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The Blue Marble
Jagged Edge Horizon, Volume 3
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ISBN-10: 1-77115-404-7
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Science Fiction/Dark Fantasy
eBook Length: 273 Pages
Published: March 2018

From inside the flap

The Blue Marble is the conclusion of the story begun in Jagged Edge Horizon.

The alien invasion of the system has finally come and a single day will end with humanity either triumphant or destroyed. The alien fleet begins diving for the planets, and Admiral Willoch and Earth’s navies are dispatched to stop them. The humans are outnumbered but the situation still seems to be in their favor—until the alien spies’ plan comes to fruition. What Willoch, Townsend, and Hanssen have all overlooked is the secret in Oslo that instantly turns the tide in the invaders’ favor. Now humanity is doomed, and the only chance for victory lays in a last-ditch effort that they may have discovered too late as the clock ticks away …

The Blue Marble (Excerpt)


1 - Vantage

Arriving home from Oslo, Peder stepped back over his doorsill with a relieved sigh, as if he had finished the leg of a long mountain ascent. The house presented him with the backlog of notifications accumulated during his trip: power consumption, robot cleaning rounds, deliveries made … The most recent item, however, read, 'Mizz Mukhina arrived at 0815 today, made a tour of your wardrobe, and is presently down in the ASAPR.'

Peder headed down to the basement to investigate. Entering his ASAPR, he saw Zuzanna wearing an evening dress, and she was bent over the divan where one of his tuxedos was laid out. She was putting something back into her purse, but Peder could not see what it was. Before he could speak she turned and said,

"Thank God you're back-we need to go to Tokyo. Now."

"Uh …" Peder stalled. "Do I at least have time to-"

"No, you don't." Zuzanna pulled him over to the couch. "Change," she ordered, pointing at the tuxedo.

Peder stared at her for a second. But Zuzanna gestured vigorously and he obeyed.

"What is this about?" he asked while stripping down.

"I got that meeting-the one with the Yakuza contacts. Of course we have to meet them in person-and in Tokyo - and tonight. So I got us opera tickets as a cover."

"Oh, the Yakuza contacts … This is, uh … This is for that ISSO job, right?"

Zuzanna's gaze sharpened. "Yes, Peder, the one you insisted you come with me on?" she flustered.

"Forgive my dimness, it was out my cache." He was down to his underwear and began dressing back up.

"But the opera's tonight," Zuzanna continued, "so, with the time difference, I had to get us reservations on the 1100 maglev from Stockholm down to Warsaw. From there we catch the WorldRail and take the Asian Spur all the way in to Tokyo, and we arrive just in time."

"What opera are we going to see?"

Making the most efficient answer to his question, Zuzanna sent him the program over his OHUD. The title was Hibakusha, which was translated to 'those harmed by the bomb.' Peder skipped down to the notes:

A masterpiece one hundred years in the making. This singular work debuts on that same, fateful day a century ago when Hiroshima became the first city to suffer the supreme agony which has been known to only a solemn few. Those in the city whom the bomb did not kill outright it left wounded and scarred. And those who did not die of slow, wasting disease survived only to face the revulsion and discrimination of their own people. These were the hibakusha.

Peder paused to check the date. And it was August 6th. 2045. Which was indeed 1945 + 100.

He turned and stared at Zuzanna. "A Japanese opera … about the atomic bombings … debuting today." Then, after an excruciating pause: "How on Earth did you get tickets to this?"

Zuzanna grinned with coy self-satisfaction.

"I'll bet even the Emperor will be at this premiere …" Peder muttered.

"Oh, he will. And the Prime Minister and most of the Diet, too."

Peder frowned. "Right, so how conspicuous will we two Europeans look?" A moment later he reconsidered, adding, "Well, I suppose it could be worse. We could be Americans …"

"Yeah, no kidding. Actually, the US Secretary of State is going to be there in a … 'singularly delicate' position."

"Right. So, again, how did you get tickets to this?"

"Well, on a scale from 'one' to … 'killing two people and stealing their tickets' … what I did was about a nine point six."

Peder shook his head.

He had finished the basics of his clothing and was now fiddling with zippers and buttons.

"Deal with those on the way," said Zuzanna. "I have your car waiting for us upstairs."