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A Carolina Millennial In A Prehistoric Tribe Chapter 9 edited

by MaybeAndrew


Friends In High Places

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible"

-Mathew 19:24

As a child, I had a major obsession with shoes as a status symbol. For the first eight years of my childhood, I disliked shoes. But then, around entering adolescence, something changed, cool people wore cool shoes. I first noticed this with my older brother, who wore work boots. Workboots were cool.

But my family never had enough money to buy me nice shoes or nice anything really. And then I knew a kid at school who wore Air Jordans, I wanted that kid's approval with every grain of my being, and more than wanting his approval, I wanted his shoes.

And though I grew up and began to value different things, some corner of me never gave up the belief that shoes were a symbol of something greater. So when I woke up the next morning and found a box outside my room with two Philippe Atienza black leather dress shoes, I knew I had made it. For context for the nonshoe nerds out there, Philippe Atienza is an artisan shoemaker from Paris whose hand-made shoes cost a minimum of five thousand dollars.

There was also a suit, which was comfortable, and the first time I had worn a suit tailored to me. I don't remember giving them my shoe size or measurements for clothes, but I'd answered a lot of personal questions in the past 24 hours, so it was definitely a possibility.

I dressed in the suit and shoes and then looked myself up and down in the mirror. I needed a haircut and to be hotter in general, but the suit looked like it belonged in a magazine.

The shoes, though... They were beautiful, black as the pupil of a lover, and cut as simply but as powerfully as the steal of a sword. Feeling like a king, I took my breakfast of croissants and eggs. Which Magret, the British housekeeper, served me while engaging me in an interesting conversation about my career in writing.

I left the chateau by car. Now that I was not tired or stunned by Athena, I could notice Avery and his car a little better. He was a solidly built man. Muscle, mustache, and man constructed him. Though probably 50, I could tell that he wouldn't have been an unwise addition to my football team. It's disappointing he was French. He would have made an A+ American.

The car, too, was impressive. I don't know much about cars, but the tires looked like they could rip across the forest and fields behind without difficulty, the windows were a full inch thick, the paint was venta black, and the interior was slick and absurdly comfortable. 'Avery's car,' I began but then paused, 'My bodyguard, my car' I smiled and nodded at this, 'My car makes a tesla look like a riding lawnmower. I thought proudly as we approached Athena.

I arrived at Athena and went through the usual fingerprint identification minutia. This time I was able to pay attention to my surroundings a bit more. The area reminded me of the subway if the subway had a million-dollar budget for security. People would come up, scan their cards at a booth with a soldier, pass through a metal detector, and then go file out into the many hallways. I had my own line for guests with more security, many of them looking over at me in interest.

I avoided eye contact with all of them, still feeling out of place. They all knew each other and knew what their jobs were. I was still confused. I turned my back to them and tried to make myself small, to hide from their vision. It felt like being the new kid at school.

After getting through the line, they sent me off to Gertrude. She gave me my card and said I could enter through line seven, which was reserved for VPI's. I was both happy about this and embarrassed that all of the other employees would have to see this rando new guy walking right past all of them.

"This is Myke." She said, gesturing to a man who had just emerged from Josh's office. Myke was a tall thin man with round glasses, short blond hair, buzzed on the sides, a slight spike on the top. He smiled nervously. "He'll be your personal assistant. He already has your schedule and knows his way about the building. If you dislike him and would like a new assistant, just tell me."

I chuckled to try to defuse how awkward that made me feel. It seemed like a really rude thing to say in front of him. "Of course not."

"Well, he'll show you to your office. Good day, Mr. Meyers." She swiveled her chair back to some paperwork.

"Right this way, sir," Myke said, gesturing past me and to a door.

"You can call me Matt," I said as we started walking.

My office was large, and its walls were harsh and solid concrete. It was minimal, with only a chair, desk, and computer. Myke explained that I could pick the decorating style and furniture I would like, and they'd fill the place up as much as I liked.

"But honestly, you won't be in here much, your schedule is so packed with meetings and the Room of Ra that you won't get much time on you're own."

