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Cataclysm of the Ancients: Fast Paced Science Fiction Thriller

4 Feb



Rhodes, Greece – 226 BC


THE FLOTILLA OF fishing vessels cut through the crystal-clear blue Aegean Sea, their sails billowing in the wind, the sand-coloured fortified stone walls of the town shimmering in the afternoon sun just two nautical miles ahead. The three vessels had been on the open sea for three days and nights, and were now returning home with their specially adapted hulls full of sardines and tuna, at least two weeks’ supply of fish for the stalls, markets and taverns of the town.

Admentos bit into his orange as he watched a dolphin race alongside the hull, leaping out of the ocean as it reached the bow. “Welcome my friend, but be careful,” he said, “one day, fishermen not as friendly as I might try and catch you too.”

The dolphin was joined by another, both now playing together, tracking the vessel back towards the port.

“I can see our friends have joined us again,” Theoros laughed, as he joined his friend at the bow.

“Same two dolphins, I’m sure. The dorsal fin, the triangular section of flesh, is missing,” Admentos said, pointing.

“You know why they follow us home?” Theoros shouted.

“Tell me your theory, my friend.”

“Odysseus; he always throws them half a medimnos of fish, when we get close to port. The large fish aren’t so stupid; they know they have a meal waiting.”

“If I see him do that, I’ll personally throw him into the water with them,” Admentos said, finishing his orange. He wiped his mouth, ran his hands through his thick black wavy hair and glanced to the port side. The two other vessels which had been out fishing with them were two boat-lengths away, playing catch-up with his boat, which he’d proudly named Alcaeus, after his father, an accountant from Athens. The name meant strength, and his father had proven to be a strong man and had educated Admentos well.

Theoros nodded his head towards the town and the fortified port walls that surrounded it, now coming into view. He shook his head in wonder; the awe-inspiring sight of the Titan Helios loomed up from the breakwater, towering over the port in all its glory. The sun’s golden rays lit up the huge bronze statue like a glowing furnace. “There he is, welcoming us home as ever, from our short voyage.”

“Helios has kept us safe for the last fifty-four years. The Cypriots and the sons of Demetrius have not dared attack us again since,” Admentos said proudly, shielding his eyes from the sun’s glare reflecting off the giant bronze Titan. The statue’s right arm was raised towards the ocean, as if in triumph. The sunlight reflecting off the clenched fist as if it were a burning flame.

“May he do the same for another thousand years,” Theoros added, just as the young Odysseus emerged from the vessel’s wooden cabin carrying a large urn. Odysseus looked up, his eyes widening as he saw the two of them.

“And what do you carry in that urn, Odysseus?” Admentos asked, “I hope you are not stealing our fish to give to the dolphins?”

Odysseus stopped and placed the urn down on the deck, shook his head and ruffled his curly blonde hair. “No, I have water to clean the deck.”

“Show me,” Admentos demanded.

Odysseus gingerly picked up the urn and slowly walked towards the bow, where the fishermen were leaning against the bulkhead. As he approached them, he sidestepped and briskly emptied the contents of the urn into the ocean. He then dropped the urn onto the deck and ran to the rear of the boat.

“Odysseus, there seems to be fish in your water!” Admentos shouted, as he ran after the ten-year old, the son of his brother Theras.

Odysseus was already leaning over the stern bulkhead watching the dolphins jump out of the ocean, playing with the half-dead fish, before gulping them down.

“No…no, please, my father will kill you if you touch me,” he screamed, as Admentos grabbed the boy around his chest and turned him upside down.

“You know what we do to people who steal our fish?” Admentos shouted, as Odysseus playfully tried to escape from his grip. “We throw them into the ocean!” Admentos then lifted Odysseus onto the wide, flat, horizontal surface of the bulkhead, grabbed his ankles and proceeded to dangle him over the edge of the vessel.

Odysseus screamed, then laughed, and then screamed again. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Pull me back in, I won’t do it again.”

Theoros stood behind his friend, laughing as he pulled Odysseus back up and lowered him to the deck. “Next time; I’ll drop you in and you can swim back to port with your friends. Your father will thank me for it,” Admentos said, a smile spreading across his tanned face.

