Time and Chance is a story of a reporter, his lover, a senator, and an astronaut with seemingly supernatural powers and how the world becomes mesmerized by messianic transmissions from space.
When we first meet Jack Lynch, he is a successful writer for the Post, having also written a best -selling novel, All Men Are Dogs; All Women Are Purple. Terrorist attacks bring Jack back from the fame of being an author to his first love, sniffing out a scandal for the paper. But he also is a walking scandal, dipping into dangerous areas for sex with streetwalkers. This is his secret life.
His lover is Shannon Cabot, the product of two of the regal families of the Northeast, the Cabot's and the Kennedy's. Not close enough to the top of the family tree to be among the rich and powerful, but still, the type of breeding that opens doors. She finds her way to the staff of Senator Steven Stern of Nebraska and becomes an integral part of his lunar project.
Senator Stern (Stash) has an intriguing history ranging from college football hero to CIA operative, to US Senator. A widower, in addition to raising his younger, challenged brother-in-law, Abeer, he takes over a NASA project establishing a permanent lunar mining settlement.
Earlier, Jack had been given a photo by a priest at Georgetown University of a boy with special powers. Although Jack made every effort to identify this Flying Boy, even traveling to Iran, he came up empty. This story continues to haunt him. But another, perhaps greater, story falls into his lap. An old mentor, whom he had wronged, gives him all the pieces of a thriller which alleges the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster was not an accident. The conflict between Jack and Shannon grows as the story of the Challenger pits Shannon between her love for him and her job with Stash.
A UN report suggesting the world is on the brink of disaster from hunger, climate change, and forced migration, affords Stash the opportunity to expand his lunar mining project into a multi-national space venture to establish a permanent lunar settlement. Two dozen countries take part with astronauts coming from China, Great Britain, France, Spain, Iraq, and India. In the final months of preparation, the Iraqi astronaut dies under strange circumstances and is replaced by a little-known woman with only one name, Ahura. This raises security questions and Stash buries background information that might end the program.
Something happens as the Bio-Dome equipped ship is landing on the moon and Houston loses all contact until Ahura begins sporadic and cryptic transmissions. The fate of the other astronauts is unclear. As this unfolds, the world is transfixed in front of their screens awaiting the next appearance of the astronaut whose messages are becoming messianic in nature. Schools and businesses close as all eyes are fixed on the screen. A reporter becomes the link between the astronaut and the world. But, are these the messages of a prophet or a terrorist? While supernatural signs cause the world to consider this apparent "last call" to God, Jack believes he has uncovered the truth about the woman astronaut and threatens to expose her and the space mission.
How Shannon, Jack, and Stash react to this, and how the world reacts, is the moral dilemma with which they all struggle.