In deep space, the Leap of Faith is on a one way journey to a newly discovered physical anomaly that some believe could be the hand of God still working the Creation.
Others, however, could care less and are determined to wreck the mission for their own reasons.
Meanwhile, co-commanders Diego Aragon and Fr. Azarias Boucher must overcome mutual suspicions and arguments over science and religion and unite to oversee a crew whose unseen fault lines could spell disaster for their mission.
Join them and the crew of the Leap of Faith as they struggle with questions of faith and their own human frailties while racing against time to find who among them is determined to destroy them all and end man's quest for the ultimate answers to life and death and Cosmic Purpose!
Using the full force of the pull of the locus, the Leap of Faith began to fall slowly, then faster along the edge of the whirlpool, toward the furnace that awaited it below. During the entire six-hour wait until the ship had arrived at its next planned position, no one aboard spoke, but merely waited with held breath as the temperature inside the ship began to climb at a noticeable rate.
"Prepare for thrust sequence number two at...T-minus ten seconds," said Diego at last. "Nine... eight... seven... six... five... four... three... two... one... mark."
"Thrust sequence begun."
"I have minimum fuel requirement."
"Thrust sequence continued."
"Five... four... three... two... one... thruster on." For the final time, the great ship was again pushed with gentle force into the desired position.
"That's the last of our fuel," said Janet, not without a slight tremor in her voice.
"How's our attitude, Azarias?" asked Diego anxiously.
"It's good. Just as SYBIL planned. You know, I'm actually getting to appreciate the darn thing," replied Azarias lightly.
"That may be, but if there's any drift at all from here on in, we've had it."
For the next several hours, the three crewmembers watched their instruments intently for the slightest evidence of drift in the ship's attitude. Then, the first signs of the matter-bombardment began to appear on their instruments.
"Here it comes," said Azarias.
"I've got it. I've got it," said Diego, his eyes darting from monitor to monitor as data began to pour in from the ship's sensors.
"SYBIL says everything is as predicted," said Janet. "Readings indicate a steady increase in free quark frequency along the complete range of wave activity."
"Saul," called Diego over the communications array. "Are you all set to go?"
"Just say the word, Diego," came the reply.
"Then turn it on."
There was a pause, then, "The coils are activated and I have them climbing the frequency ladder now."
"Roger," Diego turned to Azarias. "That means we have about ten minutes to reach the limit of our descent."
"I've got it timed. Our descent is steady. But you don't need me to tell you that. The temperature in here must be almost a hundred degrees Fahrenheit by now."
"Is that all?" asked Janet wiping perspiration from her face.
"Here we go. Patch me in to Saul, will you Diego?" Then, "Saul, we're now at T-minus ten seconds and counting."
"That's a copy, Azarias. The coils are in readiness."
"Three... two... one... now!"
Immediately, the whole tempo of the spacecraft changed with the shift in the frequency of the electro-magnetic coils wound about the interior of the ship. Strange, unfamiliar vibrational patterns throbbed their way through the heart of the vessel making themselves felt by the crew. Suddenly, even that changed. The vibrations became rougher, then more violent as the invisible particles raced by and through the ship, some to strike lightly against its surface that was parallel with their trajectory. And yet, that touch was still rough enough to begin the scouring of the ship's surface, erasing every detail of its hull, sealing every possible access to the outside and wearing it down to an infinite smoothness.