pattern of backward yapping animals on the bust's headdress is reminiscent of Anglo-Saxon tribal artwork. When you consider the location of origin and the distance to the homeland of Viking peoples, and the distance from Greece to both of these locations, it at least suggests that some mixed-culture race of seafaring humans that travelled the Atlantic ocean very, very long ago. Even if my colleagues' theory is true that this piece is from Greece or Norway and fell off a boat at some point and sunk off the coast of Puerto Rico waiting to be found, it does not explain why Nordic peoples would make a bust of a Greek-style figure centuries after the rise and fall of Ancient Greece, nor does it explain why the sandstone from which the bust is made matches rock samples from nearby locations in Puerto Rico. On three separate occasions, I began making arrangements to turn the Atlantean Bust over to the state museum, however, I have not yet completed my research on it, and so I have kept it in my office until I am done writing about it. This Atlantean Bust will have tremendous importance later in my story, but for now, it has brought three students to my office, committing the most heinous offense of interrupting my morning coffee.
Of the three students standing before me, the most exotic is the graduate student from Bombay, India, who was at one time a funnel cloud analyst for the state-sponsored worldwide weather monitor in India, but decided in her late twenties to pursue work with me toward qualification for a job transfer to India's Ministry of Antiquities so she can spend hours in the baking sun dusting off relics that will end up in dank museum basements. Although her family despises the fact that she expands her horizons because it makes it harder for them to arrange a marriage for her back home, she perseveres in her work, and remains devoted to the formation of her professional identity. Her name is Dipti Bhavra, and she has a beautiful face, striking amber eyes, jet black straight hair, and better manners than most Americans I have ever known. She is my favorite because her conviction and her brilliance in the academic arena make her an asset not only to the classroom but also to my research.
Then there is the cocky cowboy from Eagle Falls, Idaho who dreams of doing what I do, but in the Mayan ruins swallowed up by the Yucatán jungles. Bucky Mills is strictly logical, and will not make allowance for any emotion-driven rationale in an argument. Although his cold, machine-like approach can be unsavory to some at times, he is also an exceptionally gifted analyst, and being his advisor has brought me additional recognition among our peers in academia. I can not recall his actual first name because my other students and I all call him Bucky, and he often reminds me of myself fifteen years ago with exception to the fact that I never had a horse of my own.
Finally, there is Elsa Van Noort, a Dutch undergraduate exchange student who, for some reason, decided to fill a basic general education requirement with the most difficult and mind-numbingly dull senior-level class that I teach. Unlike any normal person under the age of 25, she has not yet been bored by my book into a catatonic state. Her enthusiasm well exceeds her ability, but I will admit that this perception I have formed may be proven inaccurate if she were to come out of her shell, so to speak, and assert her evidence-based arguments in seminar. She once presented me with a pot full of dirt which, due to her connection with Holland, I feared would be something illicit, yet I was pleasantly surprised when the largest red and yellow tulips grew up and blossomed from her pot. She is a sweet girl, and I like that she works hardest on concepts or content that confuses her greatest. That is the brand of perseverance which breeds success.
I received the usual overachiever brand of complaining from my students that morning.
"I never get less than an 'A' grade," Dipti whined.
"Then your other professors probably aren't as honest as I am," I replied.
"You ruined my grade point average!" Elsa fumed.
"No, Elsa, your lack of command over the English language on paper ruined your grade point average," I said.
"This point I made on page nineteen is common knowledge, so it does not require a footnote," Bucky said.
"If it was common knowledge, we wouldn't have to write about it," I said. "And given that your point was grounded in the arguments published by another person, you would be in violation of international copyright law by not citing where credit is due."
Speaking that sentence was the last thing I remember before everything went awry. The impromptu morning meeting with my students that October 6 was interrupted suddenly when we all lost consciousness. We woke up almost two hours later with splitting headaches and the worst case of disorientation you could imagine. I could not say at this point if we were transported or if the world just changed around us, but I do know that we woke up on uncharted home soil. My office, where we were located when this occurred, was naturally where I noticed the changes first.
