Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Fourth Domain - Finale

Thank you, once again, for those who took the time to read the third entry in the Shaun Brewer series. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it :)

Each story I write has a theme to it, a message I want to send to the world. That applies to each individual story of Shaun & Dmitry. I have my beliefs on what makes the world great, and what also makes it horrible. I believe the relationships we share with those close to us holds more value than anything - the connections we share empower us all into being great people. I also believe the biggest threat to that is the establishment - our governments, our religion, the corporate fatcats. In some cases these groups will bring people together, but on a worldwide scale they only exist to create conflict and separate us from each other. That is exactly what I hoped people would take away from this story: the potential consequences of global division.

We are all people with something to offer the world. Work and live together, embrace our differences. Don't build walls to separate them.

I wrote this story mostly to celebrate 'Blood Falls' winning an award for best of 2016 on nosleep and offer a thank you to those who voted for it. This story is yours because you asked me for it. But I also felt compelled by the recent events of my country and the utter incompetence and negligence of all governments to send a message to the world. I hope that message resonates with you.

Onto the handbook


I mentioned previously that this was an entirely new area of science, and to a degree that's true. What I wound up doing was combining the research of different fields and drew conclusions when those separate areas were combined.

A large part of the scientific background for this story came from research conducted by Stefan Luketa, a member of the Department of Biology and Ecology for the University of Novi Sad in Serbia. He has proposed what would actually be a five domain system that would add Prionbiota and Virusbiota as two additional domains. Luketa went into extensive detail dissecting our current taxonomy structure, offering alternatives to adequately classifying life in his paper "New views on the megaclassification of life". It's quite an interesting and educational read. Here is a direct link to the pdf of his work.

He says a few things in this paper that I used as a basis for creating the Angels:
  • Animals are monophyletic; they originated not from fully developed plant predecessors, but rather from the predecessors of a lower organization.
    Found on Page 2
  • Predecessors of contemporary eukaryotic cells had once ingested free-living prokaryotes, which became adapted to survival and proliferations inside the hosts cells over time.
    Found on Page 5
  • Prions are infective protein particles with an ability to multiple/replicate and evolve. They live exclusively in eukaryotic cells and consist entirely of proteins without nucleic acids.
    Found on Page 6

One of the most important things of prions is the lack of genetic information. Genes necessary for prion replication are provided by the host cell.

I began thinking about the possibilities of prions having previously evolving into full multi cellular organisms and could self-replicate. And the link I used for this was Biological Dark Matter. As noted in the story, no one quite knows what it is and it's widely considered to be the blueprints for the fourth domain.

Here is a great video from Ted Talks that describes the nature of biological dark matter:

What if there was a way to basically take this dormant material inside all of us and just...turn it on? How could we do that? Prions served as a way of answering that question.

I also based the behavior of Angel peeling away her own skin on the prion disease known as Scrapie.

The bunker itself is a real place as well.

I'd like to give a HUGE thank you to /u/dration, who helped with the research of hidden underground bunkers. Without her help a lot of this story would not have been possible.

Object 506 is a real place that was used as part of Biopreparat. Here's a Russian news segment on the bunker:

A couple more useful links for other items mentioned in the story:


This story took a lot out of me to put together. It was initially conceived last summer but I didn't have the proper information to make it all feasible. I've spent almost every moment of free time over the last two months writing and researching everything. So, for the immediate future, I'm going to take a bit of a break from writing. I'm somewhat burnt out.

Moving forward, though, I'm going to start exploring other areas outside of nosleep. Don't misinterpret, I absolutely love posting on nosleep and it will forever hold a special place in my heart. But I've thought for some time now that I should be looking ahead. Something /u/BLOODWORTHooc mentioned in his nosleep interview really hit home for me:

"Quit writing for nosleep. Start writing novels. Start a mailing list. Start facebook advertising. Facebook likes are for suckers; look-alike audience ads are where it’s at."

