By Steve Hammons
(Spoiler alert: The final climax of "Light's Hand" is included below.)
Many of us wonder about special sensitive military, intelligence and research activities.
When we think about unusual missions and special operations, we realize that personnel involved must be flexible and ready to innovate and respond to changing circumstances at times.
We watch, often with troubled hearts, activities in Iraq and Afghanistan. We remember the difficulties and pain of the Vietnam War era. And we wonder about future bloodshed and suffering.
Many people hope for some kind of breakthrough into a new world, where the human race can make progress and discover greater peace and prosperity.
Some people hope for and believe that a miracle of some kind might happen.
They wonder if physics, such as the sought-after "unified field" of Einstein's theories, might be relevant. Will the natural world change in some way? Might we become more aware of other hidden dimensions around us?
Could spiritual beliefs and views of Heaven and Earth actually prove to be based on scientific realities?
What part do UFOs and other unusual phenomena play? Do incidents like the Stephenville, Texas, sightings and the 1997 "Phoenix lights" case result in greater awareness by people that something is going on? Is human consciousness changing, as we discover more about ESP and things like "remote viewing?"
We know that many people are researching and working on questions like this. What have they found? And what might it mean to all of us?
Some of us are hopeful. Some of us are cynical. Some of us hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
In my novels, Mission Into Light and the sequel Light's Hand a special joint-service team of ten women and men are brought together in a sensitive and classified intelligence research project.
From their base in San Diego, they conduct research on several interesting areas, some seemingly unrelated.
But, they keep getting indications that something may happen. A "breakthrough event" of some kind. They suspect that the paths of research they are following will lead them to some kind of success. Success for their fellow Americans, for the human race and for planet Earth.
What follows is an account of the breakthrough event that occurs toward the end of the second novel.
A STRANGE LIGHT
On a Thursday night, in fact, about three o'clock Friday morning, something started happening near a small creek on the northern edge of metropolitan Phoenix. The water in the creek was flowing by a rocky wall.
And on that wall were ancient engravings and paintings made by the Hohokam people and others long ago. The symbols and drawings said this was a special place, a holy place. A place to find shelter that also had water and game nearby.
The crickets in the vicinity had stopped chirping, and the desert animals of the night listened nervously to the sound of the gentle breeze blowing across this little area of the northern edge of the immense Sonoran Desert. A desert jackrabbit stopped by the stream. Something caught her eye.
A small, barely visible light was starting to form. It was a small, dim glow, the jackrabbit observed. And it flickered a little bit at times. The rabbit didn't sense any danger, and she moved a little closer, maybe thirty feet away. The other animals and insects nearby were also noticing the light. Especially since it seemed to be getting a little bigger as the moments went by.
An hour later, around four a.m., an Arizona Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol officer was on patrol on a nearby freeway, heading westbound. Officer Rick Bailey spotted something off toward one of the nearby hills. A light. Looked like it might be a small fire.
He pulled his patrol car off the side of the highway. It was still dark, except for light from a half moon above. Bailey turned on his spotlight and shone it toward the hills. It didn't help much. The small light looked to be about two hundred yards away. Near the foot of some old volcanic slopes and a creek. He had to get closer.
Bailey drove the patrol car back on the freeway to the next off ramp, then he doubled-back on an adjacent road toward the light.
He called dispatch on the radio and said he was leaving his vehicle to check out a possible fire just off the freeway.
Bailey grabbed his hand-held radio unit from the seat next to him and turned on the caution flashers on the top of the patrol car.
The terrain was rocky and he bumped into desert plants and tripped over a couple of rocks as he made his way toward the light. Definitely seemed bigger than a campfire, now that he was a little closer.
Another forty yards and he stopped. It didn't look like a fire now. More light a luminous glow. And it seemed to gently pulse with a slow, regular rhythm. He reached for the radio on his belt and slowly brought up to his mouth.
"Request backup to my location. And roll fire too."
PUBLIC SAFETY RESPONSE
He maintained his position. Within what seemed like a few minutes, two other highway patrol officers pulled up behind his vehicle back on the road, along with a Phoenix Fire Department truck and a three-man crew.
Bailey signaled them with his flashlight and talked with them on the radio. The two DPS officers and two of the firefighters headed toward him, while the third firefighter stayed with the vehicles.
At first, it looked like a fire to them too. But as they came nearer, they saw what Bailey had seen. A pulsing glow of luminous light that seemed to be the size of three or four cars parked side by side.
"Where's the light source?" asked one of the highway patrol officers.
"Could be some kind of radiation," one of the firefighters speculated.
"Let's get a little closer," Officer Bailey said.
