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The Quantum Mind: Chapter 17

by Ventomology

Only fifteen minutes into their plotting, Theo had barged in and interrupted. Carrie was mildly irked that she didn’t get to steal all the glory, but at least she was free.

“Someone hold the door open while I look,” Theo commanded, stretching forward to see through the glass.

Carrie willingly obliged. Yvette, however was less keen on him seeing it. “You don’t want to," she said.

“Well why not?” Theo sounded on the verge of yelling.

“Do you want Mrs. Johns to know you’re here? She already knows we’ve been hiding in a corner of the room that she can’t see, brainstorming ways to escape. Do you want her to suspect we’ve left, or that you’re here with us?”


“I’m glad you understand,” Yvette said coldly, “Now let’s move.”

Carrie waited for Theo and Yvette to stop arguing, and for everyone to leave before closing the door and taking in the new room. It was still white, and Yvette was already giddy over some funky contraption in the middle of the room. Carrie figured she’d be at least slightly helpful if she stood guard while their alien friend used the machine.

She peeked out the well-dented door to see Mr. Wills pull his gigantic frame free of a wall. Theo had certainly done a number on him. But he recovered just as quickly as Yvette had from the torture. The man shook cement remnants from his shoulders and turned to see Carrie pull the door shut, panting.

“What’s wrong?” Dieter asked, solving the last part of his rubix cube.

“Mr. Wills is coming.”

The door flew inward, sending Carrie skittering across the floor. Dieter was closest to the door, and Mr. Wills’s bony old hands shot out for his neck.

Yvette’s maniacal typing froze. Theo looked up.

“Hook Theodore up to the machine or this one dies,” Mr. Wills threatened. He looked almost comical, holding the itty bitty Dieter in a headlock, but Carrie knew he wasn’t joking. Glancing uncertainly at Yvette, she wished Dieter would suddenly get super buff and free himself. But what was the likelihood of that? Theo was useless as a steroid dispenser without the internet.

Lillian glanced Yvette, same as Carrie, but she was at least in a fighting stance. Doug stood dumbfounded in the far corner of the room.

“Sir, we-”

Theo cut Yvette off. “Do it,” he said with equal force.

“What? But Theo, they’re going to kill-”

“Anything to stop them from killing my friends! Besides, this’ll get Noel out, right?”

“Yes, but-”

“Hurry up!” Mr. Wills bellowed.

Yvette hurriedly tapped out a sequence, and the machine spluttered to jacob’s ladder-esque life. It sprang open, shooting silvery rods and robotic arms out its backside. A cloth stretched itself over two parallel rods, and the robotic arms pulled yet more machinery from the bottomless pit inside the machine.

“Lie down,” Yvette yelled over the whirring.

Theo did so willingly, concern growing on his face. Yvette kept on tapping.

Carrie wondered what else the machine did, and it was out of her mouth before she could even stop herself.

“Why,” Mr. Wills said, smirking, “It does everything we need it to.”

That was it. “So,” Carrie began, hiding her confidence, “You guys use it to talk to your higher-ups, right?”

Mr. Wills narrowed his eyes and hugged Dieter’s neck tighter. “Shut up, girl, or I’ll kill this one and grab you next.”

Carrie shut up, but she looked hopefully at Yvette.

Within the tangle of metal, Theo lay silently, completely accepting of his fate. Man, what an idiot.

She pushed herself from the floor, sending Mr. Wills a look that said “just try it.” She wandered slowly to Yvette and peered over the alien’s shoulder to see what she was looking at. It was all mumbo jumbo, and Yvette wasn’t muttering in English. That was for sure.

Leaning backwards, she met Lillian’s gaze. They nodded at each other, and Lillian began talking instead.

“So Mr. Wills,” she said, “I know this sounds totally crazy and stupid, but does that machine read the mind of whoever is being… examined?”

“Of course it can.”

Under Carrie’s chin, Yvette straightened. She tapped a little slower before shaking her head and frowning.

Whatever Theo had been thinking wasn’t the right thing. Carrie tried to remember how Noel had explained everything. She glanced back at Lillian and shook her head slightly, hoping to get the message across.

Lillian patted her arm frantically.

That was it! Carrie shot a hand into the web of machinery, grabbed Theo's arm, and thought the same thing over and over again. Hack it, hack it, hack it, hack it, hack it.

Suddenly, Yvette inhaled and stiffened. Her typing quickened again.

“What have you found?” Mr. Wills asked. His grip loosened; the machine must have blocked his view of what Carrie was doing.

“The numbers aren’t quite what I thought,” Yvette droned. Man, she was a great liar.

Everything silenced at once. Yvette looked up. “Sir,” she said, “Theo has fewer quantum particles than Noel did.” A printer buzzed to life on Yvette’s side of the machine and she bent down to retrieve the paper.

“Yvette, what are you saying?” Carrie whispered, grabbing the alien’s shoulder.

