Genre: Science fiction thriller
Word count: 93,000
In a resource-starved future, most people view The Program as a godsend. A technology invented by reclusive scientist
Singer-songwriter Sheppard Lorren hasn’t given much thought to the Program until he collides with it head-on. Far from home on tour, he receives devastating news. Not only is his cancer-stricken daughter Lily close to death, but his estranged wife has promised Lily’s soul to The Program. Joined by Fratangelo’s sister, and Mako, a brilliant technophile whose biggest secret is his involvement in the Program, Sheppard embarks on a journey to the Sacred Lands, ground zero for Fratangelo’s technology. To get there, the trio must survive a nightmare landscape where the earth is cracked and lifeless and ectoplasm falls from the sky in a deadly blue rain. And even if they make it, they may be too late to save Lily, and there may be no stopping The Program as it reaches critical mass.
Even with his head ducked low to avoid recognition, Sheppard Lorren saw the prophet hovering above the street corner adjacent to the hotel. With his arms spread wide to draw in the gathering crowd, the prophet floated nearly three feet up, his feet planted as if the air he stood on was as solid as the sidewalk below.
“Through our greed we have defied the natural order.” Evangelical in its cadence, the man’s amplified voice boomed out across the people who’d stopped to listen. “No, not defied. We have defiled the natural order.”
Thankful that his guitar was back in the hotel room, Sheppard tugged the brim of his baseball cap lower over his eyes and then approached the edge of the gathering, glancing around to make sure he hadn’t been noticed. But with everyone’s eyes focused on the larger-than-life figure levitating there like a god come to earth, nobody so much as blinked in his direction.
The prophet shimmered, a rippling in the three-dimensional image, and Sheppard recognized the figure for what it was. A hologram.
He’d seen prophets before. In some cities they were on practically every street, their clothes tattered, their hair dirty. As plentiful as robins had once been in springtime, they perched atop shipping crates or the bases of statues, preaching God’s wrath and the end of the world. But with all the cities he’d visited on tour, he’d never seen a manifestation like this one.