Author Archives: Mark Bertrand

About Mark Bertrand

Mark Bertrand is the author of Starzel, Love Reincarnate, and currently, he’s writing Aware Consciousness. A writer by day and a stock market trader by night, he received a bachelor of science in aeronautical engineering and his master of mathematics from Boston University. To balance his left brain with his right, his MBA is from the University of California at San Diego. Finally, to quench his desire for knowledge, his Ph. D. in philosophy was completed at the University of Southern California. Mark is a Colorado native and currently lives in the south of Spain. When he’s not writing, he loves to sit on the terrace of his flat with a cigar and a glass of Laphroaig whiskey, watching sailboats on the Mediterranean Sea. Mark challenges conventional thinking in his writing and personal life, as sampled in two of his favorite sayings. “Liberation has no end; therefore, it could never begin.” and, “There are just two types of people: those who believe there are just two types of people, and those who know better.” You can visit Mark online at his website, www.markbertrand.com, and on Twitter @markbertrand.

Shining and glimmering words

Months now with no shining and glimmering words from you. Oh, how I miss the sounds of your laugh and hearing the song that recites in your thoughts. When you conveyed those happy moments, the days were in harmony. Music filled each passing moment. 

Where did you go? Into the deepest cavern and the darkest corridor? Perhaps the emotions have pulled you down through the layers of deception and there you sit. Immersed in suspicion and righteous indignation. Feeling wronged and taken advantage of. Vengeful and certain to never be wronged again.

This isn’t the time for a reckoning. You’re not a victim laying helpless under this crushing weight. I suspect it is me you blame. When you turn your eyes away from your toes, you see me pushing the load onto you. Look closer and you’ll see it is me laying underneath you. Crushed here as well.

Trust has left me. Desire and inspiration as well. Once there was no doubt of our ability to fly above the clouds. The comfort of a powerful, inseparable bond consumed the darkness with fires of passion. With those interlaced fingers, we went hand in hand in all directions. Smiles in our eyes.

When I am without the sound of your joy, I see only the end ahead of me. Without the sparkle from you, I hear no happiness. The feeling of days dragging on with directionless ponderings, like a star falling through space. A flash of light and then nothing more.

One further burst of energy. Emotion is an indicator, and feeling like a victim, vengeful and indignant, indicates you are out of alignment. Look at it and feel it. Use it to lift yourself up and out from under its weight. With one thought. Turn around now and travel in the other direction.

Never again miss the sound of joy in that voice of yours. Sing, hum, whistle, and bring back the shining glimmering words from you. This is a reckoning worthy of your time.

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Introduction to The Dot

I’ve finished the manuscript for my new novel, the Dot. The introduction to, The Dot, is copied below. The release date hasn’t been announced yet, but before the end of the year. Meanwhile, I’ve entered the manuscript in the Book of The Year contest at Fictionary (https://fictionary.co). I’ll know more about the contest result at the end of September. Here’s the introduction to the dot.

. . . “It would never have worked out between us,” I say to Liria. She’s come to the prison to visit me. She stands on the free side of the holding cell wearing a revealing and form-fitting pantsuit. Her hair is let down, and it would seem she’s going out for a night in the city. “Keeping me locked up will not make me choose you over Rymirah.”

“If you think that’s why I’ve locked you up, then you aren’t as intelligent as I’ve come to believe.”

While she speaks, I sit up from my bed, spin out of the rack, and onto my feet. “Did you ever consider why, out of the myriad millions of sensations and feelings we can experience in this sensual, driven existence, the Buddha defines love as the purest and most sacred emotion and hate as the most destructive?”

Unmoved by my persistence, she runs her hands through her hair and then flips her head to spin it all onto her back. “It’s been five days since you have been in jail. I take it from your childish behavior you aren’t ready to reveal the coordinates to Planet 444. You’ll notice your neurolink and HUD implants are disabled in this prison cell. Hayden, listen to me. You aren’t getting out of here until you cooperate.” With that said, she leaves me in silent confinement.

There are a few key advantages to having a fiance who is the chief of Cyborg security. One advantage is that she has access to the security system in this prison. With that access, she can allow my biomechanical systems and HUD to operate inside the cell. And, her’s too, of course. . .

