While on a routine archaeology project in the Canary Islands, two members of The International Consortium for Artifact Preservation make an amazing discovery in an ancient burial tomb; a discovery that could lead to the location of an ancient Christian artifact. In an effort to preserve the discovery from looters, Dr. Eli Turner and Maria Santiago begin the excavation. Little do they know that malevolent eyes are watching them from above their location.
Sinister forces led by Japanese mob leader, Yagato Osama and a self-exiled industrialist, Robert Pencor are driven by greed and revenge and will stop at nothing in their effort to control the world’s newest energy source; an energy device that will make oil obsolete. Their Zero point energy devices will ultimately change the geopolitical structure of the world as we know it, but it comes with a price. The death of millions. A new and powerful weapon of mass destruction is on its final countdown to unleash nature’s ultimate fury; the likes never before witnessed by mankind.
Eli Turner’s son, and archaeologist, Josh Turner along with his longtime friend Samuel Caberra, are unwittingly thrust into a life and death struggle as the ICAP team is marked for death by Osama and Pencor in their effort to protect their plans. Adding to the danger is Alton Burr, the fanatical leader of a secular movement who will stop at nothing to ensure the ancient discoveries are never brought to light, even if it means – murder.
It’s a race against time as archaeologist, Josh Turner, and his friends, set out to stop the threat and save the lives of millions while seeking to discover the ancient artifacts before they are lost forever.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
In my story, Zero Point, I wanted to apply an adventurous tie with my characters between history, nature, and our quest for new energy. It was a good medium to express my awe of nature’s sometimes harsh fury and that we as humans have this false sense of security that our planet, with its ever changing ecological and geological attributes, can never be altered, or in the case of my story, Zero Point, used as a weapon to harm us.
Nature has done some amazing things over millions of years. For example; Incredibly, human-kind was almost eradicated 70,000 years ago by an act of nature, leaving only an estimated 15,000 humans left on the planet, which is the subject of the next in my Josh Turner series, “Blood Rain.” Surprisingly, our planet was warmer in the 1500’s than it is now. A Tsunami five-hundred feet in height was recorded as recently as 1958 in Lituya Bay Alaska, and that wasn’t the first, or the last time it will happen.
Our planet Earth is an amazing, living, breathing thing; constantly changing and sometimes it can be a bumpy ride. It is human arrogance to believe that our world never changes, or if it is, that we alone are the cause. With that being said, we can surely expedite it with our greed, waste, and short-sighted thinking. We have a choice to be good stewards of our home, or not. If we choose the latter, our host, the planet Earth, will surely remove us as easily as a dog ridding itself of a flea.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
In the sometimes wild and bumpy ride of the Action/Adventure Genre, the protagonists must overcome numerous, life threatening obstacles, malevolent evil doers, and the ever present “seat of your pants narrow escapes.” Oft-times the characters can become a bit too larger than life, thus giving them no depth.
In Zero Point, my hero, is an ordinary guy forced into extra-ordinary circumstances. He has issues with his renown father; an insecurity in establishing a relationship with the woman he is attracted to, and self-doubts, as we all have from time to time.
I wanted him to be sensitive, fearful, and at times, hesitant, but in the end being able to rise above it all and do what needs to be done.
I found that using people I have met in my life and current friendships helped in creating personalities that readers could hopefully relate to and make them unique.
2008, Bismarck Sea, New Guinea
Josh Turner stood on the foredeck gazing upon the calm evening sea as the vintage cargo freighter Southern Star made her way along the rugged New Guinea coastline. The evening air was still thick with humidity from the day’s torturous heat. Longing for the cool of the coming evening, he watched the sun descending behind the deep green canopy of the receding mainland.
One of the few World War II Victory ships still in service, the four hundred fifty-five foot Southern Star had picked up Turner after off-loading supplies at the Port of Aitape earlier that afternoon. She was outward bound now, and after her next port of call, Turner would then return to Port Adelaide in Australia. There he would catch a puddle jumper flight to Sidney and then, at long last, home.
