ADDITIONAL SAMPLE CHAPTER FOR STORYLINE
helicopters swooped lower with each pass, surveying the surface of the
magical island piece by piece. Initially, each aerial mission was
conducted with complete caution because of the apprehension about any
potential danger. However, as the results from a multitude of tests
streamed in, the atmosphere gradually began to shift from one of
trepidation to that of scientific curiosity. A wild assortment of
questions started to cross the collective thoughts of everyone who was
witnessing the extraordinary event unfold: What was this strange land
formation that had exploded into being in such a monstrous fashion? How
can ideas be formed about something of which nothing is known? Why was the
primal sensation always one of fear?
The entire exploration was led by the Peace
Force: a globally relevant, corporate-backed, technologically replete,
mercenary force employed by political, religious, and business entities,
yet beholden to the United Nations through the dictates of international
law. The origins of the Peace Force emerged from the pragmatic conclusion
and the sagacious consensus that it had become economically feasible and
politically viable to establish an organization in order to manage
Each examination completed from above brought
revealing information about the land mass. Despite this extensive
compilation of data, though, no one was able to construct a logical theory
or scientific premise that could begin to explain what had happened. Every
expert was baffled: what forces of nature could account for the spasmodic
yet fertile eruption? Stranger still was the fact that none of the
highly-sensitive technological devices that were spread strategically
throughout the world had even registered a whimper of tectonic energy not
to mention the unrestrained effluence of such a colossal tangible force.
The simultaneously visceral and intellectual quandary remained: How could
this island have formed without a vestige of scientific impact?
Even while faced with a myriad of unanswered
questions, perhaps the most galling and ironic aspect of the research
effort was that some of the visual evidence produced rudimentary
suppositions that could be classified as normal in content but not in
origin or generation. In essence, it appeared that many identifiable forms
of vegetation were growing spontaneously and at a rapid pace that defied
reason. Yet as the total energy of the scientific community grappled with
the question of "How", in the larger context of those who were
observing around the world, the reaction was acute mesmerism.
The huge procession towards the island was a
sight to behold. At the front was the Peace Force which had total control
over every aspect of the approach. However, hovering anxiously and
aggressively in the background was an immense phalanx of business
organizations which wanted desperately to extend its commercial tentacles
around any opportunity that was available. According to global convention
as administered by the Peace Force, though, all corporate entities had to
wait until "a realistic and internationally balanced environment for
the intervention of business" had been established. Next in line, and
actually infiltrating the entire operation using both certified
credentials and corrupt preferential channels, was the media, in scope, an
actual army itself. The sheer significance of the event drew scads of
reporters who persistently asserted their involvement through an
Suddenly, this incredible story of spontaneous
generation had become an international focal point at all levels of global
society. Ty could not believe that mere hours after he had seen the
curious news bulletin on CCN that he was flying to the island.
Professionally, of course, his occupation was clearly defined as media,
but Ty did not consider his work in the same vein as the coverage done by
the gigantic news agencies. He held himself to what he considered to be a
higher standard, positioning himself adroitly and acknowledging his
connection with the other journalists, but eschewing the hostile
questioning and intrusive tactics of his fellow colleagues. Privately, he
believed that his magazine followed an unconventional political agenda and
strove for a style of writing that expressed avant-garde artistic
concepts. Even though he was obligated to report the story, then, he hoped
that he could find a fresh vantage point from which to assess the
situation and also from which, at a personal level, he would be able to
contemplate some of the issues that constantly flowed through his mind.
This event was particularly fascinating for Ty
because, from the outset, it was a total mystery: an occurrence that
seemed to exist beyond the parameters of rationality. Ty was always of two
minds in situations that seemed to obfuscate conventional thought. From
one perspective, he needed to try to understand what he could using basic
reasoning. On the other hand, however, Ty was a searcher and adventurer at
heart, and he secretly longed to immerse himself in the limitless
spirituality of what was happening.