The other two fishing vessels had now caught up with them, as they closed in on the harbour. The statue of Helios towered over the small boats, its massive bronze feet rising up from the huge marble plinth it stood on; in itself, a magnificent sight to behold at this distance.

Admentos craned his neck and looked up towards the top of the statue. Gulls drifting on the warm air currents above began to swoop down; chasing the boats towards the port, daily routine telling them that food would soon be available.

Admentos shouted to Odysseus. “You can make up for your theft by getting the ropes ready.”

Odysseus nodded and ran to the cabin.

Fishermen sitting on the fortified walls on the approach to the port, waved as they pulled up their lobster baskets from the sea bed.

As the flotilla passed the breakwater and the huge marble plinth upon which Helios stood, a strange vibrating hum, like no sound they had ever heard before, emanated from somewhere above them, seemingly from the Titan itself.

“Can you hear that, Admentos?”  Theoros shouted.

“What in the name of Zeus is that?! Admentos yelled back, shielding his ears.

The fishermen lining the port walls started to run, some stumbling, as they looked up towards the humming statue of Helios towering above.

As Admentos and Theoros gazed up at Helios, a blinding pure white flash, like a powerful lightning bolt, shot out from both sides of the statue’s torso, one point hitting the port wall and the other arcing over the port, into the mountains behind the town. A violent explosion caused rock from the fortified wall and harbour to erupt around the small flotilla of boats, the calm port waters suddenly became a maelstrom, tossing the fishing vessels like they had been transported into the middle of a violent storm.

Odysseus appeared from the cabin, his eyes wide with fear.

“Get back in the cabin, Odysseus,” Admentos screamed.

Admentos’ and the other men’s cries were drowned out by a series of thunderous cracks, quickly followed by a dark shadow that enveloped the port blocking, the bright sunlight.

“Helios! The Titan is falling!” Theoros screamed in terror.

The Titan snapped at its knees, and fell in three large sections, bronze screeching and bending, as the statue collapsed towards the land just beyond the port.

The three fishing boats tried to turn away, but it was too late. Admentos looked up at the collapsing statue of Helios as the Titan’s outstretched arm broke off from the shoulder and struck his vessel, crushing the wooden boat as if it were made from matchwood.


The Colossus of Rhodes lay where it fell, until 880 years later, when the ruins were sold by Arab invaders to a Jewish merchant from Emesa, Syria, who painstakingly removed the broken statue and bronze scrap, transporting it away on 900 camels.




CIA Headquarters,

Virginia, USA.

Present Day





DR VINCENT KRAMER swiped his identity card through the security scanner. The pad illuminated with a green light, and he walked through the steel security door into corridor B12, which ran along the west side of the building. He casually wiped away a bead of sweat that had formed on his temple, as he continued along the corridor to the Vault – the CIA’s secret records hall. The security cameras above would be monitoring his every move, but he had the necessary clearance to be in this section of the building, so it wasn’t a problem.

He reached the vault door and swiped his card through a second scanner. A light on the pad turned green, before a pencil-thin red laser shot out from a slot in a featureless black panel on the wall in front of him, and began scanning his iris. Kramer stood still for the few moments required, until the laser completed its task.

Two loud clunks resonated up, from somewhere inside the door, as two large steel bolts retracted into the wall. With a hiss of high-pressured air, the two-foot thick reinforced steel door slowly opened.

Kramer walked into the Vault, a rectangular room the size of a football field, and inhaled the room’s air, which had a hint of musty cardboard and old paper to it. This was despite the air within the Vault being recycled on a weekly basis, to ensure the old paper and documents kept there were preserved as well as possible. He figured that the air must have been almost a week old and hadn’t yet been replaced.

The soft strip lighting in the ceiling above the first third of the room, clicked on as he stepped on to the small landing area beyond the security door. The steel lump of the door slowly closed behind him, sealing him in the room, which always unnerved him. What if the unlock mechanism failed, how the hell would I get out?