A mere mile away, Turner regarded the flickering lights from the small island of Tumleo, giving him the only hint of inhabitants along the sparsely populated northern coast of Papua.
He was exhausted from the arduous three-month archeology excursion with his young interns deep in the mountainous interior of Papua. His two ‘cub’ interns, as he dubbed them, Susan Hendrich and James Pond, were graduate students from the University of Melbourne.
The two students dove into the project with all the vigor of what Turner had termed a couple of bears merrily rummaging through a trash dumpster. Turner, on the other hand, had shown little interest from day one in excavating and cataloging the remains of a two hundred year old native village. Teetering on the verge of heat stroke during the day, then being devoured alive by insects at night was not on his bucket list. He had only done so at the insistence of his father, Eli Turner. It was just another favor to one of his father’s many fellow archaeologists worldwide.
Turner longed to be back on Tenerife in the Canary Islands with its dry, temperate days, cool nights, and many colorful festivals, all of which he enjoyed. He had just begun working on an ancient site once occupied by the island’s original inhabitants, the Guanche, before giving in to his father‘s wishes and coming to Papua.
I’m so glad this trip is over, he thought, tasting the thick salt air and feeling the warm, gentle sea breeze blowing through his coarse, slightly graying hair. He closed his deep, piercing blue eyes for a moment, relishing the completion of this mission as he felt the ship’s engines vibrating the gray, steel decking beneath his feet. He missed his longtime friend Samuel, and had discovered during this trip how much he really missed Maria.
Turner looked up at the bridge wheelhouse located amidships. In the fading light, he could make out the silhouette of the ship’s captain, Alfred Cleary, guiding his vessel through the narrow straights toward deeper waters.
Alfred Cleary had spent twenty-five years sailing these waters, and Turner felt a bit saddened at the prospect of the gruff captain’s ship being sent to the scrap yards at the completion of this voyage, and that Cleary would probably be forced into retirement.
He recalled listening to Cleary boast to the harbor master while unloading cargo at the pier in Aitape, saying, “The Southern Star is a fine ship and has never failed me through the long years. She’s sturdy and agile with her sixty-two foot beam and twenty-eight foot draft, making her ideal for these waters where many larger and newer vessels wouldn’t dare navigate.”
Turner made his way up the ladder to the bridge and entered the darkened wheelhouse, thick with the smell of cigarette smoke and sweat. He stood by the doorway receiving no sign acknowledgment from the captain focused on his task of piloting his vessel through the dangerous Tumleo Straight.
“What is our current depth, Mr. Harkness?” Cleary asked his first officer.
“Seven point six fathoms, Captain, and falling away,” the younger officer replied. “We’re clear to navigate.”
“Thank you, Mr. Harkness; you have the bridge,” Cleary said, jotting down a few notes in his log. “Set a course for Wuvulu Island. That’ll be our final stop. We’ll take on a few passengers, then set course for home.”
“Aye, Captain,” the younger man replied, taking the wheel of the ship. Cleary simply grunted, causing Turner to smile. He turned, gave Turner a toothless grin, and then gestured with his hand toward the hatchway leading out to the deck.
Stepping out of the wheelhouse, the pair climbed down a flight of steps and began walking toward the bow of the ship. The gruff, unshaven captain lit a cigarette as they strolled. Reaching the bow, they looked landward to see the dim lights of Tumleo Island flickering in the darkness as the last vestiges of day faded into night. They felt the gentle, rumbling vibration of the six thousand horse power Allis Chalmers marine steam turbines turning the vessel’s eighteen-foot diameter propeller.
“Josh,” he asked after a long silence, “at my age, how the hell will I ever find another ship to master? I’m almost fifty-seven years old.”
“Maybe it’s time you start that charter fishing business in Adelaide. You once mentioned it to my father,” Turner responded, still eyeing the island lights in the distance. “I think you’d make a fortune from the tourists who vacation there. Some of the best sport fishing in the world, I’ve been told.”