Before we lost consciousness, my office had mahogany paneled walls with bookshelves holding volumes on archeology, anthropology, ancient civilizations, methods of analysis, stylistic manuals of writing, and binders full of administrative memos on things I never paid attention to. The wall opposite to my bookshelves was where I had a dark brown upholstered couch covered in books and papers inside folders, and on the wall hung framed photographs of myself at various places I had travelled to—in front of the pyramids in Egypt, at the base of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, on the front steps of Saint Paul's Cathedral in London, in front of the Taj Mahal in India, and on a hill top with the Tokyo skyline and Mount Fuji behind me. My oak desk was covered with grade books, notes to myself, half-used pads of paper, and my pen holders and name plate.
After we woke up and got ourselves off the floor, however, I saw that the walls were plaster and the bookshelves—from what I could see by a quick scan of the bookends—held tactical manuals, volumes on the history of naval warfare, technical manuals on military operating systems and equipment, and a maintenance guide for revolvers. The couch was now light brown leather and the papers were neatly stacked beside it. The photographs on the wall of me in various places were replaced with photographs of me in a navy uniform standing next to other men and women in the navy on various ships. In the nearest photo, I noticed I was standing next to my best friend, Jessica Decker, who was holding onto my arm, both of us were smiling, and the brass plate at the bottom of the frame had been inscribed: USS Enterprise—1976.
My head hurt quite badly, so I opened my desk drawer and looked for my aspirin, but it was gone. A pair of handcuffs and box of condoms I don't remember putting there were now accounted for, but no aspirin. I crawled up into my chair from the floor where I'd fallen and sat at my desk with my head in my hands. Where did all the papers on my desk go? My small 1940s desk lamp with the burgundy shade was replaced by a brass banker's lamp with a green glass dome, approximately half of the lacquer had been worn or stripped off the desk top, and papers were sorted neatly in wooden trays along the edge of my desk. My students sat up on the floor and groaned as they held their heads. I watched them look around at the office and how it had changed.
"What just happened?" Bucky asked.
"I wish I knew," I said.
We picked ourselves up and wandered out of my office door to find that the building's architecture itself had changed—still brick, and stone, but as we walked around with our mouths agape, we observed that there was steel-reinforced poured cement walls around the perimeter and turrets at every corner. Students passing by my door referred to themselves as cadets, all of them were in white uniforms with gold epaulettes—including my students now—and almost everyone we saw was armed with a holstered pistol or a rifle slung over their shoulder. From our perspective, only two or three hours ago the entire environment was drastically different. I was used to smiling students in plaid trousers and girls in bell-bottoms chewing bubble gum loudly as they talked about roller-skating last Friday or the new pop rock album. Now, we passed by cadets walking single file, and almost always in total silence. The small blue car I drove to work in was nowhere to be found later that day, and in fact, later on I noticed that there were far fewer cars around in general.
I recall Elsa being the first to voice what we were all wondering. What was this place? Were we still in Virginia? Was it still 1982? Where did our clothes that we were wearing go, where did these ridiculous white costumes we were wearing come from, and why did it increasingly feel as though everything was exactly as it should be even though we knew it was not?
"Until we figure out what is going on, let's not discuss anything to anyone but each other. Small talk and required conversation, such as commenting on the weather or asking for directions is fine, but no talk about the clothing or anything that might draw attention to us," I said.
"Being overcautious in that manner would not be conducive to investigating what is going on," Bucky countered.
"Perhaps," I conceded. "However, at this time, the only two things we do know are that we do not belong here and these people have guns."
Throughout our initial observation of this altered environment, it became increasingly apparent that so much was different and we seemed to be the only four people bothered by it. No other cadets or professors stopped to study the Armistice of 1977 monument in the rose garden which was inscribed with the names of whole cities lost to bombardment—Altoona, Pennsylvania; Charlotte, North Carolina; Lynchburg, Virginia; Mesa, Arizona; New Orleans, Louisiana; Poughkeepsie, New York; Sacramento, California; Seattle, Washington; Tampa, Florida. No one else was in awe of the large painting in the lobby which depicted the victorious delivery of supplies to besieged London in 1969. No one stared as long as we did at the welded metal sculpture in the courtyard assembled from wreckage of the first soviet MiG 21 fighter plane to be shot down over northern New Hampshire. No one stared as long as I at the tomb of my favorite historical general, Dwight David Eisenhower, which bore an inscription revealing that he died gloriously in battle as he led his gallant men through the maelstrom of heavy fighting at the defense of Anchorage.