Spread out before him were 1970s-style light grey filing cabinets, and racking, which extended up from the black and white tiled floor to a height of eight feet or so. There were eight rows of cabinets with aisles in-between, each one wide enough to drive a small forklift truck along. Each row was marked alphabetically A, through to H, and beyond that block was another similar block, marked I-P. A third, identical block, was positioned at the far end of the room, labelled Q-W. At the very back of the room was the final six-cabinet block, identified with the letters X, Y and Z.

Kramer headed down the steel steps, to the tiled floor ten feet below and walked along the aisle directly in front of him towards the third block of cabinets, which housed Row S. As he passed along the hundreds of individual drawers and racks he was effectively walking further back in time, as far as the documents and materials kept in the secure drawers were concerned.

Commencing in the year 2011, the most recent entry in Row D, he walked to the end of the section, back to the year 1722. He’d never looked at the documents in this section, but made a mental note to view them one day, when he had more time. He knew there were even older documents kept in the vault, dating back to the year 1508.

He continued to the middle block of cabinets, the lighting in the ceiling above him automatically clicking on, just as the lights in the first section blinked out, thanks to the eco-sensor picking up his movement within the space. All it did was scare the hell out of him. The Vault gave him the creeps as it was, made worse by the fact that two thirds of the vast room was always in darkness. He looked back. All he could see was a series of red LED lights glowing on the exit pad, on the wall next to the security door which was now shrouded in darkness.

He wiped his forehead again, cursing under his breath for having to be in here in the first place and for the position he found himself in. He prayed he was doing the right thing; the right thing for his wife and daughter, who were being held captive at this very moment, in their own home, and had been for the preceding forty-eight hours. On Saturday night, four men had forced entry into his home, just outside of Fairfax. They had somehow evaded the sophisticated security system he’d installed, before rounding them all up at gun point. The men were dressed, from head to toe, in black. They’d looked like an elite special ops unit; the kind of force he imagined had captured, and killed, Osama Bin Laden, except these bastards were in his own home, in the middle of a suburban street in Virginia.

Of course, he’d promised the kidnappers he’d do whatever was asked of him, to spare his family’s life, and had naturally assumed they wanted some high-level security information about America’s interests abroad. Computer programmes, or operating systems for the US’s drones perhaps, or even the future schedule/timetable of the President himself. The information his captors had demanded, however, had left him slightly flummoxed and, in an odd way, even more concerned. The best he could hope for was to be able to find and obtain the information for them, extricate his family from danger and then alert the secret service of the circumstances. The bastards needed to be caught. He’d insist he and his family be given new identities, before being relocated. The entire situation was a nightmare.

Kramer reached Row S, in the third block of cabinets. The Vault behind him was now in darkness, the red glow from the LED lights on the exit pad the only light visible. He looked up and checked the wall-mounted camera, close to where the wall met the ceiling above. The camera could clearly see him; however, by pulling out two of the drawers above the one he needed to get into, he could create a large enough obstruction to block the camera’s view. He reached up and pulled on the drawers, which squeaked on their runners as they extended out. Kramer then pulled out the drawer marked ‘Sp’ and started rummaging through the dividers, until he reached the folder he was searching for – Sphinx Remote Viewing Studies 1974.

He carefully pulled the manila A4 folder from its place and opened the flap, a slight tremor now evident in his hands. Thankfully, the documents were inside. He thumbed through the paperwork within the folder; just three A4 sheets appeared to be relevant. He pulled them out, rolled them into a tube and shoved them behind his belt, in the front of his trousers. He then quickly replaced the folder and closed the drawer labelled ‘Sp’ followed by both drawers above it. The tapes would show him looking in the cabinets in Row S but, hopefully, they wouldn’t record him actually stealing the documents.

Kramer walked hastily back through the vault, the energy saving lighting, tracking him back to the front of the room, blinking on as he passed into each section. He dabbed his forehead with his handkerchief as he ascended the steel steps to the Vault door. He reached the top landing, glanced back to the cabinets he’d just come from, now shrouded in darkness, and swiped his card across the door exit pad. The red lights blinked green and, as the large steel door clunked slowly open, he slipped out to the main corridor beyond.

Kramer headed back along the lengthy corridor, opened the security door he’d gone through earlier, and walked down another black and white tiled corridor; towards the cafeteria in the building’s older section. The time was 3.30 p.m.; he only had fifteen minutes before the arranged meet.

