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The Quantum Mind: Chapter 15

by Ventomology


Yvette looked around at the faces of her friends. She hadn’t thought she’d ever tell them this. She hadn’t even thought the device would fall here. It was like some sort of dark magic, having everything revolve around these kids.

A deep breath. “Well, I guess I’ll start at home. I don’t actually know how far our planets are from each other, only that it’s quite a ways.”

Doug broke in, “Well, of course it is, man. We’re like four lightyears away from even the closest star besides the sun.”

“Yes, well, we actually have a quantum mechanics method of bringing everyone here, by somehow arranging particles so that there are twins located on my planet and yours. Using these twins, we replicate exact atoms on one side, destroying the originals. This way, we can bypass relativity and the grand distances of the universe in order to send people like me to retrieve the object right when we predict its coming.”

“Less science,” Lillian said, “More story.”

“Ah yes. Well, it all started about a thousand earth-years ago. That’d only be the equivalent of fifty years for us, based on maturity of species, but that’s irrelevant. Someone created such low temperatures that a quantum device came into being. They stuck it inside a vacuum and sent it to one of our science colonies where they perform more dangerous experiments without threatening the main population, but the ship was miscalibrated.”

“So they missed?” Dieter asked.

“Correct,” Yvette replied, “By quite a long shot. So based on intergalactic motion that we’d already observed, we predicted that the quantum device would land on a small rocky planet orbiting star forty-five-twenty A. Now you see, my race had been paying special attention to forty-five-twenty A because of this planet. Your people are the only other sentient race we’ve found in the entire universe so far. By then, we’d already landed a shuttle here with a transporter-we had no idea how those worked either-and we started preparations for the coming of the quantum device.”

“Wow. You’re old,” Carrie said.

“No, I’m only a few centuries old. If you want to go into it, I’d actually be about your ages. Anyways, after learning what scientists here had found out about quantum particles, I was hoping the computer had disappeared already, and that it wouldn’t even do anything. We could pass it off as a miscalculation and not worry about anything. But of course, it had to land in a system whose structure it could manipulate. Something alive that just happens to be one of you, Noel, or Theo.”

“Oh right, Theo!” Carrie said, “Then this quantum device is the cause of his telepathy?”

“Excuse me?”

“Theo has telepathy. Or as Noel puts it, he uses the internet to access the quantum particles inside of us thereby monitoring our data.”

“You didn’t tell Mrs. Johns that?”

“Well, it was a gut instinct.”

Though happy that Carrie hadn’t said anything to Mrs. Johns, Yvette frowned. Why hadn’t her friends said anything earlier? Well, of course they wouldn’t. No one would want to sound like they needed to be in an asylum.

“This is even stranger. We had expected the device to cause mild distraction, and only lower the body temperature. Possibly even to make someone incredibly brilliant because of the new speeds that could be reached in thought-processing, hence why we originally suspected Noel.”

“Sounds like a science fiction novel,” Dieter muttered, examining his rubix cube. Yvette was surprised he still had it.

“Oh,” Carrie started, “Did you get the distraction part from the day when Noel was completely out of it? That was actually Theo messing with her dopamine production. Are they recording us in here?”

Yvette glanced around the room. “No, I don’t think they’re recording us. And how did Theo manipulate Noel’s bodily functions?”

“Dunno,” Carrie replied, “He never tried with any of us.”

“Any reason for that?”

Lillian snorted, triggering outbursts of giggling from the others. “Well duh, he likes her. Like, you know, the in-love, sort of like.”

And naturally, the moment Theo was mentioned, the sound of collapsing cement echoed in the room.

***

Theo was clutching his stomach as he trudged towards the building. He couldn't concentrate. Everything was spinning around him, and though his glasses were still on, he couldn't see well. His head hurt like he’d gotten a concussion, and worse, Noel was gone.

He couldn't contact her. She was lost. Nothing mattered anymore; he had to get her back so he wouldn’t feel so sick.

The alarms in the lab were still resonating around the complex and Theo saw people swarming out from the nearby buildings. He quickened, trying to ignore the pain in his gut.

Upon reaching the well-dented metal door, he stopped to breathe. Please, please, please, he thought, tell me she’s okay.

From a backward glance, he knew the office workers were drawing closer. After a deep breath, Theo stepped into the cement building, almost dying from his headache.

