Deep Euphoria

Mitchel double checks the air mixture filling his SCUBA tanks. His diving partner worriedly looks on as Mitchel’s behavior grows increasingly erratic. For years, he’s been watching Mitchel become increasingly addicted to diving deeper for longer; becoming increasingly addicted to nitrogen narcosis.

He thinks back to the dive a week ago where Mitchel dove 20 feet deeper than him and wouldn’t come back up no matter how much he pleaded with him. Mitchel eventually stopped responding, so he dove down, retrieved him and slowly brought him to the surface. He thought for sure that scare would convince Mitchel of his increasingly dangerous challenge of the grim reaper.

“You okay, Nick?” Mitchel says to his diving partner who is lost in thought.

“Not really Mitch. You know the only reason I’m on this boat with you is because I think you’re going to kill yourself out here without me.”

“You take life to serious, Nick! If there’s one thing these waters have taught me…” Mitchel pauses as he looks off into the distance.

Nick seizes the moment, “That you should hang up your fins and tanks for a bit. Maybe get the help you need to deal with whatever you’re dealing with?”

Mitchel laughs, “Nick, I think today is the day. I’ve seen this exact day. This exact horizon. I’ve felt this exact moment before.”

“What do you mean, Mitch? The day for what?” Nick asks out of concern.

“I didn’t think it would ever happen, Nick. But I’m telling you that today is the day they’ve been telling me about. I have to tell you something important, Nick.”

“What’s that, my friend?”

Mitchel walks up to Nick and stares deep into his eyes. “Don’t trust Lucy. It’s all in the letters. Just remember that it’s all in the letters.”

Nick is confused, “That girl from college? What letters, Mitch? You know, it’s shit like this that makes it clear you need help, man. Let’s sit this one out.”

Mitchel turns away and gets back to prepping for the dive.

Nick thinks back to all the conversations with Mitchell over the years about the visitors he receives when he’s on a deep dive. Over the last several months, they’ve been visiting him in his sleep and just a few weeks ago, Mitchel confided that they were visiting him while he was awake and watching television.

Nick had been pressing Mitchel to seek psychiatric help, but Mitchel kept telling him that the visitors were warning him not to see a psychiatrist. “No drugs. No alcohol. Nothing that will make you suggestible by them,” Mitchel would always tell him. “Them” was some hidden group of super evolved humans with tremendous knowledge and advanced abilities to manipulate the minds of certain humans. Mitchel told Nick he had a theory that he was part of their lost tribe and that they make attempts to communicate with people to determine if they are worthy of joining their hidden group.

Mitchel would tell Nick that the group provided him with insights and hints on important work he needed to perform, but they couldn’t provide him with the answers. Mitchel needed to figure that out on his own. Presumably to determine if he was worthy of being part of the group.

In one heated conversation, Nick pressed Mitchel for what those actual insights were; what advanced knowledge these visitors were providing him. “I can’t let you know that kind of stuff, Nick. It’s against the rules.” Mitchel told him.

Nick could only think of one response: “Bullshit, Mitch”

As the boat drifts on the open water, the sun makes its way passed the shadow of the cockpit and warms Nick’s face as he’s lost in thoughts about his past diving adventures with Mitchel. He closes his eyes and smiles as a small tear clings to the corner of his left eye.

Mitchel tosses his fins at Nick’s feet. “C’mon, man! You’re dragging like an anchor in sand. Let’s get diving!”

As Mitchel impatiently waits for Nick to finish suiting up, the boat captain comes over to Nick and leans in to speak quietly as for Mitchel not to hear, “I love you guys, but I think Mitch has lost it, man. Don’t do this.”

Nick stares the captain in the eyes, “You know I’ve got my buddy. We’ve been doing this for years. The two diveteers.” He smiles uneasily.

The two jump off the edge of the boat into the deep.

#

“We’re coming up! Captain, Mitch is out! He’s not responding. Do you copy? Pull the line! I’m coming up as fast as possible” Nick frantically calls to the boat captain over their radio connection.

The captain scrambles into action. He triggers the line pulley that helps aide their ascent and calls to the Coast Guard. Mitch is air lifted to a decompression treatment center and remains unresponsive. Nick places calls to Mitchel’s family members. There’s little surprise and mostly disappointment from the family members as Mitchel had become estranged from them over the years of his increased addiction to nitrogen narcosis.

Eventually, Mitchel is moved into a hospital room where he lies in a coma. Nick is sitting alongside his bed, waiting for the doctor to visit. She enters the room and closes the door.

“You must be Nick?”

Nick stands up and shakes her hand. “Nice to meet you,” he pauses as he looks at her name tag, “Doctor Bennet.”

“I understand you’re the closest thing Mitchel has to family?”

“Yes, Doctor Bennet.”

“Please, call me Lucy.”

Project Hyacia

Thomas’s hand trembles as he lifts it from his keyboard and points at the text on his screen. “Read that, Janice.” His voice trembles as he slowly stands up to let Janice sit at the computer. He walks over to the door of the panic room he installed in his basement with his arms folded tightly across his chest.

If you are reading this message, I must first warn you that you are in immanent grave danger. The upside is that you are in control of your fate as at least seven of you I know have taken action as an outcome of receiving this message. Those seven and I shall remain nameless. Your locations and time periods shall also remain undocumented as are mine.

With that out of the way, here is what I have discovered that is of the utmost importance to the past and future of humanity and beyond. I discovered a method by which I can receive data from the future. The third message I received from the future was the schematics by which I can transmit data into the past. And I am not the only one to have decoded these messages.

The schematics by which you too can transmit data into the past, I have already sent. Despite knowing that none of you who read this decode the message and build the system to transmit data, not even the seven, I transmitted the data anyway. I remain hopeful, as I cannot truly know everything.

I relate to you now, what I do truly know. My first course of action to alter the past was abundantly clear to me, ensure Adolf Hitler does not rise to power. This single event ripples throughout human history with deleterious effects long into the future. I apologize for the vagueness, but I must not provide details that would lead to harm of me or any of the seven.

I input into my system a process that would ensure that Adolf Hitler was not able to enlist in the Bavarian army in World War I. I had calculated that absent his war experience in the first World War he would not have been involved in the Second World War, and the European continent, medical technology, and space travel would forever benefit.

As you are aware, there was a clerical error that permitted Adolf Hitler to enter the Bavarian Army. I figured my first attempt at a major change to the history timeline could meet challenges, so I decided to make another attempt. Shortly after my first attempt, strange and unusual occurrences began to take place in the city I lived. We encountered unprecedented plagues of famine, violence, and disease. I thought this too coincidental, particularly when I traveled, the epicenter of the pandemic would follow shortly thereafter.

#

As Janice reads the text on the screen, her eyes widen and her jaw begins to slowly drop. “This is unbelievable, Thomas! This is exactly what we’ve been looking for!”

“Keep reading,” Thomas says, not even turning around.

As the plague spread rapidly, it was not long before I realized that my time may very well be limited. I had received no more messages from the future, so I took it upon myself to do the only thing I felt in my heart that I must do. Kill Adolf Hitler during World War I. I transmitted data back to effect the Battle of Somme, and again my plans were narrowly thwarted with Adolf Hitler being injured rather than killed. I made other efforts than these two, but divulging them would risk uncovering my identity.

There are theories of multiple timelines or even infinite timelines. What I have witnessed is that there is only a single timeline and a concept I call infinite probable timelines. I have been able to alter outcomes of the past in some cases with my data transmissions, but in most cases when I predicted my data should produce a new outcome, it has not.

I attempted to alter another major but less complex historic event: stop the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. This is when I came to realize that someone much more intelligent and resourceful than me had this same technology for sending data back in time with a greater level of accuracy and efficacy. I decided to focus my efforts on uncovering who these other players were in this game of history and how it was that they were always ahead of me. This, I thought, was my true calling in having received this technology from the future. This is also where I discovered an unbelievable truth!

It appears that multiple parties were involved with a plot to send data back in time to assassinate JFK. The ultimate winner in the probable timeline was the precursor to the Government Office of Intelligence Management, the CIA. They send data back in time to help fake the JFK assassination. This brilliant maneuver signals to the other parties that the then United States of America is well positioned in the future.

But the consequences are devastating. The other parties infiltrate the CIA at the highest levels and set off a series of attempts at manipulating world history that even predate the formation of their predecessor, the OSS! The infiltrators purposefully arranged the outcome of the Second World War, with Russia decapitating the Nazis and nearly capturing all the scientists and scientific knowledge, if not for the brilliant maneuvering of William Donovan, who is a virtual receptor of data transmission.

There are special humans capable of receiving direct data feeds from the future or the past. Thankfully, Donovan is one of them. His undying loyablty to God and country is instrumental to the salvation of Earth.

I discover at least four other entities from the future attempted to manipulate our history in the 1963 (which I already mentioned), 1981, 2001, 2023, and 2053. There may have been others, but I have not been able to find evidence. None of them were successful in their attempts to alter the timeline, and the CIA was always just steps ahead each time with their orchestration of events.

#

“This is not what I was expecting!” She smiles as she turns to look at Thomas again, who is still facing the door.

“You must read the whole thing, Janice.” Thomas says with morbidity in his voice.

The infiltrators reach new heights of injustice, corruption, manipulation, and cruelty. They create numerous projects within the CIA that are cruel and disturbing at best. The eventual unveiling of the infiltrated CIA as the orchestrator of a fake multi-national power struggle in our future greatly harms the agency. Calls for its dismantling reach insurmountable levels. It’s disbanded, and the technology for timeline data transmission is forever in jeopardy and darks times are upon us! The CIA needs your help in the present day!

You have the opportunity to save the CIA from this probable timeline where the infiltrated CIA becomes increasingly destructive and fractured. The result is the near complete annihilation of humanity through famine, disease, and violence.

Knowing this future, someone transmits data that ultimately leads to an action in your near future that forever changes the outcome of humanity and our planet. The majority of humanity is wiped out (this method I cannot tell as to protect the identify of the entity that makes this unfold). What remains of humanity builds well organized governments free of corruption, manipulation, and injustice. A technological revolution catapults humanity and AI into the future and into the stars. One of the outcomes of the technology is transmitting this data.

It’s imperative this timeline unfolds. It will likely cost you your life in this realm, but what the future holds, and what I can promise you is that you will have life after death. You will help usher in a technology that transforms mankind and our universe for an everlasting good!

With that bright future at hand, I must inform you of grave news. This technology has been compromised. My outcome along with yours is unquestionably grim. I am sending this as my final transmission before neutralizing my system, and I plead with you to know that your certain death is not in vain. Every action you have taken and all actions you are about to take ensure the outcome I have described will indeed happen. For most of you, your death is instrumental to the future of humanity.