It's not the last time I'll post something to nosleep, but it'll be a long time before I return. There's this deep ambition within me to write full fledged novels, and I can't do that if I'm spending months at a time writing for something intended for nosleep. It's time I step away, at least for a little while, and focus on actually being a novelist.

I hope to see you all stick around for what the my future endeavors generate. All your kind words and encouragement has been so very dear to me. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Shauntry - The Third Details

Welp, I'm sorry this is a little late. I was having difficulty with the artist for this image. Say hi to Dmitry!

This is a bit of sneak peak into the next Shaun Brewer story and serves as a handbook for part 1. It'll be posted on March 30th on /r/nosleep under the title I was recruited by the Government. Here is the finalized schedule for part of the series:

  • Part 1 - March 30th
  • Part 2 - March 31st
  • Part 3: Story & Handbook - April 3rd
  • Finale & Handbook - April 5th
EDIT: I originally intended the handbook to be included with part 3, but the pacing has resulted in pushing the material requiring the handbook to the finale instead.

At the time of writing this blog post I am nearly completed with Part 3. It's the most difficult part to construct with all the science details it has along with all the varying plot elements. Parts 1 & 2 are completed and do not contain enough details to merit a handbook for each. The story starts out a little slow in part 1. Halfway through the opening part though it picks up fast and hardly lets up until the ending.

The series as a whole is shaping up quite nicely. It's got puzzles, suspense, gore, new characters, and it will be proposing an entirely new, unexplored area of science that'll be exposed in part 3.

There's really only one particular item on part 1 I feel needs to be sourced in order to verify authenticity. It's a minor sub-plot of the first entry, but I'm a little worried people will read it and start scratching their heads, or the nay-sayers will jump and shout that it's not real or it's stupid. Well it is real, and it's not stupid.

I'm talking, of course, about insect cyborgs.

YES! They're real! And the neural engineering to create them is actually quite simple.

This is one of the rather simplistic versions of hacking into an insect's nervous system and manipulating their movements:

DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has been toying around with insect cyborgs since the 1940s:
  • The next time you see a moth, dragonfly, or other winged insect, go in for a closer look. (DARPA) has been developing insect cyborgs for the past seven-plus decades...Since the 1940s, DARPA’s toiled to develop Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) and Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS). It didn’t take long for engineers to realize that the key to effective MAVs was right in front of their eyes: Nature’s own insects — and, in some cases, winged mammals — were ideal case studies to be mimicked and, in some designs, enslaved.

That just about covers everything you need to know for the first part. Oh, the drawing of Dmitry? Ah, yes, that...well, you'll have to wait to read part 1 to find out what it's about :)

The next blog post here will be on April 3rd to explain the science that's presented in more thorough detail and include sources for what I've proposed.

See you all on March 30th!

EDIT 3/18 - Part 3 has been completed, but it's far too long to include the science of everything in the same part. The handbook will be presented along with the finale, NOT part 3 because of this reason.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Shauntry - The Third

EDIT: I know I said there would be an update towards the end of February, but I'm working on something specific for the update that's been delayed. We're still on track for March 30th though! Check back in a couple of weeks for the update!

Hey everyone! I've made some mentions on reddit about a possible third entry to the Shaun Brewer series. The concept I've been toying with for months now is starting to come together and I finally put together a basic outline for the third story. So, you're getting more Shaun, more Dmitry, more science :)

Details are scarce at the moment. For fear of giving away the plot I won't say much, but rest assured it'll uphold the high standard I set whenever I write these stories. I will do my best to keep this series fresh and interesting. Further announcements on everything should come later this month.

As far as a release date, it's a bit too soon to tell. March 30th would be great since that's when part one of Blood Falls was originally posted. But I'm not certain that's going to suffice. I may compile this with the other two entries to the series and release it as a novel on amazon first and then post it to nosleep afterwards.

