Performing motions by rote was both a curse and a blessing. A curse because it made the job boring. It could also make it easier to overlook a minor detail or an important ambiguity. A blessing because it was easy to occupy your mind with other thoughts. Depending on what rote operation you are involved in and if the minor detail was not a major safety issue. Abe’s task was one of those tasks, but the problem with ambiguity is how precise it can become.
The floor plans of the house were laid out before him, but his mind was on other matters. The tangles of wiring diagrams occupied his mind. How could the door open? It had to open inwards because the other equipment would interfere. It was an incredibly inefficient use of space on board a tight, cramped spaceship to have a wall-sized door when a hatch would suffice—as it did for every other entryway. Why would they waste so much space?
A blinking light caught Abe’s attention. A quick glance at both his scan and his original revealed the light was not related to his work task. Then it flashed again. His calendar reminder. He moved to turn it off, but from the corner of his screen, something caught his attention.
Forgetting the reminder for a minute, he peered closely at the original blueprint, then at the scanned image. Increasing the magnification on the screen, he could easily see that the strange symbol had been copied. A quick flick of the wrist, and the hovering magnifying glass over the plans was likewise magnified.
“What is that?” Abe asked aloud. “And why is it so familiar looking?” he thought to himself. It looked like a bookshelf. The contents of the shelf were not included in this section of the plans, but the more Abe concentrated on it, the more it seemed to take his attention. As if, he could think of nothing else.
Time passed yet Abe still concentrated on the screen. Staring intently at the symbol, he was distracted again by the flash of light again. His semi-paralysis over, he moved, without taking his eyes off the screen, to print a shot of what was on the screen, and the viewportal popped open. “Hannah!” his boss yelled as his image slowly appeared. The technology for the job Abe had was cutting edge, state of the art. The viewportal on the other hand was technology that was not far removed from the old telephone system.
“Yeah, boss,” Abe snapped around and straightened up for the holographic image recorder that was beaming Abe back to Theo Dyne’s desktop. Without looking, he started the print task.
A gruff looking man, who looked out of place in a suit and tie, shifted in his seat, “You coming up here or what?” Without waiting for an answer, he looked at his watch, and then turned to the window behind him.
Standing up, Abe straightened his shirt and tucked it in. “Yeah, my reminder popped up, but I was so close to finishing this sheet. I figured you wouldn’t mind.” He reached for his own tie on the back of the chair.
“I might not,” Theo snapped, “But the client’s rep is showing up in ten minutes. You have to brief me on why she’s coming and it better not be because you’re taking too long with the tasks.”
He looked down at the plans, “I’m in final back-check right now. Do I need to bring them with me?” He knew the answer, once documents were brought into the scanning floor they only left by incinerator. The incinerator in turn fed the power generators for the building, making the operation a no net increase or resource drain company. This in turn brought additional federal funding to the company’s coffers.
Still without turning to face the holorecorder, Theo spun to face his own computer screen, “Yeah, good idea. Bring ‘em up here. On the double.” Then he disconnected the call.
How very odd, thought Abe as he gathered the plans. “This can’t be good,” he remarked aloud.
The director’s office looked more like a throne room then an office. There was no desk, but rather a small table to the side of the chair for the projection equipment needed for the virtual office that Dyne used. The sharpest edge of cutting edge technology. It is good to be the Theo Dyne.
The room itself was narrow and long, with plaques, awards, and changing video photographs of Theo with international celebrities adorning the recesses of the wall on both sides of the room. The floor rose from the door to where he sat in front of an unobstructed window that peered down from the fortieth floor of the _Places____ building onto the sprawling metropolis below. Abe had been in the room before, but this time it was different. The lights were down, which caused the brightness of the world outside the window to frame the chair and the woman standing next to it.
Their conversation ended as he started walking towards them. Theo picked up a device from his table and fiddled with it. A table slid from the wall to his right. Clearly, Abe was to put the plans there. Theo stood, and both he and the woman walked to meet Abe at the table. As he put the plans down, Theo spoke, “This is Faith Garbo, our client rep from Buenos Aires, Faith, Abraham Hannah who has been conducting your information uploading.”
She extended her hand, “Mr. Hannah, nice to meet you.”
“Abe, please,” he shook her hand. Firm grip, not too tight, warm hands, smooth skin, no jewelry, short nails, painted but not gaudy. An educated few could read a great deal from a mere handshake. Abe had taken the course. “What is it I was brought up here for today?” He moved his focus from her hand to her eyes. The next big tell. They dwelled briefly on him, just long enough to be considered polite, and then went to the plans. It was plain to see that she had a one-track mind, and this set of plans was what was on it.
They had been buried in the Buenos Aires archives for decades. No one had a record of what was in the archives, until Highway Information Trust began cataloguing it. By the time of the latest merger, the manifest list had been sent and the first communication from Faith had come in. “How far along is the insertion of the plans?” she asked. The anxiousness in her voice was uncontained. She reached out to touch the plans Abe was unrolling on the table. She ran a hand along the front page with reverence.
