Janet Harper works at Ten Thousand Secrets National Park Casino & Entertainment District in Kentucky, following a mysterious explosion at her previous workplace, Nevada’s Historic Red Light District & Jazz Casino National Park. In hiding from her two children for over a year, Janet is tracked down by her daughter Lena, and they are drawn into a struggle between the Federal Parks Service and the Department of Defense over control of time travel, which has been in Park Service hands since its discovery by Cornell Tech scientists twenty years earlier.
Fronted by charismatic Professor Thomas “Cat” King, a small but influential faction at the Department of Defense is tired of hearing liberals whine about the “environmental impacts” of time travel, and is planning military expeditions to correct past disappointments. As King says at a D.C.-area holiday party, “George Bush is gonna thank me big-time when we go back and clean up his messes.”
Meanwhile, Janet’s son Brian writes a community development grant for a rural hamlet in south-central NY State. He meets their beautiful leader Maeve and becomes enmeshed in her fervent search for grant funding to support her immigrant Irish fairy community, hiding in plain view near the city of Corning for centuries. Brian and friends are soon fighting a highway project that Maeve’s Congressman has cajoled her into supporting. The highway would destroy a nature preserve in our world, while leaving the landscape untouched in Maeve’s alternate present time. She explains it this way to Brian: “Why would you deny us the chance to better ourselves? With an interchange and big road, we can draw in visitors for short and longer stays. We want what the rest of the world has. And we need people.”
Tom King has added Maeve’s community to his inventory of “natural time openings,” where he can mount military expeditions to the past without going through the federal government’s laborious environmental impact process. His dark ally, Senator Harlan Styce of KY, helps King seize control of the Park Service’s top-secret time travel research program, operating as the Pleistocene Place theme park attraction at Ten Thousand Secrets National Park. Styce lines up his ducks: “We funded the Parks folks to study time travel for the sole purpose of its defense applicability. OK! We’re there! Time’s UP.”
Janet races to complete her own dire mission at Ten Thousand Secrets NP before King’s military minions arrive, while struggling to keep her children safe from seductive fairies, malign Senators, fracking gas well explosions, flooding caves, bad time trips, and her own dangerous behavior. Wonderful allies emerge to help, among them Senator Liz Maximus of Massachusetts and her brilliant staffer Ravi Sen-Ellis, who knows the right questions to ask: “What time is this place?”
Synopsis, Ten Thousand Secrets National Park - Hilary Lambert (c) 2015