And he was not kidding, right after that I was rushed to a meeting in a room with a long table and a flatscreen TV, but the only other person in the large room was a thick man wearing camo. He was decorated in medals and the US flag. He shook my hand solidly and introduced himself as the American General stationed over this project. I nodded. Apparently, this guy was supposed to debrief me, but I was unsure about what I was supposed to do while he did this.

Ready to hear about the aliens in area fifty-one, I sat.

He explained to me that Athena was being funded by the unity of many governments seeking to help the world. He said their hope was for me to be the modern Neal Armstrong, unifying America and the world. He said I was a champion for science, defending truth, justice, and the American way.

Well, I added that last bit, but that was the vibe.

I smilingly agreed to everything he said, learned disappointingly little about ufos, but left feeling extremely patriotic for all the money my country had spent on science.

After that, I met Isabella Frias. Isabella was an intimidatingly charming and beautiful Spanish woman who was the head of the publicity arm of Athena. She told me she had helped multiple presidents get elected and been quite involved in the rise of many famous people I knew today, one of which had a late-night talk show that I had been watching for a decade. She was even scarier because she was nice to me and treated me as an equal.

I'm going to meet every single talk show host, I realized.

The meeting with her included Gabrellio and Dr. Skizan over a vidoe call. Seeing Gabrellio gave me a pang of fear, quickly followed by satisfaction.

I'd gotten the job, he'd been wrong, and he would soon know it.

Dr. Skizan apologized for not being able to come in person, saying that his house was just outside of Paris and a much too long of a drive to come in in time. He made me almost as nervous as Isabella since he was so generally polite and respectable, but also, he was a giant in my genre of writing. His books got talked about on TV shows and changed the course of politics and culture.

"Matt, I'm glad they were able to find someone from our profession to take the job. It isn't often you see us Wordsmiths getting tons of publicity."

"Yeah, and seers haven't either in a couple of years." I winked and then felt a pang of pride for my smoothness.

He chuckled, "Yes, a seer, you understand now. We'll talk about that more later, though. These two aren't supposed to know much about that."

I chuckled and looked around. It felt good to be in the know, especially when Gabriello was on the outside of it.

They explained to me that they needed to make me a salable package. Something that would both work on TV, in a meeting of congress, and at parties of billionaires.

The plan was I would write a book about the project that would be released at the declassification of the project and a book by Charlie about the science coming out. Now that I had taken his job, that'd be my responsibility.

The current timeline was to do that in six months, at which time I'd go from being a member of this secret organization to one of the most famous people in the world, and I needed to be ready for that.

Dr. Skizan provided input but seemed a little distant. I didn't get it. How could someone just quiet this? It was the biggest thing ever. He quiet to do Humanitarian work. But this was the greatest work for humanity since fire. This would change everything ever. Why would someone quiet that?

But the meeting continued, Ready to write the biggest book since the bible, to appear on the talk shows with celebrities, to shake the president's hand, and as Gabrielli stressed to 'seduce billionaires.' Not literally, since that was not in my skillset, but going to very fancy parties, meeting extremely wealthy people, getting them to like me, and then convincing them to hand over their checkbooks.

"You see, much of the money to finance this is coming from governments, but a feat as wondrous as this could not be achieved without donations and loans from the private sector," Gabrielle explained. He was wearing a blue suit with diamond cuff links, a Golden Rolex, and a cologne that smelled like you had squeezed the idea of class into a bottle. "Before this is made public, we need you to be rubbing shoulders with these people. Some of them won't even know who you are, believing you to be a UN official. Others, who have already donated, will be aware of how you are the one fulfilling their investment. You better not make them regret that. They must love you. They must think you are the soil which dollars should be planted in. You must convince them that oil, bonds, and bitcoin were all tiny markets compared to the vastness of wealth that will pour from Athena." Gabriello said, a bite in his voice. In later meetings, Josh and Gabrielle then explained my bargaining chips with these billionaires and what I could offer them for loans, investments, or better yet, donations.

I'm going to meet billionaires.

"Much of this will not be for months, but the first thing we need to do is introduce you to the world leaders of the countries funding this." Isabella stated, "We have that meeting scheduled for next month. You will need etiquette lessons since many of the people there are used to respect. After that, you should expect to begin to meet more of the rich and the powerful."

I'm going to meet the President!

