If you’re just happening on this blog, let me catch you up: My near-future, Catholic science fiction novel, Discovery, is out in eBook and comes out in print Oct 1. I call it “Catholic science fiction,” because three of the main characters are religious sisters (who do search and rescue and safety work in outer space), but there’s a lot of other fun stuff as the crew of the Edwina Taggert encounter alien technology that affects their minds.

To celebrate the book launch, I’m having a book tour and blogging about some of the other main characters. Today, we look at Merl, who is not Catholic, but is a missionary on Earth. Why in the world would he accept a year-long secret mission past Pluto? Read on, and if you want to learn more about the book, click here.


Mission Patch texturedMerl made his careful way across the manicured lawn, the sun warming his back as if to remind him to enjoy its vibrant rays while he could.

It’s good advice, Lord, he prayed. Grant that I never forget it. For as You give, so You can take away.

He passed between two tombstones and squatted down to set daffodils on the grave of his wife.

“Well, Lin. I did it. Went all the way to the moon, just for an interview. You’d have hated it – so barren and artificial and gray. Of course, you never did understand why anyone would want to live so far from the home God gave us. I could hear your voice the whole trip: We’re already kicked out of Eden. Why do we run even further away?

“But I have to confess to you, my heart. I met people who did, and some of them are very happy. And right now, I’m not. Not without you. You were my Eden, and God forgive me, if this is as close as I can get to you on this earth, then I want to run from it, too.

“I’m not just running away, though. I need a new challenge, a new pace. All those years of missionary work we shared, all those technical manuals I translated along with Scripture… I feel like, perhaps, I’ve been led to this mission. And it’s not just the linguistic work I’ll be doing. There are so many lost souls in space. The evil of Codism is spreading. I saw that. Even the mission leader… But I can handle that; in fact, it excites me. I can bring the Word of God to the farthest reaches of human civilization. I can make a difference. Brother Ryan has given me his blessing.

“Of course, Mary Min doesn’t understand it. She’s so much like you that way. She wants me to live with them, just ‘till I’m ‘ready,’ whatever that means. I can’t, Lin. She has her own family. Besides, I was never one to putter about, and I can’t go back to our work. It’s just too painful without you. I hope you can understand.”

He paused, listening to the birdsong, feeling the sun on his back and taking in the verdant green grass of the cemetery. Even so, his heart felt quiet, cold and gray. Like the moon. Like space.

He sat back and leaned his head against the tombstone that bore Lin’s name. The warm black stone comforted him as he pulled the sleeve off his wrist comp and dictated, “Message to Dr. William Thoren, Luna Technological Institute, Discovery Mission. Thoren. I accept. May God bless our travels.”