When they were within about thirty yards of it, they felt the warmth. Not heat exactly. Not like from a fire. It was more like a feeling of warmth. And the light seemed to make the desert ground, plants, and cactus more vivid and clear, not just light them up. It was weird.
The senior firefighter really was the one to make a call at this point.
"Maybe we should roll HazMat," he wondered out loud to the others as he looked into their faces. He put the radio to his mouth and called for back-up from the guys at his fire station.
Officer Rick Bailey thought he noticed something about that light. Yeah. Now he was sure.
"It's getting slightly bigger."
"You sure?" asked the senior firefighter.
"Definitely. It's slow, gradual. But it's definitely almost twenty-five percent bigger than when I first came on it up close."
It was now a little after five a.m. and there was slight glimpse of sunrise behind the mountains to the east. A few early commuters on the freeway had spotted the patrol cars and fire truck on the nearby road.
One telephone company technician had pulled his truck off the side of the freeway and had spotted Bailey and the two firefighters up on a small rise approaching the desert hills. He could see the strange, glowing light clearly now from the freeway. And he heard fire engines coming.
When the firefighter had radioed the call in, a few people on the graveyard shifts at local TV and radio news departments were monitoring police and fire radio scanners as usual and heard it. Unknown situation. Maybe it's time to call the Phoenix Fire Department media line and see what was up.
Phoenix police officers wrapping up the overnight shift on patrol nearby were also dispatched to the scene.
When two other fire trucks and nine more Phoenix firefighters arrived on the side road, red lights flashing and sirens blaring, they couldn't miss the glowing light, even though it was no longer pitch dark. The morning sky in the east was now orange, and dawn was breaking.
They could see the light clearly. It stood out against a desert hill.
Eight of them hopped out of the trucks and started scrambling across the desert floor toward the three DPS officers and their two buddies up near the light.
A Phoenix police car rolled up, and the officer got out and followed them. Within two minutes a fellow officer also arrived.
By now, quite a few motorists on their way to work had pulled off the freeway. Other drivers had slowed to see what was going on. Most of them spotted the strange glow around the base of a nearby hill.
Overhead, a small Phoenix police chopper was now making tight circles above the firefighters and officers, and the unusual light. The pilot and the observer officer were talking to the Phoenix cops on the ground.
A TV news chopper team that was covering early morning traffic was dispatched by the station's news department to head to the location. Something was going on. Fire and police on scene.
On the ground, now nearly twenty firefighters and peace officers were standing together looking at this light. And more were now arriving. The Fire Department's HazMat unit was arriving down on the road.
Phoenix Fire Captain Mark Daniels was on scene. He was ranking firefighter and he decided to get closer to the soft glow of the light. As Daniels and the other officers and firefighters were looking at the light, a small dark object could be seen in the center space that was glowing.
Within a few seconds, they could make it out.
It was a dog. The dog stood there, looking somewhat confused and disoriented. Then it took a few steps. And slowly its tail began to wag.
Daniels noticed something familiar about the dog. And the dog now took a few more tentative steps toward him. The dog barked. Once, twice. It was barking at Daniels.
Then the dog took off at a run, directly for the fire captain and ran out of the perimeter of the odd field of light and right up to Daniels, wagging its tail wildly.
The other firefighters and cops now came up and surrounded Daniels and the dog, which looked to most of them like a part-shepherd mix, with a brown, black, and white coat.
Daniels knelt down face to face with the animal. He knew this dog. Knew her well. She had been his Army "scout dog" in Vietnam.
Daniels had been assigned as a combat dog handler patrolling the jungles of Vietnam thirty years before. This dog was named Vegas, and she had been his Army scout dog partner in 'Nam.
He hugged her and tears rolled down his face. She licked the tears from his cheeks. This animal had been a loyal and brave trusted friend and partner in Vietnam.
She had saved the lives of the men in his platoons many times and they had treasured this wonderful animal.
The firefighters and cops looked at the scene in confusion. What was going on?
How was Daniels going to explain it to them. They'd think he was nuts. Vegas had been shot and killed during a firefight in Vietnam in the summer of nineteen sixty-nine.
Up above, the two cops in the Phoenix police chopper could now notice the field of light had increased in size since they had arrived on scene. Slightly, but noticeably.
The news chopper was now also hovering off to the south about a half-mile, and the cameraman inside was now rolling live video to the station's control room. The video signal to the station showed the large field of strange light near the hills that now were aglow with the sun's morning light.
The picture included twenty or so cops and firefighters standing around, fire trucks and police cars with flashing red and blue lights, and the traffic on the freeway now at almost a standstill, with dozens of vehicles pulled off to the side of the road.
