Here's the prologue for the new novel. It's still a little rough. Feel free to rip it up. The better shape I have it in when I submit to the publisher, the better my chances of being picked up. --Jeff _________________________________ PROLOGUE Synopsis of events at and around McMurdo Station on August 26 Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica At 2:15 PM on August 26, McMurdo Station in Antarctica detected unusual seismic activity near the Ross Ice Shelf. It was speculated that the shelf was undergoing an unusual amount of shifting, and a two-man team was sent out by helicopter (flight ANTEX 101) to investigate. The following is a transcribed excerpt of the conversation as recorded at McMurdo Station. ANTEX 101 -McMurdo, this is ANTEX 101. We're at the edge of the shelf and we can confirm that there has been considerable calving. McMurdo Station -Understood. Any danger to upcoming supply shipments? We've got a fuel ship coming in next week. ANTEX - It's possible, McMurdo. These are some of the biggest bergs I've ever seen. It's like... (undecipherable) McMurdo Station - ANTEX 101, please say again? ANTEX - I say, it's possible that Cape Bird is going to have some trouble. We're gonna take some pictures and then head back. McMurdo - Roger that, ANTEX. Watch your time. Sunset's at fifteen-thirty. That's just a few minutes away. ANTEX - Ah, yeah. It's already pretty dim. Gonna grab some pictures and head home. Keep the lights on for us. McMurdo - Roger that, ANTEX. (Three and a half minutes of silence.) ANTEX - McMurdo, we're seeing something pretty strange up here. It looks (undecipherable). McMurdo - Say again, ANTEX. You broke up there. ANTEX - (Undecipherable) ...terfall pouring out of the shelf. The water's falling down the side of the shelf and... McMurdo - Lost part of that again. Did you say there's a waterfall coming out of the ice shelf? ANTEX - Affirmative, McMurdo. And you're not gonna believe this, but the water is glowing. (pause) ANTEX - McMurdo, are you there? McMurdo - Roger that, we're here. Did you say the waterfall is glowing? ANTEX - Affirmative. It's getting dark up here, and you can definitely see the water glowing. As a matter of fact, as we get closer to the fall, you can see that there's a slick of the stuff on the surface of the ocean where it's pouring in. It's actually kind of pre-holy shit! Dave, did you see that? McMurdo - See what? What are you seeing, ANTEX? ANTEX - (undecipherable raised voice) McMurdo - Say again? ANTEX - Sorry, McMurdo. There's a pod of orcas churning the water down there. Looks like they've got a minke whale. Poor bastard. McMurdo - (chuckles) You had us worried for a second there. ANTEX - Sorry about that. It's not something you see every day. McMurdo - Roger that. Real circle of life shit. ANTEX - Ha. Yeah, that it is. (approximately thirty seconds of silence) ANTEX - We're right up next to the falls now, McMurdo. This is amazing. It's like some crazy special movie effect. McMurdo - Roger that, ANTEX. Get plenty of pictures. We've got a bunch of the eggheads in the control room here, and they're chomping at the bit (undecipherable) get your pictures. They're arguing over whether the seismic activity let one of the subglacial rivers break through the shelf, or if the river shifting was what caused the sudden calving of icebergs. ANTEX - Got yourself a real chicken or the egg argument, do you? McMurdo - (chuckle) Roger that, ANTEX. ANTEX - (frantic - undecipherable) Dave! McMurdo, Dave's lost it! He's-(undecipherable shouting, followed by a mixture of laughter and screaming) McMurdo - ANTEX 101, what is your situation? (More laughter, followed by more screaming) McMurdo - ANTEX 101. Please respond. (Sound of anti-collision alert - "Whoop, whoop, collision alert. Whoop, whoop, collision alert.") ANTEX - (sound of two distinct voices over the collision warnings, one sobbing, one laughing) McMurdo - ANTEX 101. Please resp- ("...ision alert. Whoop, whoop, collision alert. Whoop, whoo...") [Sound of impact] PRELUDE If it bleeds, it leads. It's a common saying with regards to news and entertainment. So while the headlines were filled with the latest celebrity scandals, there was little mention made of an anomalous slick flowing through the ocean. And while there was some minor excitement among some marine biologists about the reports, the news outlets were much too busy reporting which former child star had entered rehab and whose cell phone had been hacked and their nude photos released to the public. It's a shame really, that so few people were able to appreciate the silent beauty of that shimmering, phosphorescent ribbon that that flowed serenely upon the ocean, making a leisurely escape from its Antarctic prison. Extremophiles, freed from their fourteen million year detention beneath the icecap, shone bright with a distinctive blue bioluminescence, spreading out into the Antarctic Circumpolar current. Over the course of several weeks, the glowing ribbon dispersed, breaking into a multitude of expanding patches. One such slick flowed into the South Atlantic current where it eventually made landfall on the western coast of Africa. If anyone noticed that the beaches of the Congo Basin were unusually stunning, it was never mentioned anywhere. People in that part of the world were too busy worrying about what guerrilla warlord they had to pay fealty to from one week to the next. It was only when those warlords went on a bloody campaign of mindless genocide on a level previously unprecedented that the news agencies had anything to say, and luminescent beaches were not high on the reporters' lists of potential headlines. Meanwhile, Nature did as she always had. Fish ate plankton. Birds ate fish. The food chain continued to deliver its beautiful bounty from the lowliest of life forms, to the topmost rungs of the evolutionary ladder. Life went on as it always had. And the only constant in life, is change.