Without Faith’s deferential awe, Abe flipped open to the page he was on, “I’m down to the basement. Things get a little tougher on that level.”
She gasped, “You didn’t start there?” She shifted to take up the middle of the table, scanning the sheet as if she was looking for something in particular.
“Uh…no, generally the start is a better place to start. Also, in this case there was much less detail on the other sheets, so they were faster to get in. The plans are all in; they just haven’t gotten the final back-check. The basement’s the final part.”
Theo was not used to not being the center of attention, especially in his own office, and was impatiently uncomfortable. “So Miss Garbo, is the delivery schedule meeting with your expectations? We have over 75% of Buenos Aires’ archives inserted, and are three weeks ahead of schedule.”
She did not immediately respond, instead, moving closer to the sheets. “Yes, very good. We’re satisfied, anxious to access it as well. How soon until we can get to review this document?”
Theo was losing his pleasant, for clients only, demeanor. He glared at Abe as if to ask him the question. “At this point, maybe a week and a half, two tops. I could get it in one if I were authorized overtime.” Might as well try for it, even if it does keep him from the wiring diagram. It had been there for years, a few more days would not hurt it.
“And the documents?” Faith asked in Theo’s direction.
Theo shifted uneasily from foot to foot. “Well, the law unambiguously states that…”
“That is an American law,” she cut him off, “These are Argentinean documents, your law does not apply.” She shot him a quick, squinty-eyed mean look, and then went back to the basement drawings.
“But the contract we have plainly indicates that the documents will be destroyed once their insertion and verification has been completed. It is the whole point of the paperless society.”
“There are other companies that would love to not only get our future work, but that could finish the work we have already given you. I know what the contract says about the destruction of the originals. I further have known what the contract says about destruction from the outset, and have been working on how to circumvent it. I also know what the contract says about termination, which clause I choose to enact is yours.” To Abe she said, “Take me to your workstation, you need to get back at it.”
Never before had Abe seen Theo talked to like this. He hoped he would never see it again. He rolled up the plans and nodded slightly at Theo as if to make his exit.
“Overtime will be authorized, and don’t be so hasty to destroy the plans when you finish. I’ll give you a bonus if you finish in less than a week.” He waved Abe away and headed back for his chair. Faith followed Abe towards the door.
Abe did not interact with other people often. He rather enjoyed his solitary existence; he lived alone, worked alone on projects that took weeks so he only had to see someone sporadically for new assignments. Even in the one place he had to see other people, the commute to work, the privacy of traveling in a large group was comforting. He had been trained to notice patterns, and small details. As such, he recognized all the regulars on his subway train each morning. When the number of regulars would grow too big, he would leave at a different time to avoid them. This meant a new set of regulars but the different pattern remained the guiding principle for Abe’s way of life. Individual solidarity and individualism in the crowd.
While the room he worked in was big enough for a guest, his closet claustrophobia seemed to kick in with Faith in the room. As he returned to work, she browsed the other documents from her file. She was disinterested in all of them, constantly looking back over at what Abe was working on. After a half hour, she had pulled up a chair directly behind him and was watching over his shoulder at his work. By that time, he had forgotten she was there and was intent on finishing as soon as possible. Overtime and a bonus was a powerful motivator, but his real drive was to get back to the wiring diagram.
Time passed. Followed by more time. The plans were incredibly detailed in the basement, to include the individual nails and wooden pegs used to hold the room together. As he reviewed the backside of the stairs, an odd emblem that seemed to be a part of the riser became visible. He blinked and it disappeared. Abe narrowed his eyes and stared for a full minute until it reappeared. Quickly he marked the spot and looked at the plans. Seeing nothing, he looked at the marked spot. Again, the emblem was gone.
This time he stared intently at the plans in the same spot. After another minute, the emblem appeared there, too. Most inserters have what is known in the business as instantaneous photographic memory. The memories are not as long-lasting as true photographic memory, some last longer than others, but it allows the inserters to be able to insure that the digitized version of things are the same as the originals to the most exacting of details. Whatever the emblem was it had been faithfully recreated. Odd thing to have happened, but faithfully recreated nonetheless, was it by accident?
Glancing up at the clock above his workstation, he caught the reflection of Faith sitting staring at the plans over his shoulder. The clock showed that everyone else would have ended the day; no one would be working this late. The short ride down the elevator to the subway station would be empty. In fact, it was late enough that Abe was ready to go himself.
Saving his work and marking his place was again a rote action that required no thinking on his part. His body conducted the actions without his mind conscious of them. “That’s it for today,” he said aloud, turning to face Faith.
She was visibly tired, but had not fallen asleep or taken her attention off the plans. It was dark in the room, with the only light coming from the monitor and the workstation lighting that was directed at the plans, shining away from where Abe was sitting. Despite the dim lighting and the fact that Abe knew next to nothing about her, she seemed disappointed. There was something about this part of this project that she was attached to.