“It’s true though. Theo will be let go with the rest of you. Leave Noel to me.”

Violently, the machine tossed Theo from its cot and retracted into a column. Yvette handed the numbers to Mr. Wills, who true to his word, let Dieter go. The man looked over them and chuckled. “You all are free to go. I assure you that if word gets out my superiors will dispose of you, so don’t say anything. Yvette, I assume you’ll be staying to help with the extraction."

“Yes sir.”

Is this a review?



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304 Reviews

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Reviews: 304

Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:19 am
barefootrunner wrote a review...

It's me once more! I'll be returning just a few more times :D

Spelling and grammar

Yvette, however was less keen on him seeing it. “You don’t want to, she said.”

Quotation marks in the wrong place!

The door flung inward, sending Carrie skittering across the floor.

Either the door was flung inward, or the door flew inward, as fling is a transitive verb.

“Lay down,” Yvette yelled over the whirring.

Lie down.


I'm not getting some of this.
Under Carrie’s chin, Yvette straightened. She tapped a little slower before shaking her head and frowning.

Whatever Theo had been thinking wasn’t the right thing. Carrie tried to remember how Noel had explained everything. She glanced back at Lillian and shook her head slightly, hoping to get the message across.

“Physical contact maybe?” Lillian mouthed.

That was it! Carrie shot a hand into the web of machinery and thought the same thing over and over again. Hack it, hack it, hack it, hack it, hack it.

This part is confusing me completely. I have no idea what they are doing. How can they communicate (and with whom?) without wireless access? Who has to hack? And how does Mr. Wills not notice anything of what they're doing? He should be watching them like a hawk!

Also, letting them go would be too much of a risk for such ruthless aliens—why didn't he kill them? Simple, clean and less risky. If you want him to let them go, you could have him pace the floor, relating the pros and cons of each option and finally picking letting them go as it would raise less suspicion, perhaps.

Keep writing! I can't wait to get to the bottom of this!


Ventomology says...

Oh... Um... Lots of mistakes here, I see! The bit about not killing them is weird depending on how you look at it. I always figured it would be easier for them to cover up only one missing person rather than six (possibly seven) As for the part you said was confusing... I forgot to mention that she grabs Theo's arm! It's in there now, so it should make more sense now. (Remember how the quantum device was first transmitted?)
I see you've finished the story, so onto the last chapter!

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Points: 2966
Reviews: 142

Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:41 pm
Bugslake wrote a review...

I have kept reading as I said I would. I am very happy with this chapter, you just keep developing your characters in amazing ways. This is really good and I can see that we are getting close to the end, but every story has an ending I guess.

You are such a good writer that I really didn't see anything wrong with it, great job. Just keep writing this novel, I want to see how it ends.

Ventomology says...

Well, there'll only be one or two more chapters. I'm having troubles tying everything back together, so it could be a while. But I promise I'll finish!
Thanks for reading!

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Reviews: 1634

Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:59 am
Deanie wrote a review...

Hey again! More to read.

I liked this chapter. It's pretty clear that Noel is in trouble, and I wonder how they'll manage saving her as well. I didn't see any technical details in there. But what I would like you to do is make it very clear what's happening. I'm not entirely sure what the machine does still, because when Carrie asks Mr Wills cuts her off. If you did take the time to explain this, the reader will be a lot more sure of what's happening.

I think Yvette typed numbers into the system that would read Theo's mind and then Theo thought of having low quantum particles, which the machine caught up on. And when that was printed so that they were all freed. I think it's a good idea, and I could understand how Mr Wills would fall for it. But doesn't he know better than to trust Yvette for the time being?

My next problem was: would Mr Wills really just let all those eye witnesses go? I'm sure he would keep Yvette to have at least one person to threaten if things didn't work out as planned with Noel. And if I were Mr Wills, I would still keep those eyes witnesses around because they could tell and well, they know too much. I think no villain would let them lose.

But you've kept the suspense there! I'm looking forwards to knowing what's going to happen with Noel and what Mr Wills reaction will be once they discover she is not who/what they want. Will the friends be able to save her?

Don't forget to keep all your characters in mind. I know you have main characters, but until now I had forgotten that Doug was even there because you hadn't even mentioned him before. It's good that you brought them all into focus in this chapter, but be wary of them in other chapters too.

Let me know when there is more!

Deanie x

Ventomology says...

Since there will only be one or two more chapters, I've been re-writing it over and over again to make sure it's epic AND ties up all the loose ends. It may be a while before the last bits come out.
Most of your comments will actually have explanations. But sorry to leave so many things on the queer side!
Thanks as always for reviewing!

Deanie says...

Glad to hear your working on it! And I don't mind waiting. As long as the story's the best it can be! :D No problem ;)

Just because you don't feel like a hero in your own story, doesn't mean you're not a hero in someone else's.
— Tenyo