Hundreds of years ago, deep within an ancient Jewish religious work, the details of a prophesied judgment day are revealed. Written in 300 BC, the book of Enoch holds the truth for the future. The world needs to know the reality, but one question remains-who will spread the word?
Long after the turn of the twenty-first century, water and oxygen are in short supply. With nearly all the natural resources depleted, a megacompany controls the insatiable demand for water and oxygen through its international desalination plants. But when the company's network administrator discovers someone is sending out classified security information about the plants, he has no idea that it is all part of a plot hatched by the Church of the Elect. Its leader, Shaul Eitan, is determined to carry out a plan to destroy all the desalination plants and, worse yet, to initiate a nuclear holocaust. Eitan wants nothing more than to destroy the human population forever. The Watchers have no choice-they must risk everything.
Chaos reigns in a future dystopian world as everyone wonders if the book of Enoch has foretold a truthful ending to the universe.
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THE WATCHERSShall only the righteous survive?
By Douglas C. Atkins
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Douglas C. Atkins
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Future
His mouth was very dry—for the moment, anyway. Water was so expensive that he often felt guilty spending so much of the church's money to satisfy his thirst. But soon enough he would succumb to his passion for lemonade and mix yet another one. Shaul Eitan sat at his desk looking out of the window down on the campus. He didn't like the location. He would have preferred the woods of Montana, or the snow of Lake Tahoe. He hadn't chosen the location, however, and neither had his father or grandfather. The headquarters of the Church of the Elect had always been in the hot, dry, boring environment of Pecos, Texas. The reason for the location was that the surrounding desert rivaled that of the Middle East, where the scrolls had been written. Also because it was very secluded—over two hundred miles from the nearest town and a long distance from the nearest cell tower so there was no coverage; the only phone was by landline. This was just as Shaul wanted, as his subjects were never interrupted by calls on their cell phones.
"Excuse me, Brother Shaul," his assistant said from the door, "the two elders from Turkey are here to see you."
"Please show them in," he said and then stood up to greet them as they entered the room. The two elders were both dressed in Saudi disha dasha robes and wrapped white turbans as was traditional for elders from the Middle East. "Brothers, please come in. Sit down."
"I am Brother Dabir," said the shorter one, "and this is Brother Ali." Before the two sat down, they exchanged the traditional brotherhood handshake.
"Could I offer you something to eat or a drink, perhaps?" Shaul asked as they sat. They both accepted the drink, and Shaul poured them lemonade over ice.
"Now," Shaul Eitan said, "I've heard about your work in the Middle East. You run the region very well. And your efforts and connections in China are well known. Let's discuss business. As you have been told, for some time, the church has been planning the apocalypse. "
"We are very familiar with it, Elect One." said Dabir. "We feel that through our international connections, we could bring a lot to the project."
"Yes, go on."
"We work in Muslim countries, while at the same time we do diplomatic work in China. We are well connected with governments in the Middle and Far East."
"Continue," Shaul said.
"We believe that if we were to use these connections, we could obtain the destructive power that you will need to make the project a success."
"Interesting," Shaul said. "You realize the implications for us and the church members?"
"This project is nothing to be taken lightly," Ali said. "It would mean the end of civilization as we know it. But ... the apocalypse will finally bring freedom from the Watchers and peace to the righteous of our church."
"Yes," Shaul said. "This will bring on the day of judgment. The Watchers will suffer for eternity. Once the Lord of Spirits re-creates everything, the Elect will live on His beautiful earth forever."
"If we didn't realize the implications," Dabir said, "we wouldn't be here to offer our help. We have come a long way to talk with you about this, Brother Shaul. We are connected enough to make this happen."
"All right then. How will you make it happen?"
"We are very close with many members of both of the Chinese and Iranian governments. Both of those have the military strength to provide the firepower to allow the church to complete the project."
"That may well be true," Shaul said, "but if they suspect that we will bring on the apocalypse, they will never make a sale to us."
"Of course," Dabir said. "That is why we have told them we need all this firepower to attack US military and business interests around the globe. With your permission, we will ask them both for prices for the shoulder-fired launchers."
"They would have to be very powerful," Shaul said.
"We obviously know the desired effect. There is a whole new generation of high explosives that can achieve what we want."
"I could act alone; however, I would like to talk to the rest of the elders about this. I am convinced that we must go through with it, but we need to know if our finances will allow this purchase. Do you have any rough figures?"
"We haven't talked with the Iranians yet, but the Chinese gave us a price range of four to nine thousand each, depending on what we want."
Shaul leaned back in his chair and smiled. "It has potential," he said. "But nine thousand is way over budget. Do you have any further information that we could look over?"
"Oh, yes, Elect One," said Ali. "We have brought detailed plans both from China and Iran." He produced a folder from under his coat and handed it to Shaul.
"Thank you. I'll talk it over with the other elders. Do you anticipate being here on campus for a few days?"
"We will stay as long as it takes to get our plan approved," Ali said.
"Good. We'll look over the plan and play with our figures. Check back with me tomorrow."