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In book one, we discovered how the Earth-based Gods of humanity lead civilizations to the edge of failure. Every system mankind has come to believe in had failed. Financial, environmental, education, medical, religion, social, community, news, information, entertainment, and government — all collapsed. The Gods of the universe beckoned humans to discover and inhabit other worlds across the near galaxy. Now with everything on Earth destroyed, mankind looked to explore and discover new gods.

One mutant, biomechanical enhanced human race, Cyborgs, didn’t give up on Earth-born philosophies. In Book two, the experiment for discovering Nirvana began on Planet 444. Where the eighth generation of a Buddhist civilization comes of age. A close group of friends bonding in age-old traditions will discover a newfound understanding of their heritage. While in book three, those now young adults face the realities of the struggle to survive on a planet with limited technology. Including, failing food supplies, and a neutron star emitting radiation. They further sacrifice their food crops by turning to marijuana to produce pharmaceuticals. They use its fibers to produce protective clothing. When it seems all hope for Nirvana was lost, they turn to ancient traditions to produce a child from the gods.

This child, Zosimos, is the planet’s only hope.

Here, in book four, Zosimos matures at an inhuman rate. As he ages, he displays exceptional mental abilities, helping his people solve a range of technological and medical issues. By the time he reaches the age of six, he is ready to take the crown. Then, his Great Uncle contracted a deadly disease from radiation poisoning. Soon after, Zosimos is exposed to a plant strain with the side-effect of reversing the DNA-altering serum. He feels anger for the first time. With that anger comes the realization that he is superior to those around him. In a fit of rage, he kills his parents and claims the throne, forcing his people to submit to his tyrannical rule.

The promise of a cure for radiation poisoning leads Zosimos to Kelv, the sage. Still filled with rage, Zosimos forces Vallena, who is friends with the sage, to trap Kelv and obtain a DNA sample. Hoping to learn why the sage has survived in the wasteland with no protection from radiation. However, Vallena discovers a way to reinstate the DNA-altering serum and cure Zosimos’s rage. She tricks him into taking the cure.

The cure works, and Zosimos grows depressed and filled with remorse. He seeks advice from the sage. Through their lessons on love, truth, and alignment between mind and body, Zosimos becomes enlightened.

Zosimos, contemplating the solution to his planet’s crisis, and questioning everything he thought he knew, turns to the conscious supercomputer his father hid in Vallena’s home. But it is indifferent to human suffering and unwilling to interfere with frail humanity. Using the teachings learned from Kelv, Zosimos convinces the machine to help them. The machine studies the human body’s ability to heal itself. In doing so, he finds a solution that can save everyone: transcendence. But in order for this plan to succeed, the people must trust the former tyrant Zosimos.

Centuries later, the Cyborgs return to monitor their experiment and to recover the hidden conscious supercomputer. They discover a planet vacant of life. There are no humans, no evidence of civilization, no skeletons. The only indications of the now failed experiment are the abandoned neurolinks and a dead supercomputer.

Have the gods of the universe, like those Earth-bound gods known before, failed the human race? After reading this fourth and final book of the series, you will awaken to a new perspective on happiness. There is joy in the struggles and the contrast in life. Here in this book, you will discover the truth about Nirvana.

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Magic performance for Justin

Magic was a performance desire and a passion for Justin. We grew up together and went to all the same classes. We even went to the same University. Though he was not very good at the craft, he never stopped trying to pull off the perfect card trick or a disappearing coin. Typically he would fail to guess the right card or the coin would fall out of his hand as he was trying to hide it. At first, for a while, it was fun to be with him and watch, but after several years of having your best friend who simply couldn’t get the consistency for it, it became a point of contention rather than something fun.

The front door stands open from when I came in just moments ago. Gathering the mail off the floor where the post-delivery has pushed it through the mail slot of my apartment and I saw the invitation. It’s the invitation to attend our ten-year anniversary, I had to sit down. “Has it been ten years already?” When I saw Justin’s name on the invitation as the president of the alumni committee my mind raced back in time, recalling the details of the day after our graduation. The straight-back chair has always been the most uncomfortable piece of furniture I ever experienced. That’s why I put it here in the long hallway that leads from the door to the studio. For now, I felt nothing but the discomfort from the tragic memory.