As I explored and became part of this altered reality, I collected bits and pieces of evidence—a diary of my observations, memorandums I picked up, articles I found, and so on—as if this were a research project. Whatever was going on, it had to be historic, and if my students and I were the only people aware that something was terribly wrong, then that meant that I am the most qualified person to record, collect, and organize data, and then to analyze it to the end of synthesizing an arguable hypothesis about what was going on here. Along the way, I'll be breaking to present evidence to you and going back to my narration. Besides, the provision of evidence not only helps me recall and analyze, but also to prove to the media moguls and the pentagon that this isn't merely the ramblings of some mad scientist professor. The first piece of evidence comes in the form of my notes on cafeteria napkins as I watched the most bizarre and convoluted report of news in the United States that I had ever seen.
Chapter TwoALTERED STATE
October 6, 1982; University of Virginia at Belle Haven; 8:37am
What follows is a direct transcription from my notes which I took down on two napkins in a type of break room where we, my students and I, stopped to observe the people loitering in the area, get breakfast from the vending machines, and most importantly to me, watch the news broadcast on the television:
"News is on. Correspondent is reporting from outside Salt Lake City. Siege of the city has begun. Soldiers looking tired and dirty are in the background. Correspondent can not be heard over gunfire. In the room where we sat, there are posters on the walls depicting traditional patriotic images. A couple seated in the corner nearby are discussing propulsion systems. A map on the television shows the United States with Salt Lake City marked by a yellow star—everything to the south and east is blue and contains an American flag, while western Canada, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona part of Florida and the Carolinas, and portions of states between the Pacific coast and Rocky Mountains are colored red with the yellow hammer and sickle and a caption overlaid that read 'Soviet American States' in block letters. Cross hatched ovals were labeled as 'drop zones' and westward facing arrow heads denoted advancing armor columns."
I remember at this point I was intensely focused on the newscast when Bucky tapped my arm. They wanted to find some aspirin. That was when I looked up and I realized Dipti was bleeding from the nose. I had a headache still too, and I would have preferred to stay and watch the news, but I did not want us separating. Thank God we went when we did, because when we found the nurses station, they took Dipti right in for examination and determined it was not a typical nosebleed. In fact, they took all of us to the medical center right there when I reported that we all had similar headaches. After almost two hours in a sterile waiting room, the doctor came and motioned for me to join him out in the hallway.
"Captain," he addressed me with a salute. "Scan results to report."
By this point I was still guessing how to act, so I simply saluted back, and replied. "Proceed."
"I'm Lieutenant Chang," he said, holding out his hand to shake.
We shook hands.
"Sir, we did a CAT scan of you and your cadets," Lieutenant Chang reported.
"Is that standard procedure for headaches?" I asked.
"Ever since the Reds started using nerve toxins and biochemical agent weapons, we've been pretty thorough, even with things that seem fairly common at first glance," he replied matter-of-factly. "But I looked at the blood tests, toxins and biochemical agents are not present in your systems, so that's good news. According to our initial scans, however, the four of you all have signs of sudden and intense neuron growth, which is ... well, to be perfectly honest, I have no explanation for it, but it is remarkable."
"Neuron growth?" I asked. "You mean we have additional brain cells carrying electrical impulses throughout our brains?"
"Yes, you could think of it that way, but it's also a growth of existing brain cells," Lieutenant Chang explained. "Your brain creates new neural pathways every time you make some sort of connection—for example, when you learn the word for the color blue, you form a neural pathway, when you learn how to raise your hand or speak a new word, a new neural pathway is formed."
"So you're saying we have academic hangovers?" I joked.
"That's a good one, sir," Lieutenant Chang chuckled. "If I find that this is the first reported case of this, that's what I'll name it ... academic hangover."
I watched him jot it down on his clipboard. In hindsight, I guess it does sound better than whatever technical, Latin-based medical term they might come up with.
"According to the scans and tests we have run so far, there does not appear to be any brain damage—no anoxic episode, no stroke or cardiac anomalies is evident—so, all I can say at this point is that somehow, somewhere, you four suddenly acquired an average of a four percent increase of grey matter mass in parts of the brain primarily related to memory in comparison to our records of your intake scans performed when the four of you signed up for armed service."