There's a lot up in the air right now, but a third story is coming. Like the other two entries, it will stand on its own with minor mentions of the previous events that took place in the universe. I like the idea of everyone being able to pick up each individual story and read it on its own without feeling obligated to read the previous entries.

I want everyone to go in fresh! But I'll give you a little hint on the premise - maybe you science nerds can figure it out:

Check back here later this month for more details on release dates.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

New Year - New Goals

Hey there everyone! It's been some time since I last posted anything, so I suppose an update is in order.

Last year I set specific goals for myself in terms of writing. I achieved all of them, and with months to spare! So, 2017 brings a new set of goals I'm giving myself.

While things have been quiet on my end I do still see a steady stream of traffic to this blog, so I'd like to assure everyone that bigger projects are in the works for 2017. I have a two-part series coming up titled "The Scarab Window", along with a story about Neil Armstrong.

Lots of stuff coming in 2017 that I'll be updating this blog and /r/citadel with prior to their release! I look forward to sharing everything I've been cooking up!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

New series starting Monday, 8/29

Two weeks ago I posted a sneak peak to a story I've been working on over at The Citadel (read it here). What originally was intended to be a single-part story has expanded well beyond my original vision.  I found that I was already 7,000 words into the story before I even reached the climax. But the good news is that it's nearing completion and Part 1 will be on nosleep Monday, 8/29 under the title "Our house party had some uninvited guests."

The story takes place in Orient, NY, which is the very eastern end of the northern tip on Long Island. It's based on a house my family owns out there that is literally in the middle of nowhere. Whenever I visit the house I always envision it as a setting for a horror I finally gave it a story.

I've worked on the story for some time and while I went a bit overboard from my initial intention, I'm pleased with where its gone. It's got gore, science, love, mystery, and incredibly gripping new characters, some I found that I hated, and some I loved. But that's the ingredients for a good story...characters you root for and root against.

I'll leave you with a shot of the actual house. This is the backyard. Doesn't it look screamingly quaint?

Monday, August 8, 2016

NoSleep Interview!

Howdy champs!

/r/nosleepinterviews is taking community questions for my upcoming interview. Head on over and ask something!

Also, off-topic but, I was looking at the traffic sources for my blog. I see some people are stumbling onto this page from porn sites....what kind of sick gory science shit are you people into??

Sunday, July 17, 2016

What's new? / A Scarecrow For God on The Nosleep Podcast

So I've been quiet for a little while. I do that sometimes. Sorry chaps. I've been somewhat preoccupied with a few things. There's much Overwatch that needs playing, but on top of that most of my time writing is being contributed to 'The Eos' novel. I really like how it's coming out so far and I'm changing the story to better suit a full-length book instead of a 40-page short story. I think you'll all like the new plot elements once it's all made available for your reading.

For the time being though, I'll try to post individual stories on /r/nosleep when I can, but my focus is mainly on the book right now. Stories on reddit will be sparse until I finish the first draft.

I can guarantee I'll have a story before 8/15 though! On that date I'll be interviewed by /r/nosleepinterviews, so I'd kind of like to show that I'm still active on /r/nosleep before that occurs. I've been dabbling with a story for a while. It's kind of a survival horror piece that takes place on Long Island - my home! Subscribe to my sub - /r/citadel - to receive a notification when the story is posted.

And trust me, I'll make sure the book will be worth the wait :)

Anyway, a couple of months ago I wrote a story titled "A Scarecrow For God" which was fairly well received. Today it's featured on the NoSleep Podcast. In the process, I thought I'd give you all a brief handbook describing some of the items mentioned in the story.

These were two images I originally had linked in the story, but removed them before posting it because I thought it was a little over the top in trying to add immersion. I decided in the end to just let the story speak for itself. Still, I like the images. This is the Ring Nebula, not mentioned in the story. It's similar to the Helix Nebula, which was mentioned. The first image is authentic, the second is photoshopped to make it look as though the pupil has moved on its own. 