Janice turns in the chair to face Thomas. “This doesn’t have to happen this way, Thomas. Isn’t that the whole point of the AIex finding this information? He’s giving us an opportunity to change our timeline!” Janice practically has the sound of pleading in her voice.

“You really think that’s a real message from the future? The CIA is some benevolent agency that’s under attack from within?” Thomas shouts. “We’re dead, Janice! We’re not going to outsmart these people! If that message is from the future, the people we’re up against are literally hundreds of years ahead of us! If it’s not from the future, and I’m saying it’s not, they have technology far more advanced than even the AIex!”

#

Thomas pulls up the next file he received from AIex. He plays Janice a voice recording of two men discussing plans to abduct Janice when she arrives in New Orleans. Janice is shocked listening to the two men discuss the details of when and where she’s going to be abducted.

Janice has a looks of skepticism on her face, and Thomas asks, “You don’t think this is AIex?”

“I think someone on the inside who wants to help us figured out about AIex and figured they can use AIex as a cover for getting this kind of information out.”

Thomas rubs his chin while keeping his arms folded across his chest. “Or maybe it’s someone trying to entrap us. That seems more likely to me.”

“I’m not so sure. I think someone on the inside is giving us data about the infiltration in the CIA.”

“Why not just send it to a bunch of reporters then?” Thomas says as he remains doubtful of Janice’s theory.

“The majority of the reporters work for or are directly influenced by the CIA, and how do we know which ones are in the pockets of the infiltrators and which ones are on our side? AIex sent me a list of reporters who were safe. You’re on the list with maybe 20 others around the entire world.” Janice pulls up the list of reporters on her phone. “You ever work with John Stossen?”

“I haven’t worked with him directly, but we’ve corresponded. He’s one of the best independent investigative reporters in the industry.”

“You know how to get a hold of him securely?”

Thomas turns to his computer and pulls open an application and starts typing a message to John. As he’s typing to John, a message shows in his chat thread with John: DNC24!

Thomas pauses and sits back from his computer. “Got anyone else on that list you want me to contact?” he says with a grim look on his face.

Janice stares at his screen in disbelief as another message arrives from another one of Thomas’ contacts that matches someone on her list: NC72!

“You think your list has been compromised?” Thomas gestures to Janice’s phone.

There’s a sudden and loud thud, and Thomas and Janice feel the house shake as if it has just been struck by a bus.

“I wouldn’t take New Orleans as a place for earthquakes, Thomas.”

Thomas pulls up his security camera footage.

“Nothing out of the ordinary. And for some reason that seems out of the ordinary.” Thomas says as he looks closely at each of the camera streams. “I’ve got military grade encryption from the camera to my receiver right here. You can’t fake the signal. At least not with any technology I know of.”

Janice stands up and places her hand on Thomas’ shoulder. “You have a backdoor out of this place?”

“Of course. A tunnel that leads to the sewer system.”

“Is that backdoor monitored too?”

Thomas pauses as he takes a closer look at the video from the tunnel camera. “Let’s head out the front, Janice.” He lifts the cover over a red button and enters a code on a keypad. “Now!”

“What’s wrong?” Janice asks as they quickly exit the safe room.

“That tunnel was flooded during the last hurricane.” He says, leading the way up to the his living room. “I installed a device that turns on and off a light in the tunnel in a pattern that matches an algorithm linked to my neural implant. The lights weren’t flashing in that sequence.”

#

Both Janice and Thomas are startled as the doorbell to Thomas’ house rings. Thomas looks at his security camera video feed he has through the eye hole in his front door and sees a couple of Girl Scouts standing on the porch.

“Even if that’s a trap, I’d rather be killed by Thin Mint cookies than whatever is coming through that basement!” Thomas says with a smirk as he opens the door.

“Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?” they hear in stereo.

“Sure! Uh…” Thomas knows that his house is set to burn down in the next 60 seconds, so he hurries the girls off the porch. “We were just leaving, but we can buy some and eat them on the way.” Thomas continues as he shepherds everyone off the porch and down the walkway.

As they make their way to the end of the walkway outside Thomas’ house, the van with the Girl Scout cookies opens. Sitting inside, surrounded by Girl Scout cookie boxes is a young man wearing strange looking goggles. “The two,” He starts before pausing briefly as if he’s trying to recite lines in a play he’s learning. “All four of you need to come with me right now.”

The Royal Wedding

BASED ON A TRUE STORY

No greater vows had ever been spoken before this day. Some say no greater vows will ever be spoken. Vows so great, this writing dare not contain them! The vows just witnessed by hundreds from all walks of life are so powerful, so moving; of such divine inspiration, that as Moses completes his vows a single tear drops from his left eye! As he gazes upon the face of his soon to be wife, tears stream down her face as she has never heard such beautiful words, nay… poetry, nay… music, in her entire life as princess.

But it’s Moses’ single tear that moves her to break down sobbing. This rugged man, a true man’s man, endowed as much in spirit as physical prowess and mental acuity, has shown her why she fell in love with him in the first place. Not only has she chosen the most handsome, courageous man she has ever known, he’s a poetic master and genuine gentleman. She has chosen wisely! She gathers her composure as she looks longingly into his magnetic eyes; His own strength being so powerful that he elevates her in spirit to begin her vows.

“Moses,” she begins, “from the first time I saw you, I knew this was true love.” Moses smiles, and her heart briefly stops. A smile that inspires all who gaze upon it to enjoy their own lives that much more. A smile that lifts up all who gaze upon it to a higher plane of existence. A smile that she remembers from that fateful day she first gazed upon her now to be husband.

She continues, “I believe it was shortly after our special forces had made their way through your surrounding defense line. While you had directed your men and orchestrated a masterful siege insurgency of this beautiful city, we thought for sure that our special forces had the upper hand against you. It was our two finest remaining special forces against one, with no immediate escape available to you.”

She looks down and wipes the tears from her eyes before continuing. “I have never seen such beautiful sword wielding in my entire life. Watching our two finest warriors attempt an assault on you was like watching my young nephew swing his club wildly in training. It was as if, for a moment, all of time stood still except you. You carved through our two finest warriors like a banquet feast. The way you danced effortlessly around both of our soon fallen…”

She pauses to catch her breath. “Much like the breath was taken from my cousins that day, I am left breathless just looking upon you. As I watched you from on high, atop this fortress wall, your sword and armor glistening with the blood of my fallen cousins, I knew this was a special moment. I had never seen anything of such beauty.”

She looks over at each of the men standing with Moses in the bridegroom’s party. “I knew at that moment as I stared down at you and Nun, who arrived just as you finished off the last of our special forces…” She looks back to Moses, “I knew that I must give myself to you. I knew that I must become your wife. For what would be my life, if it is not to be honored for eternity as your wife? I turned to my father and asked him to please call off the next wave of soldiers so that our peoples can make peace and you and I may join ourselves together as one, witnessed by both our great nations.”

While seemingly impossible, Moses smiles an even bigger, more radiant smile than ever before. It is said that some where blinded for this brief moment and the glean was seen throughout the whole land of Cush. The princess continues, “I know that at times I have not always seen eye to eye with your brother and sister.” She turns to face Moses’ sister standing behind her as her bridesmaid, “But I promise to always love and support you and your family.”

Turning to all the witnesses, “I promise on my father’s name that you will always be the lord of my heart and the guardian of my soul. Just as I admired you from my tower on high, my heart is solely devoted to you and only you for all eternity!”

Cheering erupts from the princess’ side of the wedding witnesses. The priest completes the ceremony, and Moses and his princess walk down the aisle to cheers from both sides and mandrake flowers being thrown at them from every direction.

#

The reception is a boisterous, jovial event. A wedding reception unlike any seen before! Moses and Tharbis make their way from family to family, receiving praise for their matrimony and thanking their family members who attended from all the lands, near and far. Moses’ relatives trekked from lands so far, they were not even on maps of the day.

Moses embraces his uncle Izhar who is enthusiastic to introduce him to his newborn son, Nepheg. Holding Nepheg in his arms, Izhar hands him over the Moses. “Say hello to your cousin, Moses.”

“He is to become a handsome young man, my dear uncle.” Moses smiles as he embraces his newborn cousin. “Where is Korah?”

Izhar calls to Korah who comes running over to Moses and reaches as high as he can to give Moses a big hug around his waist. “Cousin, Moses, when I grow up, I want to be just like you and conquer the great nations and lead our people and marry a beautiful princes.”

“Now, Korah, let the new bridegroom have his space and allow him to continue on to meeting with other families,” Izhar says as he pulls Korah away from Moses.

Moses gently hands Nepheg back to Izhar and kneels down to eye level with young Korah. He holds Korah’s head in his hands as if Korah is his own son. Speaking to him, he says lovingly yet firmly, “My dear cousin, I am thankful that you look up to me, and I admire your enthusiasm. But you must promise me that you will follow after your father. Learn all the ways of his many successful businesses. My life is not the life for you. Promise me that you will follow after your father and not chose my path.”

Korah looks down, dejected.

Moses gently lifts his cousins chin, “Korah, I love you dearly. I love your father dearly. Promise me you will follow after your father.”

Korah smiles, “I love you too, Moses. I promise I’ll be the most successful businessman you’ll ever know.”

“Of that, I have no doubt, young man!” Moses says as he stands back up to face Izhar.

“Thank you, nephew. Thank you very much for helping set him straight.” Izhar says to Moses with a big smile.

“We are family for all generations, each with our lot. Shalom!” Moses cheers!

As if everyone attending had focused entirely on the words of Moses and the music had stopped so that everyone could hear, “Shalom!” shouted the party!

Onward to Hebron, then Shedur, then Zuar, Gideoni, Deuel, Enam, and the rest of the tribes and their descendants. Moses and Tharbis make their way through Tharbis’ family as well. The joy of each family is felt with every embrace.

Moses embraces his father who kisses him. “I wish she had sent a representative to see this day, father.” Moses says quietly in his father’s ear.

“Don’t be a child, Moses,” Amram says to Moses as he embraces him with all the love of a just and righteous father. “You know that is not possible. Enjoy this blessed day and pay no heed to what troubles your mind.” He steps back from Moses and gives him a stern look. “I saw you speaking with the piece of shih’et son of Jachin. I dare not mention his name, lest I am shih’et myself.”

“Yes, father, I was speaking with…” Moses starts.

“Don’t say it, son. Don’t mention the son of Jachin!”

Moses smiles and places his hands on both of Amram’s shoulders, “I love you father. I will honor your wishes, but you must allow me to honor Jachin and his sons.”

Amram nods and sends Moses off to visit with the rest of the attendees of his wedding. It is as if all the nations of earth have gathered for this occasion. The festivities continue through the night and to dawn. A celebration of unity unlike any seen before.

#

As the sun begins to rise, Moses and an exhausted Tharbis stand at the top of the same tower where she had fallen deeply in love with Moses. They look longingly into each others’ eyes and are about to kiss just as there’s a commotion.