After that strange meeting, Myke brought me to a meeting with Charlie and Dr. Skizan, two neuroscientists, one phycologist, and one expert on meditation. Once again, the doctor appeared only over call. They explained that in the doctor's time, they had developed some ways to safely and intelligently navigate Destiny's Touch. They said they believed you could sharpen certain parts of the mind via mental exercises, meditation. I practiced to reduce the danger and raise the affectability of Destiny's Touch. I could tell that everyone was very unsure about everything and just making things up and trying them. But I was glad to have some semblance of guidance and security for future visits to the Room of Ra.

After that, Myke gave me my weekly schedule, and it looked like I'd be attending quite a few meetings like the last too. I was brought three-course lunch, and man, they really don't play it cheap here. That was one of the best meals I'd had for months. But I didn't have time to enjoy it, because soon Myke rushed me off to my next meeting.

I was happy to see Charlie again. He introduced me to a team of scientists who worked on Project Seod. They would be in charge of turning what I saw in Destiny's Touch into science. They were all very smiley and excited to work with me. They said they had already got what I had found yesterday and were very impressed. We all sat down around this large table in a room that felt like a lab mixed with a library. They began to question me about the experience extensively. After I explained the situation my best to them, a Japanese woman with long hair and round glasses squinted thoughtfully, "Are you saying that you have the beginnings of actual time travel?"

I nodded quickly, "Yes, as far as I understand it, it would function something like Destiny's Touch. You would need to connect a trained mind to an open Ringlarity. The Ringlarity would need to be stable and maintain its wormhole status." I grimaced at the use of a wormhole instead of a doughnut hole. "I'm not sure how you'd do it. I think if I could keep going into Destiny's Touch, I could find it."

They all smiled at this, "We all have had different theories of how this could work. Quantum gravity is still not very well understood, and we have very little data on this new form of energy coming from the nacked singularity."

"Do you have a name for that yet?" I asked.

"Currently, we have been calling it SUE. Strange, unidentified energy."

"You've been calling it Sue?" I asked, saying it like the women's name.

"Yeah," Charlie said, shrugging.

"That's terrible!" I laughed, "That's like calling it IDK's! That won't work. That won't sound cool in sci-fiy when we have to tell the world about it. The nerds won't get to look cool at all."

They all chuckled, "What do you propose then?" Charlie retorted.

I thought for a moment, "Ethos," I said and looked around, "Since it's like the scientific version of soul."

They all thought about that and nodded. "Ethos it is!" Charlie said, noting that down.

Hey, if I am somehow forgotten for everything else, at least my name will be next to the definition of one of the defining particles of physics.

***

After that lovely meeting with nerds, Myke brought me to a private meeting with Josh.

I was let into his grandiose office, where he greeted me and offered a chair to me. He folded his fingers on the desk and looked at me, "I know things have been going fast lately, but would you be willing to undergo Destiny's Touch once every day. As of yet, we have measured no major medical side effects on anyone. Worst you'll get is some insomnia as far as we've seen it unless you mess up, that is."

There was a long pause where he looked at me, "What happens if I mess up?" I finally asked.

"When we did some limited testing on animals - seizure. But we are normally able to detect it before that and shut it off. If we stopped it before the seizure, then you could experience nausea and some minor mental issues for a couple of days. But we haven't seen seizures yet in humans. I personally believe that's because they are better at managing and organizing it. And so far, you've seemed fantastic at managing it. On your first go did amazing with extremely high levels of the particles."

"We're calling it Ethos." I corrected him before I could stop myself.

"What?"

"We thought Ethos would be a better name for the energy."

"Oh, okay, so then this ethos, how would you feel about that entering your brain once a day?" Josh asked. He seemed more diplomatic than before, but he still had a certain power and expectancy about him.

"I don't know, sir. I wouldn't want to put myself out of work because of some complication. Should we consult with the doctors?" I said slowly.

Josh swiveled around and looked at the framed pictures of Astronauts. "Did you know that the computing power in your smartphone is more powerful than all of NASA's computers at the time of Apollo 11?" He said, his back to me as he looked at the pictures.

"I did not, sir." I did. That's a good factoid, and knowing factoids is like my main skill, but it seemed rude to say I did.

"Do you know how they were still able to go? Do you know how they were able to do something a century ahead of when it would have been expected?"