He ordered a latte to go and exited through the café’s rear glass door, onto a small paved terrace area. He casually strolled passed the Kryptos sculpture; towards the main car park. The mid afternoon sun was already bathing CIA Headquarters with its fading rays of light. A few miles to the east, lights were already blinking on in the suburbs of Washington D.C.

A black SUV with blacked-out windows was waiting for him, as instructed, at the rear of the vast car park, close to the perimeter fence, which bordered a large wooded area. Kramer nervously sipped his coffee, his stomach churning as he approached the vehicle.

The driver’s window slid down a few centimetres and a man, with a Middle-Eastern accent, directed him to walk around to the passenger side.

Kramer nodded and walked around the rear of the SUV and stopped at the front passenger door. He pulled the rolled up documents out from the top of his trousers.

The window slid down a fraction. “Are those the papers?”

“Yes,” Kramer replied.

“Show me.”

Kramer unrolled the documents and held them against the window. “I want to speak to my wife and child…”

The man, in the vehicle, cut him off. “Give me the papers – pass them through the gap.”

Kramer raised a shaking hand and pushed the rolled up documents through the gap in the window. “Now, let me speak to…”

The passenger window slid down six inches or so.

Kramer stepped back.

“You have my word that your wife and daughter will be fine. You have performed your task admirably, but I’m afraid this is where your journey ends,” the slim-faced Middle-Eastern man said, as he opened the window further and looked Kramer in the eyes, his right hand gripping the handle of a gun fitted with a long suppressor.

Kramer dropped his coffee, which hit the tarmac with a wet thud, just as two bright flashes flared out from the long black tube pointed at his chest. Kramer collapsed to the ground, the searing pain eating into him.

The black SUV screeched off as Kramer lay on the tarmac, gasping for air. His last vision was of his own blood slowly mixing with the light brown coffee he’d been drinking moments earlier.

Cataclysm (138x220) (138x220)





Has Earth reached its TIPPING POINT

17 Dec

Will the Polish climate change deal change anything? Will global temperatures be prevented from increasing above a cataclysmic 2 degrees Celsius. We all hope so, but let’s face it, the few people in power who can do something about the situation, don’t seem to have the will or the genuine appetite to do so. Perhaps they should think more about their children and children’s children who will inherit one hell of a hot, erratic messed up planet than trying to apply cheap fixes and useless band aids  on the issues…

Anyway enough of a rant – why not settle down to Robert Spire’s first adventure… a climate fiction thriller with some real science and real science fiction… and there’s plenty more Spire adventures to go on after this one…. enjoy and have a happy Christmas people of the good Planet Earth.

Two Dead Climatologists…

An International Conspiracy…

A Looming Global Cataclysm… 

When eminent climatologist Dr Dale Stanton – in the process of studying the Atlantic Ocean’s Thermohaline Circulation – is found dead in his London apartment, environmental lawyer, Robert Spire, is given the task to administer a large legacy left by Dr Stanton to global warming organisations. The job should have been straightforward, until a second climatologist, Dr Jack Bannister drops dead on the other side of the Atlantic…

When the dead scientist’s mother engages Spire to look further into her son’s death, it soon becomes apparent that not all is as it seems. Spire soon finds he is out of his depth, as he is stalked by a sinister female Russian spy intent on tracking his every move, and to seemingly assassinate leading climatologists involved in investigating global warming and the melting Arctic sea ice. Spire is soon thrust into an international conspiracy involving a terrorist plot to push the Arctic to its tipping point, and the world to disaster…

TIPPING POINT is a fast-paced, unputdownable climate-change thriller, with terrorism elements that will keep you turning the pages until the very end. If you like James Rollins, Brett Battles, Clive Cussler, and the action and adventure of a James Bond movie then you will love the entire Robert Spire Action Thriller series.

Pick up your copy and start reading Tipping Point today!

“Simon Rosser’s scientific and psychological thriller “Tipping Point” is one of the best I have read in the past decade. He has a gift for fluent narrative, realistic characterization and for creating settings that come vividly to life for the reader. He blends tension and suspense very successfully against the contemporary background of global warming and its sinister implications.