“To tell you the truth, the more I think about it, the more I realize I couldn’t deal with those assholes, Josh. I know for damned sure I’d wind up in prison for tossing one of the sons-of-bitches overboard for telling me how to do my job,” he said, causing Turner to laugh. “But considering I still have to earn a living in order to keep beer in the fridge, I’ll keep your suggestion in mind, young Mr. Turner.” He then tossed his cigarette butt over the side, turned, and headed back toward the wheelhouse.
His eyes now adjusted to the evening, Turner noticed the form of Susan Hendrich, his intern, approaching him bathed in the soft glow of the ship’s port running lights.
“Good evening, Dr. Turner,” she said, coming up to the rail beside him.
“Please don’t call me that, Susan. That’s my father’s title, not mine.”
“But you do have your doctorate in archeology, Josh. You should be proud of that.”
“I not impressed by titles. That’s my father’s gig. His view on archeology is cocktails with diplomats, or dinner with prospective sources of funding. Ever since he got the United Nations involved with his International Consortium for Artifact Preservation project, I‘ve been stuck doing most of the field work while he attends dinner functions with diplomats.”
“Josh, you should be proud of your father’s concept of ICAP. Involving so many nations with preservation, has helped to curtail the black marketing of many artifacts that would have otherwise been lost to some rich collector and—”
“Whoa! What the hell is that?” Turner interrupted his young intern, pointing toward the eastern sky.
The two viewed a glowing object on the horizon that shimmered with an orange-yellow tint as it arced across the night sky trailed by flames. It rushed toward the west, and, as it approached, they could clearly make out a distinct roar; like that of a locomotive.
They watched the object in stunned fascination until suddenly, it slowed, then spiraled downward plummeting into the sea some twenty miles distant. After a moment came a flash of light as bright as the sun followed by a thunderous boom. The two stared in silence as the night once again regained its normality.
Captain Cleary rushed out of the wheelhouse and onto the catwalk.
“Did you see that, Josh? It looked like a meteor, and a damned big one, too!” He yelled.
“I never saw a meteor slow down and turn on its own, skipper,” Turner replied.
Suddenly, they heard and felt a rumbling followed by the sight of a fiery blast in the distance where the object had fallen just minutes before. The intense shock wave that followed the blast hit the ship before the two could react, knocking both Turner and Susan off their feet and onto the hard steel decking.
“Go to the staterooms, Susan, and get Pond up here with your life jackets,” Turner said as he got up. “If I’m right, we may have a big problem coming our way.”
As Susan ran off, Turner raced back up the gangway to the bridge to find Cleary staring out at the darkened sea. His first officer, Harkness, was issuing an order to the engine room to slow to quarter speed.
“Was there any damage to the ship, Captain?
“I sent a man below to check, Josh.” Turner could sense the nervousness in the elder man’s voice.
“I have a bad feeling about this, Captain,” Turner said, staring out the window into the darkness.
“I’m way ahead of you, Josh. I’ve already directed her bow toward whatever it was.”
Cleary picked up the bridge intercom microphone and shouted to the engine room. “Mr. Mallory, I want all you can give me—full ahead.”
“Full ahead—aye, skipper,” the ship’s chief engineer responded from below.
“Did you get a fix on the flash point?” Cleary asked his first officer.
“Aye, sir, twenty degrees off our starboard bow.”
“Make for that heading, Mr. Harkness,” Cleary ordered, his eyes straining in the darkness.
As Turner stood in the wheelhouse, he felt the steel plating begin to rumble under his feet as the forty-four hundred ton vessel shot forward like a thoroughbred bolting from its starting gate.
“What’s our present depth?” Turner asked, hoping that his fears were wrong as he watched the crescent moon rising on the horizon ahead of them.
“Six point zero fathoms and the bottom is rising, Josh,” the Captain replied, sweat now forming on his brow as he gazed at the depth finder.
“Damn it!” Cleary yelled. “We should be in deeper water by now.”
“Four point nine fathoms now, sir!” First Officer Harkness yelled with rising panic in his voice.
“We should be over twenty-five fathoms at this point. Get to your people, Josh. You know what’s coming…hurry!”
Turner raced out of the wheelhouse and descended the gangway. Not sure what to do, he ran down the walkway toward one of the many small, inflatable Zodiacs located on the Southern Star and began frantically looking fore and aft for his two missing interns.
