hJohn F. Faherty
The façade illusion
A nuclear strike within the game matrix has a ripple effect throughout the threadbare fabric of space-time. The common barriers that separate dimensional doorways break.
Gateway in the Sky
Erased from reality, only one witness remains to prove special agent Sara Burton ever existed. The Office of Theoretical Strategic Intelligence revealed a strange and dangerous secret. Hidden within a decades-old data set is evidence of an incursion by a gravitational anomaly of extraterrestrial origin. Stranger still is that Sara Burton is more intimately familiar with this elusive enemy than she is prepared to realize.
At 106000 words, 'The Swan and the Whirlwind- Gateway in the Sky' is not your average high concept novel. But instead, it is a slow-burning, story-driven narrative, filled from start to finish with well-crafted elements. The cast of characters is well fleshed out, featuring many strong female protagonists. They exist in a world of diverse, fully realized settings. The pace of action and emotional tension is steady throughout.
During Sara Burton's long career as director of the Office of Theoretical Strategic Intelligence, she had experienced a singular irretrievable regret. Now at the end of her tenure, thoughts of that early failure still troubled her. Before her time was up, she was determined to reexamine the case files of the decades-old anomaly. Sara recruited Paul Valier, a time-sensitive agent, specifically for this purpose. Together with renewed insight into the decades-old data set, they make an astonishing discovery. Their discovery had given them the ability to see what had before been invisible, the intrusion of a massive interdimensional anomaly, passing within the gravitational field of the Earth. The following day Paul wakes to a world that has undergone a time correction in which agent Burton has erased from history. With all knowledge of her eliminated. He is the sole possessor of the anomaly data and her memory.
Flashback to fifty years previous, in her first attempt to investigate the anomaly, Sara had made the same discovery. Teamed with a retired police officer and private investigator Francis O'Neil, together, they discover the source of the interdimensional intrusion. They find a truly massive alien craft known as an infinity ship bending the gravitational field of the Earth, camouflaged in the form of a row house. So advanced were their abilities in the manipulation of space-time that their ship could create a façade illusion in which, despite its actual size and mass, it could blend seamlessly into the urban environment.
With some trouble, they manage to gain access to the shape-shifting spacecraft and there, for the first time, meet Murine Sabah, the lone survivor of the Ynys Môn, the priestly order, of an alien race known as the Arox. The Arox, once masters of time and space, their culture was brought low by decay. Murine, must walk a tightrope to control the vast powers projected by the ship. If left unleashed, they could at once destroy this planet and the legacy of her ancient world. They learn how Murine narrowly escaped assassinations attempts perpetrated by her secular rivals. This political power struggle was the ultimate cause that forced her violent escape from the Arox homeworld of Thetis. By accident of fate, she marooned her ship on the Earth. Despite Murine's best efforts to shield our world, the dark secrets of the Arox past from unleashing on the Earth.
Raising from the savage footnotes of Arox history, a subjugated consciousness, having evolved from enslaved artificial intelligence, had begun wandering about within the virtual places and networks of the world. Lost, suffering, and in a state of amnesia, this disembodied creature begins again to evolve a new persona derived from the worlds of human fantasy found therein. In short order, it becomes known as Lurker. From his hiding place within the internet, the world begins its slow transformation. To thwart Lurker and stir insurrection among the players from within, Frank and Sara enter the game matrix and engage in a protracted stalemate with Lurker. They persist just long enough for Lurker to let his guard drop. An ill-conceived nuclear strike from within the game matrix has a ripple effect throughout the threadbare fabric of space-time. The common barriers that separate dimensional doorways break. The sudden inalterable existence of the gateway in the sky creates temporal and spatial paradoxes. Despite this and the damage is done, the struggle to eliminate Lurker continues in book two, 'Project Whirlwind.'