–Author, TV presenter and Priest Lionel Fanthorpe –

Simonrosser_1 (1)

How to get started with Cryptocurrency trading…

1 May


How to profit in the

Digital Currency Gold Rush



Si Rosser


Schmall World Publishing

First published in Great Britain as an e-book by Schmall World Publishing

Copyright © Simon Rosser 2018


The right of Simon Rosser to be identified as the author of the work has been asserted herein in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved.

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data.



Disclaimer: The author is not a financial advisor or in any way giving financial advice within the pages of this book. Any cryptocurrency investments/purchases made after reading this book are done at the buyers own risk



Also by the same author;

The A-Z of Global Warming

Tipping Point – Robert Spire 1

Impact Point – Robert Spire 2

Melt Zone – Robert Spire 3

Cataclysm of the Ancients – Robert Spire 4

Red Mist – Espionage Thriller

Salient – SciFi Thrller



Chapter 1

Cryptocurrencies – What Are They?

Chapter 2

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple and Bitcoin Cash

Chapter 3

What is a Blockchain?

Chapter 4

Altcoins – A Coin for Everyone and Everything

Chapter 5

Altcoin Search – Where Do You Start?

Chapter 6

Cryptocurrency Exchanges – Buying Ether and Bitcoin, Keeping it Simple!

Chapter 7

Strategies to Deploy

Chapter 8

Secret to Success – Eruption and Trigger Points

Chapter 9

ICO’s – Initial Coin Offerings Explained

Chapter 10

Wallets – Keeping Your Cryptos Safe


Recap, HODL and be Patient!



The information contained in this book is for educational purposes only. Any examples used are for educational and illustrative purposes. I am not recommending any particular Cryptocurrencies, ICOs or Blockchain technology. The names of any firms of Crypto Exchanges, financial institutions, wallets, financial websites or otherwise mentioned are for illustrative purposes only. The decision on which company to use if any, is at the total discretion of you, the reader. It is recommended that you seek your own professional financial advice before proceeding to invest in cryptocurrencies.


The world of Cryptocurrencies and ICOs is HIGHLY speculative and VOLOTILE and whilst large sums of money can be made, you can equally lose all your investments. Please read and understand the above and be aware of the risks of this kind of trading and investing.


By continuing to read this book you agree to the above and accept the extremely high risk nature of cryptocurrencies.


With those cautionary words over, let’s dive into the world of crypto!




OKAY, SO YOU might be thinking what gives me the authority to write a book about cryptocurrency? And I wouldn’t blame you. I am a lawyer by profession and a part time author of 8 action-adventure thriller novels, and one reference book on global warming.

I’m also a self-taught cryptocurrency investor. Someone who knew nothing about Bitcoin or cryptocurrency in general until I started researching and immersing myself into the world of cryptocurrency after a good friend of mine in 2017 confirmed that his brother was heavily into it and making a lot of money. At the time I thought that I’d missed the boat. One Bitcoin back then was trading for about $3000 a coin. I thought no thanks, that’s clearly well over priced and apart from that I didn’t even understand what a Bitcoin was! Well, my big mistake was not looking into things further at the time. Shortly after I heard that another friend of mine in London had bought something called Ripple. With no idea what that was, in the latter half of 2017 I decided to start researching the entire world of cryptocurrency. I paid for cryptocurrency investment information, watched countless videos and read numerous articles and carried out hours of research. This book is the culmination of all of that. I only wish I’d taken more interest back in 2016 when my friend had first told me about his brother investing in Bitcoin, and some other exotic Altcoins that I’d never heard of. If I had, I’d probably be writing this book from my condo in Hawaii! But seriously, I use the term ‘investing’ loosely, as the cryptocurrency market is so volatile, and the landscape changing so rapidly, that anyone who knows anything about cryptocurrencies will tell you that you should only invest what you can afford to lose, and I can only reiterate that advice.

