Nine years ago, five college students conceived a way to use atmospheric energy to predict mass acts of human violence. A tragic event ended the project, and team leaders Brian and Aiyana haven’t spoken since. But when Brian’s covert research predicts a threat to their heartland town of Freedom, the team reunites under a cloud of mutual contempt and buried affections. Long-held secrets are exposed as the teammates challenge each other’s philosophies and struggle to cope with their inner fears. The urgency rises with each new piece of data, but every potential solution is fraught with doubt and consequences.
Here is an excerpt from Uncertainty Principles…
Aiyana’s long legs carried her swiftly across the student lounge toward the person already waiting on the couch. That must be Becky, she thought. The girl was wearing a gray sweatshirt, and her hair reminded Aiyana of something… Pudding. Yes, like the school bully had dumped a bowl of vanilla pudding on her head, and she let it happen.
Aiyana sighed and put on a smile. “Where’s”—she checked her phone—“Brian?” He had signed the email Brian Richter (no relation, though I’m an 8). Apparently, earthquake jokes passed for humor in geology class.
“Right behind you,” said a male voice.
Aiyana caught a clean smell and turned to see exactly what she had imagined, a freshly showered locker room poster boy. Not simply the boy next door but the boy at the center of the beach party, sandy hair and all. Great.
“Sorry I’m late. I just got out of practice.” He beamed a smile toward Becky, who asked him something in a voice too soft for Aiyana to tolerate for the rest of the semester. He leaned over and asked her to repeat it.
“Baseball,” he answered, standing up. “First year for the sport here at New Tech.” He cocked his head to the side and squinted at Aiyana. She steeled herself for some charming remark. Instead, he said, “You and I were in a class together.”
“I don’t think so.” She wouldn’t even take a nap in one of his weatherman classes.
“It was Advanced Materials. Your presentation used copper in a thermoelectric couple, and I thought you could get a more stable resistance with a copper-nickel alloy, but we never got a chance to talk about it.”
He winked. “The Earth and Atmospheric Science Program—it’s not your typical Rocks for Jocks.”
Aiyana laughed in surprise. Was she that transparent?
“What’s so funny?” The fraternity boy walking toward them had on a tight black t-shirt, and Aiyana thought the muscles underneath were decent, for a short guy. He shook Brian’s hand first. “I’m Kai Inoue. Kai as in fly. Thanks for setting this up, man.” His black marble eyes gave Aiyana the once-over, and any attraction she might have felt dissipated immediately. He plopped onto the couch next to Becky. “Hi there.”
Becky squeezed her hands in her lap and emitted a silent hello. Aiyana rolled her eyes. “Does anyone know this other guy, Dmitri?” No one did.
…After twenty minutes, Dmitri arrived. His rusty helmet of uncombed hair was the second thing they noticed. The first was his purple cape lined in silver, which he twirled with a flourish over his dark jeans, too skinny on his paunchy frame and an inch too short to meet his flat gray Converse sneakers manufactured circa the 1970s. Beneath his cape, he wore a wrinkled t-shirt printed with the text: My questions are for your benefit. I already know the answers. They all stared up at him, speechless.
“I am Dmitri. Let us begin.”