The four of us called it the big graduation party. Justin, Chase, Vincent, and I were the four most unlikely friends you would ever meet. We didn’t call it the big graduation because of the number of people in the graduation class, there were only twenty of us. We called it big because Justin would provide us with his greatest magic trick ever. Straight out of a Houdini how-to escape anything book. Justin’s big trick would feature a crane, which would drop him into the depths of the park lake where we were having the big graduation party. Justin would be wrapped head to foot in chains and four padlocks. Once he hit the water the weight of the chains would drag him down to the bottom where he would have no more than three minutes to pick the four locks, free himself from the chains, and swim to the surface or die.

Looking back I’ve always wondered why we let him go through with it. Every trick he did was flawed. Somehow, we expected this trick too would have flaws but never expected the disaster that played out. From the moment the crane was supposed to drop him into the lake, from a height of ten meters. A height even I would fear. The magic show went horribly wrong. The crane tower wasn’t fixed properly and the control arm broke free of the main structure. Instead of Justin falling straight into the lake he tumbled and swirled downward, hitting the water headfirst at about a thirty-degree angle.

Everyone screamed and I took off running full speed down the dock toward the point of his entry. As a professional diver, I knew I could deep dive to the bottom, and then all I would have to do was somehow find him in the deep, dark abyss. I took a last look at his entry point just before I tucked into a dive. It took a minute. Maybe more as I felt around in the cold mud, frantically searching for him. There it was, a chain, cold steel link in my hand. I followed it, hoping it was taking me to him and not away from him. Then my hands felt his body mass, still wrapped in most of the chains. I gathered him as best I could and kicked upward for the surface.

When I was just a meter from reaching the surface, his weight and the chains were overpowering me. I was losing the fight. Suddenly his entire body lifted straight out of the water as if by some miracle. It was Vincent, the professional bodybuilder. I watched him take Justin, chains and all straight up out of my arms and the water. In one swift and powerful move, Vincent went from a prone position on the dock, onto his feet and ran back down the dock carrying Justin. Until that moment I had always thought bodybuilding was the dumbest thing a person could do. I remember making fun of him at graduation just the day before because his arms were so big that he couldn’t even button his top shirt button or tie his necktie. “How do you even brush your teeth?” I laughed ridiculing him. “Do you need someone to do that for you as well?”

By the time I made my way out of the lake and to the end of the dock where Justin lay lifeless. Vincent had managed to get the chains off of his body. A second later Chase was yelling, “let me through.” As the group made room for him, Chase dropped down to his knees with a defibrillator in his hands. He barked out orders for me to clear everything and everyone away from Justin. He switched on the machine and waited for it to charge. “I saw the medical box hanging on the wall inside the park office. I sprinted up there and grabbed and sprinted back as fast as I could,” he told me. The light on the machine flashed green and Justin screamed, “clear!” 

Twice he zapped Justin’s body and then Chase yelled, “I have a pulse! Get him on his side.” Vincent propped Justin over to lay on his side and immediately Justin spewed all of the lake water from his lungs and began to cough and breathe. Until that day I had always made fun of Chase for being a football player attending medical school for sports medicine. I mean whoever heard of a sports medicine doctor with a golden foot who can bicycle kick a goal from anywhere inside the box? It was his speed and his training that saved Justin’s life that day.

The ambulance arrived a few minutes later and though he survived the accident with his life, Justin lost a hand. The crane arm managed to nearly sever his arm from the elbow, and the doctors at the hospital were not able to save it.

We’ve stayed in touch over the years, the four of us, but I had to leave the next day. I’ve been competing in FINA world cup championships for ten years and in truth, my skills are ready to retire. Vincent has gone on to win five strongest man world cups including three years in a row without a defeat. Chase has had a rocky career as a football player, but as a sports medicine specialist, he’s been on three different championship teams and now has a chief of medicine position with a premier league team. Justin stayed on at the university as a professor. He teaches you guessed it, performing arts.

To this day I can tell you that his greatest trick was getting the four of us together. I’ve never had better friends.

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