Don't Write What You Know;
Write What You Care About -- Passionately!
Beyond Big-G City
- S.D. Matley
The year is 2025 and Hermes is on the Olympus, Inc., hot seat. He has two short years to halt climate change before the irretrievable tipping point is reached, an existential threat to mortals and immortals alike.
David Bernstein embarks on a quest to learn about his unnamed mortal father. Assisted by would-be girlfriend, Cleo Petra, David scours the Middle East for clues that lead him to Rome, Italy, and points beyond.
Jim Smith observes unsettling changes in Stella, his mental health client, and fears an evil force, The Power, has secretly escaped its prison to terrorize the City of Mount Olympus once more.
And what of Seattle? Clifford Essex leads a desperate race to solve the riddle of an unstable seawall, poised to crumble and take a major transit tunnel with it.
From Mount Olympus to the Underworld, from Petra, Jordan, to Seattle, Washington-much is afoot Beyond Big-G City!
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(Multiple eBook formats)
Friday, June 20, 2025
City of Mount Olympus
Hermes, Director of Digital Devices and Robotics at Olympus, Inc., fretted as the elevator swayed up from his fourth-floor department to the CEO suite on the eleventh. He hated annual reviews, something Veronica Zeta had implemented when she’d taken over from Zeus. Once a year she met with her Directors one-on-one, to discuss performance and set goals.
Reviews annoyed Hermes and today he was downright edgy. Veronica had always sent his review file in advance. Not this time. The reason might be simple, a mere technical glitch or she might be running behind in her work? His gut disagreed; his gut strongly suspected Veronica was holding something back.
The elevator chimed and the doors rolled open. The vast CEO suite, a light and airy refuge studded with skylights and decorated with lush, green plants, appeared before him. The reception desk was vacant. Veronica’s assistant, Alexandra, was nowhere to be seen. None of this boded well, nor the fact he was late.
Veronica, herself, sat at her own desk half-way across the suite. Her posture suggested an iron rod. Formal as ever, she wore the snow-white, gold-edged toga of a CEO. Her fingers drummed the desktop.
Forward he strolled. Hermes threw back his head to sweep the hair out of his eyes. “Hey, Ronnie.” He flashed a slow smile and flopped into the chair across from hers.
Veronica extended her hand. “Thank you for meeting with me today, Hermes.”
Her dark eyes studied him. She didn’t say anything about his being late.
Hermes threw his hair back again. His shaggy surfer cut was longer than usual, no time or inclination to have a trim for two or three months. He set his digital tablet on the desktop.
“Didn’t get your review file yet.”
“Here.” She tapped the screen of her own device.
His eyes shifted to his tablet. Hermes read in silence, scrolled back up and read the review again. He looked up. “And this is supposed to be my fault?”
“It’s an old law, Hermes.” Her face was stone. “When an immortal interferes with mortal technology—”
“Interferes?” He shot from his chair and started pacing. “They’d still be rubbing sticks together to make fires if it wasn’t for my interference. How dare you—”
She rose and planted her palms on her desk. “For Dad’s sake, control yourself! You’re the one who taught them how to use fossil fuels and you know the law as well as I do. If an immortal interferes with mortal technology, said immortal must monitor the use of that technology and minimize whatever harm comes from it.”
He glared at her.
She glared back. “Now, sit down and listen to me.”
A white ray of sun shot through the skylight above Veronica’s desk, bleaching the color from the room. Hermes understood the big picture. If the mortals succeeded in destroying their planet and went extinct, it would be the end of the gods, too. The gods had been created solely to take care of the mortals. Their worlds mirrored each other in many respects. Temperatures were rising, slowly but consistently, in the City of Mount Olympus, too. Growing cycles had veered out of sync. Weather patterns changed more rapidly than some species of plant life could adapt.
“Did you read the goals I’ve set?”
Hermes nodded. She’d always invited his input before today.
“The carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere need to level off and come down. Weather and Agriculture will help you in any way they can, but they don’t have the time or resources to influence mortal behavior. You need to guide the mortals back from extracting and consuming fossil fuels at their present rate.”
He pointed to the deadline on his screen. “In two years?”
Veronica arched an eyebrow. “You’ve already had ten, as I’ve documented in your review. Earth is half a degree Celsius from the tipping point. If you don’t succeed in reducing carbon dioxide levels before that point is reached, it’s highly unlikely the mortals will survive another two centuries.”
He burned to defend himself, but what was the point? He’d already put gargantuan effort into developing and testing methods for scientifically engineering the reversal of climate change but hadn’t reported this to her. Why would he, since every attempt had ended in failure? Now she was directing him to work away from his strengths, to pursue the problem from the behavioral angle. Hermes was a lot of things, but he was neither a lobbyist nor a psychologist.
Veronica’s expression half-shifted from stern to welcoming, achieving neither. “See you at the party on Sunday?”
The damnable engagement party. His own effort to smile went sideways.
“Wouldn’t miss it.”
Hermes stalked to the elevator, telling himself it really wasn’t that bad. But it really was.