Aliens arrive in San Francisco following a major earthquake. What kind of secrets are they trying to hide?
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Secret Matter, a neat, sexy & adventuresome sci-fi novel
Kevin Anderson is moving along through his life, finishing up college, and getting ready to leave New York for an internship rebuilding San Francisco after an immense earthquake. Then the Visitors arrive; a race of human-like aliens touch down in several cities around the globe, including SF, and nothing will ever be the same. When Kevin’s company is given a contract to build a facility for the Visitors, he forms a friendship with 'Bel, one of their number. But is 'Bel so alien after all? They seem so human, but they possess some odd characteristics and seem to be hiding something. What secrets do they carry, and where, exactly, are they from?
Before Kevin can get to the bottom of his questions, political disasters and miscommunications occur, and the Visitors
are expelled. 'Bel and his emissaries are very clear that certain actions on the part of the U.S. will have grave consequences upon his people and their world, but no one listens except Kevin, who has fallen in love with 'Bel. Now the young man is on a mission to unravel the Visitors' secrets in order to prevent the death and destruction of Visitors and millions of Americans.
Kevin Anderson fell asleep worrying about the new job he’d be starting soon after graduation next week in San Francisco the width of the country away.
Kevin was proud of himself for getting this lucrative appointment, but worried his ivory tower schooling in Virtual Architecture wasn’t going to have prepared him for the real world work of the reconstruction of the City after last year’s devastating earthquake.
He had been working at his computer now for hours, and was a little groggy. He was finishing the final revisions on his senior thesis, “Generating Autosolidifying Plane and Solid Surfaces in Parameter-free Virtual Space with 3-D Force Replication: A Computer-Assisted Energetic Design Model.” What’s that got to do with the real world, he fretted.
As he prepared for bed, he was also fretting about his roommate’s absence. Not that it was unusual for Tim to spend weekends in New York. The City was so close and, after all, Tim had the money to enjoy its cosmopolitan delights. But, in spite of—or perhaps because of—their friendship, Kevin disapproved of what he suspected Tim was doing down there.
Even though unconsciousness came hard for Kevin, once he fell asleep, he slept soundly, drifting in and out of dreams of an idyllic vacation with his family in the backwoods of Maine where his dad had sometimes taken the family when the kids were young. Kevin slept so soundly, in fact, that he was not aroused by all the noise in the yard outside his Harvard University dorm a little after 1 a.m.
For weeks afterwards Kevin was going to regret sleeping through that event.
Timothy Lewiston combed his hair, still wet from the shower. He glanced over at the clock to see it was after 1:30 a.m. Social hour in New York City, he thought to himself. He’d told a friend he’d meet him between 2 and 2:30 at Zoncko’s in the West Village. The cab’ll take about twenty minutes, he figured. I’ve still got about fifteen before I need to leave. He turned back to the mirror.
Tim Lewiston was an attractive young man. He was small but solid. Except for his height he looked all the part of a rangy redheaded Texas cowboy with tight wiry musculature, a brush of reddish hair across his chest and down the centerline of his torso, blue green eyes, and a smile as beguiling as a country cowpoke. His Texas cowboy appearance was a little deceiving. It correctly identified his Dallas roots, but belied the fact that his grandfather had made a fortune in the oil business and had had the incredibly good luck to sell his holdings just before the Texas oil slump in the 1980s. His father, in turn, had the same good fortune to get out of the market at the end of the ’90s just before the dot com collapse. Tim’s mother and dad had retired to the California gold country about the time Tim started college in Cambridge. They had a ranch in Nevada City and a condo south of San Francisco in Hillsborough. And the family still maintained this bachelor apartment on the Upper East Side, though Tim was now almost the only one to use it during occasional jaunts to New York.
And the fact was, Tim did make those jaunts fairly often and without his parents’ knowledge. He wasn’t quite ready to tell them yet that he was “experimenting” with his lifestyle, hanging out at the bars along the newly renovated and hyper-chic Christopher Street. A young queer has to learn to hide things, he told himself. Indeed, he’d learned at Harvard he’d survive only if he kept on top of his feelings. Sometimes that had meant being practically merciless and occasionally quite rude.
As he slipped into his clothes, he thought again about the unpleasant confrontation he’d had over dinner with his now ex-boyfriend. And he recalled the conversation earlier in the week with his therapist as he acknowledged the failure of that relationship. Tim had remarked what a cruel joke it was that he felt unloved and unlovable because there were too many people who wanted him and he never knew if it were for his money, his body, or himself. “So I’ve just never believed in love,” he said. “I guess I need to want somebody.”
He glanced out the window hoping to find a cab waiting outside the building. He noticed a commotion on the street. A crowd had gathered down by the corner. A number of people were pointing up in the air. At first Tim thought maybe his building was on fire but, before he panicked, he realized they were pointing at something much higher than the building. He stuck his head out to see what was up there, but couldn’t see anything.
His curiosity urged him to rush as he pulled on a jacket, locked the apartment door behind him, and waited anxiously for the elevator to let him out on the ground floor.
As he stepped out of the building, he saw people running past him toward the end of the block. He still couldn’t see. Whatever’s going on is certainly causing a lot of excitement. Maybe the Empire State Building’s on fire. When he reached the corner and turned to see what everybody was looking at, Tim realized he should have gone up to the roof where he’d have had a much better view.
Tim’s worries about love and sex all seemed suddenly insignificant.