INTERNAL MEMO, THE MOORE CORPORATIONS—CONFIDENTIAL: Brimstone 1 is a two-stage rocket topped with a crewed spaceplane. Launch is scheduled from the Moore Ranch in southeastern New Mexico. If media or government officials inquire about heavy construction on the ranch, reference corporate documents attributing activity to “oil exploration.” The existence of Brimstone 1 is confidential, as is the eight-decade ministry project prompting its deployment. Once in orbit, astronauts aboard Brimstone 1 will recover the greatest revelation since the Resurrection. MAINTAIN SECRECY. PROTECT THE MISSION.
TRANSCRIPT, FIRST INTERSTELLAR BROADCAST FROM MOORE RANCH—CONFIDENTIAL: “My name is Baxter Moore. It is February 1948 … I helped develop the atomic bomb. I’m sorry. I’m especially sorry if earthlings destroy ourselves with these weapons before we can communicate or meet. But there is a power at work on Earth greater than nuclear weapons—God, creator of the universe. He made me and my people. He made you, if there’s anyone out there to hear this. I think there is. You may be unfamiliar with God the creator. He gave us his living Word to share his love and teachings. I will share it with you.”
LEARN THE SECRETS OF BRIMSTONE 1
Age 26. BS, Engineering Technology, Minor in Robotics: Great Plains Christian University. MS, Petroleum Engineering: University of North Dakota.
Elijah grew up in the oil business, the primary industry of his hometown, Williston, ND. His father, Duane, was a crew foreman, rendered paraplegic in a rig collapse. His mother, Teri, is an elementary school teacher. After finishing his master’s program, Elijah stayed close to home, getting a job with a noted engineering firm and dating the owner’s niece. A dispute over patents on oil exploration technology ended his professional and personal relationships.
Elijah independently studied the publicized petroleum project on Baxter Moore III’s huge ranch in New Mexico. Determining Moore would never strike oil with his stated approach, Elijah presents his findings to the billionaire. Baxter and his security chief, Julius Dunbar, speculate Elijah could be trying to discredit the oil project cover and expose Brimstone 1. Elijah accepts a teaching job at a Moore-sponsored school, unwittingly placing himself under surveillance.
Baxter Moore III
Age 58. BS, Business Administration, marketing concentration: Caesarea University.
The grandson of Moore Media’s founder, Baxter expanded his family’s interests after graduating from a Christian college in California. Grasping the importance of the search engine, Baxter authorized a major investment in Google in 1999, parlaying the stake into a multibillion-dollar windfall. Also during the 1990s, Baxter foresaw commercial spaceflight, which would enable his family to build a crewed rocket to complete their secret mission.
Today, Baxter Moore III is worth $40 billion and oversees a conglomerate of media, biotech and aerospace companies. Brimstone 1 awaits rollout from its hidden hangar, the pinnacle of eighty years of extraterrestrial evangelism. Baxter gives Elijah Lindstrom an audience, equally fascinated and fearful the young engineer may expose the oil exploration ruse masking rocketry at his ranch. He offers Elijah a teaching position with the ulterior motive of surveilling him.
Jana McAlister, Commander, US Navy (ret.)
Age 48. Double Major—BS, Professional Flight, Military Option, BS, Mechanical Engineering: LeTourneau University. Graduate: United States Navy Officer Candidate School. Certification, Air Indoctrination/Flight Training: United States Navy. MS, Aerospace Engineering: University of Florida. Member, NASA Astronaut Corps.
The daughter of a large-animal veterinarian, Jana grew up in Clovis, NM, captivated by the jets roaring into nearby Cannon AFB. The shuttle program dominated the news and her imagination when she was a grade schooler in the 1980s. During high school, Jana earned a private pilot license and excelled in math and science. She completed twin bachelor’s degrees from a Christian university and became a US Navy aviator. She piloted F/A-18 Super Hornets in numerous combat missions after 9/11 and entered the astronaut corps.
Jana first flew into space as a young payload specialist on one of the final shuttle missions. Her brilliance in fighter jets and spacecraft resulted in unique dual deployment with the US Navy and NASA throughout the second decade of the 21stcentury. In 2020, she led a secret US/Israeli raid on a banned nuclear weapons facility. Flying an F-35B, Jana overcame a counterattack by a ground-based EMP weapon, dropped a bunker buster with pinpoint accuracy, and downed three advanced Russian fighter jets guarding the site.
After the raid, Jana retired from the military and concentrated on space, piloting two missions to the ISS, the last one using a new spaceplane design. Baxter Moore III hired Jana to fly Brimstone 1 due to her experience with the spaceplane orbiter (the crewed vehicle to be used for Brimstone 1), her evangelism, and proven ability to keep secrets. That ability is tested as Jana ponders how the Brimstone mission will change history.
Age 33. BS, Computer Science: University of California, Berkeley.
Tate is head of the Humanist League, an anti-Christian militia. He grew up in a fundamentalist Christian home where physical and emotional abuse were routine. An expert in social media and digital psychology, he launched a tech startup as a college senior, which eventually failed.
His anger at Christianity and authority intensifying, he turned his skills to creating an online community opposed to the church and its champions. Financed by anonymous donors and cybercrime, the Humanist League has grown into an armed force ready to obliterate Brimstone 1 and the secrets it will bring to Earth.
An apocalypse looms when timeless scripture, futuristic technology, and worldly conspiracy collide.
Will Elijah become “the new prophet” as Jana proclaims?
Will humanity find rebirth or chaos in the revelation aboard Brimstone 1?
Brimstone 1 Specs
Two-stage rocket boosting spaceplane into low earth orbit on inaugural mission. Capable of placing smaller payloads into geosynchronous orbit. First stage is reusable.
Height: 260 feet/79.25 meters
Launch mass: 1.3 million pounds/590,000 kilograms
Thrust: 1.9 million pounds/862,000 kilograms at sea level
Propulsion: Samson rocket engine, ten Samsons on first stage, one Samson vacuum model on second stage.
Orbiter vehicle, approximately one-third size of Space Shuttle. Similarities include cargo bay with robotic arm, glide landing on conventional runway.
Length: 41 feet/12.5 meters
Launch mass: 55,000 pounds/24,948 kilograms
Orbital range: 120-550 miles/193-885 kilometers altitude
Crew Capacity: two to five astronauts
Maximum orbital speed: 17,500 mph/28,163 kph, Mach 23