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C James

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  1. Chapter 15: Changing of the Guard Strung out like god’s own necklaces, curling strings and loops of white set against varying azure and turquoise, the surreal beauty of the coral atolls five miles below, suffused by the golden light of dawn, held The Scar’s rapt attention. He’d seen similar sights many times, but it was a view of which he would never tire. The atolls slid past, soon to be left far behind as the airliner winged its way across the Pacific, as he relaxed, drink in hand, in the first-class compartment of the Qantas flig
  2. Chapter 14: Shop 'till you Drop “We need to get a cab back to the hotel, well I do anyway. The other three are going shopping and I’m not invited,” Chase said, trying his best to look dejected. “Not invited while they shop for your birthday presents? Poor little pretty boy, that’s just so sad,” Helen chuckled, before adding with a scowl, “I don’t like the idea of you lot going out in public without security. Günter isn’t on call tonight, and I do note that you’ve disguised yourselves somewhat adequately, so I’ll call you a cab and it
  3. Chapter 12: Hitting the Fan Waiting for Jon and Eric to respond, Helen took a moment to glance around the suite, taking note of the smashed table and the bathroom makeup mirror sitting nearby. That would have made her angrier, had she not already been as angry as it was possible to get. Eric, one hand on his aching head, reached across the coffee table for the ominous papers, finding them to be photos printed on plain printing paper. The lack of quality didn’t faze him, but the photos themselves did, as he recognized himse
  4. Chapter 13: Love and Hate Climbing out of the shower, Chase reached for a towel, only to be startled as he heard Brandon’s agitated voice yelling his name, the anger in his cry evident even through the walls. Still dripping, Chase dashed for the door to see what was wrong. “Chase!” Brandon yelled towards the connecting door for a second time, before leaping to his feet to glare down at Eric and Jon. “Dude, please calm down,” Jon begged, “it was just an idea...” “Idea my ass,” growled Brandon
  5. Chapter 11: Wild Wild Night Günter glanced up from his conversation to see Brandon, cape drawn back framing his bare chest, approaching. Without being asked, he knew it was time to go. “I’ll have the car out front within five minutes.” Baffled at how Günter had known, Brandon nodded before turning, spotting Chase across the room. For the hundredth time that night, Brandon felt his breath catch in his throat at the sight of his friend, his tanned and toned body on near full display, his blond hair a perfect contrast to his deep, golde
  6. C James


    Chapter 10: Tequila Coming down was the part he hated most... Seeing the ground rushing up always sent icy fingers of fear racing up his spine. He was just glad it was behind him, at least until the next time he had to fly. Clearing customs had been a breeze, thought Dimitri. With the jet-lagging engineer in tow, he’d picked up the Range Rover he’d left in long-term parking after his prior visit, and been out of the airport within an hour. Heading west, skirting Brisbane as he made his way inland from the coastal airport, he was feel
  7. Chapter 9: Antici..... pation Standing a few yards back from the railing, much to Dimitri’s relief, the three men wrapped up their planning as The Scar asked, “Once you have the equipment and supplies, how long will it take for the devices to be ready?” The engineer stopped to consider this for a moment before answering, “That is hard to say; many components need to be fabricated and I will need to adapt my designs, depending on the specifics. For example, will I be using natural uranium, or depleted uranium? Either will work, though
  8. Chapter 8: Going Public Dashing into the main corridor; Brandon, who knew the studio layout better than anyone, took a guess at Gabe’s likely route; down the emergency stairs to the parking garage. Running down the hall and then yanking open the heavy fire door, Brandon heard running footsteps echoing up from below; he’d guessed right. Bolting down the stairs, taking them three at a time, Brandon gained a little ground on the fleeing man, but Gabe had a good head start, and charged through the door into the parking garage while Brandon was still three floor
  9. Chapter 7: Lump's Return Buckled into the passenger seat of Helen’s Cadillac Escalade, desperately clutching the hand-hold and clinging to the armrest as she wove though the nightmarish traffic to the accompaniment of blaring horns and obscene gestures toward other motorists, Brandon muttered, “Wasn’t it you who was complaining about how the guys drive?” Helen snorted, “Actually, I think they drive like old ladies, but they don’t need to know that.” Arriving at a glass and steel building a few miles away, Helen led Brandon
  10. C James

    A Kiss

    Chapter 6: A Kiss After their long talk, feeling far more at ease with one another, Brandon and Chase headed back out to join the others, meeting some unreadable looks. The topic of conversation in the suite, made all the more obvious by its abrupt cessation, became clearer still as Jon and Eric smirked, looking guilty. Brandon realized what they were thinking and blurted out, “No, we were just talking, honest!” Shrugging in an attempt to feign disinterest, Jon replied, “None of anybody’s business anyway, so relax.” Eric elb
  11. Chapter 5: Moving Day Helen, her mouth half full, continued where she’d left off, “Brandon, you and I will be picking out your new clothes, because I have an eye for what you will need. I do that for the other guys too, and that’s just put on the corporate credit card, so you need not worry about that at all; it’s business. As for any other expenses, there is this studio...” Brandon felt his gut clench at the thought of that, but Helen assured him, “Which is also no concern of yours. The contracts are clear on that; the studio lease is paid off
  12. Chapter 4: Fish out of Water As a result of adding up the clues, Brandon thought he knew. Looking at Chase and Eric in turn, he searched for any sign on their grinning faces. Finding none, and reminding himself to never play poker with these guys, he smiled, remembering Eric’s interest in why he’d picked up that magazine, and that Eric had handed him a very revealing swimsuit to wear. “I think I’ve got it this time...” Brandon, a self-satisfied smirk growing on his face, paused for a moment, letting the tension build, before turning to
  13. C James