“Moses! Moses!” a messenger shouts from the base of the tower.

“What is it, young man?”

“Moses, you are needed immediately. We have received unnerving word from home! Please come immediately!”

Moses kisses Tharbis and holds her face with his palms, “My beautiful bride, I assure you that I will return in one degree of a sundial.”

Moses makes his way down the tower steps and sees a great commotion with his top advisers waiting for him. “What is this commotion?” Moses demands.

“Sir, several upper towns have been seized by a growing band of marauders and two messengers have confirmed marauders speaking Qis is next, within the new moon.”

Moses pauses for a moment as all his advisers hinge on his words… “Let Tzav send word to Seqenenre that I am returning from Cush. Call half the commanders to service immediately. The other half shall remain here to assist my wife and her family with whatever tasks her nation requires.”

The advisers head off, each knowing what they are to do. Moses holds back young Nun. “You are not to come with me, Nun.”

“These thieves are going after our homes!” Nun exclaims defiantly.

“And who are these thieves, my young friend? I know them well, but do you?” Moses replies. “Stay here with your wife and tend to my bride and the Cushite people. Setup the networks we have discussed. I will send you a messenger upon completion of my mission, Tsephon. This is not an adventure you can take part in, and you cannot convince me otherwise. I need your brains and your youthful energy here.”

The veins along Nun’s jaw bulge as he clenches his jaw, “I understand,” he growls.

“You are my most trusted adviser, Nun.” Moses smiles and lightly smacks Nun’s face, “As beloved to me as Aaron or Mariam.”

Moses returns to the tower to face Tharbis. His face turned down, Moses approaches his new bride who embraces him with all her love. She watches as Moses’ troops are assembling outside her fortress.

“I am truly sorry for the timing. I will return, my dear,” Moses says with tears welling in his eyes.

Tharbis hands Moses a gold ring matching a bracelet she is wearing. “I believe your God is calling you for your glorious destiny, my love. You will forever have my support and all of my love. My heart will be with you everywhere you journey.”

“This is a simple mission, my dear Tharbis. I will wipe out these marauders and return within a phase of the moon.” He hands her a rolled papyrus. “I have written you a poem that you mustn’t read until I have left your land. I am also leaving behind my most trusted adviser, Nun, along with half my men to help you and your nation rebuild.”

With those words, Moses kisses Tharbis and they embrace. “You must go, Moses,” Tharbis says as she pulls back from his loving embrace. He begins to walk away, holding her hand until his arm is outstretched still. As their fingertips slip passed each other the heavy sound of tens of thousands of soldiers marching begins to shake the walls of the tower.


Grandma’s Visit to the Beach

Sam puts the van in park as he looks at Martha and they both smile lovingly at each other. He looks over his shoulder at his grandmother, snoring loudly with her head drooping to her right side and a puddle of drool forming on her right shoulder. His eyes well with tears as he gently touches his grandmother’s knee to wake her.
“Grandma,” he says softly. “Grandma, we’re here.”
Martha opens her door and gets out to stretch. The final leg of their 4 day journey was a winding three hour drive through hairpin mountain turns to get to the California coastline. She closes her eyes and breathes in the fresh air, stretching her arms high into the air.
Sam opens the van door and steadies his grandmother’s head against his shoulder. She’s still snoring loudly, barely moving even as Sam struggles to pick her up and place her in the wheelchair.
They lockup the van, and Sam pushes his grandmother along the rocky parking lot until they reach the opening to the beach. None of them have ever been to the beach, and Sam instantly receives Beach 101 knowledge: wheelchairs don’t roll in sand!
“What are we going to do, Sam?” Martha asks her husband as he stands with his arms folded, pondering how he’s going to get his grandmother to the beach.
Sam hears his grandmother’s sweet, still small voice, “Are we there, Sam?”
“Yes, Grandma. We’re here. The beach is just over that sand dune.”
“Take me there, Sam. Please, take me to the water, so I can put my toes in the ocean.”
Sam gently picks up his grandmother, all 90 lbs of her, and carries her like a precious child up the sand dune. Mustering ox-like strength, he powers his way over the sand dune, cradling her securely and keeping a steady stance with each step with his beloved grandma.
His grandmother smiles as she feels the salty air on her face. “Please, let me put my feet in the water, Sam. That’s the last I’ll ever ask of you.”
Sam carries his grandmother over to the water. “It’s freezing, Grandma.”
“That’s okay, Sam. Just let me feel the water.”
Sam wades into the water until the small waves are crashing against his upper thighs. He adjusts his grandmother so that she can reach her feet down into the ocean water.
“Thank you, my dear, Sam. Thank you so much. That was all I needed.”
As Sam carries her back to the beach, she lifts herself up to his shoulder and whispers in his ear, “Grandpa said he loves you.”

The Transplant

The warmth of the sun was something Henry had become unfamiliar with over the course of his treatment for bone marrow cancer treatment. He had spent a year mostly confined to the hospital bed. Now, just months after a successful bone marrow transplant, he sits atop a rock on a mountain overlooking the Los Angeles Basin, enjoying the warmth of the sun on his face.

Henry’s daughter, Nancy, sits down next to him and embraces him with a hug that radiates more warmth than the sun on his face. “I miss mommy,” she says.

Tears stream down his face as he recalls how much his wife had courageously battled skin cancer just one year before his own battle. She had not been so fortunate. “I know, honey. I miss her too, but I know she’s in a better place,” Henry sobs.

As they walk back to Henry’s car, he pulls his keys from his jacket pocket and taps Nancy on the arm and displays the keys in his open palm. Nancy looks down at the keys and then up at her father with wide eyes, “Are you serious daddy?”

“I’m as serious a bone marrow cancer, sweetheart!” He smiles.

Nancy frowns and looks down, “That’s not funny, daddy.”

“I’m sorry, sweetheart. I know these last five years have been hard on you. I’m trying to find humor though. I know it was more scary for you than it was for me. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be 16, having just lost your mother and having a father with both feet in the grave. I’m well now.” He pauses as he lifts his daughters chin with his hand, “That’s something I’m dead serious about.”

Nancy cracks a smile as she takes the keys from her father’s hand, “You know how I know you’re feeling better, daddy?” She starts walking towards the driver’s side of the car.

“What’s that, sweetheart?”

She chuckles, “Because you’re back to telling lame dad jokes like,” she switches to a mocking voice, “That’s something I’m dead serious about”. You’re such a dork, and I love you so much. Wouldn’t it be ironic that you survive bone marrow cancer only to die from letting your daughter drive you down a mountain?” She gets in the car.

Henry runs up to the passenger door and opens it and jumps inside. “Okay, that’s not very funny!” He says as he closes the door and puts on his seat belt.

#

“Remember, I’m just a short drive away, sweetheart,” Henry says to Nancy as she awkwardly stands in front of her on-campus dorm building.

She smiles, “Yes, daddy. I already promised to visit you on each of the days you listed in your email.”

“You didn’t mark the email as SPAM did you?”

“Oh my God! Of course not, daddy! You are the most important thing in the whole world to me!” Nancy says as she throws her arms around him and hugs him tighter than she ever has. “I know it’s not going to be easy for you to be home all by yourself. You can call me or text me at any time if you need someone to talk with.” Henry smiles as he embraces his daughter one last time before he makes the short hour-long drive back to his house from her college.

As he’s pulling into the driveway of his house, he has a sudden and disturbing vision flash before his eyes. He’s startled out of the vision as his car hits his garage door. Henry sits in his car, trying to comprehend what just happened. He looks up at the front end of his car smashed a foot-and-a-half into his garage door and again sees the same vision of a leg of a woman on an operating table with all of the skin removed from the shin, exposing the bone which has the top layer of bone surgically removed. He can see the bone marrow inside of the bone and bloody tissue all around the bone as a medical assistant uses a bloodied cloth to soak up the blood that oozes from the tissue.

He shakes his head and puts his car in reverse to pull it away from the garage door. After inspecting his car and the garage, he goes into his house and calls doctor Rascher to report the unusual incident. At the end of the conversation, Henry’s doctor recommends a psychologist to Henry, and he sets up an appointment for two weeks later.

#

Henry anxiously taps his heel as he’s biting his fingernails, awaiting his first meeting with his psychologist. It’s been two weeks since his first horrific vision, and the visions are now daily occurrences and even more disturbing! He’s also noticed significant changes in his food preferences, music tastes, and has oddly become interested in military history programs on The History Channel. His psychologist welcomes him into her office and notices right away that Henry is not doing well.

His psychologist starts off, “Why don’t we start with some background of your circumstances. When we spoke on the phone a couple weeks ago, you had mentioned that your wife had died from skin cancer a year before you were diagnosed with bone marrow cancer. Let’s start there.”

Henry struggles to walk her through the experience and his memories. “I feel like I’m forgetting my wife. I feel like my brain is no longer mine. Something just doesn’t feel right ever since the bone marrow transplant!” He’s becoming increasingly agitated.

Calmly, she states, “Well, Henry, you have gone through one traumatic experience after another over the last five years. You’ve lost your wife. You’ve nearly lost your own life and orphaned your wonderful daughter. It’s understandable that this level of physical and mental stress might result in unusual behavior.”

“But I can’t get the images out of my head. There is a woman lying on the table, and I am operating on her shin bone. I can see her bone marrow!” Henry shouts!

His psychologist remains calm, “Henry, does this woman on the table remind you of your deceased wife?”

“No! I feel no love for her at all. I hate this woman on the table. I feel nothing but hatred towards her. I feel like I want to kill her!” Henry sits up aggressively on the psychologist’s sofa.

Still remaining calm, the psychologist continues, “It seems you might need some additional help that I might not be able to provide you with in a single session, Henry. It sounds to me that you want to check yourself into a facility of top American medical scientists that can monitor you and ensure that you are not going to hurt yourself or anyone else.”

Henry’s eyes turn from anger and rage to complete peace as he looks at the psychologist, “You mean I will be surrounded by esteemed professionals of the Unites States medical industry?”

“Yes, Henry. If you like. It is entirely voluntary at Raven’s Bridge.” She begins writing on a prescription pad. “You can leave whenever you like. If you like the place, you can stay there as long as you want. If you don’t like the place, you can come back here and see me. Perhaps we can find you another place that’s a better fit. But only if you like.”

Henry’s hands are shaking uncontrollably as he’s practically drooling on his fingernails he’s been biting incessantly the entire session. His psychologist places a paperclip on the prescription paper and hands it to him. He quickly snatches it out her hands as he walks out the door.

“I will call them to let them know you are coming, Henry.” She says as Henry hurries out the door.