“Damn it!” He yelled, knowing time was short. “Where the hell are they?” His frustration cut short by the sickening sound of the ship’s hull scraping sea bottom. His fear rising, he heard the tormented shriek of tons of steel as the Southern Star began to spin on its axis. It finally came to a jarring halt, throwing Turner hard against the bulkhead.
Getting up, he began to untie the ropes to the davits that held the small Zodiac against the ship’s side rail. When Susan Hendrich came bounding out the door from the staterooms below deck, Turner could see the sheer terror in her eyes.
“Where’s Pond?” Turner asked angrily as he untied the last of the davits then lowered the inflatable to the deck.
“He went down to the hold to get the artifacts we brought with us, Josh. He thought it would be—”
“Damned fool,” He said, slamming his fist against the bulkhead in frustration.
The Southern Star then began to roll precariously to starboard, coming to rest at a fifteen-degree angle. Turner, managing to keep his footing, moved to grab the outboard motor end of the Zodiac. He looked over the side, and, in the ship’s lights, he saw to his horror the sea below churning with foam as a raging torrent of water rushed passed the stranded ship headed away from land. For what seemed an eternity to Turner, the tortured metal of the aging ship groaned in protest as tons of pressure assailed the ship’s superstructure firmly wedged in the muddy sea bottom.
“What‘s happening, Josh?” Susan cried out in wide-eyed fear.
“There’s a tsunami coming, Susan,” he yelled back at her above the roar of the water below them. “The sea’s running outward, so it won’t be long before it hits. We’re sitting high and dry and the bow of this ship is no longer facing into the wave. If it hits us broadside, we’re done for!”
The torrent of rushing water beneath the Southern Star diminished. Turner could see from the glow of ship’s emergency lights they were now sitting on muddy sea bottom that was once a deep channel.
“Quickly, Susan, grab onto the front of the inflatable. We need to get it to the bow.”
“What about Pond?” The young intern asked tearfully.
“There’s no time left to go down and look for him, Susan.
I hope he’ll find us in time.”
The two managed to get the small craft to the bow of the ship where they met First Officer Harkness coming down the companionway from the bridge.
“The captain’s ordered all hands to lifeboats. Sweet Jesus, how the hell can we abandon ship with no water beneath us?” He said in near hysteria. “Cleary’s also refusing to abandon the wheelhouse. I can’t get him to leave.”
Turner looked up to the darkened wheelhouse and could see the soft reddish glow of a cigarette through the port window.
Knowing there wasn’t much time left, Turner then focused on removing the 9.9 horse Yamaha outboard from the transom of the Zodiac.
“What are you doing?” Harkness asked.
“This motor will be torn off its mount the instant the tsunami hits. We need buoyancy, not power,” Turner replied, tossing the motor over the side. “I’m going to leave the water proof cover on and leave just enough opening for us to get in. I know it’s a long shot, but I don’t see any other option. There’s room for four. Are you coming?”
“No, Mr. Turner. I’m going below to make sure all the crew is topside.” He then ran off into the darkness toward the aft end of the ship.
“Get in the Zodiac, Susan, and tie one of the raft cleat lines around you. I’ll keep an eye out for Pond.”
Turner helped the intern into the dinghy then looked toward the stern of the ship, now eerily back dropped by the crescent moon. While focusing on the doorway that Pond should emerge from, he glanced to the lower edge of the crescent moon on the horizon. The moon’s bottom edge began disappearing into the darkness.
As if being devoured by a mythical beast, the rising blackness soon engulfed the entire moon then began swallowing the evening stars along the horizon. Turner realized to his horror that this was the crest of a huge wave bearing down on them.
“Cleary!” Turner yelled to his friend in the wheelhouse. “Don’t be a fool. You don’t stand a chance up there.”
“Someone’s got to issue the Mayday, Josh,” Cleary yelled back from the doorway to the wheelhouse. “I’ll keep at it as long as I can. Give my best to your father, Josh.”