    Chapter 2: Roadie His phantom audience gone, Brandon returned to harsh reality, hurrying to finish the last of the long and difficult tasks he'd been left to complete by himself. Giving the guitar one last caress as he returned it to its place, remembering better days, days that now seemed so long ago. He'd been in a garage band, one just beginning to achieve some minor notice, the first glimmerings of a bright and promising future. Life was looking good, until fickle fate intervened; his parents had uncovered his secret, throwing him out like y
  14. C James


    Chapter 3: Outing Pushing his chair back, Jon laughed while rising from his seat, "You want to see his face, huh? Well that, my friend, can be arranged..." Jon grabbed Brandon by one arm, Eric taking the other, hauling the puzzled Brandon over to a wall mirror, turning him to face it. Reacting to Brandon's dumbfounded look, Eric chortled, "You did just say you wanted to see his face when he found out, right? Well, keep looking..." Brandon stared at his own reflection for a full two seconds before the light finally dawned, "W
  15. Chapter 1: Death of a Dream The first sign of trouble came in the form of a muffled snap as the audio monitor, accompanied by its mounting bracket, came crashing down from the scaffolding. Brandon felt more than heard the sharp thud as it smashed onto the stage less than a dozen feet from where he stood. He turned in time to see the last skittering components of what, moments before, had been an expensive speaker come to a standstill. Sudden, overwhelming silence, the calm before the inevitable storm, was soon shattered by Gabe's grating voice b
  16. C James


    Prologue A few months hence... The dust bedeviled them... The dust always bedeviled them, or at least since the assembly process had begun. There was little choice in their location; striving in secrecy to convert the optical lens-grinding factory to something requiring far greater precision. The man in the white cleanroom suit breathed the harsh air of the room, struggling under the glaring halogen lights, selecting his tools with practiced care; he steeled himself for the task at hand. Easing open the lid of their contain
  17. Brandon's dreams had been crushed far too often for him to ever believe, especially in himself. Follow along as he experiences some massive changes in his life, along with a few bumps in the road, and a few high-pressure situations.
  18. But but but... isn't is still October? BTW... I'm finally back. I've been traveling a lot, both on the trip I was on to South America, and then an unexpected and also longer than expected biz trip upon my return. My house has serous cobweb issues at the moment! CJ
  19. I'll be back home (and online again) around Oct 15th. I hope everyone is well, and I appologize to all those I owe e-mail, PM's, and forum replies to. BTW, although I've been in some very mountainous areas, I have, as always, been unrelenting in my avoidance of cliffs.
  20. Just got back... I'm super tired (36 hours of travel to get home, ugh.) Sorry for leaving without a heads up... I had a sudden opertunity open up (in other words, a way to do the trip very cheap), but it meant I had all of six hours to get to the airport (which is 3 hours from here). So, 3 hours to prep my home, pack, etc, etc. That wasn't quite as bad as it sounds, as I'd been thinking of going to Chilie again anyway this summer (winter there, so low season rates), but it was hectic when the seat opened up plus a last-minute major discount on a hotel came through. I was supposed to b
  21. Thanks!! It's been a long ride, for sure. Huh? But but but... It was Trevor, not me, who made the crack about Australians. I can't be blamed for that!! And yep... Bridget is absolutely dead. Yes indeed, Happy New Year!!! What else could one call a writer scapegoat? Thanks!!! Thanks!! I'm a travel addict myself, so I know the feeling! I had tremendous help in every way, including on Australia (though any remaining errors are mine alone). Could you do me a big favor and let me know where I goofed?? Thanks!! Heh, I didn't
  22. C James


    Chapter 157: Epilogue (Here's a link to google maps, centered on the areas in the chapter, which can be zoomed and moved around, because I know some of you are like me and love to follow along and see the areas on the story.) Author’s note: Thank you for sticking with this story to the end. It’s been a long run, over a million words, and we’re finally at the end. I would like to take this opertunity to thank my team; this story is theirs as much as mine. October 23rd, 2007 The dawn came as with a thunder, a fitting omen for the day. Seven miles south-southeast of NASA’s L
  23. Posted 233rd December 2012 - 02:45 AM Epilogue is up! (it might take a minute after this post to appear). Well, we almost didn't make it, but here we are, on the last day of December, 2012, and the epilogue is up, and the story is over. Whew, I was afraid we wouldn't get it done in under 100 chapters and before the end of 2012 as promised, but we squeaker in under the line!! I sincerely apologize for the delays. Everything that could go wrong, did. I'm finally getting time to be back on line again, plus some internet connection when the lightning isn't roaring (so the early hours of t
  24. Thanks!!!! Okay, *IF* my internet connection holds, we're about an hour from the epilogue posting.
  25. Francesca, thank you. Some of it is firsthand experience. I travel a great deal, I can fly a plane, I can sail, etc, and I do indeed do a lot of research. However, I had a great deal of help on all of this from my team; I credit them and their varied areas of expertise with making this story happen. But... cliffhangers? Me? I never, ever use cliffhangers. I'm addicted to foreshadowing. The problem is that if I make it easy to get, it's a spoiler. But if I make it too hard to get, it might as well not be there. So, I usually use a lot, figuring that some will be missed.
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