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When thirteen year old Adam Dove slams a baseball out of the park, he sets into motion events beyond imagining. While retrieving his ball, he finds a gold medallion in a chunk of coal. Twenty years later, as a university chemistry professor, he discovers that the medallion contains billions of carbon-13 particles in a distinct pattern.
Ben Wujciak, the family doctor, who was aware of the finding, apparently commits suicide. Adam discovers the body, but before he has a chance to call the police, it disappears.
A colleague, Linda Garcia, joins Adam in a quest to find the source of the medallion. They link up with a museum curator, Hedda Morrison, but are chased through a coal mine and colliery by strangers intent on obtaining the medallion. Adam is reunited with Ben, who it seems is still alive. Herman Borman, the current owner of the mine, desperately desires the artifact as a talisman for his Nazi followers, but Adam and his group escape, leaving Herman infuriated.
At Brookhaven National Labs, Adam and Linda discover that the carbon-13 pattern matches the human DNA sequence. Herman’s men invade the labs and seize them. They are rescued by Alpha, the leader of an interstellar expedition tracking similar medallions on other worlds. He claims that part of our DNA coding is designed to compel us to search for our creators. He also notes that among his passengers there may be some determined to subvert the expedition, and one may already be on Earth.
Adam and Linda accept an invitation to join the quest. After Adam subdues the alien fanatic who was disguised as Ben, they board the ship, and embark on a 10,000 year voyage.
On the planet of the Makers, Greeter Fay wonders if there is more to life than insuring Visitors are incorporated into the Source. Ironically, she is selected to undergo training as a Cleric, a rank with great prestige and responsibility, by the current Cleric, Deirdre.
Adam discovers the ship was made by the Makers. When they arrive on the planet, he and Linda run off into nearby woods trying to avoid the Incorporation ritual. Fay joins them, hoping to leave the planet. They are trapped by Deirdre, who condemns them to resorption, however, Fay had anticipated the capture and arranged for an escape. Adam and Linda enter the subsurface world of the Makers using portals curiously accessible only through spoken English. They are confronted by Angel, a caretaker robot, who welcomes them home.
Some of the group fall deathly ill, infected by an ancient bacteria. Alpha joins the group with several freed passengers in tow. They discover the planet is a ship which left Earth centuries after Adam and Linda joined Alpha’s expedition. An accidental encounter with a wormhole had caused the planet-ship to arrive seventeen million years earlier. In that time, the Source, an artificial intelligence, dispersed probes throughout the galaxy to search for and to establish human life on suitable planets. One such planet was Earth.
Once they reach the surface, the Source prevents them from leaving, but when Adam and Linda convince it that the Makers were their descendents, the Source capitulates. Back on the ship, the crazed android is destroyed, and medicines stored aboard cure their sickness.
The group opt to return to the planet-ship, making it their new home. With the help of the Source, many of the Incorporated are released to settle in the subsurface Maker town. They raise families and work toward the repair of the ship, hoping to one day return to their home planets.
Thirteen years later in Maker town, Adam and Linda host a backyard birthday party for Fay. In a quiet moment on their front porch, they gently kiss, hold hands and join the gathering, having accepted the planet-ship as home—a place surrounded by friends and family, and a new-found hope for the future of humanity.Read sample chapter