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The Quantum Mind: Chapter 13

by Ventomology

Theo scuffed his shoes on the sidewalk, a grim expression on his face. He wouldn’t tell Noel this, but she was special to him. It had been Noel who erased the sickness he’d gotten after contracting the whatever-it-was that Yvette was after, so she obviously had significance. Noel was his go-to victim, but also the person he trusted most.

He ran both hands through his black hair and yelled into the car-filled parking lot. Then he readjusted his glasses and shut himself in the car to keep tabs on Noel.

The back of his mind had been considerably reconfigured since losing Carrie’s signal. One desk with three computers stood alone in a dark room. A leather swiveling chair was tucked under the table, just where Noel would have wanted it. Theo pulled out the chair and swung into it before scooting in to watch through Noel’s senses.

She was already inside the building, so the reception was fuzzy, but she was unharmed. Theo had accounted for any injuries she might have gotten, so the bones she broke kicking in the door were already healed. Too bad super-healing required the usage of her reserves, so there was only so much she could do before collapsing from exhaustion.

He cursed himself for not bringing food on this excursion.

Noel was sneaking about the place, wary of everything that moved. She couldn’t hear any loud noises because breaking down the main door had set off the alarms, but it didn’t seem like too many people were in the underground lab to begin with. The cement walls and ceilings echoed the ringing, and Noel had her hands cupped over her ears.

It seemed that Noel already knew a bit about the place. Thoughts about what was where raced through her mind while she ran aimlessly through the first-floor halls.

I can’t remember where it was! she was thinking. There was supposed to be a door with clearance that Dad couldn’t get into, and that was the only place we didn’t see…

She spotted it, a door with heavier scanning equipment than the usual badge-checker. For a few moments, she examined its workings, trying to see a way to break it all at once. Theo had found a way to break the lock and was about the think it at her when the visual screen in his mind jerked.

Her head had banged against the door. You dumbo, he thought at her, teasingly, I can’t believe you’re bonking your head against doors now.

But Noel’s physical functions screen proved him wrong. And her thoughts were all centered on finding whoever it was lifting her into the air. She was losing oxygen too.

Break their fingers! Theo ordered.

Noel heard him a moment later and wretched her hands between her attacker’s and her neck. She squeezed, and a sickening crack filled her ears. The girl whipped around, only to see Mr. Wills.

“You!” she yelled, “What did you do to Carrie and Yvette, and everyone else?”

The man smiled, stroking his white beard. Theo thought Noel had broken his fingers, so how was he already using them again? “Oh, I’m only keeping them under lock and key. Yvette is being tortured so we can send her back to be tried for treason, but she won’t say a word.”

Theo read Noel’s thoughts, which were jumbled and crazed. She wasn’t thinking clearly. The alien business was keeping her from forming a plan.

Try to pin him down, Theo thought, Maybe you can get something from him if you torture him back.

Noel was reluctant, since she wasn’t a big fan of fighting, but she lunged forward to punch him anyway.

Mr. Wills grabbed her arm and lifted her into the air, but he was forgetting Noel’s specialty, the one boys feared everywhere. Even Theo had suffered that fate before.

Using Mr. Wills’s arm to steady herself, Noel kicked at his groin and was promptly dropped as the man lurched over in pain.

Were you actually aiming there this time? Theo asked.

Yes, Theo, I was. And I’m sorry about that time in seventh grade. I really had been trying to get your shins.

I don’t doubt that.

Mr. Wills was quick to recover. He was already up, cursing the weaknesses of a human body. He shot forward, grabbing Noel’s head and smashing it into the metal door behind her.

The screens in Theo’s mind went blank. She read as unconscious. And moments later, the computers on Theo’s desk disappeared entirely. He felt sick.


When Yvette was tossed, bleeding and battered, onto the not-so-scary side of the glass, everyone gathered around her to make sure their friend was alright. Carrie was still unconscious, so she didn’t, but at least her face was worried.

“Yvette! Are you alright?” Lillian asked.

The girl struggled to sit upright. And she avoided anyone’s gaze, her short blonde hair making her look awkward instead of ashamed. “I’m sorry, everyone,” she said, “I wasn’t able to- to- save Carrie.”

“Don’t talk like that,” Lillian scolded, “Carrie’s just unconscious.”

Dieter and Doug expressed their concerns, but Yvette was quick to begin explanations. She must have seen their shock as they watched her heal so quickly. Lillian had tried to avoid thinking of Yvette as scary, but it couldn’t be helped.

“So, what was that all about?” Dieter asked.

Yvette sighed and looked at Carrie for a moment. “They thought I was hiding the host from you all. They know that none of you have the quantum computer we’re looking for, so they’ve kidnapped you in order to draw out whoever does have it. I mean, they do know that you’re all well-acquainted.”

“Yeah, okay, and what exactly do they think will happen?”

“Well, the operation is gambling on the premise that the host has fused far enough with the quantum computer that he or she will be worried over your disappearances from their mind.”

Lillian glanced at the two boys, but they were as clueless as she. Both shrugged, and Dieter even gave a nervous flick at his rubix cube.

