o you like working here, hon?” Jahn asked as she surveyed Little Bend’s main thoroughfare.
nodded and smiled at the pure simplicity of the question. “Oh, yeah.
I certainly do. It’s a dream
job. I created the system that runs the
place. I enjoy giving lectures to
tenured professors on Applied Time Layer Technology.”
sense a little arrogant showboating. But
it’s due. You thought it, and …did it!”
they’re still trying to prove it all with theory. The primary thing is that with anything
artificial, it needs periodic adjustments.
Vehicles on earth or in space need course adjustments to travel from
point A to point B. Time is the ship,
moving linearly. It’s always changing.”
you can predict the changes. I mean,
there are conditions that could be anticipated.”
“Not really. Like, money is difficult to always guess. Lottery numbers, finances are sometimes based on emotional choices and subjected to forces that are difficult to predict.”
does that affect the ship?”
may create seen or unforeseen conditions, which could lead to more, and so on,
impacting the trajectory.”
“So we monitor the compressed world time twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.” Jahn looked at and through the buildings. “It’s so amazing how this place looks at night.”
“Isn’t it cool- the transparent concrete facades?”
“The black rods do what exactly?”
“It’s the reinforcing. You’ve seen fences, right? Silver metal, green or black vinyl clad? The black clad is the only one that appears to disappear. You really don’t see it until you’re right up at the barrier.”
know,” Jahn said, “the pipes and wires remind me so much of the body, or like a
graphic painting.” Theodor
looked at the imbedded conduit lines, colors representing services that looked
like graphic line compositions.
“How much will transparent concrete catch on?”
is being considered for improving night lighting making streets safer. But that will only happen where new
development is underway. Doubt there
will be any planned renewal in high density areas that could already use it.”
noticeable hum vibrated the air. Jahn
was sure she felt it beneath her feet.
up,” said Theodor. Sunlight glistened on moving solar panels from roofs that
did not obstruct elevated green ‘views’ and upper level facades, shifting for
maximum exposure. Jahn
nodded. “Completely, unless there is a
problem. It can be shut down in sections
if it is necessary to completely stop it.”
“Capacity? Something that huge-”
the utility cut power, this system can operate all of Little Bend, to date, for
date?! They’re not finished?”
Theodor grinned and shook his head. “Not exactly. The array is a study in itself. It is nicknamed ‘HARIET’ which stands for “Hall-coefficient Argentum Redundant Ion Electro-magnetic Toroid array.’ It continually pulls in energy and converts it. The moving axes generate energy in opposing directions. An oval-shaped corridor enables transporting objects from one place to another. You walk into this thing when it is in a redundant cycle, as if it were gathering power from within its system. The timing must be accurate; energy on the outside of the oval moves in one direction and the energy transporting objects within the opening moves perpendicular to it. You could be twisted and eventually torn in half if you slip up. The Powers That Be thought it would be a good idea to store the energy and use it for other purposes.”
looked directly into Jahn’s eyes. “One
is for power. Another is for
transportation. To where?-I don’t know
and I don’t want to know. Jahn,” he said quietly. “They actually have people physically
connected to the system computers for a full day, not eight hours, but twenty four. I became friendly with a few but… they ended
the relationships, became cliquish.
They’re cordial, but…Look. Over
eyes wandered over the crowd, retail store decorations, the flowers, until she
saw a clean-shaven man with fresh bloody pricks on his head. Severn Eteyi caught Theodor’s eye and
smiled. He changed his direction towards
him and Jahn.
“Theodor! It’s been too long!” Severn threw his arms around Theodor and
“Severn! How are you?”
“Busy. There’s always work on the IS and the
system’s expanding. I’m Severn,” he
said, extending his hand to Jahn.
Severn. I’m Jahn.” Severn made sure that every surface of his
hand touched Jahn’s.
to meet you. This is thee Jahn?” Severn asked Theodor.
one and forever only,” Theodor responded, looking at Jahn. Interesting, he thought, I only mentioned
Jahn once in conversation.
on a short leash these days. We’re on
call…” Severn smiled. “Just like Little
Bend – 24/7.” He laughed. Theodor joined him.
“Yeah. I was explaining what ‘we’ created to Jahn.”
they’re still building, you know.”
“What? This didn’t mark the end of that phase?”
Theodor was genuinely surprised, and then again, he was not.
the power array keeps expanding and so does the storage system. It was decided that they will cap off at 5
quadrillion gigajewels and sell the rest to the utility.”
good news. But why would that much power
at the sector: you will notice a different construction crew- underground,”
said Severn lowering his voice.
I could see an underground international shopping mall with…discos, twenty four
hour convention shows, hhmmm…sensory deprivation, SDS enclosures.”
Theodor! It’s no wonder you were as
involved in this to your level. Do you
make it home?”
“Oh, yes, he rotates. I might not see him for two weeks. But he isn’t far from me,” Jahn answered emphatically. Theodor chuckled and shook his head.
it’s a part of the job as it needs constant monitoring, unless…we create a
system to monitor the system.” All three
looked at each other and said simultaneously,” Haaah!” They had a fit of deep belly laughter that
attracted attention from passersby. Two
persons continued watching them from the beginning of the meet up.
go. My free time and I need to eat. See you around, Theodor, seriously. Let’s resume getting together and not let
this much time go by.”
nodded. “Good to see you again, Severn.”
meeting you, Jahn.”
you, Severn. If you are ever out of this
place, come by the diner in Sandos.”
will,” Severn smiled at her as he looked deeply into her eyes. “Thank you.
Goodbye.” Severn turned and resumed his
smile up at Theodor. “Did you ever think
you’d invite him to dinner?” Theodor
watched Severn as he disappeared into the crowd.
about it. The answer was no. Nice person, but he is from the Taupenia
system. I met him when I was there running missions. I want you to be careful around here. We got along well at the time and then we met
again, at the Central Nucleus. The USSF
was using it as a base. Several of his
people are here, but I am not sure about them.
All of this…” he looked around. “…serves a greater purpose but I’m not
sure what that is.”
Jahn asked softly.
Bits of what I learned and saw. I
am the creator and manager of the Central Nucleus and I know there is much more
happening than I am trusted with. Let’s
go,” Theodor gestured with his hand.
“The tour continues.” Jahn took
his hand and they began to walk. Theodor
cast a glance at the couple of men who was watching them.