The Peace Force had grouped together a number of
aircraft carriers a safe distance away from the island in order to handle
the influx of its own personnel as well as any visitors, including the
media. Ty and the rest of the journalists had seen part of the land mass
from above as they flew in. After they had arrived, all of the reporters
were shuttled by helicopter to one particular ship, and, upon landing
there, they were herded into a conference room. A spokesperson for the
Peace Force was scheduled to make a statement and field some questions in
a few minutes. However, as they waited, Ty and the other reporters spoke
excitedly, but somewhat incoherently, in reaction to what they had just
"Did you see the size of that thing?"
"No, I can't believe it!"
"I wonder if anyone really knows what the
hell is going on?"
Suddenly, Ty was greeted by a friend.
"Hey, Ty, how's it going?"
"Steve, how are you? Itís been a while,
hasnít it?" replied Ty, still a bit unsteady in the wake of all the
commotion. "I guess we've picked an incredible assignment this time,
wouldnít you say?" he asked.
"Thatís for sure!" answered Steve.
"I still can't get over the size of it! How big do you think it
is?" he queried.
"I have no idea, but it looks huge! And
whatís just as amazing is the fact that there are already trees and
bushes after only several days," gasped Ty.
"Look Ty, weíre seasoned reporters who
have been to many extraordinary places, but honestly, I've never seen
anything this . . . this, how should I describe it? I canít seem to find
the right words!"
"The whole thing has an otherworldly
quality to it that I canít relate to, and it kind of gives me the
chills. It's like we're encountering something that is clearly outside the
limits of our ability to understand. O.K., so now I'm babbling."
"But wasn't that something, zooming in on
helicopters and seeing a fully green and growing and living . . . a
complete ecosystem generating itself right before our eyes . . . and all
the Peace Force ships and aircraft and personnel surrounding the whole
area . . . and just the size of the thing, I mean how do you suddenly get
a huge land mass in the middle of the Pacific?!" exclaimed Steve
nearly hyperventilating from the fervor of his own amazement.
"I know, I know, Steve, this is the most
stunning thing I've ever witnessed, and we don't even know yet what
weíre seeing! Maybe these jokers on the Peace Force will give us some
straight answers, but you know how they usually are with
information," sighed Ty.
"Right, information is a commodity to be
released according to strict economic and political guidelines,"
Steve remarked sarcastically.
"Well, they've got to tell us
something," Ty responded. "I mean you can't have a couple
hundred journalists from all around the world just muzzled and blindfolded
about something this significant. Besides, Iím guessing that they
wouldn't have allowed us within this restricted area unless theyíre
prepared to reveal something."
"But, come to think of it, that reminds me
of an unofficial call I received from a PR director for the Peace Force
before I got here. She was speaking confidentially, of course, but she
told me that they didn't know as much as they wished they did. Which makes
me wonder if maybe the situation is beyond them as well. I doubt if
theyíll announce anything more than some statement saying that the whole
thing is Ďunder observationí or some mumbo-jumbo comment like that.
Perhaps they're allowing us to cover the story just so they can keep us
all corralled together for the time being and influence the contents of
whatís reported," smirked Ty.
"Wow, are you jaded!" Steve stated.
"Come on, Steve. You and I both know that
the Peace Force exists under the political auspices of the UN. But, let's
face it, theyíre mercenaries who often are hired out by global
conglomerates, and, in that way, they're beholden to their employer who
probably exerts a fair amount of influence in terms of what information is
revealed or restricted. At one level, they're just like us; they've got to
earn a paycheck, too," lamented Ty.
"Hey, I'm disappointed in you, my
friend," Steve laughed as he patted Ty on the back. "Here I was
giving you a modicum of respect and thinking that you had achieved some
level of independence and freedom in your life by starting and running
your own publication, you know, free from the 'master-slave dialect' that
we all get caught by, but now you're telling me that you're doing it for
the paycheck. Whew! What's going on up there in Tokyo, anyway?" asked
"Have we got time now for my whole sob
story?" Ty reacted.