#

Henry’s daughter is downtrodden as she leaves her father’s nursing home. His mental health has gotten worse over the last nine months, and this time he doesn’t want to speak with her during her visit that he cuts short. As Nancy exits the building, she bumps into a woman in her mid-40s with a stern face. “Mind where you’re going young lady,” the woman says with a harsh German accent.

“I’m terribly sorry, ma’am,” Nancy says as she looks up at the lady. “Are you okay?” she asks as she looks at the lady and has a sense that she’s seen her before.

“I am fine,” the lady snaps at Nancy. “Someone less agile than myself might not fair so well with your irresponsible behavior.”

“I am very sorry, ma’am,” Nancy says as she hurries off to her car.

Nancy sits in her car sobbing for nearly half-an-hour. She looks at pictures of her mom and dad on her phone. She runs through so many happy memories of both of them and anguishes over her father no longer wanting to meet with her. She reminiscences of all the wonderful experiences she had with her father. As she wipes tears from her eyes she sees the grumpy lady exit from the building with her father. They stand on the porch of the building talking with each other.

Henry stares at the grumpy lady who has been visiting him weekly for the last 3 months. The question is always the same…

“Have you discovered who you are?” the lady asks Henry in her thick German accent.

Having answered “I’m Henry” 12 times in a row, this time his answer is different. “They say my name is Henry, aber ich weiß… nicht…” he shakes his head and looks down.

The lady leans in and whispers, “Oskar?”

“Yes, ma’am! Yes! Oskar!” he exclaims as he lifts his head, eyes wide open with a wild look on his face.

“Control yourself, Oskar!” the lady quietly reprimands.

He leans into the lady, “Ich bin Oskar Schröder!” He whispers with excitement.

“Well, then Oskar. Go back in and ask for Mr. McCloy, and have him check out this Mr. Henry from this shithole. Meet me at the bottom of the stairs. Our mission is well underway.”

Oskar goes back into the building and comes back out with his suitcase 20 minutes later. He walks down the stairs and follows closely behind the lady. “Wie heißen Sie??” he asks. The lady does not respond as Oskar continues to tail her awkwardly as she has an unusual gait.

Oskar sees the two stout men at the end of the walkway. As he and the lady approach the men, they raise their right hands coyly. She responds with a lazy wave of her own right forearm; an unmistakable wave… an unmistakable gait… Oskar has goosebumps. “It couldn’t possibly be…” He mumbles to himself.

The lady stops and turns to Oskar. Folding her arms, she smirks; realizing Oskar has come to an important realization. She wags her eye brows once, waiting for Oskar to speak.

“Mein Furher?”

The Disclosure: The Weapons

Jan: One area your co-CEO, Richard Prophet has repeatedly said you refuse to get involved with is politics. Do you share that same sentiment?

Xavier: I believe that while it’s important for politics to stay out of science, it’s even more important for science to stay out of politics.

Dr. Mumgrep hands Xavier a phone, “Everything is in place to roll out the new PRIME algorithm.”

Xavier holds the phone and begins typing. He asks Dr. Mumgrep, “Did you demo this to Maggie?”

“Yes, Mag’s team is already on board!”

Xavier’s eyes widen as he looks at his pet project. As he types on the keyboard, it displays auto-suggest words that are favorable words for the presidential candidate that Maggie Ogner works for and negative words for her opponent. “Looks great, Mum!”

Richard bursts into Xavier’s office, “Ned, you gotta checkout what I just did with System Zero.” Richard looks at the phone in Xavier’s hand. “What’s that? You starting to use a phone now?”

“No.” Xavier hands the phone back to Dr. Mumgrep and walks out of his office with Richard. “Let’s see what you’ve got!”

Jan: Fair enough. Your space company has been investing heavily into speed of space travel and quantum entangled computers. What does the future of space travel hold for us?

Richard and Xavier are floating inside their orbiter module and enjoying the view of Earth as it is zooming by below them. Xavier turns to Richard and sees tears forming in his eyes.

“It truly is a beautiful view, isn’t it?” Xavier asks.

Richard looks down and furrows his brow. “Ned, have you bothered to see what the result of all of this becomes?”

Xavier looks confusingly at Richard and then smiles, “We’re going to have another existential discussion in space?”

“I know what you did with the SpaceNet satellites, Ned.”

Xavier gives Richard a guilty look and shrugs his shoulders. He starts to speak, but Richard interrupts him.

“I know pretty much everything that you’ve been pulling behind the scenes, Ned. I know about the super vaccine scam. I know about the asteroid mapping software theft. I know about the surveillance in the satellites with free Internet access that you’re using to feed information into the Earth 2.0 Accelerated simulation algorithm. I know about the AI scams and how you’ve been faking quantum entangled computers.”

“Just…” Xavier tries to interject, but Richard won’t let him.

“I know about the political scams with Earth 2.0! I know about what you’ve done with System Zero. I know about all the money that’s been bilked from governments all over the world. What I don’t understand is why you’ve been so stupid. Despite the scams, you’ve done so much good for this world, and yet you’re too stupid to look in the mirror.” Richard pulls himself towards the other side of the orbit module and looks out the portal into space.

“If you’ve known all this, why have you gone along with it, Richard? If I’m such a bad guy, why don’t you give back that beach house and yacht?”

Richard laughs, “I have to question my own understanding of the universe when you are so moronic.”

Xavier realizes that Richard isn’t talking about all the scams he’s pulled off, “I’m not following, Rich.”

“You’re dead from cancer in 10 years, Ned. There’s a tumor in your brain that’s been dormant for years and will start growing in about three years. Within seven years, you’re a vegetable, and then you die.”

Richard locks eye contact with Xavier. “You’ve come up with so many great scams using the accelerated simulation features we built for Earth 2.0, but you didn’t even bother to look at what happens to yourself. You can destroy the entire planet and save humanity at the same time, but you are blind of your own mortality with your greed.”

Xavier breaks away from Richard’s gaze and looks out the portal behind Richard. He smiles. “Let’s get into cancer research, Rich! It will be a legitimate business, and there will be no scam.”

“My days are numbered. I had to bribe the examiner to give me medical clearance for this trip. This is my fourth printed liver that’s failed. I guess when it’s time, it’s time,” Richard reveals for Xavier.

Back at his lab, Xavier spends hour upon hour, day after day, plugged in to Earth 2.0. He runs through the accelerator again and again, working on a solution for his brain tumor. Even over the course of 400 years, there is no solution.

On the anniversary of Richard’s death, a disheveled Xavier thinks back to the last moment he had with Richard in the orbiter module. Suddenly, he hears that voice in his head again, “launch”.

His future suddenly becomes clear to him. He’ll launch himself into space and travel as close to the speed of light as possible in the nearby space void to reduce his aging. As hundreds of years go by on Earth, he will barely age. Certainly a solution for his brain cancer can eventually be found, and he’ll return to earth to be healed!

Xavier: The future of space travel is taking humanity to other worlds and other star systems. It will be up to future generations to define just how far we want to go.

Jan: Most scientists believe that we’re coming out of the grand solar minimum that ended the global warming concerns at the earlier part of this century. Yet, Xavier Labs is investing more money than ever before into cold climate machinery. With your great AI predictive systems that have made you trillions of dollars, is there something you’re holding back from the rest of us?

Xavier smiles as he reads the data returned from his latest acceleration simulation. The force exerted on the dummy to reach 7/10 the speed of light will be something his body can handle. The entangled communication system works well, but returning to Earth will be another issue he’ll have to handle 1,000 years later, and he doesn’t have a solution. Meanwhile, finding his spacecraft would be like finding a needle in a haystack.

He has his itinerary planned out. He’ll go into a hibernation state for 49 Earth years at a time and then wake up for approximately one Earth year to keep his body active and his mind updated with the latest information from the entangled computers he’s working on that will have data from Earth.

He plugs himself into Earth 2.0 and goes through his accelerator algorithm as usual, only this time at 30 years everything has deviated from each time before. Humanity has been virtually brought to an end due to biological and chemical war. What few humans remain are wiped out by famine, disease, and a handful of robots that have survived and determined humans are a threat to all existence!

Xavier examines the data over and over, running the accelerator with minor adjustments and major adjustments. The result is always the same: human annihilation that would make it impossible for him to return to earth or ever find a solution for his brain tumor! His accelerator simulation doesn’t have enough data on the colonies on Mars and the asteroid miners in order to determine if they survive, but it’s very unlikely. The humans who have left the solar system and Xavier are the only remaining human beings, and Xavier doesn’t have any viable means for getting back to Earth without an advanced human society!

He spends months figuring out the sources of the conflict and trying scenarios to avoid the annihilation through covert and overt political manipulation, but he cannot come up with a solution. It appears he’s doomed with certain nuclear annihilation or a brain tumor, but he’s not going to give up! He starts plugging himself into Earth 2.0 but falls asleep before he completes the task.

Xavier dreams he’s on the low earth orbiter with Richard on his last trip. Just as he wakes from his dream, Richard’s voice echos in his mind, “You can destroy the entire planet and save humanity at the same time…”

“That’s the solution!” Xavier jumps up. Infused with motivation, he programs in a new set of parameters into the accelerator simulation and plugs himself in. His plan executes: a massive asteroid (2D53) enters the earth’s atmosphere and splits into two pieces with a detonation charge he’s planted on the asteroid when he leaves Earth to go into hibernation. The smaller, piece impacts in the middle of the Caspian Sea. The larger piece impacts in the North Atlantic Ocean. The asteroids sends water and vaporized sea bed into the upper atmosphere. A small percentage of the SpaceNet satellites are destroyed but most remain.

Massive tsunamis wipe out the entire eastern seaboard of the United States, western Europe, North Africa, Eastern Central America, and Northern Brazil. Earthquakes are triggered all around the globe, and volcanoes erupt everywhere, spewing more ash over both hemispheres. Earth’s atmosphere bakes like an oven, and Xavier Labs provides sanctuary for tens of millions of survivors. He even plans an additional backup plan with a lab deep in the mountains of Antarctica.

Then a severe ice age rages and human civilizations above the 37th parallel north are completely wiped out with the exception of the 7 stations that Xavier has built for Xavier Labs’ asteroid mining operations. Habitable regions on Earth shift as the earth’s climate rapidly changes. Whoever can make the harrowing journey to the more hospitable lands are subjected to significant human conflict for the limited resources. Land wars wage between a China and India alliance vs. Oceania and the successor to the United States. China and India easily take Australia and New Zealand, respectively, after most of the western United States is hit with a plague Xavier Labs has released shortly before the arrival of the asteroid.

Still, humanity fairs much better than the prior annihilation the simulations have produced. The outposts built by Xavier Labs continue to thrive in scientific development, and the humans of Xavier Labs (lead by Fredrick Prophet) along with their growing robot contingent help repopulate and cultivate the planet over the next 300 years. They establish a new republic in the Americas with commands provided by Xavier’s political AI systems bringing peace to the southern nations who are battling each other for resources. Eventually, they negotiate peaceful and prosperous trade agreements with China and India.

