Shades Chapter 1
First Anniversary at Little Bend

o you like working here, hon?” Jahn asked as she surveyed Little Bend’s main thoroughfare.

Theodor 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.”

“I sense a little arrogant showboating.  But it’s due.  You thought it, and …did it!”

“Well, 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.”

"But, 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.”

“How does that affect the ship?”

“Choices may create seen or unforeseen conditions, which could lead to more, and so on, impacting the trajectory.”

“Hmmm…”

“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.”

 “You 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?”  

“It 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.”

A noticeable hum vibrated the air.  Jahn was sure she felt it beneath her feet.  “Wha-?”

“Look 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 was speechless.

“How-?  Automated?”

Theodor 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-”

“If the utility cut power, this system can operate all of Little Bend, to date, for a month.”

“To 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.”

“Like what?”

Theodor 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 there.” Jahn’s 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 hugged him.

“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.

“Hello, Severn.  I’m Jahn.”  Severn made sure that every surface of his hand touched Jahn’s.

“Pleasure to meet you.  This is thee Jahn?” Severn asked Theodor.

“Thee one and forever only,” Theodor responded, looking at Jahn.  Interesting, he thought, I only mentioned Jahn once in conversation.

“I’m 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.”

“Also, 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.

“Well, 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.”

“That’s good news.  But why would that much power be necessary?”

“Look at the sector: you will notice a different construction crew- underground,” said Severn lowering his voice.

“Well, I could see an underground international shopping mall with…discos, twenty four hour convention shows, hhmmm…sensory deprivation, SDS enclosures.”

“Wow, 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. 

“Sev, 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.

“Gotta 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.”

Theodor nodded.  “Good to see you again, Severn.”

“Nice meeting you, Jahn.”

“And you, Severn.  If you are ever out of this place, come by the diner in Sandos.”

“I will,” Severn smiled at her as he looked deeply into her eyes. “Thank you. Goodbye.”  Severn turned and resumed his original journey.

Jahn smile up at Theodor.  “Did you ever think you’d invite him to dinner?” Theodor watched Severn as he disappeared into the crowd.

“Thought 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.”

“Paranoia?” Jahn asked softly.

“No.  Maybe.  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. 

Links

Writings

Galaxy and Dimension Far,Far Away

Freedom Land

?Thoughts on Dying

Soldiers

Sunday

House

Hope

Shades

Shades Chapter 1 First Anniversary

Shades Chapter 2 God Bless America

Shades Chapter 3 Little Bend

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