"Yes, we do!" winked Steve. "The
press conference won't be starting for another few minutes anyway. Go
ahead, pal, let's drop the professional facade for a while and get
reacquainted. Itís too bad, but I almost never get to Japan anymore, and
I doubt we'll have any time to chat once this story gets out."
"So, my long lost friend, what's happening
in your life?" Steve inquired. "I thought you had it made; I
mean, being in print on a weekly basis and having full editorial control
over the contents is about as close as anyone comes to freedom of
expression in this era or any other for that matter," said Steve.
"Youíre right, I have to count my
blessings, but . . . well, you know," started Ty, realizing that it
was their shared past that made it possible to speak freely with Steve.
They had both started their careers in Tokyo a
number of years before, but Steve had been hired by a prestigious
international publication which had assigned him to work in the United
States. Ty, of course, had stayed on to establish his own magazine, and,
although they kept in touch periodically, the busy pace of their
professional lives as well as the geographical separation had left some
gaps in their communication.
"O.K., O.K.," continued Ty after a
couple moments of silent reflection, "I know I should be more
grateful for my good fortune. And, to be honest, my situation isn't so
bad. But, do you remember how we were so energized and hungry for an
opportunity years ago? Now it's different. I can't say if it's for the
better or worse, although, at the beginning, neither of us really had much
money and we were desperate for work. I guess everyone's lives develop in
stages, and this period now is just one of the many phases that I'll go
through. But I just don't feel the same vigor that I used to," said
"Do you think it's just part of getting
older and being worn out by the whole system? The stuff that made our
parents and older people seem so boring and lifeless to us when we were
young?" pondered Steve.
"Maybe," responded Ty. "But I
think it's more than that."
"What? Are you still trying to fathom the
meaning of life?" Steve queried with some outward skepticism.
"No. It isn't that either," continued
Ty. "I pretty much concluded a few years ago that there wasn't any
inherent meaning in life. And therefore, philosophical quests are
essentially useless, except for the accumulation of temporal knowledge, or
for reaching a mental plateau from where certain perspectives on life can
be reevaluated. Besides, that process seems to be an intrinsic part of
life on occasion anyway. But no, I'm talking about something
emotional," concluded Ty.
"Wait a second, now just wait a second, my
friend. Are you in love or something stupid like that?" Steve joked.
"No, no, no, not that," smiled Ty.
"Although there are plenty of women who I see every day that I
wouldn't mind meeting more . . . more . . . uh, well, just more,"
"No, I'm talking about communication, and,
in particular, exchanges at an emotional level. The way people just can't
seem to talk with each other anymore. I don't know, maybe it's just a
problem I'm experiencing. But, Iím finding that with a lot of the people
who I've spent significant amounts of time with over the years, for
example, members of my family, women whom I've known, or just friends from
the past, that it seems like my ability to communicate with them has just
dropped off. I don't just mean, for instance, the way we are, in that, we
hung out in Tokyo for a lot of years but now you're back in the States and
our schedules prevent us from corresponding on a regular basis. Iím
referring to the contents of the discussions, and, specifically, the way
people seem to have erected barriers around themselves over the course of
time, perhaps in response to their life experiences. Maybe it's my mistake
or misguided expectations, but when I talk to someone who I've had
meaningful contact with over a considerable period of time, even if it was
in the past, I think that I should be able communicate with them more
easily than Iíve been able to," despaired Ty.
"What exactly do you think is the
problem?" asked Steve.
