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Chapter 1
The Machine Stops
Jarod (pronounced Jay-rod) was a nervous guy who startled easily, so he jumped when
a loud “Brzzz... Brzzz... Bzzzzzzz” sounded from the previously silent haloscope, it then
displayed and read aloud the following message.

This is an emergency message.
The following instructions are vital to your safety.
Until “All Clear” is given:
Return to your home.
Power off all electronics.
Close and secure all entrances.
Do not respond to anyone outside your home.
Do not attempt to interact with anyone outside of your home.
If a member of your family is missing do not attempt to locate them.
Do not attempt to investigate.
Do not attempt to investigate.
Do not attempt to investigate.
Do not look up.
Remain calm.

At the same time, his earpiece phone gave two quiet “dings” and a moment later Jarod
heard the air sirens in the distance whirr up to full blast.
His wife, Mellisa was running late getting home from work, Jarod was just putting the
finishing touches on dinner and their son Peter was already in his room for the night and
most likely would not be seen again for the rest of the evening.
“Halo. News,” said Jarod in the overly aunciated voice he used when talking to a
“Please power off all electronics. There is no news at this time,” came an unusual reply
from the Haloscope.
“Halo. Mail,” Jarod said.
“Please power off all electronics. There is no mail at this time.”