ZELFAR: THE DISCOVERY, Book One of the Zelfar Series, is available in paperback and e-book. This is the first book of The Zelfar Series, which is an intriguing story of paradise with paradox. If you have ever dreamed of living in a world where harmony and abundance are the norm, you will want to go to Zelfar. You can have your own robot, soar in a hoversphere, and live in a talking homedome. But beware if you’re of the fifth generation. You may be the last of Zelfar’s inhabitants.
Zophie is a young woman, physician extraordinaire, who grew up in the small utopian society of Zelfar. As she relentlessly searches for the cure, she discovers a secret portal to a chaotic and dangerous place called America. To save her world from extinction, she must risk, not only her life, but the chance of opening her serene world to exploiters. While protecting Zelfar’s distasteful secrets, Zophie develops a few of her own. Join Zophie on a suspenseful journey of discovery and intrigue that unfolds in ways she never could have imagined.
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What readers are saying about Zelfar, The Discovery:
“How many of us fantasize about utopia? Many, many people do. Well, Ruth discovered utopia and does an amazing job threading in suspense, spirituality, and even a bit of Pacific Northwest history into her Zelfar trilogy. Readers want sequels, readers want a major storyline that has minor ones running along-side, readers want something new, and this book has all of that!” C. Linnell
“Zelfar is a fun-filled story about a place we would all enjoy visiting, if not living there. Zelfar is what many dream of. I am an avid reader and this book will draw you into a world of wonder and excitement and keep you wanting more.” W. Dorris
The zelcom vibrates against my wrist and I glance at the large numbers glowing against the curved wall of the birthing orb. The newborn’s vitals are stable, as indicated by the green glow on the ends of its crystalline chamber. I sigh with renewed hope. It looks like this infant may be the one to help me end newborn loss syndrome and halt the looming fear of extinction that has had our colony in such a state of alarm.
I place my hand on the young man’s shoulder next to me. Marc is the best neo-natal nurse in the world and everyone is counting on us.
“She made it to the critical twelve-hour point. This is good.”
Marc’s fingers caress the top of the transparent neotube. He stares at the tiny infant inside.
“Twelve days would be better,” he says. “The last baby was alive at twelve hours, too. Do you really think this one will survive?”
I wish I could tell him yes, but I never lie.
“We’ve upgraded the neotube and modified the infusion.”
Marc looks at me. The sadness behind his eyes tells me he wants more than hope.
“Go ahead,” I say, signaling him to deliver the next dose.
Marc taps his zelcom and an orange fog consumes the interior of the neotube. Marc grabs my hand and squeezes. I squeeze back. My eyes strain to see through the fog, my heart anxious for the mist to dissipate. A faint whine echoes from the chamber. My fingers throb as Marc clenches them.
The fog fades and Marc grins, tears streaming down his face. “Look at her! She’s waving her little fingers. The infusion is working!” He kisses the neotube, wrapping his arms around the clear barrier between him and the infant.
The round ends of the neotube glow green, the most beautiful shade of green I have ever seen. I sigh deeply, my heart calming to a steady thump. Pulling a stool over, I sit next to the neotube and let Marc savor the moment. There is nothing more we can do now.
My stomach grumbles and I glance at the exit that leads to the cafeterium. I could go get something to eat. Four hours must pass before we can administer the next dose and I’m sure Marc is as hungry as I am. He should go first. One of us has to stay with the baby.
“Marc, why don’t you go . . .” A peculiar odor pierces my sensitive nostrils. “What is that awful smell?” My hand covers my mouth as I struggle to control the gag reflex.
“I don’t smell anything.” Marc jerks his arms from the neotube when it suddenly changes from green to the ugliest shade of red.
“Marc!” I shriek.
He thrusts his hands into the thin gloves dangling inside the transparent neotube. My heart races as he massages the baby girl’s chest.
The ends of the tube continue to pulse red, red, red.
“Open! Now!” I shout at the neotube. As the clear shell begins to lift, I yank the edges apart. Marc jerks his hands aside.
With all of its filtered air and biological infusions, this incubator just became useless. It’s up to me. My fingers press rhythmically on the newborn’s little chest.
“Give her more oxygen!” I say, snapping out the command.
Marc quickly places the crystal cup over the baby’s face. Two droplets fall to the back of his hand. I can’t tell if it’s sweat or tears.