"I guess I'm not speaking very clearly
now," responded Ty. "What I mean is that, it's not any kind of
difficulty with language, rather, there seems to be an emotional barrier
which impedes communication. Recently, more often than not, the people who
I thought I was close to because of our shared experiences, when I see
them now, I feel repelled, or, to some degree, that they aren't willing to
open up to me as much as they had in the past. Maybe time has changed them
and altered their outlooks to the extent that we no longer have any common
ground; or, possibly, my notion that we should be able to pick up right
where we left off is a bit facile. However, I can't seem to understand the
atmosphere of . . . how can I describe it . . . the sense that they don't
want to share things with me anymore or that my presence is some kind of
an intrusion into their lives. Are you able to relate to any of this? Or
have you had any of these types of experiences lately?" asked Ty.
"I hear you," replied Steve. "I
don't know if I've got a complete read on what you're saying, but it
sounds like youíre encountering some negativity. This might be a
far-flung association, but it brings to mind something that I learned many
years ago: the old notion that 'everybody gets jaded'."
"A friend of my father's always used to say
that to me whenever he visited the family. He was a really good guy from
Brooklyn who moved out to LA, but, never lost his sense of cynicism that I
guess he developed naturally growing up in New York. We'd always talk
about various subjects, and, invariably, when it looked like the
conclusion we were reaching, or, at least, the tenor of the conversation
was headed in a negative direction, he'd throw that phrase out as a
"But, even though we kidded each other and
often repeated that same expression, I usually felt that there was some
truth to it. Actually, he had some cause to be bitter after he got
divorced and was in and out of work for several years thereafter. Yet, he
was never a meanspirited guy, not in the least. It was simply a matter of
him being the kind of person who speaks realistically, and, at times,
"He always emphasized the importance of
family and friends and of being kind in general. But, he also believed
that, inevitably, the world would take its toll on everyone, one way or
another. It was that line, though, about getting jaded that stuck with me;
not only as an all-purpose quip, but also as a friendly reminder that life
isn't easy and that sometimes it can have a negative effect."
"I don't know if that's what you're talking
about, but I try to keep it in mind whenever I can. That perspective
allows me to give the benefit of the doubt to the people who I care for
when theyíre having trouble and don't seem to value our relationship as
much as I think they should," concluded Steve. "Did any of that
hit the mark?"
"Yes, that must be it," said Ty.
"But, despite the problems that we all have, and, even as forgiving
and understanding as I'd like to be to people who I know are experiencing
a bad time, I still cling to this strange hope that I can forge a personal
connection with the people who I care about which would enable us to cope
with all of the lousy stuff. In other words, I want a way to put aside
what is negative and focus on that which is harmonious and communal. Iím
sure that all sounds really scattered and idealistic, but I desperately
need to believe that thereís a way to relate which is unobstructed by
defensive mechanisms and allows the people involved to feel secure
regardless of their vulnerability," Ty stated.
Their discussion had been a brief respite from
the chaos that surrounded them. Still, in the crowded room, the throng of
reporters continued to converse at an uproarious level. None of them
appeared able to regain their composure. Instead, they moved about the
room, bumping into one another and becoming more agitated with each
"Did they say when they are going to start
this thing, or are we going to have to wait forever," complained
But no sooner had he uttered his dissatisfaction
when someone entered the room and stepped to the podium.
"Ladies and Gentleman, my name is Harvey
Jackson, and I'm the International PR Director for the Peace Force. I'd
like to make a brief statement, and then I'll open up these proceedings
for a limited time for some questions."
As he stood and spoke before the group of
reporters, the Peace Force representative appeared to epitomize the
characteristics of all the other members of that group: he displayed a
sophisticated and heady mixture of military efficiency and decorum as well
as the business acumen and competitive aura of a corporate official. Each
public appearance was vital to the Peace Force, and it worked meticulously
on maintaining an infallible international reputation. These circumstances
necessitated a comprehensive sensitivity towards every global issue; a
stance that was considered as crucial as the magnitude of their arsenal.
