My name is Gemma Keyes. Other than my name, I am utterly forgettable—so those who never paid much attention to me in the first place haven’t exactly noticed that I’ve disappeared. Vanished. Oh, it’s much more complicated than it sounds.
I should tell you about Dr. Samuel Bickel, world-renowned nanophysicist. We used to work together, but I’ll be candid with you:He’s supposed to be dead.Well, he’s not. (Imagine my surprise.) Instead of the proverbial “six feet under,” he’s subsisting in an abandoned devolution cavern beneath the old Manzano Weapons Storage Facility on Kirtland Air Force Base here in Albuquerque.
“I need to show you what I’m protecting here, Gemma,” he insisted.
I stared into the clear glass case. I could hear . . . humming, clicking, buzzing. A faint haze inside the box shifted. Dissolved. Came back together.
It reminded me of how mercury, when released on a plate, will flow and form new shapes. Only this, this thing was “flowing and forming” in midair.
“Do you see them?” Dr. Bickel asked.
“Them?” I was confused. My mouth opened to a stunned “o” as the silver haze dissolved into blue letters.
H E L L O
Dr. Bickel hadn’t pressed any buttons. Hadn’t said anything. Hadn’t gestured.
He grinned. “Ah. They’ve noticed you. They know they haven’t seen you before.”
“Well, I wish they wouldn’t notice me!” I choked on the words, my eyes fixed on the glass case.
And I need to warn you about General Cushing. The rank and name likely conjure images of a lean but muscled old soldier, posture rigid, iron-gray hair cut “high and tight” framing a weathered face cemented in unyielding lines.
Let me disabuse you of that impression.
General Imogene Cushing is short and a tiny bit plump. She wears her silvered hair in an elegant braid knotted at the nape of her neck, and she knows how to smile sweetly.
With the deadliest of sharks.
I must survive. For Dr. Bickel’s sake, I must survive.
Weakened by the nanomites’ drain, Gemma flees from General Cushing’s pursuit. She finds refuge in Dr. Bickel’s vacant safe house—refuge and time for her body to recover from the damage inflicted by the nanomites.
But how does an invisible woman with no usable identity survive in a visible world?
While the nanomites search for Dr. Bickel (intent upon facilitating his rescue), Gemma appropriates a new identity and, piece by piece, secures a tenuous foothold in the real world that allows her to move about unnoticed. To Gemma’s amazement and grave misgivings, the nanomites, who had previously withstood her every overture, show themselves to be allies.
Or are they? The struggle for control is on.
Retribution. Also known as “payback” or a more dated word: “vengeance.” Arnaldo Soto has taken Emilio and intends to use him as bait to trap Gemma. It’s an effective strategy, because Gemma will do anything—anything—to save the young boy.
The woman known as Gemma Keyes is gone, her molecular structure destroyed and reassembled as . . . something else. In Gemma’s stead emerges a fierce weapon: part woman, part nanotechnology, her cellular composition conjoined with the nanocloud, indissoluble and formidable.
She and the nanomites are now more than a match for her enemies—but Gemma has promised God that she will not strive to exact retribution on Arnaldo Soto for taking Emilio. The nanomites have made no such promise.
The conclusion to the Nanostealth series will blow your mind.
Sign up for my newsletter and receive advance notice and read-ahead chapters of upcoming books.