Aside from the damage, the place really did look like a lab. It had that sterile feel that he got from hospitals. Wires slithered about the cement walls, connecting it to the outside world. Hadn’t some foreigners hacked it recently? Whatever. Irrelevant. Theo followed the path of destruction Noel had carved out for him and reached the metal door before ten minutes was up.

Here I am, he thought, I wonder if I can use the strategy Noel was about to use to break the lock.

There it was, a weak spot in the jumble of gears and rods that worked the lock. Tentatively, he poked at it, making sure there wasn’t another security system in place. Then he banged on it with his fist.

“Yeowch!” He muttered a string of curses before realizing he should probably shut up. His hand still hurt, but he tried again.

Nope.

He examined the workings again to see if he could kick the door. If it were Lillian, she’d use her ultra-flexibility to kick the spot he’d picked, but obviously he was not Lillian.

Suddenly, burning fingertips brushed his neck. He ducked, breathing heavily, trying to look backwards.

“Ah, here you are. I should have know you’d follow Noel’s path.” That voice. Mr. Wills.

Theo fully turned around. “I guess I outsmarted you, huh alien?”

“Not quite yet.” The man lunged, his huge figure blocking out the white light of the lab.

Theo feinted left before circling right. He locked a foot around Mr. Will’s ankle to trip him. With a crack, the alien smashed into the metal door, breaking the mechanisms. Mentally, Theo congratulated his genius.

But as he had before, Mr. Wills recovered quickly, softly grunting about his human body. It probably hadn’t been a good idea to be so tall and bulky. The man surged forward, and Theo leapt backward, a plan already forming in his head. “Hey, old man, why don’t you show me what you really look like?”

“Fool,” Mr. Wills breathed, bringing his fists up over his head, “I know better than that.”

“Oh please, you clearly can’t beat me while you’re human. I mean seriously, old people get arthritis, and their bones get weaker and-ah!” He narrowly dodged getting crushed to the floor.

“I’m not old.”

“Oh yeah?” Theo jeered. He landed a hit on Mr. Will’s shoulder, but that wouldn’t cut it.

“Only several centuries. I’m in my prime, little boy.” The man hunched over and ran for Theo. He was preparing to lift him over a shoulder, possibly drop him on his head.

Theo wished there was more room in the lab. He had to keep going in circles, and Mr. Wills always defended the side closest to the door. There was absolutely no way he could take a six-foot-something tall man out in a shoving match, so what could he do?

Well, there was always the dump-it-on-somebody-else tactic. He liked that one, especially when it came to homework or reading Romeo and Juliet. The wall could probably take an impact.

Nervous sweat dripping from his spiky hair, Theo assumed a braced position.

“Foolish boy, you know you can’t overpower me.”

“Might as well try,” Theo teased, before ducking and turning sideways. He slipped right under Mr. Wills’s outstretched arms and left the man stumbling into the walls. Maybe he’d break something.

“Thanks for opening the door, old man,” Theo said, waving backwards while the alien tried to pull himself free from the cement wall.

Theo refocused on his goal and opened the door, hoping to see his friends, especially Noel, safe and sound.


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Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:56 am
barefootrunner wrote a review...



Hi again! Almost done with this story :D

Spelling and grammar

The man surged forward, and Theo leapt backward, an plan already forming in his head.

A plan.

Your spelling and grammar is so good! I have to rave about it, because it's so rare to get such good grammar!

Character development

We get to know a lot about Yvette here, but there isn't much more in character dynamics going on.

Plot

You have slowed down a little here, showing every person's perspective. This is where having so many characters can become a burden. You should watch out for stagnation here.

Style and tone

I liked your action sequence, especially with Theo's bantering tone and the originality of having a smart person fighting instead of a brawny one. It adds such interesting dynamics to the work!

Great job! Keep writing!

barefoot




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Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:03 pm
Tenyo wrote a review...



Hey Buggie!

Balance

What I notice most about this is that it is very, very dialogue heavy. I generally recommend having an equal balance between description, action, dialogue and introspection. The trouble with dialogue-heavy works is that they read more like a script, and rather than a scene playing out you end up with a group of talking heads that don't do anything.

People have different ways of writing, and you seem to express yourself a lot through dialogue, but too much of it drowns out the rest of what's going on.