It was critical that the Peace Force could be seen as an effective
catalyst towards the successful achievement of peace. However, the
realization of this goal was always threatened by the historical precedent
that "Peace" had never been viewed as a neutral concept -humans
invariably fought about the parameters of peace instead of attaining the
Thus, the Peace Force's ultimate objective was
always the creation of an environment in which there was no military
activity. The central difficulty was not so much achieving the absence of
war because, based on international law, the Peace Force possessed the
most advanced military technology available. The main problem, in fact,
was presenting itself as a nonpartisan organization. The most important
aspect in this endeavor was the declaration of an objective that was
beyond reproach in relation to every other political or military group in
Of course, the UN's authorization added
immeasurable credibility to each operation that was undertaken. However,
depending on the particulars of a given situation, the Peace Force had to
carefully and completely to explain its objective: that was why the
reporters had been ushered in, and that was why the conference would be
"Several days ago, a land mass of
considerable size formed suddenly and violently. In reaction to this
event, the Peace Force has declared a state of red alert. In addition, the
Peace Force is conducting two activities that have no expected timetable
"First, establish and enforce an
exclusionary zone around the island in order to ensure the safety of
anyone in the vicinity. Given the comparatively remote location of this
incident, no sovereign states or populated areas are considered at risk.
However, because of the abrupt and undetermined origin of this event, all
nations in the region have been alerted and will be assisted to the full
extent of the Peace Force's capabilities."
"Second, the Peace Force has deployed
members of all of its divisions, including its scientific and tactical
units, in order to determine the causes of both the emergence of the land
and the subsequent biological generation. At the moment, there are no
results which would allow us to make a statement concerning the source of
"All information and its corresponding
documentation, as per order of the International Information Act of the UN
Charter, will be released, and must be released, when certainty of cause
is resolved. Until that time, the Peace Force will engage only in the
partial dissemination of information in order to update the international
community of its activities. This announcement has been sponsored by the
United Corporate Countries and is recognized as a wholly legal and
representative pronouncement of the UN. I will open up the floor to
"What are your preliminary findings on the
cause of this event?" shouted out one reporter.
"We have no data to release now."
"Are you saying that there is no scientific
explanation for any this?"
"I can neither say that there is nor that
there is not a scientific explanation, but, at this point, there are no
definitive logical conclusions of any merit."
"Are you saying that this is some kind of
"I can't qualify this event as a 'mystery',
however, I can say that there is no specific scientific data to base any
conclusions on at this stage."
"Is the Peace Force now conducting
"We are currently proceeding with a wide
range of exploratory measures including several within the scientific
"Specifically, what kind of tests are you
"I cannot release the nature and content of
these examinations at the moment, but I will say that the tests are
related to virtually every sphere of human knowledge."
"What are the results of these tests?"
"As of yet, there are no conclusive
"What can you tell us about the situation
on the island?"
"At present, on the land formation, there
is an extensive range of biological growth which is progressing at a very
"Is the pace of this growth unusually
"I cannot employ the term 'usually rapid',
but I will specify that the biological movement is faster than anything on
"Does the Peace Force view this situation
as being dangerous?"
"The Peace Force cannot describe the
situation as being 'dangerous' or 'safe', but we are on red alert given
the violent nature of the previous events and the unknown status of the
immediate future. In addition, we believe that the area is not suitable
for intervention by untrained or unsupervised persons."
"Will we get to view the island more
"Yes, after this conference is concluded,
the members of the media who express an interest in examining the island
will be transported from this vessel for an aerial view of various
"Anything else? If there are no more
questions I will ask you to please remain here until we are able to escort
you on an authorized tour. Thank you for your cooperation."
The PR director stepped down from the podium,
and the conference was concluded.
"Talk about not receiving any
information," sighed Steve. "They cram us all into this small
room, make a statement, and then answer questions basically telling us
nothing. They didnít even confirm that they don't know anything. I hope,
at least, they give us a closer look at the island," said Steve with
"You know how the Peace Force always walks
a fine line, though, donít you?" responded Ty. "They have to
continually cover their backs legally, but they also have to come across
as completely righteous because of their affiliation with the UN. Maybe
they don't know anything, but they can't say that because of their
position of prominence and because it would generate alarm all over the
place. So, instead, they have to posture and give us this official but
obscure discourse. Besides, why should the Peace Force be able to explain
what might be some kind of miraculous happening?" countered Ty.