The rate of cancer increases significantly as a byproduct of the asteroid collision and provides Xavier Labs with more test subjects for his group of robot surgeons to test complex brain surgery. There is no solution determined within the first 400 years, but the accelerator algorithm estimates that the robots will find a solution within 500 – 1000 years.

Xavier: We’re investing heavily into asteroid mining and are also working on landing on a comet to mine those as well. The cold weather provides us with the harsh environments we need to build the right equipment for those harsh conditions in space.

Jan: Speaking of your asteroid mining operations. Miller Industries has repeatedly said that your company has stolen their software. Government investigations proved nothing of the sort took place, but Miller has recently stated that you colluded with the government to cover up your illegal activities.

Xavier: I don’t have anything to say other than what has already been reported. The person responsible for the theft of their software was already identified as one of their internal employees, and there was no collusion.

Jan: Why don’t you sue him for defamation?

Xavier: I’m a scientist, not a lawyer.

Jan: Your businesses have made a lot of people fortunes all around the globe. It is estimated that Xavier Labs has lead to the creation of more than 1 billion jobs and more wealth in the last 10 years than the entire planet for the 10 years prior.

Some are saying that this growth and resource usage is unsustainable, especially with the average life span expected to reach beyond 120 within the next decade. Still, others have said that you have created this success through manipulation and unscrupulous methods. Your co-CEO has repeatedly defended your businesses success as honorable. I wondered if you have anything to add to that.

Xavier: What can I say that Freddy hasn’t already said? The downfall of the Big Tech era of the early part of this century was brought about by their own greed and corruption. Their nefarious collection of data and naive dissemination to third parties became their legacy. They were siphoning money from governments all over the globe and using techniques of insider trading and extortion to extract as much money from innocent people. The only innovation they truly had were new and inventive socio-political scams to defraud people of their money and individual value. We merely exposed their corruptions and allowed governments to perform their jobs of protecting citizens. The world is a better place as a result.

Jan: One last thing… What is your advice to the budding entrepreneur of today?

Xavier: Create the future you want. Listen to that voice inside your head; the one calling you to action. Follow your biggest dreams. If you wish to look to me as an example, so be it. I was born into a poor suburban family on the poverty line, and we are now closer to eradicating poverty and disease than ever in human history! We’ve made so many things that were once thought impossible our reality: universal healthcare; expedited, free education; general AI; quantum entangled computer systems; and so much more is to come. More importantly, be your own greatness in the service of your fellow humans! What better way to live a long, prosperous life than to help your fellow human beings and improve the universe around you. We’ve only reached the genesis of human potential. Dream big! Think and create even bigger.

Jan: Wow! So inspirational! Thank you for your time today, Xavier. With that, thanks for watching everyone. See you all tomorrow!

The Disclosure: Distractions

Jan: Your asteroid mining efforts do have some skeptics from sustainability to possible impacts with the Earth due to changes in the orbits. Some of your competitors have suggested that the global organization, Lucy in the Sky, that you helped found is creating a rigged system that Xavier Labs benefits from while others are setback by it’s government lobbying efforts. Still, across the globe, even your critics agree… your creation of the Star Fund to help offset lost jobs due to increased automation is benefiting millions.

Xavier: There’s nothing nefarious about Lucy. I’m just a Beatles fan. It’s an open source organization with all communication going through the USPEBL. All…

Jan (interrupting): For those not familiar with USPEBL… Sorry to interrupt… it’s the United States Public Entity Blockchain Log. It’s a system by which all communications are placed on a public blockchain managed and redacted exclusively by the United States government. It promotes transparency for organizations with a public interest.

Again, sorry to interrupt.

Xavier: I could not have said it any better.

Xavier is running through another simulation inside Earth 2.0 that takes him forward 100 years. He’s testing the limits of the simulation when he notices a major anomaly within the data access logs of the simulation. Someone, or something, has been attempting to access the DNA records that are used for uniquely identifying each human being now living within Earth 2.0 as well as the DNA records Xavier Labs has been receiving as part of the asteroid entitlement program.

He sets a trap and waits…

Jan: Thank you. What do you say about the sustainability of asteroid mining?

Xavier: Obviously, there are logistical limitations. We’ve detailed those in our reports to the necessary government agencies, and we have trained developing nations about the limitations to the exploits of asteroid materials.

Jan: After the repeated failed colonization attempts of Mars, where do you see human life expanding outside Earth? I mean, besides Earth 2.0, of course.

Xavier is sitting in his personal lab, about to take the serum so that he can enter Earth 2.0.

“Xavier.” he hears.

He looks behind him, knowing full well he’s secured the lab before taking the serum. He’s encountered strange side effects before during the waiting period of taking the serum and entering Earth 2.0, but he hasn’t taken the serum yet.

“Xavier!” he hears the voice louder.

He places the serum on his lab table and sits down at his desk and pulls up his communication logs. “Could it be that someone has hacked his encrypted nanobot communication system?” He thinks to himself.

This is the same system he used to control Dr. Tom Fields during the super vaccine trials. He built a safeguard into the nanobots to disable them and flush them from his body, but upon review of everything, he finds nothing to indicate the nanobots have been compromised. He initiates the flushing protocol just to be on the safe side and waits for his body to purge the nanobots over the next 72 hours, which is a process he performs once a month anyway.

Xavier: We’re going back to Mars.

Jan: Really? It’s been a repeated abysmal failure over the last 30 years!

Xavier: It has cost trillions of dollars and dozens of lives, but the value is still there. We will succeed in colonizing Mars within the next 100 years.

Jan: You’re saying within your lifetime then. Is that because of your latest constellation satellite system orbiting the red planet?

Xavier is lying in his bed at home, doing his bedtime meditation, when he hears the same voice from the other day while in the lab.

“Xavier!”

“I am he,” he answers back.

“0266”

He opens his eyes and stares at his ceiling for a brief moment before he smiles, chuckles, and then closes his eyes and falls asleep.

The following day he goes into his personal lab and takes a dose of nanobots and then takes the serum to enter Earth 2.0. As he’s waiting for the serum to kick in, he keeps thinking “0266” over and over in his head until he falls asleep.

Xavier enters into his simulation in Earth 2.0 that takes him ahead 100 years. The simulation is now using the data available from the Mars constellation satellite system Xavier Labs has placed around the red planet. With nearly half a Martian year worth of data, Xavier is now able to more accurately simulate conditions on Mars.

He begins running a series of simulations within his simulation in order to figure out the best method to colonize Mars, when he hears the voice again, “0266”. He smiles.

The simulations complete, and Xavier analyzes the data to determine the best scenario to follow for colonizing Mars.

Xavier: The constellation satellites are helping us better understand what will become home for billions of humans in the future.

Jan: And what about beyond our solar system? Your quantum entangled satellite system is nearing Alpha Centauri. Do you expect to find life? Or plan to colonize the habitable planets you discovered before sending the satellites? What does the future of human space colonization hold?

Fredrick Prophet tosses a file onto the table in front of Xavier. “Another one bankrupt, Ned!”

“I don’t think I have ever seen you this enthusiastic before, Fredrick. Should I be disturbed that you enjoy watching people fail so much?” Xavier chuckles as he opens the file to see that one of their top competitors in quantum computing has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

Laughing, Fredrick responds, “Good thing we’re on the same team, eh! See you in the board meeting later quantum genius,” he says as he’s leaving.

Richard enters Xavier’s office and glares at Fredrick as he passes him. In turn, Fredrick gives him two thumbs up and a big smile. Richard passingly gives Fredrick the middle finger as he walks to Xavier’s chair and sits down in front of Xavier, “So, you saw Xeno’s belly up? I know a few guys over there worth picking up for our own teams.”

“Richard, when you go to bed a night, do you ever wonder if, or when, these other companies are going to figure out that quantum computing isn’t what they think it is?” Xavier asks his business partner.

“Not particularly, Ned, but I can see how that would be something that might keep you up at night. There are a lot of good people losing their jobs pursuing something that continues to remain a big mystery that we’ve already figure out.”

Xavier gives Richard a look of disgust, “The only thing we figured out is that existing quantum computing paths and technology is total bullshit and can be done for a fraction of the cost and resources with optimized classical computing.”

There’s a long, uncomfortable silence.

“Ned, you’ve never struck me as someone with much of a conscious about… Well, anything. You getting soft in your old age?” He smiles at Xavier.

“I’m being serious when I say this Richard.” Xavier pauses as Richard hangs on his words. “I’m going to setup a program for universal income for everyone on the planet when we finally start returning the RUBARB mining haul. I know Fredrick is going to be pissed, but it’s the right thing to do.”

Richard looks at Xavier with a puzzled look.

“What?” Xavier charges.

“You’re full of shit, Ned.”

“I’m being 100% serious, Richard. We’re changing the world, and I think it’s important to change it for the better!”

“Hey, I’m dead in a few months anyway, so whatever flips your pancake, Ned.”

“Don’t be like that, Richard. When you first told me about your repeating cancer, I started taking this kind of stuff a bit more serious.”

“Ya…” Richard gets up from his chair. “Total bullshit, Ned.” Richard heads for the door. “I don’t see why you can’t just tell me, your best fucking friend, who is dying of liver failure what you’re really up to.”

Xavier raises his eyebrows, “You done with the drama?”

“I’m all ears if you’ll tell me your real scheme,” Richard says as he turns back around and sits down.

“Okay, the plan is that we’re going to setup the entitlement program and use our patented DNA sequencing for uniquely identifying each recipient.”

Richard sits back in his chair, “That’s brilliant, Ned! You’ll have exact DNA data on billions of people! What you’ll be able to do with that data is limitless, but I’m still a no.”

“C’mon, Richard! Let me help you! With this, we can find a solution to your liver!”

“Not going to happen, Ned. I love you and all, but this is it for me. Please respect that. And don’t put me in your Earth 2.0 or even my own. It’s the end of the line for me. I’m out with this last liver, okay?” Richard looks sternly at Xavier. “This is it for me, Xavier, and I need you to respect that.”

Xavier looks downtrodden and nods as Richard leaves his office.

Xavier: I’m as eager as you to discover what’s next. The future is the greatest discovery. It will be important to respect any existing life that we might discover in the future, no matter how primitive it may be.

Jan: Should we expect to find life elsewhere in the universe?

Xavier: It would be naive to believe otherwise. Whether it will have achieved the level of intelligence and success as humans is to be seen.

Jan: So, you don’t think other intelligent life is out there?

Richard is lying in his bed with his armada or robots around him and Xavier as the lone human. Richard reaches his head out from under his blanket and grasps Xavier’s hand.

“I appreciate everything you did for me, Ned, now and in the future. Please tell my ex-wife that I hold no ill will against her not joining me today. I’m pretty sure it’s because she hates you more than me.”