One, two, three . . . My fingertips mimic a newborn heartbeat, encouraging the infant’s tiny organ to pump on its own.
“Is she gone?” Marc’s voice cracks.
“No. She can’t be.” My fingers continue their steady pulse.
“Zophie, I think she’s gone.” Marc is openly weeping. One of his hands shakes as he holds the oxygen cup in place, the other smears tears across his face.
I stare at the lifeless infant and the depressions caused by my fingers. There is no movement from the baby, no pinkness left in her skin.
With the weight of the world on my shoulders, I slowly lift my hands from the infant’s chest and signal Marc to remove the oxygen.
As he raises the cup from her mouth, the gray-white hue of her face contrasts with the sickening blue shade of her lips. Statistics pulse in red letters above the neotube. Age–12 hours, 7 minutes, 5 seconds. Cause of Transcending: Newborn Loss Syndrome.
The smell of a life-transcended overtakes me and sobs begin to heave from my chest. How can I tell this baby’s mother I failed? I would be utterly devastated if someone told me I could never hold and cuddle my own child. No one is supposed to transcend at twelve hours. Why are we losing our infants?
“My baby won’t live either, will he?” Marc’s tears change to anger and he tosses the crystal cup into the air. It springs into its designated place against the curved wall.
I wish the cup had crashed against the floor, possibly giving Marc some level of satisfaction. Gazing at the young man, my heart is heavy. Why did I insist he be here for this birth? With his baby due in three months, how could I have been so insensitive? He may be the best, but there are other competent nurses.
“I will find the cure before your baby is born. I promise you, Marc. Your son is going to live. I will find the cure.”
Marc gives me a weak smile, then quietly wraps the lifeless infant in a white blanket and lifts her from the neotube. I watch as he exits the orb, his chin slumping forward, caressing the baby’s head. Marc will take her to the disintegration chamber while I tell her mother the horrible truth.
My hope of giving joyful news is shattered. This news will devastate another set of parents. All four infants born in the past few months have suffered this strange malady.
“Why did I promise Marc I would save his baby?” I look up, talking to the arched ceiling as if it understands.
“Because if anyone can, it’s you.” A familiar monotone voice answers.
I turn quickly to see Bayl in the doorway. His loose-fitting tan pants and shirt blend with his pale skin.
“I understand we lost another infant today,” he says, moving toward me.
I’m not surprised he already knows. Health Dome would have notified the council members immediately.
I nod and maybe scowl. He didn’t need to come tell me the obvious.
“Did you learn anything new with this one?”
“No, but I’m still sure that newborn loss syndrome is related to protizine levels. The problem remains in discovering the source of protizine so we can reproduce it.” I don’t know why he’s here for my analysis now. Just because he’s an elder doesn’t mean he couldn’t have waited for my report to the council tomorrow.
“Perhaps I can help.”
“You know where I can find protizine?”
Bayl’s expression is emotionless. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him laugh or use inflection in his voice. He might as well be a robot.
“Perhaps,” he says flatly. “Remain after the council meeting tomorrow and we will talk.”
“Tell me where to find it now.” My command gets no response. Bayl simply exits the birthing orb and walks away.
I throw my hands up in disbelief. Why would he pique my curiosity then not tell me anything? Still shaking my head, I move toward the waiting orb where I must deliver bad news to anxious parents.
Distraught is a mild word compared to the couple’s reaction. My encouragement for them to try again only brings a new flood of tears. “And go through this again?” the father asks, then weeps quietly as he tries to comfort his wife.
I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t do it either.
Feeling worse than I ever thought possible, I drag myself to the serenity orb, wondering if immersing there will be futile.
For the past twenty-four hours, I have been on high alert, intent on saving this baby. I need to let go of today’s tragedy and transition calmly to the next phase of my day—a quiet evening at home with my husband and son.
I enter the serenity orb and select the blue lounge chair, which is soft and perfectly sized for my five-and-a-half foot frame. When I lie flat, the thin clear serenity simulator automatically places itself over my head and neck, curving as it stops an inch from my nose. My mind flashes to the clear shell that encased the helpless infant, but before I can relive that painful moment, I slip into virtual utopia.
After a few tranquil moments, my body and mind feel completely restored. I am ready to go home.
At least I think I am.