Nexus Point (Meridian Series)

BOOK: Nexus Point (Meridian Series)
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Nexus Point


A Novel In Time




Being Volume II in the
Meridian Series



By John Schettler









Copyright Notice

All material in this
file is protected under U.S. Copyright Law.


Nexus Point,
Copyright©2004, John Schettler

Being Book II in the
Meridian Series Novels by John Schettler

All Rights Reserved

No part of this file
may be duplicated, distributed, stored in any medium, or sold without
expressed, written permission by the author.


ISBN: 0-9713170-9-7


John Schettler – [email protected]


A publication of:

Writing Shop Press




Rev: 04/04










History was not the
province of the great. Fate hinged on the simplest of things: loose knots, a
casual stumble, a chance meeting, something inadvertently dropped, or lost, or


In this compelling sequel
to the award winning novel
, the project team members slowly become
aware of unseen adversaries at play in the Meridian of Time.


The quest for  an ancient
fossil leads to an amazing discovery hidden in the Jordanian desert. A
mysterious group of assassins plot to decide the future course of history, just
one battle in a devious campaign that will become a Nexus Point of grave danger,
where even the fates are powerless to intervene.





By John Schettler:



A Novel In Time

Magazine’s Silver Medal Winner

Science Fiction Book Of The Year – 2002


Point –
Book II in the Meridian Series

Fiction- Spring 2004



Book III in the Meridian Series



Zone –
Book I in the Dharman Series

Fiction – With Richard Gylgayton. Fall 2002


Heart –
Book II in the Dharman Series




The Land Of No Return

Novel of the Silk Road

Fiction – Fall 2001



Novel – Spring 2004



availability and orders please visit:








An Angel Falls
on Palestine


“Fare well,
Do-Rahlan. Wither you have gone I cannot say.

 It is my hope
that your soul will be held fast in the hands of Allah, the Compassionate, the


I have taken
that which you left me—the mighty King, and marked the place where I was
reading. I will hide it well, my friend, and keep fast the memory of your


Remember me as
one who looked with shining eyes upon thy holy face, and, should Allah smile
with thee, live long in the Paradise that awaits you.”



Author Unknown

Translated from
the Arabic

1187 AD


Nordhausen Caper – England – November, 1919


The train
the station at precisely 12:00 noon, and Nordhausen smiled at the legendary
British sense of punctuality. It was the daily run out of London to Oxford,
making its way there in a roundabout way by following the meandering line of
the Thames as it curled north of Windsor. It was stopping at Reading now, near
the confluence of the Kennet River and the Thames. They would hold over here
for half an hour, and then turn north to cross the Berkshire Downs and come up
upon Oxford from the south.

       The professor had been
very careful in his research this time, following every clue he could dig up on
the matter that was now afoot. He was very pleased that he had been able to
dress himself so well for the part he hoped to play here, a stolid English
gentlemen in dark wool and pinstripes topped off with a typical derby of the
period. His shoes were immaculately polished, and this time they were very well
fitted. The memory of his trek across the desert in those tight leather boots
still sent a twinge to his toes when he thought of it. A gold chain adorned his
vest, linking smartly to the pocket watch his grandfather had given him years
ago. Even though Maeve had not had the chance to subject him to her careful
scrutiny before he left, he was well satisfied that there was nothing about his
appearance that would arouse the slightest suspicion or undue interest. He
seemed the perfect English banker, out on business, which is exactly the image
he intended to project.

       In spite of all his research and careful
preparations, however, Nordhausen was a bit worried. It occurred to him that,
behind all his rationalizations, he still entertained a hint of misgiving about
this trip. He had wrestled with the matter internally for some time, and he
knew it was risky to go off on a time jaunt without authorization. That last
mission to the desert had been enough to convince him that Paul’s theory was
correct. Changes in time hinged on the simplest of things: loose knots, a
casual stumble, a chance meeting, something inadvertently dropped, or lost, or
found. All one had to do was find these things in the research—a task that
could take years, depending on the complexity of the situation. The number of
potential variables was enormous! How could anyone ever hope to uncover just
the right pinprick of time? It was an intimidating proposition.