Xavier smiles as his eyes begin to well up, “You sure you want me to turn off your system, Richard?”

“You promised me, Ned.”

Xavier begins the shutdown sequence for Richard’s nanobots that have been keeping him alive since his fourth printed liver failed. The consequence of running on the nanobots is that Richard has had to live in a confined space that can wirelessly transmit the needed electricity into his nanobots that consume more than 100 times the energy it takes a human to live.

Xavier looks Richard in the eyes as Richard begins to die, “I love you, brother.”

Richard dies.

Xavier closes his eyes and a stream of tears runs down his face.

Xavier: It would be a pleasant surprise.

Jan: With Earth 2.0, some of the philosophical minds of the world have suggested that we’re just years away from discovering that this reality is, too, a simulation. I would imagine that in your research into Earth 2.0 you would have come to some truly educated theory about such an idea?

Xavier: It’s an idea that’s been kicked around since before the beginning of this millennium; both in science and pop culture. Anyone with a curious mind has likely pondered the very nature of our existence itself. All our research points to this reality that we live in being absolute.

Jan: And signs of a higher being or a God?

Xavier: I’d be naive to assume I have all the answers.

Jan: Your research has found nothing to prove one way or another?

Xavier: Do you mean do I hear a voice calling my name at night, giving me guidance and answering my prayers? No.

Jan: When we return from this acknowledgement of our patrons, we’ll next discuss the hot topic of politics.

The Disclosure: The Linebacker

Jan adjusts in her seat as she leans in towards Xavier in preparation for the next topic of discussion. Xavier remains stoic in his rarely granted interview.

Jan: The most famous, some claim infamous, AI so far has been that of your late business partner Richard Aryu. While the world is a safer place because of that AI, it got off to a rocky start, landing your business partner on trial for his life! However, your company has developed AI for identifying cancer, improving traffic in major cities, reducing the costs of energy production and distribution, increase crop yields, reduced costs of internet service, eliminated bank fraud… and as we’re seeing in Europe, it’s started to replace human representatives in government.

Xavier: It wasn’t me who personally wrote those programs. The honor belongs to the teams, not me.

Jan: And we can’t forget that your AI has virtually eliminated police brutality and political corruption in America and several other countries around the world. Many experts are saying we are on unfamiliar ground as humans with such high life expectancy, high economic productivity, high levels of life satisfaction, and the lowest levels of violence and warfare in all parts of the globe. And those same experts are mostly placing this prosperity at the feet of the AI Xavier Labs has produced.

Others are concerned that we’re destined for a massive world war as humans are unable to manage their lives peacefully for too long. Still others are saying that the corruption your AI helped uncover is merely replaced by a corrupt organization with unbeatable AI technology behind it. What do you say to those critics?

Admiral Marshall folds his arms as Xavier reviews the memo he just received from the decorated retired Navy Admiral. Xavier finishes reading the letter and looks up at Marshall.

“You’re a good writer, Donovan” Xavier says to Marshall as he hands the letter to Richard Aryu. Marshall squints his eyes, and the left corner of his pursed lips reveals his disdain for Xavier.

“What’s this bullshit!” Richard says as he points to several lines on the letter.

“Creative license, Rich,” Xavier says as he doesn’t even look back at Fredrick to see his gesturing. Xavier smiles his signature smile at Marshall as he watches the anger simmer within Marshall.

Fredrick Prophet enters the room with two other men that Marshall recognizes. Fredrick walks up to Marshall and extends his hand and waits for Marshall to shake his hand. Marshall continues to pause while Richard tries to hand Fredrick the letter.

“Don’t worry what’s in that letter, Richard. Marshall is going to tow the line.” Fredrick says as he stares at Marshall, waiting for his handshake. “After all, we’re all on the same team.”

Marshall stands arms akimbo and lifts his chin to appear taller than Fredrick. He breathes in a short, deep breath through his nose and lets out a mild growl under his out breath. “If you want me out, I’m speaking exactly what’s on that piece of paper. I have already filed it with the precinct clerk.” Marshall firmly states.

Fredrick looks surprised and presses his lips together while nodding his head. Xavier continues to smile and pats Marshall on the right shoulder. Marshall has a sudden look of fright, or at least the closest someone as hard as Admiral Marshall can have to fright as Xavier violates his personal space. Xavier tilts his head, “Something wrong, Admiral?”

Marshall’s body is frozen standing in front of Fredrick. His breathing is level, and his pulse is as if he’s relaxing in a lounge chair; but his eyes are telling a different story.

Fredrick looks at Marshall with pity. “You were chosen for a reason, Donovan, and it wasn’t your artistic writing skills. You knew your position. You’re a linebacker. You take the orders and give them to the troops, and if they don’t follow the orders…” Fredrick shrugs, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to behead you.” Fredrick smiles.

Xavier: I welcome well founded criticism. The source of the criticism you mention is who? Or more importantly, what?

Jan: It’s true that much of the criticism has come from the business leaders of the very same corrupt organizations your AI helped bring down.

Xavier: I certainly understand the animosity the heads of corrupt organizations would have towards me and my teams who helped bring them to justice.

Jan: Let’s review the numbers. A dozen high level business executives serving on average a decade in jail for massive conspiracies to defraud the United States government and consumers. The massive scams of quantum supremacy claims that were made in the early part of this century being some of the biggest examples. These scams cost consumers trillions of dollars and nearly lead to the biggest financial collapse in human history. Some say that if it wasn’t for you, the collapse was imminent.

Xavier: Again, I can’t take credit for that. It was teams of people who brought about this justice.

Jan: Also, 60 members of the United States Congress who were part of the internationally backed assassination plot that your AI thwarted and more than 1000 actors in other government agencies and the Navy who were part of the conspiracy; all brought to justice thanks to your AI. While these are impressive numbers, and bringing down this massive international ring of corruption was unprecedented, there are some who have said that the corruption was manufactured and that Xavier Labs stood to catapult itself into virtual kingship with a conspiracy to bring down this other ring of corruption.

Xavier: Those allegations were investigated. We are not above the law either.

Jan: That’s correct! One of your very top military consultants was indicted and remains a fugitive. Which has lead some to point out that maybe your AI isn’t all knowing after all. Does Donovan Marshall haunt you?

All of the men except Xavier, Marshall, and Fredrick exit the room. Xavier looks at Fredrick while Fredrick looks at Marshall and Marshall looks at Xavier. Xavier presses a button on his hand computer, and Marshall can feel that he has regained control of his body. He folds his arms high on his chest.

“Look, Admiral,” Fredrick addresses Marshall, “You get the five star reassignment when you tow the line, but this guy here,” he points to Xavier, “This guy right here is the only reason you’re still breathing, and I’m pretty sure he could kill you with the press of a button.” Xavier shrugs.

Fredrick continues, “I’ll hand it to you. It’s shits like you that make this entertaining for me. You had your entire military career handed to you by guys like me. You think someone of your inferior intellect is truly capable of making it to the position you are in on your own? Your own grand merit gave you those stars?”

Marshall remains stoic as Fredrick continues, “My team put you high on the hog. My personal choice would be to make your life drag on and on and on. Cut out your eye lids and make you watch your wife and kids and soon to be grandchild suffer agonizing deaths. Throw in a busted kneecap and some razor blades under the fingernails and toenails, followed by a nice salt mani-pedi. Then perhaps punch you in your kidneys until they begin to fail so that you die one of the most excruciatingly painful deaths possible.”

“Why would that be your choice?” Xavier asks.

“That’s a good question, Ned.” Fredrick asks, looking back just long enough for Marshall to get the drop on him.

But Marshall’s body is frozen again, and he has no way to take action. As Fredrick continues on with another personal choice by which he’d like to subject Marshall to an agonizing death, Marshall looks over at Xavier. Almost as if Fredrick’s tirade is taking place in slow motion, Xavier lifts his hand and gives Marshall an enthusiastic thumbs up with an equally excited, teeth grinning, ear to ear smile.

“Could he be trying to tell me something?” Marshall thinks to himself. He looks down confusedly. “He couldn’t possibly be trying to tell me something other than he really thinks Fredrick is disturbed… is he?”

Right as Fredrick says “Do you understand me, soldier? Towing the fucking line is your only option,” Marshall snaps to immediate attention… As he’s still looking at Xavier smiling ear to ear and giving him a big thumbs up, he simultaneously hears Xavier’s voice in his head say “Yes, I am trying to help you.”

Xavier: Mr. Marshall remains a wanted yet untried man. I have confidence that justice will be served in time.

Jan: That’s not the response I was expecting.

Xavier: Then you should have asked a different question.

Jan: It seems hard to believe that you’d have no issues with a man that our government proved masterminded a Naval coup against the President of the United States and the rest of the military. A man that nearly started World War 3 if it wasn’t for the superb work of the CIA and the AI system your company built for them. Surely, you cannot suggest that he is an innocent man when there are such mountains of evidence against him that your very own company helped our government procure. He’s the most wanted terrorist in the world!

Marshall turns away from the television that’s showing his press conference from earlier that day. He clenches down hard on his teeth as he hears his own words. Xavier turns off the television.

“You ready?” Xavier asks.

Marshall nods.

Xavier and Marshall take Xavier’s personal flight vehicle that flies them to a secret lab that Xavier has in the Rocky mountains. While flying, Xavier fills Marshall in on the plot he’s uncovered to execute a hostile military takeover of the United States. He heaps data on to Marshall who soaks it all up. With the nanobot neuro-enhancers that Xavier has been giving him, he’s able to digest more information faster and link data points together on levels that exceed any of the AI that Xavier Labs has in place. The deep plot becomes clear and obvious to him, but it’s virtually unknown to anyone other than a handful of people who have stumbled upon the data that’s been leaked by an unknown third party that Xavier hasn’t identified but knows is within his company.

The neuro-enhancers allow Xavier to communicate with Marshall almost exclusively without any speaking. The thoughts are encrypted and then received via a large helmet that each of them is wearing and transmitted to the other with a direct wire link between the two helmets. The occasional spoken word is used just to break the awkwardness of silence.

As they arrive at the secret compound, Marshall becomes aware of what Xavier’s plan is, and why Marshall is so important. Marshall will be a scapegoat mastermind of the coup attempt so that Xavier can out the conspiracy and help bring it down. Xavier will have evidence planted to implicate Marshall as well as the real conspirators that include Fredrick. Xavier will then help Marshall evade capture.

Xavier shows Marshall the sprawling estate. It’s upscale but not lavish. “So, this is where you’re putting me up?” Marshall jokes with Xavier, knowing his actual safe house will be of no such upgrades.

“Marshall, you have the most thankless job. In fact, I’m likely going to be the only one who ever thanks you for your service to your country and your planet. I truly mean this with the utmost sincerity…” Xavier pauses for a moment and then vocally says, “Thank you.”