My aim in writing this book is to de-mystify the subject and hopefully provide you with the knowledge, confidence and tools to get started in investing in your first cryptocurrency coins. All you’ll need is a little patience and time to spend a few hours opening the necessary free trading accounts that are needed to buy and sell your coins, and you’ll be ready to jump into buying your first cryptos before you know it. I have to reiterate that I am in no way giving any investment advice or recommendations within this book as I am not a financial advisor or licenced by any kind of financial authority to do so, and you should always only invest what you can afford to lose (and I’m talking from starting with as little as a $50 stake like I did) but hopefully, with a bit of luck and judgement, you’ll have some fun and also make money along the way!

I aim to cut through the mysticism and incredibly complex – at first glance – cutting edge world of cryptocurrency investing, in order to make things as simple as possible. In writing this book I have a similar desire to when I wrote my guide on global warming, which was to try and make a topic which seems extremely complicated, much easier to understand. In all honesty, trying to clarify what is going on with global warming was a lot more complex, and took a great deal longer to research and simplify than writing this guide on cryptocurrencies.


So, before I get started on the nitty gritty of how to find your first coins, which coins to look out for, and how to buy them, I’ll set out a very brief introduction on the basic facts you might want to know about how this entire craze started. To do that, we need to look at the granddaddy of all cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.


Investing in cryptocurrencies has been said to be a generational wealth creator. That means, no other investment is likely to come along in the next 50 years or so that could potentially make you so wealthy, and so quickly as investing in cryptocurrency. And the great thing is, you only need to invest very small amounts, just $20 will do!


Cryptocurrencies and the blockchain will change the way we see the world. It cuts out the middlemen, cuts costs and is fast.


Fortunes will be made by corporations and individuals who are brave enough to get involved in this almost pioneering type of investing which is literally akin to panning for gold in the wild frontiers of the American Midwest.


I’m sure you are wondering; how much money have I made? Well, I can confirm at the time of publishing this book, my cryptocurrency portfolio of 15 different coins has increased by a massive 160%, in 7 weeks or so. Some of the best performing coins are listed below;


  • Tron – TRX purchased at 0.036, now 0.098 – up 169%
  • Zillika – ZIL purchased at 0506, now 0.1066 – up 110%
  • Refereum – RFR purchased at 0.007, now 0.012 – up 72%
  • BANCA – purchased at 0.002, now 0.003 – up 54%


The rises have been volatile, but at present, they are all heading up!

This book was written with the novice in mind, and also for those already knowledgeable about cryptocurrency.

If all this peaks your interest, then read on!

Purchase on

Purchase on

3 Apr

MELT ZONE…coming 7th April to Amazon… get ready for adventure…

SimonRosserAuthor Blog


In 1938 the German New Swabia Expedition left Hamburg for Antarctica aboard the MS Schwabenland. The secret expedition arrived at the Princess Martha Coast, in an area which had been claimed by Norway as Dronning Maud Land, and began charting the region. Nazi German flags were placed on the sea ice along the coast…75 years later, something very odd is discovered…


Just before Europe’s Envisat satellite malfunctions, it photographs a mysterious melt zone during a fly-over of Eastern Antarctica. Following analysis of the photographs, the UKs GLENCOM – Global Environmental Command – Unit, sends three of its climatologists to investigate, but as they analyse the site, a vast crevasse opens in the ice, swallowing them up. They survive the fall, but make a startling and lethal discovery.


GLENCOM agent and environmental lawyer, Robert Spire, has his Austrian skiing holiday interrupted following…

View original post 5,617 more words

Statistics for December and 2012 – is the UK getting wetter?

4 Jan

Official blog of the Met Office news team

Provisional statistics from the Met Office show 2012 was the second wettest year in the UK national record dating back to 1910, and just a few millimetres short of the record set in 2000.

The exceptionally wet year was characterised by a dry start which quickly gave way to very wet weather, with April and June both being the wettest on record.

Unsettled weather continued through to the end of the year, with December being the 8th wettest on record for the UK.

Throughout the year, accurate forecasts and warnings from the Met Office have helped everyone across the UK plan and prepare for the worst impacts of the extremely wet weather we have seen.

The persistent wet weather resulted in total 2012 rainfall for the UK of 1330.7 mm, which is just 6.6 mm short of the record set in 2000.