Three cops were now stringing yellow police caution tape down near the road to keep the onlookers back. They strung the tape using the cactus and the desert bushes.
A DPS chopper had arrived on scene and was also hovering overhead. Two more TV news choppers were speeding through the morning sky over Phoenix from the helipads at their stations.
Fire Captain Mark Daniels was now sitting on the ground, rubbing Vegas' belly as she lay peacefully next to him on the desert floor.
The cops and firefighters around them were starting to think maybe they should back up. The perimeter of the light field was expanding, and getting closer to their position. None of them felt afraid, though. It just seemed wise to back up a little.
The HazMat team that had arrived brought up a Geiger counter and checked the area. There was no radiation. They had hazardous chemical detection gear, and nothing registered on it. They didn't smell anything unusual either.
But they did feel the strange sense of inner warmth that the first guys on the scene had felt.
Suddenly, Vegas the Army scout dog rolled up from her back to her feet. She looked back toward the light field and barked. Then she looked at Daniels and barked again, her tail wagging.
Before Daniels could stop her, she took off on a run toward the light and headed right into it. She turned around and looked at the cops and firefighters as she stood just inside the apparent perimeter of the field of light. Her tail was still wagging and she barked at them several times.
Daniels stood up and starting walking toward her, slowly. Vegas kept barking and wagging her tail as he walked steadily into the edge of the light.
BACK IN SAN DIEGO
Meanwhile, the commander of the Joint Reconnaissance Study Group, Air Force Colonel Tom O'Brien was driving toward the San Diego office of the top-secret Joint Reconnaissance Study Group Friday morning when he heard it on the radio of his car.
The local San Diego jazz station was doing news at the top of the hour, and it was seven o'clock. After a radio ad for a local car dealership, a woman's voice said, "And now, your up-to-date news. In Phoenix, Arizona, public safety officials are baffled by an unexplained area of light near the foothills north of the city."
"Police and fire officials say the unusual field of light was first spotted by a highway patrol officer in the early morning hours. The strange glow seems to be stable, though some of the hundreds of bystanders told reporters that this field of light is getting larger, hour by hour."
O'Brien was stunned. This is it. He knew it instantly. He grabbed a cell phone from the car seat next to him and dialed the number of the Joint Reconnaissance Study Group office. Maybe somebody would be there.
There was a click on the other end.
"JRSG. Lieutenant Commander Etienne speaking."
"Jim! This is O'Brien. Get chopper transport ready for us now! Who else is there at the office?"
"Just Dan, sir."
"Get the rest of the group on the phone and tell them to get to the office pronto! We're flying to Phoenix as soon as we can get airborne. Call your contacts and get us chopper transport, Jim. And tell Thompson to get those Army Special Forces reserves in motion. Now, put Wells on the line."
Etienne motioned to Dan Wells who was sitting at his desk, and handed him the phone. O'Brien gave Wells some further instructions as he tried to stay within the speed limit and entered the Point Loma area. The base was just a few minutes away.
By nine a.m. two choppers carrying two groups of the JRSG were cutting through the air toward Phoenix.
One was a Navy helo carrying Air Force Colonel O'Brien, Navy Commander Dan Wells, Navy Lt. Commander Jim Etienne, Army Special Forces Colonel Ed Thompson, Army Special Forces Captain Bill MacNeil, Marine Colonel Gene Voss, and Air Force Major Karen Valdez. They were just approaching the crest of the mountains in eastern San Diego County.
The other was an Arizona National Guard chopper flying due south from Flagstaff. They were just passing over the Sedona area. On board were Army Special Forces Colonel Jack Allen, Dr. Brenda Carruthers, Air Force Captain Amy Mella, Mike Green, CIA analyst Jennifer Thorsen and World War II Marine Code Talker veteran Joe Bear, who had arrived in Flagstaff from the Navajo Nation the afternoon before.
They were all thinking, and talking among each other. Could this be what they think it might be? Some of them were hoping and praying.
The Army National Guard chopper from Flagstaff reached the scene first, quickly landed in the desert brush, and stirred up clouds of dust that floated toward the onlookers down by the highway.
They were about a hundred yards away from the growing cluster of peace officers and firefighters standing near the light field. The eight of them disembarked from the chopper and the pilot and co-pilot brought the rotor blades to a rest.
They first jogged and then walked calmly and steadily toward the light. Jack was up front with Brenda at his side. So were Joe, Mike, Amy, and Jennifer. Jack and Amy flashed their military credentials to a cop, and Jennifer pulled out her CIA ID. They told him they were a national security response team.
"Let's figure out who's in charge here," Jack told them. "Who saw what and what's been going on?"