"How, sir?" I asked.

He swiveled around and looked at me, "Men like that," He said, pointing at a picture of Buzz Aldrin. "Brave heroes who were willing to risk their lives for the betterment of science and their fellow man. That is how they were able to do it. With champions of humanity leading the way. Do you want to be a champion of humanity, Matt?"

I paused, swallowed down some emotion, "Yes, I do, sir."

"So, do you think you can do Destiny's Touch once a day?"

I paused. Every moment at this job was another step, whether into a corner or father out into the open I did not know yet. "Yes, Sir, I am."

"Excellent," He said, "I knew I could rely on you. See you tomorrow."


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Tue Oct 19, 2021 1:54 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi MaybeAndrew,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

It's not so long ago that I read version 1.1. of chapter 9. On the one hand I can say that my knowledge of it is still quite fresh, but on the other hand it's not so fresh anymore. :D That's why the review will be a bit shorter. Some things I noticed positively, that some passages or sections have been changed a bit and now the general reading flow forms a nice circle from beginning to end.

I like how you start with a memory and that's how you start the story. I also like how the tone continues to be in an understated tone, making the story feel much more real. Matt is a very interesting character and I really like how you've added some smaller details that also read positively.

In general, I think the story has been given a new boost here. Some explanations seem more developed and understandable and especially the flow is much smoother to read. It no longer seems as if there is a partition between some points, but rather doors that lead on.

One thing I noticed where I'm not so sure either, but with proper names, like "Tesla" or similar brand names, it's important to emphasise them a bit. Again, I don't know an exact rule, but when reading literature, I've noticed that these names are always highlighted by italic or quotation marks. I think it has something to do with registration or something. (?) :D

Generally speaking - sorry - I don't notice all the differences from the old chapter 9, but I can say that I enjoyed reading it as always. It felt more fluid.

Other points I noticed while reading:

who wore work boots. Work boots were cool.

Here's a gap too much or too little.

Although probably 50, I could tell that he wouldn't have been an unwise addition to my football team.

I would try to write 50 as fifty. I'm not sure with the rules, when you should write numbers as numbers, but I think age falls in the same category like "regular" numbers like "he had ten baguettes with him."

Have fun writing!

Mailice




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Fri Oct 15, 2021 9:29 am
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ForeverYoung299 wrote a review...



Hey!! Forever here with a review!!

I am very bad at comparing two writings but let's see what I can do. I will mainly focus on the changes.

I arrived at Athena and went through the usual fingerprint identification minutia. This time I was able to pay attention to my surroundings a bit more. The area reminded me of the subway if the subway had a million-dollar budget for security. People would come up, scan their cards at a booth with a soldier, pass through a metal detector, and then go file out into the many hallways. I had my own line for guests with more security, many of them looking over at me in interest.

I liked the description that you put in here. It gives us a further account of the high security that they are implementing in the place to assure the highest succeeding rate possible. '...of the subway if the subway...' doesn't sound the best. You can change the structure a bit, I guess. And yeah, in the previous paragraph, you put the thoughts there. No need to put them in single inverted commmas. Italics is enough to indicate thoughts.
I avoided eye contact with all of them, still feeling out of place. They all knew each other and knew what their jobs were. I was still confused. I turned my back to them and tried to make myself small, to hide from their vision. It felt like being the new kid at school.

So Matt is still a bit shy. They are definitely there for quite some days but still they can't communicate in the best way. Seems like Matt is an ambivert. Sometimes, they become very introvert as in this case and sometimes, they become extrovert as in the interview one. We get another example of their extroversion in the next paragraph. However, I don't think it's very unnatural if we see his past.

Now we have Myke instead of Cedric. Myke and Matt seems to be an interesting combination of names. And if I am not there are quite a few differences between the characters of Cedric and Myke. Like in the previous part, we saw Cedric had a very servile nature as was described by Matt but here Myke didn't seem to be that much servile that people could say he was born to serve.

Medal decorated general was quite a description detail there and I like the fact that you were specific there, I mean you talked about a single person rather than generals as a group. That added to the specific feeling.
The meeting with her included Gabrellio and Dr. Skizan over a vidoe call. Seeing Gabrellio gave me a pang of fear, quickly followed by satisfaction.