       The research went something like this: once
you determine the thing you want to change you must then isolate all the key
Meridians flowing into that Nexus Point of time and determine which one offered
the best prospects for success. Any solution you devise might cause
alteration in the stream of causality, yet the change may not be the one needed
to accomplish your purpose. Time had a way of accounting for small errors and
deviations, like a meandering stream that eventually found its way back into
the main channel.

       It all seemed an impossible game of hit and
miss to him, until Paul convinced him that somewhere, lost on a single wayward
thread of time, a moment existed that was mated to every great event on the
continuum, a whisper of inconsequential absurdity that was forever paired to
the great conquerors of history, like the slaves who would ride with Ceasar in
his triumph to remind him that all glory was fleeting.

       The trick was finding the correct moment to
alter, and the surprise was that it would never be something big, something
obvious. Try to stop an asteroid from striking the earth on the day of the
event and no amount of force applied at that moment might be enough to do the
job. But get to it while it is far enough away, and it would only take the
slightest nudge to divert its course and save the world. Try swatting aside the
rifle of an assassin at the moment before he shoots, and time would find a way
to frustrate your every attempt. But let the air out of the tire of his car
three weeks before the day of the shooting, and all history will change.

       You had to feel your way along the
Meridians, groping for those little moments of insignificance that would have
the right effect. Who would have thought that a disaster on the scale of Palma
in 2010 could have been reversed by a train wreck in the Jordanian desert of
1917? How could one make a connection of cause and effect from such disjointed
events? The research could take years. He knew now that they could never have
finished that first mission without the timely help of their visitor from the
future, and the subtle clues he left behind.

       Yet, what a mission it was! They had set out
to save the Western World from Ra’id Husan al Din, a man so bent on his war
against the “Infidel” that he would sacrifice the lives of tens of millions of
innocent people in a single moment of terror.  It was not a symbolic stroke, as
his forerunner Osama Bin Ladin had made in his September attack against the World
Trade Center. No, Husan al’ Din came up with something truly awesome in scope.
By comparison, it made the 9/11 attack seem like the barest foreshock to the
real catastrophe that lay in store for the West: on the night before Memorial
Day of the year 2010.

       Husan and his operatives had finally
acquired their weapon of mass destruction—a warhead of sufficient power and
yield to serve in the incredible plan they had spawned. It was inevitable that
someone would eventually get their hands on a nuke, but the genius of the plan
led to consequences far beyond the destruction of a single city. The device was
buried deep in the unstable western flank of the volcano that made up the bulk
of the Island of Palma. When it went off, it super-heated huge pillars of standing
water that had percolated down into old lava tubes in the side of the mountain.
As the water expanded, driven by the fierce explosive venting of an eruption
triggered by the blast, the flank of the volcano gave way and
a massive
landslide rumbled into the ocean a little
after midnight, GMT. The resulting tsunami was unlike anything ever seen in
modern history. It surged across the Atlantic, promising to swell up in immense
waves topping three hundred feet by the time it struck the Eastern Seaboard. There
was no ground on Manhattan island that high, and the loss of life would have
been unthinkable in that city alone. The whole of the western shoreline of the
US was doomed to share the same fate, but it never happened, and Nordhausen
could still not figure out why.

       The wave sequence was supposed to take over
eight hours to cross the Atlantic and, in that brief interval of time, Paul
Dorland’s theory had been proven correct. Someone came
on that
storm drenched night and made it to the final briefing at the professor’s
study. He carried an urgent message and an appeal for help. It would all work,
he told them. Time travel was possible! Researchers from his own time had been
trying to forestall the terror of Husan al Din for years, but they could not get
back far enough on the Meridian.