Yvette saw the confusion and jumped in again. “I suppose I ought to start from the beginning, huh?”

“Well yeah,” Lillian said, “but we should probably wait for Carrie to get up. You don't want to tell the story twice, right?”

Everyone glanced at the unconscious Carrie, wishing she would awaken already. But on the other side of the glass, commotion was stirring once again.

Noel, her glasses removed and her waist-length hair loose, was flung onto the torture side of the glass.

Lillian could hear Yvette muttering, her face completely aghast. “So that’s why they stopped.”

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1634 Reviews

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Reviews: 1634

Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:42 pm
Deanie wrote a review...

Hello again :)

What a great chapter! I love this so much :D We get promised the explanation we've been waiting for a long time... and we get to see a bit more of the alien-like qualities they harbor. They're just occupying a body and can heal very fast. So what really was the point of torturing Yvette if she knows she can get better quickly afterwards?

You also get to see the friends looking after each other and doing what friends do best - learning from their mistakes. You get to see character, action and immediate happenings, as well as a bit of setting. It's great that you managed to get it all in there, also without any technical details!

If you wanted to improve this you could add in some more detail to the part where Noel is fighting Mr. Wills, make it last a bit longer. It's a scene of excitement when we as readers wonder will she escape of not? If you add in some short sentences, put more embellishment into her immediate emotions and observations, it could become a really great scene!

I think you have a very good style of writing, but sometimes I feel like you state only the things we necessarily need to know to understand the plot moving forwards. Which is okay because we know all we need to know and can still enjoy the story. But readers also crave the smaller parts, the detail in setting and the depth of emotion that isn't 100 % needed to understand the story but is 100 % needed to keep the reader reading. And that's what is most important in the end ;)

Looking forwards to more chapters! (although you never tell me when you post, so how am I meant to know? Hint hint)

Deanie x

Ventomology says...

Well, in response to the first question, they do still feel pain... (I hope I did an okay job with that?) And you're right, the fight scene should include some thoughts... There'll be another one later, so I'll definitely take this into consideration!

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52 Reviews

Points: 2953
Reviews: 52

Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:30 pm
Aravis10 wrote a review...

Hi! It's Aravis! I'm back! I know that it probably seems that I disappeared off the face of the earth, but I have still been keeping up with your chapters. It's just basketball season has kicked into full gear. I know, excuses, excuses. I should just start this review instead making excuses.
Well, I'll just start with saying that I am a little confused. How did they know to go to this lab to find the aliens and their friends? "But Noel’s physical functions screen proved him wrong. And her thoughts were all centered on finding whoever it was lifting her into the air. She was losing oxygen too." I had to go back and read this section twice. It was like she was banging her head on the wall and now she is in the air? Yeah, I get it now, but it totally lost me at first. Right now, I feel as clueless as the characters.
Remember, like you are always correctly telling me, show, don't tell! I wish I had more details other than sight, like smell, sound, touch. I guess we both have a lot to work on with that. :)
I noticed that you were looking for ideas on your next one. Don't forget to finish this one!!!! At least for me! :)

Ventomology says...

It's nice to see you again! Thanks for reviewing, and you are so right! I guess when I review other people I should think about it and see what techniques I'm applying to my own work! And don't worry! I'll definitely finish this piece before starting the next one.

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Points: 2966
Reviews: 142

Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:14 pm
Bugslake wrote a review...

As I have said before. Brilliant job with writing this. I would really like to read more of this to see what happens in the end. I can't wait to see how they all get out of there and I really hope that the aliens leave quickly.

I didn't see any grammatical errors, but I'm not really good at finding those anyway. It was really smooth and I really liked that. Your characters are still brilliant so just keep writing.

Ventomology says...

Whoa! It makes me so happy to see that people are reading through all my chapters! Thanks a bunch!

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304 Reviews

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Reviews: 304

Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:59 pm
barefootrunner wrote a review...

Hi there! Yup, it's me again.

I saw more of the balance I was looking for in this work. You are really implementing your characters very well to get different viewpoints and writing modes like dialogue, thought, descriptions etc. Great work!

Again, the way you've made a bad situation mildly funny is really remarkable. Having a "lab" scene or a "torture" scene without being melodramatic is very hard, but you've done it. Really, congratulations!

Here are some grammos I found …

She spotted it, a door with heavier scanning equipment than the usual badge-checker. For a few moments, she examined it’s workings, trying to see a way to break it all at once.

That it's should be an its.
it's == it is
its == the x of it

“Well, yes,” Lillian said, “But we probably should wait for Carrie to get up. You don't want to tell the story twice, right?”

Your dialogue punctuation is mostly right, but when you break it in the middle, you tend to get it wrong by some small details. That is why I've gotten you this: Punctuation within Dialogue. The go-to article on dialogue—read and remember!


Keep going :D


Ventomology says...

Oh my gosh! I can't believe I didn't catch those when I edited! Thank you so much for finding my mistakes!

The Twelve Makeovers of Haircules is the stuff of legend. He defeated the Erymanthian Beard. One could say it was a hair raising adventure.
— KateHardy