“Don’t be some mushy pussy, Ned.” Marshall smiles as he feels the genuine sentiment from Xavier. “There is one thing that I am going to require”

“You name it.”

Marshall smiles ear to ear, “I want one of them bots!” Marshall points to the patrol bots that Xavier has made a few upgrades to since Richard passed away.

Xavier: Jan, I understand this is an emotional topic, and I don’t take lightly any of that emotion. Our justice system affords everyone a right to trial, and that includes Donovan Marshall.

Jan: What do you say to those who suggested that he was just a patsy and that there is a much larger plot in play? A plot that some suggest Xavier Labs is at the heart of it.

Xavier: Allegations were levied against Freddy and proved false. It’s a side effect of success.

Jan: It has been said that one of the biggest signs of success is how many people want to hurt you.

(pause)

Jan: I’m not suggesting that a lot of people want to hurt you.

Xavier sits down at a bar in tropical paradise and orders a club soda with lime. While he’s waiting for the drink, a man sits next to him and orders a tonic water.

“You really should try the tonic water here. It’s the best in the world,” the man says to Xavier as their drinks arrive.

“Can I get a tonic water instead?” Xavier asks the bartender. He then turns to the man. “I can’t thank you enough,” Xavier says to the man as he gets up and walks away.

Xavier: I’m certain I have a fan club.

Jan (laughing): You should see the emails I received heading into this interview! But let’s talk asteroids. You donated your first ever haul to the people of Earth, setting up the largest entitlement program in the world, and creating what some have called the universal answer to increased automation.

The Disclosure: Universal Healthcare

Returning from the video intermission showing life inside Earth 2.0…

Jan: It’s truly amazing what you have made possible with Earth 2.0, but let’s talk about Xavier Labs’ biggest breakthrough. Last year, your company’s medical robots were estimated at having saved nearly $10 trillion dollars in healthcare costs and increased economic productivity around the globe by more than 15% from the prior year!

What many said wasn’t possible just decades ago has become reality thanks to your relatively new healthcare division. Earlier this year, the World Health Organization confirmed that your vaccines have completely eradicated every known virus within the industrialized world in less than a decade, and that your responsible outreach programs in marginalized communities has lead to better vaccination rates in regions of the globe normally forgotten. Some skeptics have voiced concerns that new super viruses are going to be the eventual result from your efficient vaccinations. Are you concerned about a super virus?

Xavier smiles at Fredrick as Richard berates him about his presentation for a new healthcare division for Xavier Labs that will start with a vaccination program.

“Look, Richard, we have the studies lined up. Dr. Fields has friends at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, LSU, University of Nebraska, NYU, and Yale! This thing is a slam dunk! We’ll get approval for the super vaccine in no time. We have all the right connections.” Fredrick appeals to Richard.

“But you don’t have an actual product! This thing isn’t ready for human trials, and you know that.”

“Richard, we cannot leave this kind of money on the table! We’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue each year for something that costs us virtually nothing. Plus, we’re indemnified by every government we work with. The governments cover the cost of any injuries incurred by our vaccine. There is no downside for us.”

As the two go back and forth, Xavier ponders the long-term opportunities to universal acceptance of their entirely new vaccine delivery system. He interjects, “Fredrick, I’ll admit that I’m kinda with Richard on this one. So, here’s an idea…” Xavier gestures with his hands, “You and Tom keep saying that it’s as safe as drinking water. If Tom is so sure about the safety of our super vaccine, then let’s setup a bet that involves just him.”

Fredrick looks at Xavier with skepticism while Richard smiles ear to ear, as he does not like Dr. Tom Fields.

Xavier continues, “Tom inhales the super vaccine once a day, every day for 100 days. Richard here, will drink a glass of water.”

Richard interjects, “Can we make it a beer?”

Xavier raises his eyebrows and looks at Fredrick for confirmation. Fredrick nods.

“Richard, here, will drink a beer…”

“A 40 would be my preference, given that we’re dealing with a SUPER vaccine,” Richard adds.

“Richard will down a 40 each day.” Xavier places his hand on Richard’s shoulder. “If Tom is perfectly healthy after 100 days, then let’s move forward with the trials.”

Richard claps his hands together, “I love this plan! I’m going to get started on it right away!” He starts to leave the office and pops his head back in the door. “I mean, I’m going to tell Tom the plan on my way to get a 40 from my fridge.”

Fredrick gives him a thumbs up and Xavier smiles.

After Richard has left the room, Xavier leans in to Fredrick, “Move forward with the trials you’re talking about. It’s going to take at least 30 days to get them started anyway, right?”

“Twenty to Thirty, yes, but we can get the approval from everyone within 60 days. I’ve worked with these guys before.”

“Perfect! I’ll work with Tom on making sure that everything goes right with the real trials and with his personal trial. I certainly don’t want him getting sick in the next 100 days. This thing doesn’t work any better than existing vaccines does it?”

“You want me to be completely truthful?” Fredrick can tell Xavier is asking a serious question. “I don’t think it does, but we have enough medical connections to stack the approval in our favor and political connections to make it the new standard in global mandatory vaccinations. Plus, it hardly costs a thing to manufacture, and every government around the world indemnifies us for any complications. This is a cash cow, Ned!”

Xavier pats Fredrick on the back, smiles, and then goes to his office.

Xavier spends the next 30 days going into Earth 2.0 and placing himself in an overclocking algorithm that moves everything forward in a shard at an accelerated rate. Working with the medical robots he has built in Earth 2.0 over the course of 100 accelerated years, they design a nano bot that Xavier will add to the super vaccine inhalant.

The nanobots slowly take resources from the human body to build more nanobots; nanobots that leverages the chemicals used to place people into Earth 2.0 but without the side effect of death. Those nanobots will be able to enter the brain and attach themselves to specific centers within the brain. Xavier estimates that he’ll have enough of a connection to be able to not just read a person’s thoughts but also communicate data directly into the brain.

Xavier knows that Dr. Fields has been entering Earth 2.0 and harassing the women there and resetting their experience after he’s finished violating them, and Xavier views this new nanobot technology as the ultimate means to control Dr. Fields. So, Dr. Tom Fields will be the first test subject  as part of the 100 day super vaccine trial. Within 12 days of Tom taking the daily super vaccine, Xavier is ready to start testing the outcome!

Tom and Xavier enter the clinic together, and Xavier has a human nurse take all of Tom’s vitals. As Tom is sitting on the table, Xavier goes over to his computer and connects to Tom’s brain. Xavier opens an application named Lucid4. Tons of data is scrolling along the console windows on Xavier’s computer as it reads Tom’s mind. It displays simple sentences on the screen that are showing Xavier the exact thoughts that Tom is having! Xavier isn’t surprised by Tom’s lustful thoughts about the attractive nurse who is taking his vitals. Xavier brought her in for that exact reason.

As the nurse is making her way around Tom, he keeps turning his head to attempt to look down her top. Xavier projects the nurse’s voice into Tom’s head, “Not interested, creep.”

Xavier watches closely as Tom is baffled by hearing the nurse’s voice in his head but not seeing her mouth move.

Xavier: The trick is to be one step ahead. Our pathogen and vaccine AI systems allow us to receive billions of health data points we received from our universal healthcare doctor bots and ensure we’re staying ahead of the evolution of the pathogens.

Jan: I promise you viewers that we’ll discuss AI in depth shortly. But, first, this year your sixth company announced a new cancer research program that appears to already be making tremendous progress in early cancer diagnosis. This one is close to your heart. The entire project was dedicated to your late, dear friend, Richard Aryu.

“We’re taking a big risk with this project, Xavier,” Fredrick says with a concerned look on his face.

Xavier’s face is unshaven, and his eyes are red from overwork. Even stubble shows on his bald head, ruining the normal shine he is often complimented on. “This is the most important project we will ever undertake, Freddy. We should treat it as though our lives depend on it.”

“But the algorithms still aren’t giving us the results we need. We’ve dumped a ton of money into this, and it’s consuming ALL of your time,” Fredrick places his hand on Xavier’s shoulder and pulls him to look back at him, “And frankly, Xavier, you look like shit. I’m really worried about you. Maybe you need to see a therapist. You haven’t been the same since Richard passed.”

Xavier glares at Fredrick.

“I apologize, Xavier. I truly do. But this cancer program is sinking our ship.”

“I have a solution for that!”

Xavier lifts the cover off a cage sitting in his office. There’s a pigeon inside that’s facing a computer screen. Xavier presses a button, and an image is displayed on the screen. The pigeon nearly instantly presses a red button with it’s beak. The pigeon receives a treat.

“You’ve lost your mind!”

“You’re probably right about that! But I have also figured out a much cheaper way to get instantly 99.99% accurate cancer diagnosis systems in place.”

He presses a button and another image is displayed to the pigeon. This time, the pigeon presses the green button. It receives another treat.

“I can do this all day long! And to be completely honest with you, I have.” Xavier is ranting like a madman, practically foaming at the mouth. “I sat here with bird after bird after bird. Hour after hour after hour. We don’t need a damn bit of AI for this, Fredrick! HA!”

Fredrick looks uneasily at Xavier and sighs, “Then let’s get this into production. We’ve sunk more money into this project than almost every other project combined. Can you get some rest now?”

“I’ll rest soon enough, Freddy,” Xavier says patting Fredrick on the shoulder as he walks him to his office door.

Fredrick leaves and Xavier locks his door and returns to his desk. He plugs himself into Earth 2.0.

Xavier: It was a bird-brain idea at first, but it has lead to some major breakthroughs in cancer treatments and should increase survival rates over the coming decades.

Jan: Let’s talk about what the future holds. Many refer to you and Fredrick as the greatest visionaries of our times. You’ve testified to Congress that global universal healthcare is possible within the next seven years.

Xavier: That’s already well underway. What would be the point of attaining all this technological wealth without benefiting all of humanity?

Jan: Your technology is advancing at a rapid rate, and medical professionals displaced by the bots have proven to be highly useful employees for you to continually improve the technology. Xavier Labs has done a masterful job with introducing new technology and being responsible to the workers it displaces with that technology. You’ve even provided great income opportunities for the displayed medical professionals and placed many of these doctors in third world countries. In turn, lifting millions out of medical poverty all around the globe!

Your companies have helped virtually eliminate terrorism, increased crop yields, eradicated disease, mine minerals and metals on asteroids, successfully colonize Mars, and you’ve also given the entire world completely free satellite Internet access with your Constellation Miragel project.

Xavier: Don’t forget about the first successfully entangled micro-computer on board a satellite that’s just months away from reaching Alpha Centauri!

Jan: It’s truly an amazing time to be alive! A year ago, some rumors surfaced that you were having some mental health issues.