“Good luck, my friend,” Josh said, sadly aware the old captain had sealed his fate. He then climbed into the Zodiac where Susan lay trembling in fear.
“Is Pond coming?”
“I’m sorry, Susan. Something must have happened to him below. Otherwise he’d be here by now”
Turner refastened the last of the snaps to the canvas top of the inflatable, and then wrapped the stern cleat line around his waist.
“Josh, I don’t want to die,” Susan cried, now bordering on hysteria.
“We’re going to get through this, so listen to me carefully. I want you to grab hold of the side cleats, and, no matter what happens, don’t let go, okay?”
In the darkness of their makeshift pod, the pair heard an ominous roar similar to the winds of a typhoon. Turner raised his head and peered out the small slit in the canvas. To his horror, he saw a huge blackness rising out of the darkness blotting out the night sky as it unfurled over them.
“God help us,” Turner whispered as he closed his eyes in a futile effort to escape the nightmarish scene.
The massive ninety-foot wave slammed into the ship broadside, sending the old relic rolling on the seafloor like a toy. The ship’s first roll sheared off the bridge superstructure killing Captain Alfred Cleary instantly and trapping intern James Pond, Harkness, and many of the hapless crew below. They drowned in total darkness as the maelstrom flooded the ship in seconds.
One week later in the Ginza district of Tokyo, Japan, the phone rang in a dimly lit, plush office and was answered by its lone occupant.
“Yes, what is it?” The voice said in a soft, but icy tone.
“It is Fuyuki. I have the full results that you requested,” the man on the other end stated.
“I trust you have good news for me, Fuyuki.”
“Yes, Oyabun. The results were successful. Using the region’s tectonic plates as the principal target worked better than expected.”
“Excellent. Have there been any suspicions raised by the authorities?”
“None that I am aware of, sir. The tsunami has been attributed to an undersea earth slide caused by seismic activity common to the region, and has received little attention in the media. The loss of life was minimal and no report of a fireball has been made to the authorities. There were a few witnesses, but they have been all but ignored.”
“Then it seems that our little demonstration was successful. Our benefactor wants assurance the plan will be feasible since he is investing heavily into the project.”
“Yes, sir. I’m confident that with his financial backing, we will be more than able to meet his needs, and ours.”
“Then I will tell our new friend that Operation Bishamon can begin whenever he is ready to proceed. You have done well, Fuyuki. Goodbye.”
Hanging up the phone, he glanced at a map on his desk of the Canary Islands.
“La Palma is such an insignificant little island,” he mused as he gently rolled up the map. “But when we’re finished, the world will know the name very well; very well indeed.”
Tim Fairchild was born and raised in Southern New Jersey where he grew up in a small town named Pleasantville.
Upon graduation from High School, he attended St. Petersburg College in Florida, where he studied English composition. He went to work for New Jersey Bell Telephone and made a thirty-two year career with them; retiring as a Central Office Switchman from Verizon Communications in 2003. Fairchild is married to his wonderful wife, Beverley for thirty-five years now and have two daughters, Melissa and Kristen.
During the years between 2000 and 2003, Fairchild discovered a taste for travel, experiencing new cultures with four missions trips. Two were to Honduras and one to Belize to help with hurricane relief. The final one in 2003 was to Chosica, Peru.
In 2005, Fairchild and his wife moved to the Pocono Mountains in PA where he began his writing. After six years, they again moved to their current home in the beautiful town of Oakland, Maine where he now writes full time.
Strongly influenced by such authors as Clive Cussler and Tom Clancy, plus having a strong interest in adventure in exotic locales, history, and science, it was only natural that Fairchild chose the genre of adventure. Being relatively new to the world of writing novels, Fairchild completed two courses in writing fiction, and with his new-found knowledge, applied it to his writing style.
Fairchild’s first action adventure novel, ZERO POINT, was finally completed and released in May of 2011. It was honored as a Grand Master Finalist in the 2012 Clive Cussler Collectors Society’s Adventure Writers Competition. The next in the Josh Turner adventure series, “Blood Rain” is slated for release some time in 2015.
Have you read this book or others by this author? Tell us in the comments how you liked it!