Excerpted from THE GEARING INCIDENT by W. D. LAREMORE Copyright © 2012 by W.D. Laremore. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Point of Departure....................1
Chapter 2 Altered State....................8
Chapter 3 Distress Call....................14
Chapter 4 What Fate Designs....................18
Chapter 5 Bodies of Evidence....................22
Chapter 6 Embattled Hearts....................25
Chapter 7 Living Relics....................28
Chapter 8 Alliance....................32
Chapter 9 The First Duty....................35
Chapter 10 Archangel....................38
Chapter 11 In Another Life....................42
Chapter 12 Shattered History....................50
Chapter 13 Love Notes....................58
Chapter 14 Atlantic Storm....................60
Chapter 15 Debriefing....................64
Chapter 16 Closing Window....................70
Chapter 17 Carnival Mirrors....................74
Chapter 18 From the Mouth Of A Cannon....................78
Chapter 19 The Naughty Schoolgirl....................80
Chapter 20 What Faces Show....................85
Chapter 21 Facing Truth....................87
Chapter 22 Press Conference....................92
Chapter 23 Drive Home....................97
Chapter 24 Morning After....................103
Chapter 25 The War Room....................106
Chapter 26 Duel Of The Hulks....................109
Chapter 27 Defense Condition Four....................113
Chapter 28 Seed Of Suspicion....................114
Chapter 29 Fight Like Foreplay....................117
Chapter 30 The Forgotten Self....................122
Chapter 31 The Spy Next Door....................125
Chapter 32 Defense Condition Five....................130
Chapter 33 What Hides Within....................131
Chapter 34 Captain's Honor....................135
Chapter 35 Into the Breach....................140
Chapter 36 Tow and Shoot....................145
Chapter 37 Interrogation....................156
Chapter 38 Object of Recall....................160
Chapter 39 Desperado....................164
Chapter 40 Defense of Bear Mountain....................169
Chapter 41 Remember Me....................173
Chapter 42 Being The Other Guy....................176
Chapter 43 Quarrel....................180
Chapter 44 From the Front....................184
Chapter 45 Mieskova, The Hunter Killer....................189
Chapter 46 Fear Naught....................199
Chapter 47 Brittania's Crown Jewel....................202
Chapter 48 Making A Case....................206
Chapter 49 Plotting Course....................216
Chapter 50 Carolina Lost....................219
Chapter 51 Pass the Ammunition....................222
Chapter 52 The Way....................226
Chapter 53 Finding Juliet....................229
Chapter 54 Softening The Blow....................231
Chapter 55 Silence In G Major....................238
Chapter 56 The Second Chance Contention....................240
Chapter 57 Arsenal of Red....................244
Chapter 58 Down Came The Rain....................247
Chapter 59 Pavchenko's Revenge....................250
Chapter 60 The Floridian Gambit....................254
Chapter 61 Aloft....................265
Chapter 62 Enter The Cavalry....................267
Chapter 63 Eyes In The Sky....................271
Chapter 64 Last Stand Of The Alamo....................274
Chapter 65 Flight of the Archangel....................279
Chapter 66 Homecoming....................281
Chapter 67 Spoils Of War....................282
Chapter 68 Notes....................286
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I absolutely loved the book, It was a unique cross between a sci-fi version of Red Dawn, The Butterfly Effect, and a Dan Brown Novel. Very well written and very detail oriented. Being in the Marines for 11 years, I could instantly relate to the military terms, references etc, and it showed you put a lot of hours into making the book very hist orically accurate for the time periods. I never read the back of the book for the basic synopsis prior to reading the book, So I really had no idea what the book was a bout or the direction it might head. The book had me from first to last page, wondering where it was going to go, how each chapter was going to flow into the next, and made you think, what if the cold war or any war for that matter had worked out different. As Characters were introduced I could instantly put a picture in my mind of who they were based off your descriptions and attention to detail, which made it very easy to keep track of everyone. There were never any dull moments in the book, every chapter had a purpose and I didnt see any filler anywhere in the book, and each chapter kept you wanting to know "Whats Next?" Im already looking forward to the sequel and without spoiling the book want to know about the last character and how you will get him out of his situation. Really enjoyed it! Great Job!
Brilliant, action packed and well done, masterfully weaving historical facts while transporting the reader to an alternate reality. Leaving the reader compelled to continue turning the pages to find out...what happens next. If your a fan of Fringe, Red Dawn, Battleship or the Butterfly Effect than this book is one for your collection. It could easily be the next big box office hit! Can't wait for the next book. Well done Mr. Laremore, well done.