Looking at individual countries, 2012 was the wettest…

View original post 390 more words

Tipping Point Action-adventure thriller – Intro Chapters

30 Jul










“The point at which the number of small changes over a period of time reaches a level where a further small change has a sudden and very great effect on a system…”


Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary


For Zuzana






April 5





“ONLY ANOTHER FOUR of these trips and we’re done,” Davenport shouted to his friend, as he looked back at the jagged cliffs rising out of the ocean on the bleak leeward side of the Ile de l’Est.

“Thank God! Don’t ever ask me to sign up for anything like this again. After the year we’ve spent down here, I’m sure we’ll both be exempt from having to do any further voluntary research for a while,” Hawthorn replied.

Dawn was just breaking over the windswept isles, as the old wooden fishing boat chugged out of the make-shift port on Ile de l’Est, one of six islets that make up the French Crozet Islands in the Southern Indian Ocean. The sub-Antarctic archipelago – part of the French Southern Territories since 1955 – was uninhabited, except for a small research base on the main island, Ile de la Possession.

“You know Adam, I could think of better things to be doing during my gap year. Monitoring penguins and sea creatures doesn’t feature high on the list,” Hawthorn said, turning the boat towards the sampling zone.

“Don’t forget it’s your turn to update the catalogue with whatever marine samples we find,” Davenport shouted, throwing the well-used notebook across the deck to his friend.

Adam Davenport and James Hawthorn had been based on the main island, Ile de la Possession, along with five other research scientists for the last eight months, and were now embarking on the final four months of their placement as part of an international monitoring team, studying the many different species of penguins, seals, birds, flora and fauna unique to the archipelago. The islands were in fact one large nature reserve, since being declared a national park back in 1938. The two researchers felt long forgotten by the outside world. The monthly food drop, by small plane from the French Kerguelen islands – some thirteen hundred kilometres to the east – was their only real comfort.

The boat’s bow rose up on the crest of a wave as they motored out of the protected inlet toward Ile de la Possession, and the buoy that marked the research area, some two kilometres out from the eastern shore.

“It sure is calm out today,” Davenport said, looking out over the horizon. A group of five petrels circled above the boat as they arrived at the marker buoy. Hawthorn cut the engine, letting the boat drift toward the orange buoy. “Pass the rope so I can tie her up,” he yelled.

Davenport threw him the frayed end of the rope, which he secured to the chain on the buoy. The boat bobbed up and down on the light swell as Davenport went to retrieve his packet of Marlboro’s from the wheelhouse. “How many pots are we supposed to be pulling up today James?” He shouted over to his friend.

“Looks like we dropped eight overboard last week,” Hawthorn replied, flicking through the scruffy, worn notepad which dated back to the 1960s. “It’s going to look like seafood pick and mix by the time we haul them all up.”

Davenport lent over the side of the boat, taking in a deep breath of sea air. He pulled a Marlboro from the packet, licked the end of it, and placed it between his lips. “There’s a very strange smell on the port side,” he shouted to Hawthorn, who was getting the sampling kits ready to drop overboard.

He flipped the top of his Zippo lighter open and struck the flint. Before Hawthorn could answer him, a flash of light and heat exploded around them, completely engulfing the wooden fishing boat.

Hawthorn felt the force of the explosion as he was thrown into the shattered wheelhouse, followed by an instant of agonizing pain, then darkness.

Davenport opened his eyes. He was in the water, surrounded by flotsam and covered in burning oil. He tried to swim through it, but the task was futile. He screamed, and dived under the water. The last thing he felt was a searing pain in his lungs as he sank into the freezing depths.









London, April 15





DR. DALE STANTON sat at his desk in the darkening room of his Russell Square apartment staring blankly at the glowing computer screen, his eyes tired and sore. His face was impassive, except for the visible, nervous twitch in the corner of his mouth, which revealed his gathering thoughts.

He was putting the finishing touches to the presentation that he would be giving to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change conference in Oslo, Norway, in a little under a week’s time. Stanton had been working on his current project for almost eight months, and the conclusions he’d reached, he had little doubt, would concern the scientific world. Reaching over, he turned on the desktop lamp and rubbed his eyes, before leaning back in his chair to stretch his aching neck.