As they waded into the crowd of officers and firefighters, they found that three other fire captains were now on scene, along with the department's public relations officers. A Phoenix police mobile command post RV had been brought to the scene, too.
They were told about Fire Captain Mark Daniels and the dog Vegas, who were still standing just inside the light field. Actually, they were running and playing. Daniels had found a stick and Vegas was in bliss chasing it and retrieving it for him inside the perimeter of the strange glowing body of light.
Other cops and firefighters had stepped closer and closer to it. Some were just a few feet away. They had to get used to the feeling they got as they moved closer. They felt a little different. There was a strange pressure in their chests.
The JRSG people also moved toward the light. Slowly, carefully. Listening to their senses and their instincts and feelings. Was this safe?
Daniels and Vegas stopped their play and looked at the JRSG people. Daniels smiled and Vegas started barking and her tail went to wagging wildly again. It was like they expected them. This is part of The Plan, Daniels said to himself. These were people who were supposed to be here.
One by one, Mike, Amy, Jennifer, Joe, Jack and Brenda stepped into the light field. And when they did, they knew that this was the breakthrough they'd been hoping for. That a lot of people had been hoping and praying for.
As the firefighters and cops started stepping into the light field, they sort of figured that this was something special. Might be something to tell your grandkids about.
Physics had changed, the JRSG team speculated. Don't know how, but it was clearly a different layer of reality, of Nature.
"It's like things are clearer," Mike said. "Visually, and inside me, too, somehow."
The others felt it too. And they were all getting similar, if varied perceptions. It reminded Mike of that tunnel of light during his near-death experience. Amy was trying to put it into words.
"It feels like God's hand. Reaching out to us," she said almost unconsciously.
They looked at her silently. She was hoping this would be the beginning of what she had unconsciously blurted out once before. "Joy beyond understanding." Every tear washed away, like the Bible said.
Jack was trying to cover all the bases.
"Brenda and Joe, you go talk to that fire captain with the dog please. Verify what we've heard about them. We're expecting our people from San Diego to be here any time. Mike, Amy, and Jennifer, stick close to me please. I want to go deeper into this field."
The four of them took a few more steps into the light. The entire field had now expanded to approximately forty yards in diameter.
Overhead, two more choppers from TV news stations arrived and hovered, hanging back a mile or so from the site of the light. A second Phoenix police chopper also had arrived and was alternately circling and hovering.
And now another helicopter was arriving on the scene from the west. It was the Navy helo carrying Tom O'Brien and the rest of the group: Wells and Etienne, Thompson and MacNeil, Voss and Valdez.
From the window of the chopper, the people inside could see the large energy-like glow nestled against a hillside. There were fire trucks and police cars nearby. An Army chopper was on the ground about a half-mile west of the odd light field. And traffic on the nearby freeway looked like it was at a standstill.
Other helicopters could be seen above the area. The morning sun was now rising above the mountains to the east. O'Brien wanted to be on the ground, now.
"Commander, put us down there please. Near that Army chopper."
"Will do, colonel. It's just desert scrub down there. Should be no problem," the pilot said confidently.
The Navy pilot and co-pilot put the craft on the desert floor near the Army National Guard chopper and turned off the engine. They wanted to get a closer look too. The group got off the helo and walked steadily toward the crowd of peace officers and firefighters standing near and in the light force.
They could also see crowds of people gathering down by the freeway. And news media vans were parked there too.
As they got closer, they started to feel the mysterious warmth that others there had noticed. They spotted old Joe Bear and Brenda Carruthers playing with a dog just inside the perimeter of the light field. What was going on?
Jack Allen, Mella, Thorsen, and Green were also now visible, standing just beyond them inside the light. Jack spotted them and waved for them to come forward.
O'Brien and the other JRSG people who had just arrived looked at each other briefly, and then slowly started wading into the strange light. They felt a little pressure in their chests. Things looked different. There was a certain vividness to everything. People, rocks, desert bushes. There seemed to be an inner glow in everything.
The two groups linked up and the whole JRSG team, plus Joe Bear, Brenda Carruthers and the Army National Guard pilots, the San Diego Navy pilots, and several cops and firefighters were standing around shaking hands and sharing hugs. The group from Flagstaff filled in the San Diego teams about what they had learned so far.
"The highway patrolman who first spotted it in the early morning hours is still reportedly on scene somewhere," Jack told O'Brien and the others. Jack then pointed out Mark Daniels and Vegas, and explained the story.
Joe Bear focused in on that. It fit with the latest Code Talker message the NSA had picked up and asked him to interpret, he thought. "A friend will break through the lines for a rescue," or something like that, Joe had figured from the Code Talker words in Morse code. And it said it would happen "in the land of the Hohokam."