Seems like Gabriello changed to Gabrellio in both the places. Also, not only in that place, in another place, the spelling was Gabrielle. I would like to know wjat the real name is.

I like how you gave more description of Matt's feelings on Gabriello. Okay, so Dr. Skizan is a writer too. I guess it was not mentioned before. He seems to be quite happy with the fact that Matt got the job and also for the first time, Matt thought about why Dr. Skizan quit the job. It's been a matter of question since when we met Dr. Skizan and it's still unanswered. Mystery setting in.

Okay so somehow this is happening faster than I expected it to, I mean these findings. Like they managed to find what Matt looked so quickly. They do have a great efficiency power. Also, if I am not wrong, they are planning to do it as fast as possible. They set a deadline for Matt, if I recall correctly.

Finally, we have Josh. Okay so it was his decision to make Matt undergo Destiny's touch once in a day. He gave quite a lecture to him regarding it. I am not very sure if he himself is ready to undergo the same thing and take the risk. If he wasn't, that's something like empty speeches. We got some further character developments. To end with, I am curious to know how exactly is ethos connected to Matt's name.

Overall, this was a much more detailed version of the previous one. I saw quite a few significant details which seem to be important. I liked the fact that you set the whole story in one day rathee than a large period of time. I noticed that you cut the last part of the previous version. Let's see how you are going to incorporate it somewhere else later. This was a great improvement.

Keep Writing!!

~Forever




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HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: Hmm....well, so it appears we have a rewritten chapter nine. I wasn't expecting an edit to happen so quickly, but hmm, this one has definitely got some big changes and very positive changes at that.

Anyway let's get right to it,

As a child, I had a major obsession with shoes as a status symbol. For the first eight years of my childhood, I disliked shoes. But then, around entering adolescence, something changed, cool people wore cool shoes. I first noticed this with my older brother, who wore work boots. Workboots were cool.

But my family never had enough money to buy me nice shoes or nice anything really. And then I knew a kid at school who wore Air Jordans, I wanted that kid's approval with every grain of my being, and more than wanting his approval, I wanted his shoes.

But then, I grew up and began to value different things.

But some corner of me never grew up, so when I woke up the next morning and found a box outside my room with two Philippe Atienza black leather dress shoes, I knew I had made it. For context for the nonshoe nerds out there, Philippe Atienza is an artisan shoemaker from Paris whose hand-made shoes cost a minimum of five thousand dollars.


Hmm....well this starts of much the same as the previous one did...so not much else to comment on there.....although if I'm remembering things correctly, I feel like maybe the explanation about the brand of shoe wasn't there before...I feel like that's new and that adds some extra bits of context to the situation.

There was also a suit, which was comfortable, and the first time I had worn a suit tailored to me. I don't remember giving them my shoe size or measurements for clothes, but I'd answered a lot of personal questions in the past 24 hours, so it was definitely a possibility.

I dressed in the suit and shoes and then looked myself up and down in the mirror. I needed a haircut and to be hotter in general, but the suit looked like it belonged in a magazine.

The shoes, though... They were beautiful, black as the pupil of a lover, and cut and as simply but as powerfully as the steal of a sword. Feeling like a king, I took my breakfast of croissants and eggs. Which magret, the British housekeeper, served me while engaging me in an interesting conversation about my career in writing.


I think you have an extra "and" there in the last paragraph. I don't usually point out grammar stuff unless it actually messes with reading a piece, but that one stands out a little. Other than that, well, this going along as it did before...and its a good start. I assume most of this first part if probably mostly unchanged save for minor things.

I arrived at Athena and went through the usual fingerprint identification minutia. This time I was able to pay attention to my surroundings a bit more. The area reminded me of the subway if the subway had a million-dollar budget for security. People would come up, scan their cards at a booth with a soldier, pass through a metal detector, and then go file out into the many hallways. I had my own line for guests with more security, many of them looking over at me in interest.

I avoided eye contact with all of them, still feeling out of place. They all knew each other and knew what their jobs were. I was still confused. I turned my back to them and tried to make myself small, to hide from their vision. It felt like being the new kid at school.


Ahh here we go, the changes are now starting to ring in one by one, and the contrast is immediately noticeable. I already like where this one is going here...this is the perfect sort of "new guy at work" feeling that can work as a stark contrast against the stuff to compare this against later down the line.