Shaul stood up and extended his hand, signaling that the conversation had ended. Again they exchanged the brotherhood handshake, and the men left.
Shaul thought about the proposal. He wondered if a day would come when he could go to the Middle East. Like the other three major religions, the Church of the Elect had been started there by his ancestor, Raleb Eitan. And, of course, Enoch would have wandered there around 200–300 BC. Shaul went over to the window just in time to see Ali and Dabir walking across the campus. They were walking very slowly, and Shaul knew this was because there was a lot less oxygen outside. Shaul understood very well the reason for their slow pace.
He savored another sip of his cold lemonade and noticed that his guests had left some of theirs. What a shame, he thought. Water was so expensive and rare. The earth had suffered such abuse. Now all the water was controlled by a megacompany called Aquasuperior. There was no naturally fresh water left in the world. It all came from desalination plants. Not only that, but Aquasuperior also had dibs on much of the oxygen used inside buildings. Historically, oxygen had once made up 20.9 percent of the atmosphere, but now it was only 18.4 percent—perilously close to the slightly less than 17 percent needed for human respiration.
Everything was synthetic, including the trees on campus and the grass under Ali and Dabir's feet. The earth must have been grand in Raleb's time, before resources ran out. Real live grass. He'd heard that they had some of the real stuff in northern California, though that could be just a rumor. He remembered reading about rain forests and that once they had supplied a great deal of oxygen to the atmosphere.
Their day would come. The Watchers. The day of judgment would come soon. The archangels would make them pay. They would suffer unimaginable agony beyond the end of the earth.
Chapter TwoAquasuperior Corporation occupied the top twenty floors of one of the most prestigious addresses in Boston, above the banks, law firms, and financial institutions. Erebos Meyer's office was on the corner of the top floor. The building was over a hundred years old yet had all the latest technologies. When it had been built, a wide variety of woods had been available for construction. His office was paneled in mahogany on the bottom half of the walls. On the upper portions, Meyer had hired one of Boston's best artists to paint murals. On one wall were luscious parks filled with people and their dogs. On another wall was a jungle scene with animals he had never seen that were long extinct. His office overlooked points north and the harbor. He thought about the harbor and the sea. People had been talking about global warming for many decades. Even today there were heated arguments among scientists and the public. Didn't people know that if global warming were real, the seas would have risen? He looked down at all of the berths, wharfs, and distant beaches. He was thinking that some of these would have disappeared if the oceans had gotten higher. No ... there was no global warming. There was a lack of oxygen, a dependence on hydrogen for energy, and a world in need of Aquasuperior's fresh water, but at least no global warming.
Meyer pushed on his intercom's button. "Is Ping out there yet, Linda?"
"Not yet, Mr. Meyer," she replied.
"Send him right in when he arrives, please." Ping Sabino wasn't late yet, but he made a habit of always arriving early for meetings, and Meyer wondered what had happened. Soon enough, though, Linda opened the door. She was very beautiful, just like all the other women Meyer hired.
"Mr. Sabino is here," she said. Ping came through the door. He was right on time. Roberto Sabino was nicknamed Ping because of his computer hacking abilities. He was famous for his inventive use of an attack hackers called a ping flood. In a ping flood, a hacker builds a network of hundreds or even thousands of computers by hacking into them and taking them over. The infected computers are called zombies. The hacker then taps into his network of zombies and uses them to send thousands of ping requests a second to a particular target—say, the computer network of a company the hacker has a grudge against. If the volume of ping requests is more than the victim's computer network can handle, it shuts down.
"Ping," Meyer said, a little excited. "I was beginning to wonder why you weren't here early."
"Oh, I just got tied up at network admin. Kamryn was having trouble."
"Are you ready for this?"
"I'm ready and willing. But I'm not sure if I'm able."
"Of course you are," Meyer said. "I have a great deal of confidence in you, Ping. I wouldn't have asked you to be VP if I didn't. Now let's look at what I've got."
He went over to the large, elaborate conference table he had placed under the jungle picture. He kept the table in his office so that he could roll out papers for large projects like the one before them. Meyer flattened out the big roll of construction plans. On the top sheet was an architect's drawing of the plant.
"Here it is," Meyer said proudly. "Our new standard desalination plant design. They can be built fast and easy. Relatively inexpensive compared to our other models. With these, we will provide the entire world with the water everyone needs. We dominate the world's water distribution as it is. With these new plants, we will control 100 percent. Then we can charge as much as we want. We're still waiting for bids to come in."
By the end of the twentieth century, there had been a billion people who did not have access to safe water. By the time Meyer had founded his company, the world population had outpaced demand even further.
"But I still don't know why you put me as executive vice-president," Sabino said. "I'm a hacker and a network administrator, not a construction expert."
"I have faith in you," Meyer said. "You always seem to be able to kind of, shall we say, extract business intelligence from anyone who tries to enter the market. That shows me you can think things through. You're very resourceful and show no fear. I want to see you grow to even greater heights at Aquasuperior. We've hung out for years. We partied until we were sick in B-school. Even when you were working on your CS dissertation, you were always able to schedule plenty of time for us to party together."