He wanted to tell the others, but there were pilots, firefighters, and cops standing nearby who didn't have clearance and didn't have a need to know. Joe casually took a few steps so he was standing next to O'Brien. He tapped him on the arm.
"Tom. The dog. It fits in with the NSA signal," he said quietly. "A friend will break through the lines for a rescue."
O'Brien looked at him and nodded.
The JRSG and their friends, as well as the pilots, firefighters, and cops standing around there were trying to understand this thing. Looking to their training and experience. Trying to do the professional thing under the circumstances.
In the sky to the west, two Army Reserve choppers from San Diego carrying the Special Forces Reserve teams were approaching the air space above and around the light field. Ed and Bill spotted the choppers and wanted to get them on the ground.
"Sir," Ed called over to O'Brien. "Looks like our people from San Diego are coming in," he said as he pointed. "MacNeil and I better get them deployed."
"Right Ed. You two go."
Ed and Bill took off at a jog from the growing crowd of people just inside the light field, and soon were out of the glow themselves and running west to where their other two choppers were on the ground.
From inside the light field, the others soon saw colored smoke rising near the other choppers. Thompson and MacNeil were marking a landing zone and MacNeil had pulled the pins on two signal smoke canisters.
"We have some Special Forces friends from San Diego coming in to help us," O'Brien announced to the other JRSG people. "They can coordinate with police and fire."
FIELD OF DREAMS
Tom was trying to stay in control. Truth was, he was feeling like a little kid on Christmas morning.
Mike was standing nearby with Amy and Jennifer. He was still feeling that there were similarities between this light and the strange tunnel in his near-death experience, and he whispered it in their ears.
To Joe Bear, it reminded him of some of his vision dreams. A certain inner glow that everything, and everybody, seemed to have.
To others, it did kind of feel like God's hand reaching out. Like Mella had said. She wasn't the only one there who had that perception. Many of the people gathered around inside and on the perimeter got a feeling that this energy, this field of light, this outstretched hand was there so they and the others could affirm it. Grasp it and shake hands with it. Hold on to it. Hold on tight. Maybe pray with it.
Some of the cops and firefighters in and around the light were intermittently talking and listening to their hand-held radios. Telling dispatchers what was going on. Talking to other officers and fire crews nearby. It was some kind of natural energy. Nobody was picking up any danger from it.
The area was being cordoned off from the curious and peaceful public crowds that were gathering. Everything was under control down by the freeway and nearby roads. Chopper traffic in and out of the airspace above the light field was being controlled and coordinated by police.
It was mid-morning now and the live video being shot by the news choppers was now being fed to the networks.
Ed Thompson and Bill MacNeil had now brought the Special Forces guys up and into the light. They were stationed around the expanding edge of the glow's perimeter. The pilots and co-pilots from those choppers had also walked over to the light field.
The seventy or eighty people now standing in the growing light field started to hear something. It was a barely audible musical sound. Groups of firefighters and cops clustered around gradually stopped talking and listened. Some of the cops turned down their radios.
It was definitely music. Coming from within the light field, or nearby. And it was familiar, but different. Gentle sounds flowing from a string section and an acoustic guitar. A few of them started to make out the tune. The song was "Fools Rush In" being played and sung slowly and almost, it seemed, carefully. And many of the people there thought they recognized the singer. This was too weird. Yeah, it was a distinctive voice to those who were familiar with it. Rick Nelson.
Amy had called it God's hand. She had also been right about something else. "Joy beyond understanding." That's what she had said during the group meeting over the Internet from Flagstaff. She was right.
The field of natural energy and light kept expanding that morning and past noon. At one o'clock, the media was allowed to come up to, and into the light field.
By three, police started to take down the barriers and yellow caution tape. People were allowed to get closer. Even a few kids with their parents walked up to the edge of the light and nervously put their hands on the glowing perimeter.
Most people just kind of stood there. Enjoying it. Thinking about what it might be. What it might mean. The light and the people visiting it, and watching it on TV, continued to expand throughout the afternoon and evening.
Hundreds and thousands of Phoenix area residents watched the sunset that evening from the desert hills there on the north side of town. The place where ancient paintings and carvings of symbols and animals on a nearby rock cliff said this was a special place, a holy place. A place to find shelter and water.
The light had now spread out for about three square miles and people had gotten used to it. It just kept going, lighting things up a little. Making people feel a bit of pressure in their chests. Making things a little clearer, somehow.
The light kept expanding into Saturday. And Sunday. And following days and weeks. And it never stopped.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
By Steve Hammons