"This is Myke." She said, gesturing to a man who had just emerged from Josh's office. Myke was a tall thin man with round glasses, short blond hair, buzzed on the sides, a slight spike on the top. He smiled nervously. "He'll be your personal assistant. He already has your schedule and knows his way about the building. If you dislike him and would like a new assistant, just tell me."

I chuckled to try to defuse how awkward that made me feel. It seemed like a really rude thing to say in front of him. "Of course not."

"Well, he'll show you to your office. Good day, Mr. Meyers." She swiveled her chair back to some paperwork.


Hmm...ahh, I'm loving that moment there. Now this all feels like a nice little setup rather than a quick summary and I think it works out a lot better. You can also see that Athena either is going all the way out to make him feel like he's very respected for some secret Reason™ or this is just how rich that program is anyway.

My office was large, and its walls were harsh and solid concrete. It was minimal, with only a chair, desk, and computer. Myke explained that I could pick the decorating style and furniture I would like, and they'd fill the place up as much as I liked.

"But honestly, you won't be in here much, your schedule is so packed with meetings and the Room of Ra that you won't get much time on you're own."

And he was not kidding, right after that I was rushed to a meeting in a room with a long table and a flatscreen TV, but the only other person in the large room was a thick man wearing camo. He was decorated in medals and the US flag. He shook my hand solidly and introduced himself as the American General stationed over this project. I nodded. Apparently, this guy was supposed to debrief me, but I was unsure about what I was supposed to do while he did this.


Ahh...yes, the perfect way to actually showcase a few important things about a place is run, those descriptions are just about the right size here. They are quick enough to not slow the plot down with details that probably won't be important later and yet they convey a basic picture of everything so that we know Matt is not stuck in a random void and we get a general sense of the offices and rooms in this place.

He explained to me that Athena was being funded by the unity of many governments seeking to help the world. He said their hope was for me to be the modern Neal Armstrong, unifying America and the world. He said I was a champion for science, defending truth, justice, and the American way.

Well, I added that last bit, but that was the vibe.

I smilingly agreed to everything he said, learned disappointingly little about ufos, but left feeling extremely patriotic for all the money my country had spent on science.


Hmmm...I think that makes for a lovely addition there, with us seeing how the speech manages to move him a bit clearer. This remains similar to the previous description but the little line or two that's been added there makes a world of difference to how it comes across.

Dr. Skizan apologized for not being able to come in person, saying that his house was just outside of Paris and a much too long of a drive to come in in time. He made me almost as nervous as Isabella since he was so generally polite and respectable, but also, he was a giant in my genre of writing. His books got talked about on TV shows and changed the course of politics and culture.

"Matt, I'm glad they were able to find someone from our profession to take the job. It isn't often you see us Wordsmiths getting tons of publicity."

"Yeah, and seers haven't either in a couple of years." I winked and then felt a pang of pride for my smoothness.


Hmm...Matt is settling in on that one rather quickly there. Also love the detail about the doctor connecting via video call...I never did imagine that earlier and I was wondering why the doctor left the premises if he's gonna just come back for meeting anyway. Now this immediately clears up that little grain of doubt that I had.

He chuckled, "Yes, a seer, you understand now. We'll talk about that more later, though. These two aren't supposed to know much about that."

I chuckled and looked around. It felt good to be in the know, especially when Gabriello was on the outside of it.


Oooh, I especially love this part cause as a reader you can relate to that somewhat. That is the sort of feeling that can lead you down that path to feeling important and maybe causing trouble down the line. ;)

The current timeline was to do that in six months, at which time I'd go from being a member of this secret organization to one of the most famous people in the world, and I needed to be ready for that.

Dr. Skizan provided input but seemed a little distant. I didn't get it. How could someone just quiet this? It was the biggest thing ever. He quiet to do Humanitarian work. But this was the greatest work for humanity since fire. This would change everything ever. Why would someone quiet that?


Hmm, I assume this won't be addressed till later, but rather what we're witnessing here is some nice sneaky foreshadowing there for the potential issues that will eventually plague this place.

