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Authors: Ben Bova

The Green Trap

BOOK: The Green Trap
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Tor Books by Ben Bova

As on a Darkling Plain
The Astral Mirror
Battle Station
The Best of the Nebulas
Escape Plus
The Green Trap
Gremlins Go Home
(with Gordon R. Dickson)
The Kinsman Saga
The Multiple Man
Orion Among the Stars
Orion and the Conqueror
Orion in the Dying Time
Out of the Sun
The Precipice
The Rock Rats
The Silent War
Star Peace: Assured Survival
The Starcrossed
Tales of the Grand Tour
Test of Fire
To Fear the Light
(with A.J. Austin)
To Save the Sun
(with A.J. Austin)
The Trikon Deception
(with Bill Pogue)
Vengeance of Orion
Voyagers II: The Alien Within
Voyagers III: Star Brothers
The Winds of Altair




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This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this novel
are either fictitious or are used fictitiously.


Copyright © 2006 by Ben Bova


All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book,
or portions thereof, in any form.

This book is printed on acid-free paper.

Book design by Mary A. Wirth

A Forge Book
Published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010

Forge® is a registered trademark of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Bova, Ben, 1932–

The green trap / Ben Bova.

    p. cm.

”A Tom Doherty Associates Book.”

ISBN-13: 978-0-765-30924-2

ISBN-10: 0-765-30924-6

1. Microbiologists—Crimes against—Fiction. 2. Cyanobacteria—Fiction. 3. Hydrogen as fuel—Research—Fiction. I. Title.


PS3552.O84G74 2006




First Edition: November 2006

Printed in the United States of America

0   9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1

Still and always to Barbara,
to D. H (again),
to the memory of Melvin Calvin


My thanks to Eric Von Leue, who provided crucial technical advice and support. The section titled “Novel Reaction Produces Hydrogen” is reprinted with permission from
Science News,
the weekly newsmagazine of science, copyright 2005.







Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to
humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world.

LOUIS PASTEUR (1822–1815)


Gasoline Prices
Expected to Climb Higher

—There's pump shock at every corner gas station, with prices well over $7 a gallon—and the government says you'd better get used to it.

The Energy Department projects high gasoline prices at least through next year as producers struggle to keep up with demand, which has not slackened appreciably despite rising prices.

Crude oil prices climbed to an all-time high of $112 per barrel yesterday, triggering a 634-point drop in the Dow-Jones Industrial average on the New York Stock Exchange.

“We can expect to see gasoline prices soar as high as nine or ten dollars a gallon this summer,” said James Dykes, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. “Gas prices have nowhere to go but up.”

Energy Department officials blamed the climbing oil prices on the growing demand for petroleum by China and India, two of the fastest-growing economies in the world, coupled with the fact that global oil production has peaked and is unlikely to increase.

“There hasn't been a major new oil field discovered in well over a decade,” said Roberta Groves, head of Gould Energy Corporation's explorations division. “With global oil production flat and global demand increasing steadily, oil prices will continue to climb for the foreseeable future.”



aul Cochrane dreaded leaving the Mirror Lab. Set beneath the massive slanting concrete of the University of Arizona's football stadium, the lab was only a three-minute walk from Cochrane's office, but it was three minutes in the blazing wrath of Tucson's afternoon sun. It was only the first week of May, yet Cochrane—who had come from Massachusetts less than a year ago—had learned to fear the merciless heat outside.

As he limped down the steel stairway toward the lab's lobby, he mentally plotted his course back to his office at the Steward Observatory building, planning a route that kept him in the shade as much as possible.

He was a slim, quiet man in his mid-thirties, wearing rimless glasses that made him look bookish. Dressed in the requisite denim jeans and short-sleeved shirt of Arizona academia, he still wore his Massachusetts
running shoes rather than cowboy boots. And still walked with a slight limp from the auto crash that had utterly devastated his life. His hair was sandy brown, cut short, his face lean and almost always gravely serious, his body trim from weekly workouts with the local fencing group. Although his Ph.D. was in thermodynamics, he had accepted a junior position with the Arizona astronomy department, as far from Massachusetts and his earlier life as he could get.

He reached the lobby, nodded to the undergrads working the reception desk, and took a breath before plunging into the desert heat outside the glass double doors. He saw that even though the window blinds behind the students had been pulled shut, the hot sunlight outside glowed like molten metal.

His cell phone started playing the opening bars of Mozart's overture to
The Marriage of Figaro.

Grateful for an excuse to stay inside the air-conditioned lobby for a moment longer, Cochrane pulled the phone from his shirt pocket and flipped it open.

His brother's round, freckled, red-haired face filled the phone's tiny screen.

BOOK: The Green Trap
3.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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