       From their vantage point, in some far
distant future, they had discovered that the only way to save their world was
to prevent the birth of the master terrorist himself. It was the key to
preventing the Palma Event, a Radical Transformation according to Paul’s
lexicon. Yet, try as they might, the team of future researchers who had built
upon Paul’s unproven theory were foiled by another of his maxims: that great
events cast a penumbra on the continuum,
a time
shadow that slowly calcified until it became impossible to penetrate

       The interference of the Time Penumbra cast
by the Palma Event had stopped every attempt the future researchers made to
prevent it. They could not get through to the target year in the past but,
somehow, they managed to send one man into the eye of the storm—into that calm
interval between the eruption of Palma, and the arrival of the first towering
wave sets on the East Coast of the United States. It was not the eruption, but
the tsunami that caused the real damage. The eight hour interval was a Nexus
Point, a place where time was holding it’s breath before it exhaled to some new

       If someone could get back to that null point
in time, they could try and help the team of researchers meeting in
Nordhausen’s study find a way to use their
technology and complete
the mission. Even that effort had been a chancy affair. Many died trying to
penetrate the penumbra but, finally, one got through. It was a rough ride,
however, and the visitor missed his mark by a full seven years. Nordhausen
empathized, for he had found himself lost in the Cretaceous because of a single
keystroke error that Kelly made with his calculations.

       Poor Mr. Graves. He had arrived before the
Arch project had even been initiated by Paul and the other team members. All he
could think of doing was to find a safe place, sheltered from the mainstream of
life, and wait out the days and years until the Nexus Point formed where he
could do some good. The professor thought his decision to hide away in a
monastery had been quite novel. He could fit himself into a
, say virtually nothing, and minimize any
chance of contamination. Nordhausen wondered how he occupied his mind for those
seven long years until he could reach the hour when it would become possible to
make his intervention count.

       In the year 2010, Nordhausen’s time, there
would be a fully functional Arch available at Lawrence Berkeley Labs. The
darkening shadow of the Palma Event could not impede a traveler who left
the great tsunami had wreaked havoc on the Eastern Seaboard. That was the plan.

       It seemed simple enough but, like all things
that have simple beginnings, it quickly developed a momentum of its own. The
first thing to be accomplished was to prevent the untimely death of one of the
four central committee members, Kelly Ramer. He had been destined to die in a
simple accident as he hurried to the meeting on the rain slick streets of the
Bay area that night. A moment’s delay, a few seconds when a man in a gray coat
stepped in front of his car, had been enough to prevent the unfortunate
rendezvous and accomplish the task. Kelly was that same few seconds late to his
intersection with death, and his life was spared when the traffic accident that
was to kill him never happened.

       That first intervention was the lever that
would move all the other research team members: Paul Dorland, Chief Physicist
and Theoretician; Maeve Lindford, the head of Outcomes and Consequences; Kelly
Ramer, the Senior Computer Technician, and Professor Nordhausen himself, Chief
Historian. They would be galvanized into action, flush with the knowledge that
their experiment would work after all. Their original plan, a modest proposal
to visit a performance of Shakespeare’s
The Tempest
, in the year 1612
was soon shunted aside. The future of the whole Western World was calling now,
with an urgent appeal. They had to go back and finish the mission, back to find
a way to prevent the birth of the terrorist Husan al Din—but how?  Kelly’s life
was spared, and the clues that had been left on a note in a raincoat from the
future, had been enough to set their course.

       Nordhausen took some small satisfaction in
the fact that he was the one who first deciphered the meaning of the visitor’s
note. It was just a series of numbers that he took to be a date. 11101917-K172 
became November 10, 1917, and the alphanumeric after the hyphen turned out to
be an exact location on the Hejaz rail line: Kilometer 172. They had a time and
a place, but the real problem was to find just
they had to
accomplish if they could reach that crucial moment in time. As it turned out,
that location was the scene of an ambush staged by one Lawrence of Arabia on
that very day. He was planning to blow up a train to raise the fallen spirits
of his men after their primary mission, a plan to destroy a bridge, had been
foiled by a loose strap that sent a rifle clattering into the stony gorge to
alert the Turks.

       That was a perfect example of the theory.
Tighten that gun strap and Lawrence goes for the bridge. He never comes to
Kilometer 172 on November 10
, and a man named Masaui, fated to die
in the raid, lives on instead. Somehow, that single life could change history
and prevent Palma. That loose gun strap was going to change everything, and
Lawrence’s ambush would end up destroying the entire Eastern Seaboard of North

BOOK: Nexus Point (Meridian Series)
11.63Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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