After that strange meeting, Myke brought me to a meeting with Charlie and Dr. Skizan, two neuroscientists, one phycologist, and one expert on meditation. Once again, the doctor appeared only over call. They explained that in the doctor's time, they had developed some ways to safely and intelligently navigate Destiny's Touch. They said they believed you could sharpen certain parts of the mind via mental exercises, meditation. I practiced to reduce the danger and raise the affectability of Destiny's Touch. I could tell that everyone was very unsure about everything and just making things up and trying them. But I was glad to have some semblance of guidance and security for future visits to the Room of Ra.


Hmm, liking that new detail there. To get a sense that most of the people here, despite all the money and fancy things that they're all going to have to do, are all kind of winging it when it comes to this new technology and they don't all seem to fully know what they're doing here.

I was happy to see Charlie again. He introduced me to a team of scientists who worked on Project Seod. They would be in charge of turning what I saw in Destiny's Touch into science. They were all very smiley and excited to work with me. They said they had already got what I had found yesterday and were very impressed. We all sat down around this large table in a room that felt like a lab mixed with a library. They began to question me about the experience extensively. After I explained the situation my best to them, a Japanese woman with long hair and round glasses squinted thoughtfully, "Are you saying that you have the beginnings of actual time travel?"


Hmm...not sure why we focused on the one woman there. I don't know if that's maybe a clue for later cause she'll be important or you simply slipped that one in cause you wanted to give a face to a person that ends up asking a question. Either way its an interesting choice...and of course...this now is bringing across the kind of situation he was thrust into a bit better I think, with some easier to spot setups happening here.

They all smiled at this, "We all have had different theories of how this could work. Quantum gravity is still not very well understood, and we have very little data on this new form of energy coming from the nacked singularity."

"Do you have a name for that yet?" I asked.

"Currently, we have been calling it SUE. Strange, unidentified energy."

"You've been calling it Sue?" I asked, saying it like the women's name.


Ahh...well that is very on brand for science...strange quarks anyone and I can totally see that becoming a real thing somewhere down the line. The fact that is ends up being a very easy to acronym that also sounds like a random person's name is actually quite a neat package cause it can work to keep the secrecy of the project too.

"Yeah," Charlie said, shrugging.

"That's terrible!" I laughed, "That's like calling it IDK's! That won't work. That won't sound cool in sci-fiy when we have to tell the world about it. The nerds won't get to look cool at all."

They all chuckled, "What do you propose then?" Charlie retorted.

I thought for a moment, "Ethos," I said and looked around, "Since it's like the scientific version of soul."


Hmm...not everyone is going to understand the meaning behind that word and I think an acronym that sounds like a regular word but stands for something that sounds sufficiently weird is going to sound much cooler. BUt ehh, they hired Matt, not me I suppose.

Hey, if I am somehow forgotten for everything else, at least my name will be next to the definition of one of the defining particles of physics.


Well...I hate to point this out, but that's a form of energy, not technically a particle, although yes those are closely linked. ;)

After that lovely meeting with nerds, Myke brought me to a private meeting with Josh.

I was let into his grandiose office, where he greeted me and offered a chair to me. He folded his fingers on the desk and looked at me, "I know things have been going fast lately, but would you be willing to undergo Destiny's Touch once every day. As of yet, we have measured no major medical side effects on anyone. Worst you'll get is some insomnia as far as we've seen it unless you mess up, that is."


Hmm, I suppose this is the part where we're going to really lean into the side effects of the whole Destiny's Touch situation huh? A good place to start...I also love how he acts almost dismissive already calling the other scientists a group of "nerds" when technically he is too.

There was a long pause where he looked at me, "What happens if I mess up?" I finally asked.

"When we did some limited testing on animals - seizure. But we are normally able to detect it before that and shut it off. If we stopped it before the seizure, then you could experience nausea and some minor mental issues for a couple of days. But we haven't seen seizures yet in humans. I personally believe that's because they are better at managing and organizing it. And so far, you've seemed fantastic at managing it. On your first go did amazing with extremely high levels of the particles."

"We're calling it Ethos." I corrected him before I could stop myself.


Hmm, I like this little discussion of the consequences. It tells us both how little they know about the effects this sort of thing can have, and also that they do genuinely seem to make an effort to tell Matt that there will be effects. This will make the effects he does eventually receive feel a bit more like they were inevitable and also quite scary.