There's actually quite a lot of moving pieces with this story. Since it's one of my shorter ones I'm going to paste it all below in this post and link the relevant information that's mentioned. Cheers!

“Can I take your picture?” Larissa sat a few feet away from me on the grey velvet sofa as I aimed my iPhone towards her. I stared at the screen intently for a moment before shifting my focus, looking over the brim of the phone at her defeated, hopeless state portrayed by bloodshot eyes.
“What for? I don’t think it would be a very good one.” She found it difficult to speak above a tone of depressing mumble. “I’m not exactly prepared for a photo shoot right now.”
“Stop it. You look beautiful.” The chipper tone in my voice was a deceiving attempt to bring some semblance of elation to the bleak reality we had learned of our existence.
“It’s not insecurity. You know that.” Her looks were always something Larissa was confident in. That certainly wasn’t the source of her discontent. Normally we take pictures of happy times that we want to look back on and reminisce over. But neither of us were happy at that moment. Her face was a cemented lump of apathy that wouldn’t be going away anytime soon. “Why do you want a picture of me like this?”
“Because I want to remember what you look like.”

She would be gone soon. And there was nothing I could do to stop it. I really can’t say I blame her. Life had no purpose or meaning anymore. I was finding it difficult not to leave this world myself.

The eye in the sky destroyed it all.

Some said it was God. Technically they're right, although their interpretation of “God” is a bit skewed and thus incorrect. They’re just making excuses. I don’t exactly blame them for their attempts to make sense of the eye. In a way I sort of envy their ignorance. I wish I could live in bliss like that.

Enlightenment is punishment.

Larissa (a little trivia, this character is named after one of Neptune's moons) and I were coworkers at Caltech. I was head of the astronomy and physics department there, a position I held for the last eight years where I was lucky enough to fuel and satisfy my fascination with celestial objects for a living. Since I was a young boy I looked at the sky in awe and dreamed of a weightless, floating journey through the stars. At night I’d sit on my porch with my knees pulled against my chest and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in my hand looking at the moonlight shining on trees and the sparkling fireworks hovering above the earth.

A career in astronomy was all I ever wanted.

Larissa came on board a little less than a year ago. For the past six months we’d been something a little more than coworkers. Romantic interests...I guess? When you reach a certain age you sort of stop putting labels on things. I suppose you could call her my girlfriend. It sounds so childish saying that at my age.

Whatever you want to call it, Larissa had become another perk of my job. At 43 years old I had never married; never really had a serious relationship since my twenties. Routine, order and the stars were all the gratification I needed. It wasn’t until I saw Larissa that I realized how lonely my life had become. She was 8 years younger than I and had the same thirst for the stars as I did. It was all we ever talked about, and with me being somewhat more experienced in the field she clung to my every word, eating them up like she was putting sunshine in her veins.

One night I invited her back to my quaint home in Simi Valley. We sat side by side on the grass next to the large oak tree in my backyard with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches pointing out our favorite constellations. She rested her head on my shoulder and I knew I had found the person that I could share every part of my life with.

I loved her. Even though I couldn’t bring myself to say it.

Everything was right in the world. It all came together in harmonious delight when Larissa took over my heart. She filled a void I didn’t know I had and quickly became my satellite, going wherever I went and running circles around me.

All that changed two weeks ago when Keck Observatory contacted me for a consultation regarding an unusual discovery. The observatory, located at the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, was managed by Caltech and the California Association for Research in Astronomy. The site housed the two most renowned and scientifically productive telescopes in the world, capable of reaching the outermost areas of space. Each telescope sat mounted on Mauna Kea as two large spheres 33 feet in diameter. Just after I had come on board in 2008 the telescopes at Keck captured the first images of exoplanets within an exosolar system 129 light years away from earth. The main star was named HR 8799. The visuals took over one hundred years to reach our planet, and we took pictures of it like a group of excited tourists.