Looking back at the monitor, he started reading over the salient parts of his presentation to check it one final time before finishing for the evening. He resumed typing; making what he hoped was the final amendment to his paper.

We know the Ocean Thermohaline Circulation is an important Atlantic current powered by both heat ( thermo) and salt ( haline ) which brings warm water up from the tropics to northern latitudes. Without it, the Eastern Seaboard of the USA and climate of Northern Europe would be much colder. I have been re-analysing all the data amassed by the RAPID-WATCH program and my calculations reveal that the measuring devices have been incorrectly calibrated. Twenty-five of the thirty devices used to measure ocean flow were set by the manufacturers to measure fresh water. When calibrating the data to factor in measurements for denser salt water, the figures revealed…

Stanton jumped, as the telephone on his desk rang. He took a deep breath, and sighed as he reached over his laptop to pick up the phone. “Hello!” There was no answer. “Hello!” Again, silence. He replaced the receiver. His train of thought interrupted, he sat quietly for a moment before completing the final sentence, then saved the amendments and closed the program down. He clicked on his private finance folder to check an insurance policy he knew was about to expire, and as he did, accidentally opened the file containing a copy of his will. Perusing it, he reminded himself to amend the charitable legacies clause in order to make a gift to the team down at RAPID. God knows, they would need all the help they could get.

He’d had the will prepared after receiving a large sum of money from his father two years earlier. A colleague had recommended a local firm specialising in environmental law with a promise that one of the firm’s senior environmental lawyers, a Mr. Robert Spire would be appointed as a co-executor. He closed the file, reminding himself to have the will amended when he returned from Oslo next week.

Stanton reached across his desk and pulled the research book he’d been using from the shelf to double check a couple of facts. He flicked through the pages to a section entitled The Younger Dryas period. Around 12,900 years ago – just as the world was slowly warming up after the last ice age – a rapid descent back to colder conditions occurred in as little as ten years or so, a mere blink of an eye, in climactic terms. A shut down of the Atlantic Ocean Thermohaline Circulation was thought to have been a possible cause of the rapid chill. Stanton’s hair stood up on the back of his neck as he considered the possible ramifications of his latest research.

He closed the book, turned off his laptop, and ran his hands through his lank brown hair. As he got up from his desk, he looked out of his window at a deserted Russell Square and closed the blinds. He realised he’d been working for almost six hours, and it was now coming up to five P.M on Saturday evening.

He enjoyed living alone in his two-bed terraced townhouse apartment in London’s Russell Square, one of only a few private residences left overlooking the park. He had noticed various businesses, as well as the University College of London taking over most of the area during the last twenty years. The district was dotted with restaurants and bars, and in a couple of hours he would be meeting up with an old friend for a well-earned drink in the Hotel Russo, not far from his apartment.

He briefly took hold of the memory stick containing his presentation, before putting it back down gently. The facts, figures and details of his paper were spinning around in his head. He knew he wouldn’t be able to relax until he had given his talk in Oslo. He’d been over the calculations at least ten times to ensure they were correct. He walked into the bathroom. Unbelievable; how could they have failed to check the calibration on the measuring equipment?

Just as he was about to get in the shower, the phone rang again. He picked up the receiver, “Hello!” There was silence on the other end. As he replaced the phone he heard a click on the line. Not again. He shrugged, and stepped under the shower.

Stanton was in the middle of drying himself when a text message came through from Mathew confirming the arrangements. They would be meeting in the Kings Bar at the Hotel Russo; a warm intimate wood-panelled bar, and one of his favourite local watering holes. He finished drying and put on a white linen shirt and glanced in the mirror. He looked and felt tired. He splashed some aftershave on his face, locked the door to the apartment and headed down the hall stairs and wandered out into the warmth of a mild spring evening.













THE HOTEL RUSSO was situated just five minutes from Stanton’s apartment on the opposite side of Russell Square. The park, one of the square’s main features looked empty, but the early evening traffic was picking up, a mixture of late night shoppers and taxis, collecting and dropping off their fares…

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Thanks for reading, Si Rosser.