"Yeah, the good old days."
"You're a manager, Ping. Your actions speak louder than anything I would ever see on your résumé."
When Meyer got his venture capital to start Aquasuperior, Sabino had been the first person he called. Today, Sabino owned a large stake in the company. Now Meyer's company had grown exponentially. Meyer had been able to buy out his venture capital partners less than two years after getting funding. With the earth's fresh water supply completely dried up, Aquasuperior had more desalinization plants than anyone else in the world—over eight thousand.
Then, after the company had accumulated enough cash reserves, they had begun splitting water for hydrogen fuel and oxygen for breathing. They practically controlled the world's fresh water supply, and they could charge whatever they wanted. They had a lot of competition for oxygen. For the hydrogen, they had a distribution deal with Nexton. When it came to fresh water, Meyer and Sabino crushed anyone trying to enter the market, including plants built by municipalities. Meyer had political connections around the globe, and he knew how to use them. Both in their forties, they still trained together—both were experts in Muay Thai.
"Kamryn's doing really good," Ping said. "What can we do to advance her? She still has a lot to learn, but she's unbelievably smart and—"
"Not to mention hot," Meyer said, interrupting with a smile.
"—in a month or so, she should be able to take over as network administrator. If that happens, I'll be able to dive right in as VP."
"That sounds fair. You can do it. I have confidence," Meyer said. "We build several hundred plants a year, but we need to increase that to wipe out our competition. We have a timeline and need to stick to it. You're the man to make it happen."
Chapter ThreeShaul was sitting in his office enjoying another lemonade. It was his life's only indulgence, so he drank them often throughout the day, though sometimes his conscience pained him as a result. This part of Texas was especially hot and dry, so he needed to drink a lot so he could talk with people without a dry mouth. He didn't know if it was his age, sixty-three, or just the dry air, but he was always thirsty. He made sure he had a freezer full of ice. It was the only frivolous indulgence his office had. The walls were plain desert brown with two small windows, a shabby old desk, and a few metal chairs. Part of the philosophy of the church was living simply. And so he did. No one on campus was allowed to wear fancy clothes. Plain and simple: that was how the righteous lived.
Nearly three thousand people lived on campus. Shaul tried to make it a point to meet everyone new and to have an open-door policy for anyone who wanted to talk. That often made his schedule rather crazy, but his father had been the same way, and Shaul felt he should emulate him as much as possible. Today there was a group of four potential members arriving to check out the church. They were coming to his office to meet him in just a few minutes. He thought it was important to know who your parishioners were. Then you could draw on their strengths. Would they be good financial supporters? Would they make good evangelists? Could they be trusted to tell the truth about the apocalypse? Would they be tough enough to be disciples? Would they be loving and good with kids?
Again Shaul thought how much he admired his father's style. During Shaul's childhood on the church campus, his dad always had introduced him to the new people. Dad had always drawn on people's strong points and had spent a great deal of time teaching Shaul how to find the best in people. Shaul remembered lots of times playing with the other kids as he was growing up. His father always had been there with him having a game of tag, wrestling, or playing catch with the kids. Shaul always tried to be the same way with his own kids and all the other kids on campus. Funny thing, though—his father had hated lemonade. Maybe Shaul wasn't a true Eitan after all, he often thought with humor.
Brother Gabriel, Shaul's assistant, came to the door. "Brother Shaul," he said. Big and powerful, Brother Gabriel would be able to inflict suffering on any sinner when the day of judgment came to pass.
"Are they here? Show them in." The four of them entered, and Shaul gestured for them to sit down. "Anyone for a lemonade?" he asked. Two men already had bottled water. The other man and the woman accepted.
"My name is Brother Shaul," he started. "Many people call me Elect One, because I run the Church of the Elect. Feel free to call me either. Now, who am I talking with?"
"I'm Michael Poirier," he said. Poirier was dressed in a fine, three-piece Italian suit. Poirier came from the east. Gabriel had had them all thoroughly investigated long before they even left New York.
"We're all brothers here," Shaul said, thinking the fancy clothes had to go. "No need for last names. Glad to meet you, Brother Michael."
Poirier continued, gesturing to the others. "This is Brother Parker and Brother Byron. And this is my wife, Sister Maria."
Well, he picked that up quick, thought Shaul. On top of that, Shaul was impressed that the two were married. "Why have you come to the Church of the Elect?" he asked.
Excerpted from THE WATCHERS by Douglas C. Atkins Copyright © 2012 by Douglas C. Atkins. 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Anyone who loves end of the world tales, this one is a hit! It is a very thought provoking read about the forces at work and has you questioning who really runs the world. From the big corporations to "the Church," everyone has their roles. Definitely a great book for those who like to contemplate the end times and enjoy apocalyptic stories, and this book definitely takes a unique look at what could happen in the end. The sad reality that this future world could be where our very own world could end up.