“What did you find?” I asked Norah, the Director of Advancement at Keck, when she called.
Her voice trembled on the other end. “I don’t’s...I’m sending you a picture. You won’t believe me if I told you.”
“Sweetheart, just tell me.”
I heard a deep breath flow into the receiver. “It’ eye.”
“You mean the helix nebula?” I asked, instantly reminded of the formation that looked eerily similar to an eyeball, resulting in the nickname the ‘Eye of god’. “No, but similar...only much larger. And it’s moving.”
“Moving? Like orbiting around something?”
“More like looking around at things. The pupil is moving.”
My face contorted from confusion. “What??”

It didn’t make any sense to me when I first heard it. Now, looking back, I wish I just ignored that call and went about my life. But I suppose that’s the nature of humanity, isn’t it? We’re all curious and desperate for answers.

Norah sent me two pictures of what was observed through the telescope shortly after we hung up. The first picture appeared to show ionized gas surrounding an interstellar medium creating the illusion of an eye. It was unique, although it was certainly nothing never seen before. But the second picture showed the medium moved slightly to the left as though it were a pupil looking around and studying the universe.

I wasted no time and booked myself and Larissa a flight to Hawaii. Part of my rush there was anticipation of studying the odd formation and try to determine why it was moving. Larissa could help decipher its origins. Plus, it was a nice excuse to take a trip to Hawaii together on company money. The next day after we landed, Larissa and I drove up the access road in a car I rented up to the summit. At the top, we were just above the clouds. Mauna Kea is the highest point in all of Hawaii and it’s considered the best location in the world for massive telescopes like these. There’s no obstruction blocking the view. I had visited the site a few times since I took over the astronomy department. Each visit was breathtaking.

Norah greeted us as we parked and led us through the observatory directly into the control room where a monitor was displaying the eye in the sky. In front of the monitor sat a couple of young men I had never met before operating the controls.

The pupil had moved further to the left since the last picture was taken.

“How much time passed between the two pictures you sent me?” I asked Norah.
“Couple of days. It’s moving very slowly.”
“Possibly. It could also be moving incredibly fast, we’re just observing a different gravitational time dilation through the telescope. How far away is this constellation?”
Norah took a deep breath and exhaled, maintaining her steady eyes fixed on mine. “Forty five billion light-years.”
“Huh? That’s inconceivable! The farthest object ever recorded is galaxy MACS0647-JD at 13.3 billion light-years away. And that was with the Hubble telescope! Keck doesn’t have that functionality!”
“Well, it does now. We enhanced its mirrors two months ago to increase magnification capabilities.”
My eyebrows uncontrollably shot into the middle of my forehead. “I don’t recall hearing the board of directors approve such a thing!”
“They didn’t. This was a privately funded that worked.”
“Who funded this?” Larissa chimed in.
“I’m sorry, that’s classified information.”

I looked up at the thick metal beams and pipes of pressurized hydraulic fluids over our heads that held the massive telescope in place with indignant jealousy. The furthest reaching telescope ever created was partially owned by the company I held a relatively high position with. It was within my fingertips, yet I hadn’t even the slightest knowledge of it. Optical instruments like this were invented to expand humanity’s knowledge and answer some of the most complex and mysterious questions about the origins of everything in existence. And they were keeping the wonders of the universe a secret.

“So basically you have the most powerful scientific invention ever created by humanity here and didn’t think it was necessary to tell anyone?”
“It was an experiment. The funding was enough to cover the upgrade and reversion if it didn’t work. Part of the agreement was secrecy. We only started using it last week. We wanted to be sure it worked before making any kind of announcement.”
“This is not some rich kids Tonka truck, Norah. You should have gotten approval. Or at least mentioned it to someone.”
“There’s something I haven’t told you about this eye,” Norah continued, ignoring my discontent. “We saw something else.”
My intrigue felt like a rush of adrenaline. “What?”
One of the young men turned in his swivel chair and locked his wide eyes with me. “God.”