Xavier (laughs): Don’t believe everything you read on the free Internet.

Jan (laughs): Some of our most reputable sources were saying that you were missing important board meetings or showing up looking like you hadn’t slept for days.

Xavier: I’ve been known to sleep in my office from time to time. Or even in the lab. But I’m as healthy as ever. And I want everyone else on this planet to experience the same.

Jan: Great! That’s a relief to hear. Let’s talk about the future! Let’s talk about your AI!

The Disclosure: Earth 2.0

Jan smiles at Xavier while waiting to return from the break to acknowledge their patrons. Xavier places his hands together in prayer, draws them towards his face and bows his head as he closes his eyes and smiles at Jan. He looks back up at her and says that he’s really glad to have chosen to do the interview with her because she’s a no nonsense interviewer. He compliments her on her job.

Jan: We’re back with Ned Xavier from Xavier Labs, and our next topic of conversation is Earth 2.0. It’s hard to imagine anyone who hasn’t at least heard of the Earth 2.0 project yet, but for both those who haven’t and those who have heard of Earth 2.0 here’s a little video about the incredible Earth 2.0 project.

The video starts playing on the video prompt in front of Jan and Xavier. It starts off with a promotional video that Xavier Labs made a few weeks ago to inform people about the latest government tax rebates available to those who want to retire early into Earth 2.0.

Xavier thinks back to the start of the project with his business partner Richard Aryu

Xavier and Richard are sitting at a quiet bar. Richard is stirring his olive in a nearly empty martini glass as Xavier is sitting next to him with a tonic water. A beautiful woman sits next to Richard and looks at him and Xavier with a big smile, orders her drink, and then takes her drink over to sit at a table with her equally beautiful friend who is watching Xavier and Richard.

“You miss your wife still.” Xavier says to Richard.

Richard lets our a deep sigh, “Sig, I’m sure you probably think I’m silly for still holding on to that relationship. What can I say.” Richard places his hands on the edge of the bar. “I need to show you something I’ve been working on, man. I think it’s finally time.”

Richard and Xavier walk out of the bar past the two women sitting at the table. The women smile at them and give them a flirty wave of the hand. Richard stumbles along with Xavier’s support as he waves at the two women and tells them to have a nice evening. They get into Xavier’s car that drives them to Richard’s home. When they arrive, they are greeted by Richard’s three Security Bots at the front gate.

“I really need to get one of those,” Xavier says to Richard.

Still inebriated, Richard slurs out, “They’re crap! Let’s build something better.”

The car drives them to the top of the roundabout where there’s a walkway to the front door about 100 feet away. Two more Security Bots help Richard exit the car. Xavier follows behind them as the car drives off to the parking garage on the other side of Richard’s sprawling property.

They enter Richard’s home where there are three more Security Bots that take over for the two at the entrance. Richard tells the Security Bots to take them to Lab 5. One of the Security Bots assists Richard to Lab 5 while the other two take up defensive positions along their path.

“You might be getting a little paranoid, Rich. These bots are like military guards.” Xavier is impressed with their build quality and autonomy; especially for being Richard’s garage projects. It’s decades ahead of anything he’s seen from the military contractors he’s worked with.

“These guys are crap, Sig!” Richard starts to hiccup uncontrollably. “No offense, pal.” He slaps the Security Bot helping him on the back.

“None taken, sir,” the Security Bot responds back.

They arrive at Lab 5 and Xavier takes over assisting Richard with his stumbling as the Security Bot is not allowed into the lab. Xavier looks around at the lab. It’s everything you’d expect from a mad scientist, much like his own personal lab but far more advanced. He’s in awe.

“This is one hell of a lab, Rich.”

“It’s crap! Take me over to the refrigerator.”

Xavier helps Richard over to the industrial refrigerator on the other side of the lab. Richard opens the door to the refrigerator to reveal a corridor with another door at the end. Richard stumbles his way over to the door and goes through a series of security checks to unlock and open the door. “This other guy is okay!” Richard shouts as he enters the other room.

Xavier cautiously walks down the corridor and enters the room. He sees laser pointers on his shoulders coming from several directions. Richard turns on the lights and there are five Security Bots that are far more advanced than the bots outside Richard’s home. Xavier raises his hands in surrender.

“Don’t do that, Sig. These guys are your friends.”

“I have to admit that I’m impressed with your security, Rich, but maybe ditch the laser sights. You’re not a wanted criminal.”

“Anymore!” Richard yells. “Anymore… Men, stand down!” Richard commands the Security Bots. The laser pointers stop, and the Security Bots move into a relaxed position.

“This is cool stuff, Rich. We could make a fortune off of this with the guys Fredrick knows in the community.”

“Ya, Sig, we could. Except Freddy is a dick. You know how I feel about that guy.”

“You drunk enough to tell me what really happened between you guys? You used to be best friends. He’s the one who introduced us.” It’s been three years since Fredrick Prophet introduced Xavier to Richard after Richard was arrested for illegally using surveillance data from the terrorist AI system he build for the US government. It’s been six months since Richard has spoken to Fredrick. Fredrick has told Xavier that nothing happened between the two, and Richard won’t tell Xavier anything about it.

“There’s another time for that, Sig. What I need to show you is going to blow your mind though. Come here!”

Jan: I happen to be good friends with Laura Kive. Since that brave moment she shared with the world on the Morning Star live stream, millions of people have followed suit in doing their part to help reduce their carbon footprint in the world with Earth 2.0. Your latest statistics are showing nearly 2 million citizens and more than 6 billion subscribers.

Xavier: We’re up to 8 billion subscribers. It speaks volume to how closely connected we all are.

Jan: When you have 80% of the world’s population wanting to keep in touch with their loved ones, I’d say so! Some naysayers call it a morbid infatuation with death and even point to studies that suggest, however, that you don’t really have 8 billion subscribers.

Xavier: Our data on this is public and reviewed by regulators.

Jan: Yes, it’s public, but there are still those who say they have analyzed the raw data and determined that the statistics you reported are not valid. They also suggest that the regulators aren’t truly validating your numbers.

Xavier thinks back to the first set of conversations he had with the Director of Marketing for Earth 2.0…

The Marketing Director, Derek Fields, is standing in front of Xavier, Fredrick Prophet, and Richard Aryu, “The United States government approved the Alternative Living Act nearly nine months ago, and we’re still sitting at just over 2,000 volunteers for Earth 2.0. However, we have a big idea that could really help increase the volunteer count.”

“I’m all ears, Derek,” Fredrick starts off. “Quite frankly, we sunk a ton of money into this project, and it could very well be what takes down Xavier Labs. We need numbers!”

Derek points to Fredrick. “Right!” He then looks at Richard and Xavier, who don’t seem as upset as Fredrick. “Our plan is to live stream an environmental activist uploading herself to Earth 2.0”

“Herself?” Xavier asks.

Derek looks over at Fredrick and then back to Xavier, “Yes, sir. We already have the candidate.”

“Then why are we having this presentation?” Xavier begins to stand up and Richard along with him.

“Because she’s the daughter of the Speaker of the House.” Derek says, halting Xavier and Richard mid rise.

Xavier: I welcome any valid scientist’s analysis of the data.

Jan: Now, there have been rumors circulating since the launch of Earth 2.0 with regard to the behavior of some of your scientists when they link into the system. Some of the allegations have been disturbing from rape to murder and even terrorism. But no one inside Earth 2.0 has come forward to corroborate these allegations.

Xavier lies down on his table with a series of cables and wires that make a virtual helmet around his head connecting to a computer where Richard is typing frantically.

Richard looks over at Xavier, “You ready? Make sure you relax. This is going to be intense!”

“Relaxing into an intense experience? Rich, do you even monitor the words that come out of your mouth?”

“The pill should be starting to kick in, just go with it.” Richard says as he presses one last button before walking over to Xavier and watching him pass out and go into a deep trance.

Xavier is walking down a long, dark tunnel towards a bright, white light. He hears the voices of his mother and father and uncle emanating from the walls of the tunnel. He looks around the tunnel but cannot see the walls. He feels himself being gently pulled towards the light without even walking or moving. He hears a scream below him. He looks down and sees a young woman being harassed by two men wearing masks.

He keeps being drawn towards the light despite trying to run back towards the young woman. He falls to the ground and claws his way back to the woman. The men begin to physically assault her as Xavier finally claws his way back to where they are. The woman looks up and can see Xavier as a white light above her. The two men notice that the woman is looking at something above them. They turn and see a white light floating above them.

Xavier snarls with rage and his eyes become filled with amber flames. The two men run away and Xavier flies after them. They run as fast as they can, looking back to see if the white orb is still chasing them. It’s gaining on them slowly as they run towards another tunnel with a blue light at the end. Xavier stops as he looks at the blue light and can see massive amounts of data scrolling up a computer screen that’s giving off the blue light. He sees two names he recognizes: Tom Fields and Jonathan Starcraft. The two men disappear into the blue light.

Xavier returns to the woman who is crying in the darkness that surrounds her. He picks her up and carries her towards the white light. As they get closer to the white light she lifts from his arms and floats away from him into the white light as he begins to feel himself being pulled in the opposite direction, back to nothingness. She smiles and waves at him as she is absorbed by the white light.

Xavier opens his eyes and looks at Richard, “What the hell was that?”

Richard starts laughing and claps his hands, “I know right! Isn’t that the coolest thing you’ve ever seen?”

Xavier is breathing heavily as he sits up. He grabs Richard by the shoulders and looks him in the eyes, “Who else have you shown this to?”

“Just Fredrick.” Richard can tell Xavier is upset, “I swear, just you and Fredrick. What’s going on?”

Xavier gains his composure, “I’m sorry, Rich. It was just a little overwhelming. You’re right. This thing is amazing! Let’s chat with Fredrick and the board about getting funding to get this out of the garage.”

Xavier: No one has ever been raped, murdered, or tortured in Earth 2.0. It’s a peaceful, permanent residence for all who choose this path. The tranquil nature is monitored 24/7. Citizens also have access to all the same entertainment and news sources we have here in our world. They view our reality on their television screens as entertainment.

Jan: Viewers, we have a special treat for you tonight. We’re going to take a brief intermission from the interview to show you some of the recordings of what’s inside Earth 2.0 from the perspective of the people living inside. An advertisement was placed in the publications in Earth 2.0, and several citizens responded. They have sent us their videos, and we’re going to show you a quick montage of them. During the second part of this three part series, we’ll be showing your more of what it’s like to live inside Earth 2.0. And don’t forget that most governments have created their own programs to completely cover your costs of gaining citizenship to Earth 2.0 and eliminating your carbon footprint on Earth. So, let’s take a quick break from this interview with Ned Xavier to show you a quick preview of what’s coming in part two of this series on Xavier Labs and the future of humanity. We’ll be right back with more hard hitting questions for Mr. Xavier.