Excerpts for Eye of God


The Eye of God


By James Rollins

HarperCollins Publishers

Copyright © 2013 James Rollins
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-06-178480-4


1
November 17, 7:45 A.M. PST
Los Angeles AFB
El Segundo, California
Panic had already begun to set in.
From the observation deck above the control room, Painter Crowe
read the distress in the sudden cessation of idle chatter among the techni-
cians in the room. Nervous glances spread up the chain of command and
across the floor of the Space and Missile Systems Center. Only the base's
top brass were in attendance at this early hour, along with a few heads
of the Defense Department's research divisions.
The floor below them looked like a scaled-down version of NASA's
flight control room. Rows of computer consoles and satellite control desks
spread outward from a trio of giant LCD screens affixed to the back wall.
The centermost screen showed a map of the world, traced with glowing
lines that tracked the trajectories of a pair of military satellites and the
path of the neighboring comet.
The two flanking screens showed live feed from the satellites' cameras.
To the left, a curve of the earth slowly churned against the backdrop of
space. To the right, the glowing blaze of the comet's tail filled the screen,
casting a veil over the stars beyond it.
"Something's gone wrong," Painter whispered.
"What do you mean?" His boss stood beside him atop the observation
deck.
General Gregory Metcalf was the head of DARPA, the Defense De-

20 j a m e s ro l l i n s
partment's research-and-development agency. Dressed in full uniform,
Metcalf was in his fifties, African-American, and a West Point grad.
In contrast, Painter simply sported a black suit, made more casual
with a pair of cowboy boots. They were a gift from Lisa, who was on a
research trip in New Mexico. Half Native American, he probably should
have balked at wearing the boots, but he liked them, especially as they
reminded him of his fiancée, gone now a full month.
"Something's got the OSO spooked," Painter explained, pointing to
the operations support officer in the second row of consoles down below.
The lead mission specialist moved over to join his colleague at that
station.
Metcalf waved dismissively. "They'll handle it. It's their job. They
know what they're doing."
The general promptly returned to his conversation with the com-
mander of the 50th Space Wing out of Colorado Springs.
Still concerned, Painter kept a keen eye on the growing anxiety below.
He had been invited here to observe this code-black military mission not
only because he was the director of Sigma, which operated under the aegis
of DARPA, but also because he had personally engineered a piece of hard-
ware aboard one of the two military satellites.
The pair of satellites--IoG-1 and IoG-2--had been sent into space
four months ago. The acronym for the satellites--IoG--stood for Inter-
polation of the Geodetic Effect, a name originally coined by the military
physicist who had engineered this project for a gravitational study. He had
intended to do a complete analysis of the space-time curvature around the
earth to aid in satellite and missile trajectory.
While already an ambitious undertaking, the discovery of the comet
by a pair of amateur astronomers two years ago quickly shifted the proj-
ect's focus--especially after an anomalous energy signature had been de-
tected out there.
Painter glanced sidelong to his neighbor on his left, noting the lithe
form of the researcher from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.
Only twenty-three, Dr. Jada Shaw was tall, with a runner's lean phy-

t h e eye o f g o d 21
sique. Her skin was a flawless dark mocha, her black hair trimmed short,
highlighting the long curve of her neck. She stood in a white lab coat and
jeans, with her arms crossed, nervously chewing the edge of her thumb-
nail.
The young astrophysicist had been whisked from Harvard seventeen
months ago and ensconced in this code-black military venture. Clearly she
still felt out of her league, though she was doing her best to hide it.
It was unfortunate. She had no reason to be so nervous. She had
already won international recognition for her work. Using quantum
equations--calculations well above Painter's intellectual pay grade--she
had crafted an unusual theory concerning dark energy, the mysterious
force that made up three-quarters of the universe and was responsible for
its accelerating cosmic expansion.
Further proving her prowess, she had been the only physicist to note
the small anomalies in the approach of this celestial visitor blazing in the
night sky--a comet designated as IKON.
A year and a half ago, Dr. Shaw had tapped into the digital feed of
the new Dark Energy Camera, a 570-megapixel array engineered by the
Fermilab here in the States and installed at a mountaintop observatory
in Chile. Using that camera, Dr. Shaw had tracked the comet's passage.
It was there that she had discovered anomalies that she believed might
be proof that the comet was shedding or disturbing dark energy in its
wake.
Her work quickly became cloaked under the guise of national security.
A new energy source such as this had vast and untapped potential--both
economically and militarily.
From that moment forward, the ultrasecret IoG project was repur-
posed for one goal only: to study the potential dark energy of the comet.
The plan was to fly IoG-2 across the comet's blazing tail, where it would
attempt to absorb that anomalous energy detected by Dr. Shaw and trans-
mit it back to its sister craft orbiting the earth.
Luckily, to accomplish this task, engineers had to only slightly modify
the earlier mission satellite. A part of its original design included a perfect

22 j a m e s ro l l i n s
sphere of quartz buried in its heart. The plan had been to set that sphere
to spinning once the satellite was in orbit, creating a gyroscopic effect
that could be used to map the curve of space-time around the mass of
Earth.

(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Eye of God by James Rollins. Copyright © 2013 James Rollins. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
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