I would especially like to see more description, since it's an interesting world you've created here but with all the focus on what's being said there is a lot of background noise that's being lost.

You've done much better in the second part than in the first, though.

Dialogue

I find the most effective dialogue is that in which you can leave it without speech tags and your reader would still know who is talking. Everybody has different ways of talking that are as unique as their personalities.

Some people tend to use long sentences, some use complex words, some curse a lot. As someone who focuses on dialogue a lot, it would probably make a huge improvement if you consciously think of a few of these speaking habits before writing out the scene. You have the ability to write some amazing dialogue, you just need to iron out a few creases in the fabric.

Characters

I love these characters! I can't quite put my finger on it, but it's like seeing people who have grown up together interact. There is a casual atmosphere between them. Some characters are really annoying and I would hate to meet them in real life, but these are the kind that I could be stuck in an elevator with for hours and never tire of them!
They're all unique in their own way and all likable, and making likable characters is a skill that some people never get the hang of.
I also like the little quirks, like the rubix cube and the casual age jokes. They add a lot of spice to the text.

Overall

There is something brilliant lurking in here, I know there is. I can see little glimpses of an amazing writer in between the lines. You have a way to go and a few comfort zones to cross, but you're well on your way- especially since you already seem to have the commitment and discipline to see your project through.

I expect to see some awesome things from you in the future, so keep up the hard work.




Ventomology says...


Thank you so much! I'll definitely take this speech differentiation thing to a higher level on my next piece. Of course, having characters of different social standings probably helps...
Thanks again!



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Fri Nov 29, 2013 6:40 am
Deanie wrote a review...



Allo! Me again as usual :)

What a lovely beginning to the chapter! You did exquisitely well with Yvette's explanation of what happened to her and why they're all after the quantum device, and you put in a few character traits as well for Lillian and Dieter. Especially when Lillian told Yvette to simplify the story. I think you did a good job of explaining things, but there were still a few questions I felt went unanswered. Why did Yvette switch sides? And if the quantum device is in a person, as they are assuming it is, how do they extract it? If it's in a extremely painful manner, or requires the person carrying it to die, I can understand why Yvette would switch sides. But I thoroughly enjoyed reading this beginning to the chapter. It was like an extract to a published book.

and thought his glasses were still on


A small nitpick here, it should be though instead.

It had that sterile feel that he got from reading science fiction novels about human experiments.


My only problem with this is that once before someone during Yvette's explanation says this seems like an extract (or something like it) from a science fiction novel. And then you repeat it again. I mean, I get that this is a sci-fi novel and it's kind of ironic that they're saying it, but it was clever the first time. This time I wanted something different than the same old explanation. So perhaps it was a sterile as a hospital room? Or something else like that? It just sounds a bit better. I'm being picky here, but when you've got good chapters I need to be picky otherwise I have no feedback!

Theo said, waving backwards while the alien tried to pull himself free from the cement wall.


The fight between Theo and Mr. Wills was interesting. I liked how during the fighting he was calculating and teasing the alien. The action was good, although again, I would put in a lot more short sentences. You don't get too much action in this story because it's more sci-fi than adventure or something, but when you do, don't be afraid to really play the part. Here's me putting in more short sentences.

“Only several centuries. I’m in my prime, little boy.” The man hunched over and ran for Theo. He looked ready to lift him over a shoulder and possibly drop him on his head.

Theo wished there was more room in the lab. He had to keep going in circles. Mr. Wills always defended the side closest to the door. There was absolutely no way he could take a six-foot-something tall man out in a shoving match, so what could he do?

Small changes, but as you read it, it could make a difference. Now, referring to the last quote up there, which I got a bit sidetracked from, I was supposed to say, where on earth did the cement walls come from?! They were never mentioned before! If you mention them before, along with the wires and everything, it gives the reader a better view of where they are and what Theo's options during the fight are. If the cement walls appear during their fight, then it seems like you've just suddenly decided there are cement walls so Theo can use them to his advantage.

Another good chapter, and I think one of your best yet! Looking forwards to more. Let me know when it's there on my wall or something :)

Deanie x




Ventomology says...


Thanks so much for reviewing me all the time! (Sometimes I can't believe the mistakes I make, so I'm glad I have someone who notices them!) I'll go back in and fix the things you pointed out.
Thanks again!




It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and THEN do your best.
— W. Edwards Deming