"Oh, thatís right, I forgot that you're
not only a journalist and writer but also a tripped-out dude," joked
Steve. "Anyway, I wonder if the media will be able to record some of
the images of the island during the tour?" he pondered.
"I doubt it," replied Ty. "You
know how antsy they are about visual content rights, and they can restrict
any media activity through global security regulations."
"I guess we both just have negative
attitudes when it comes to the Peace Force and their apparent omnipotent
status. And yet, despite that clout, they constantly appear to be
manipulated by the financial offerings of a lot of gigantic multinational
corporations," said Steve critically.
"Sure, we can make disparaging remarks if
we want, but, at least, it's out in the open to a certain extent," Ty
retorted. "Historically, there has always been a mutually beneficial
connection between governments and corporations. However, now the system
is constructed in such a way with the involvement of the UN that higher
levels of disclosure are required. I'm not saying that the UN isnít
susceptible to corruption, but the existence of a protocol for the
application of international law and the codification of its enforcement
constitutes a structure that is the closest weíve come to global
"Wow. They've really got you mesmerized,
donít they?" remarked Steve. "In any case, I'll feel a lot
better after they let us out of this place. Itís stifling in here,"
Ty grimaced in response because he too felt a
bit claustrophobic in the enclosed space.
As soon as the press conference had finished,
the room was again buzzing with the voices of the assembled media. The
only noise louder than the horde of reporters was the intermittent arrival
and departure of aircraft from up on the deck. Then, after about fifteen
minutes had passed, more Peace Force officials entered the room and began
to separate the media into groups of about twenty people. From there, the
journalists were led outside and subsequently packed into a collection of
As the fleet of helicopters raced off in
formation, it looked like a military assault was being made on the island.
The reporters had been told that they would not fly directly over the
center of the land because it was still considered unsafe. Instead, the
choppers took a circuitous route along the coastline. Since no Peace Force
representative would confirm any specifics about any topic, the
journalists were left to gape at the huge chunk of terra firma.
The view from above revealed what appeared to be
a fairly ordinary terrain: there were rocky coasts and sandy beaches;
ample vegetation including trees and a variety of plants; and the
interior, even when seen from a considerable distance, featured hilly
almost mountainous areas. However, as the reporters got a first-hand look,
none of them could restrain their amazement given the astonishing fact
that all of it had occurred in such a short duration.
Around the world, people would rely on the media
for information about the incredible happening. But, because the Peace
Force prohibited independent coverage of the event, the major news
agencies had only been able to make sketchy reports up until that time.
And yet, even as the journalists received their first glimpse of the
island, it was clear that the Peace Force was in complete control of the
scope and contents of any dissemination.
The result was that all news organizations of
any significance would file their reports based on essentially duplicate
information. Although these stories would not be censored, the overall
restriction imposed on the discovery and release of information
effectively rendered investigative reporting useless. In the end, people
across the globe were force to wait for a report which would convey the
main points of the incident, but not really uncover anything new.
In terms of content, each report was virtually
the same: the information that the Peace Force had released was given;
members of the Peace Force who were fluent in a particular language and
authorized to make a statement - in fact, most members were qualified to
make public comments since media interaction skills were taught as part of
standard training - were interviewed; and each reporter gave a personal
description of what he or she had seen from the helicopters during the
The whole concept of competitive reporting,
then, had been, in essence, eliminated through the control exerted by the
Peace Force. Although these artificial parameters did not compromise the
accuracy of information, at times, stories lacked depth. The entire set-up
worked to tame the urge in each reporter to push for more extensive
information. In the final analysis, this was one of the conditions that
the international community accepted as part of having the Peace Force
exist through UN sanction: news was affected to the extent that its
release was tantamount to funneling information through a variety of