"Oh, okay, so then this ethos, how would you feel about that entering your brain once a day?" Josh asked. He seemed more diplomatic than before, but he still had a certain power and expectancy about him.

"I don't know, sir. I wouldn't want to put myself out of work because of some complication. Should we consult with the doctors?" I said slowly.

Josh swiveled around and looked at the framed pictures of Astronauts. "Did you know that the computing power in your smartphone is more powerful than all of NASA's computers at the time of Apollo 11?" He said, his back to me as he looked at the pictures.


Hm..okay, not a direction I would expect that conversation to go in, but an interesting direction at any rate, not to mention I do think that's actually true...which is crazy to imagine but amazing at the same time.

"Do you know how they were still able to go? Do you know how they were able to do something a century ahead of when it would have been expected?"

"How, sir?" I asked.

He swiveled around and looked at me, "Men like that," He said, pointing at a picture of Buzz Aldrin. "Brave heroes who were willing to risk their lives for the betterment of science and their fellow man. That is how they were able to do it. With champions of humanity leading the way. Do you want to be a champion of humanity, Matt?"


Ohhh....now this is an important moment, and also find myself thinking these folks thread a very thin line here. One second it sounds like a normal pep talk by a person with genuine concern for Matt's safety, on the other hand, I feel like they are mentally shaping Matt to want to do this despite the few reservations he has.

I paused, swallowed down some emotion, "Yes, I do, sir."

"So, do you think you can do Destiny's Touch once a day?"

I paused. Every moment at this job was another step, whether into a corner or father out into the open I did not know yet. "Yes, Sir, I am."

"Excellent," He said, "I knew I could rely on you. See you tomorrow."


Oooooh....I think this makes for a really nice ending here. The pacing her is night and day when compared to the previous one. This is definitely a massive change from the previous one and a good one at that.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, I think this serves the purpose of a nice launching chapter much better here. This chapter rather than being a quick summary that feels a touch rushed, sounds like the beginning of a journey, you get to see Matt's initial feelings, you then see him get several speeches that could eventually lead to his mental state changing like you said it wanted to and we have the ominous air of potential side effects get introduced and slowly hang over Matt's head. Its sooo much better and I'm very excited to see how you work the rest of this together and especially how these dreams and such start to come up. :D

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




MaybeAndrew says...


Haha, thanks so much for the review! I actually edit the stories as I go along, after each review, but I thought an edit this big would just confuse previous reviewers when they miss info for future chapters. I am of course still going to do a second and third draft after this like 1 and 1.5 drafts that happen after reviews, but I kinda like editing as a go, makes that episodic feel work!
Thanks again



HarryHardy says...


You're Welcome!!

Ahh...xD, not a bad strategy :D



MaybeAndrew says...


Real quick, I'm curious, if I did a complete cut to like 2 weeks after this in the next chapter, and not really cover what happens in between. To give a starker show of the change he undergoes while working there. do you think that would work, or would you expect it to feel a little jarring?



HarryHardy says...


Hmm...interesting question. Uhh...in terms of his work, it might feel jarring but I think maybe that's a good thing. You can show just how quickly his position gets to his head and it should be fine, if anything, it'll do a wonderful job to call attention to his change in mind.

Uhh...for like perhaps how his nightmares and such develop, that I expect to be a bit jarring in a bad way...unless its a small enough change that we don't miss much. It depends somewhat on how much happens in the two weeks in terms of those nightmares. For his like change of his view of himself, yeah, either way I don't think it'll be that bad now that you've set a platform here. :D



HarryHardy says...


Hmm...interesting question. Uhh...in terms of his work, it might feel jarring but I think maybe that's a good thing. You can show just how quickly his position gets to his head and it should be fine, if anything, it'll do a wonderful job to call attention to his change in mind.

Uhh...for like perhaps how his nightmares and such develop, that I expect to be a bit jarring in a bad way...unless its a small enough change that we don't miss much. It depends somewhat on how much happens in the two weeks in terms of those nightmares. For his like change of his view of himself, yeah, either way I don't think it'll be that bad now that you've set a platform here. :D




It is better to take what does not belong to you than to let it lie around neglected.
— Mark Twain