I instantly rolled my eyes. Throughout history when mankind has encountered something unexplainable it’s attributed to some sort of God or supernatural force only to be given a logical scientific explanation many years later. Why would this be any different?

“We don’t know that, Tim,” Norah shot at him.
“What the hell is he talking about?!” Larissa questioned.
I supported her demand. “Indeed! What nonsense is this young man referring to?”
Norah resigned momentarily, then turned her head sideways to address Tim. “Turn on the infrared.”

Tim flicked a switch on the control panel and about thirty seconds later the outline of a face surrounded the eye. Shades of red and orange overlapped each other, clearly displaying a nose, a mouth, and a second eye that was covered by a winking eyelid.

And just beyond the eye I could faintly make out more, smaller infrared outlines.

My world had crumbled at the site. One of my worst fears was a reality. “Turn that monitor off right now…” I ordered in a low growl. Tim sat motionless in his chair, frozen in perplexity. “NOW!”
He jumped at my outburst and fumbled to find the switch.
“What’s gotten into you?” Norah demanded, squinting at me.
“Who else knows about this?”
“The five of us in this room and ten other people. They all said it was God too.”
“Keep it that way. Tell no one. Tell that piggy bank of yours the modifications didn’t work and revert the telescope back to its original state.”
“Why? What is it?!”
I looked at Norah with a stern eye. “Humanity will tear itself apart over this.”
“Is it...God?” Tim’s hopeful expression was like that of a child. I couldn’t take that away.


It wasn’t giant aliens, if that’s what you’re all thinking. An alien is a creature from outer space. These figures showing up on the infrared display weren’t in outer space. They were beyond it.

Norah and her team had built a telescope that had the capability of reaching the end of our universe. Forty five billion light years. That’s where everything ends. What’s beyond that has been a complete mystery. Until now.

It’s something I was frightened of when I first conceived the thought in 2004 after reading an article by Jim Holt proposing the idea of universe creation. Three years later, Lancaster University successfully created an entire universe in a test tube, simulating the big bang with low-energy whirlpools of helium. The result was a functioning universe no larger than a marble.

I had feared that our universe was created this way. And that day in Keck Observatory confirmed my fears. I saw our creators. Everything we’ve ever known to exist is all just a mediocre science experiment. At any minute they could pull the plug on us and wipe it all away.

We’re all living at their will inside a test tube somewhere.

We left Keck and returned to our hotel shortly after I pushed the telescope away from the eye and hoped it would never be found again. Larissa pestered me all night in our hotel room, doing all she could to force an explanation from me. I caved eventually, telling her about Lancaster’s test tube and how its origin is the same as ours. She wept the rest of the night.

All we know...all we believe...everything is a lie. The greatest lie ever told.

“I can’t live in a world without meaning...” She sat on my couch crying a few days after we returned from Hawaii. “I don’t want to wake up every day and think ‘Is this it? Is today the day they end their experiment and kill us all?’ That’s not a life I want to live.”
“Don’t let the stars die earlier than they’re intended to,” I urged. “Let me show you the sky...just one more time.”
Her bottom lip quivered as a tear ran down her cheek. “Even though you’re with me now, I’m light-years away from you.”

That night, while I was asleep, Larissa snuck outside and tied a noose to a thick branch of the large oak tree in my backyard and hanged herself. Her side of the bed was empty and cold in the morning. When I extended my arm to her side and found it vacated I already knew...she had taken her own life.

Each night since I sit on my back porch with her picture displayed on my phone, staring at both the stars and the shadows they create over my backyard. One shadow in particular dominates my focus. Deep down I know it’s unlikely the eye will see her, but personal conviction is a powerful prospect that shields truth. So I leave her there, oscillating in the wind. A dismal plea of desperation...the ominous scarecrow for our creators.

The Fourth Domain - Finale

Thank you, once again, for those who took the time to read the third entry in the Shaun Brewer series. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as...