“It’s closing time, you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” He joked.
Rising, she uncertainly said, “What, uh…what time can I come back in tomorrow?”
Incredible, am I going to have someone watching over my shoulder the whole time? Though Abe. “Well, I have to go home, eat, sleep, and get back in, so I’d say a couple hours,” he looked at his watch. “It’s eight thirty now, I’ll probably be back about seven or eight in the morning.” Most people would come in around eight, so Abe knew he would be in before them to avoid the crowds, he just hoped to get a little work done with her hovering over him.
“Alright, I’ll see you then, is there somewhere around here I can get a bite of dinner?” She picked up her purse, it was large, but the only bag she had.
Did she not have luggage, too? Surely, she had gone to her hotel first. “Yeah, but don’t you want to eat closer to your hotel?” This is an odd woman thought Abe.
“No, I haven’t gotten a hotel yet. Is there one of those near here?”
An unexpected deep sigh came from Abe as he hung his head. His Southern upbringing took precedence over his fierce avoidance of others. “There’s a pretty good sandwich shop around the corner that makes true po’boys, or if you’re not into that they also make a pretty good Cuban.”
Faith headed toward the door, “I’ve never had either but I’m hungry enough. Thanks for the offer.”
The two walked into the hall beginning a trip like none before.
Six days of intense lab work had both Kagami and Speil worn down and tired, but nothing could diminish their hopes. Neither had left the room, meals were delivered and they rotated on the cot behind the desk. After the first thirty hours, they could not help but sleep, but neither could sleep for more than a few hours. They were that close.
It was odd to say they were following the typical holistic engineering project pattern, since it had only truly been done once before, on the Allman Initiative. However, since holistic engineering was created specifically for that project and the thoughts that created this one was from the same church of thought, it was appropriate to follow the model. Work progressed on funding approaches, public support as needed, and the heavy scientific research needed to create the actual product itself. Before they barricaded themselves in the lab, the two had spoken with Senator Lear, who was the chair of the Committee on Science and Technology. With her support, the Sinduraj Program had been funded for another three years.
Senator Lear had a very distant tie to the program, her mother, Shaanda, had been instrumental in getting the city of New Ixeveh back on its feet after the devastation of Hurricane Anne in the early part of the twenty-first century. After the nearly complete ruin of the lower third of the town, when the levees holding back the river broke, no one wanted to rebuild houses. The Mayor at the time had undergone an amazing transformation, not only personally and professionally, but after the storm had become a major innovator in political and developmental manners as well.
Despite the damage to homes, almost no lives had been lost in the storm. The Gulf Coast had experienced many storms of a similar manner over the three hundred years since it was first settled by Europeans. The native residents they displaced had seen many storms before them, but it was with D’Iberville and Bienville colonizing the area that infrastructure was first built. Few counted the previous annihilation, but all counted the losses since. The 1896 storm, the 1900 Galveston storm, the ’49 storm, Betsy, Camille, Anne, all had wiped the slates clean. Few places get an opportunity to start over as often as the Gulf Coast and their hurricanes. But just as few places are filled with stubborn and defiant people as the Gulf Coast. The “new” native people of the Gulf Coast learned from the original natives. Just as they had stayed and re-built after each storm, so did the infrastructure builders. The same mentality that keeps them in their homes when such a storm bears down on them is with them afterwards in their determination to rebuild, to start over, and to succeed.
In New Ixeveh, the loss of the lower wards created an opportunity that only a true visionary could harness. Mayor King was that visionary. So many homes had been destroyed, homes that were occupied by renters and low-income families that had no motivation or money to rebuild, even with the trickle of federal support. So many businesses had been wiped out, they were slow or hesitant to rebuild in the same place with the potential for another bad storm. Industries were the only entity that seemed to pick up immediately after the storm, but there were too few of them, and the pace of their rebirth was slow because their workers had the same problems the industries did—no buildings, no electricity, no water, no shelter. Jobs were hard to find, until Mayor King started.
The lowest areas of the city had always been below sea level, and while Galveston had undertaken a major engineering project to raise itself after the 1900 storm, it was a different era. With Corps of Engineer permits, wetland mitigation, environmentalists and floodplain concerns just the red tape to do such a project would have taken a decade. There was absolutely no time for that, much less the budget. There was no choice but to rebuild the levees and start over. But who would build there? That was King’s genius.
Most of the residents had not had flood insurance, no one could afford it, no one wanted it, and no one thought the levees would ever break—even though no one ever thought the levees would hold either. King began a massive bid to purchase property. The Federal Emergency Management Agency had a buyout program that he used to fund the purchases. Then he marketed it to heavy industries. No one wanted to live near heavy industries, and no one wanted to live in the lower wards. Everyone needed jobs, perfect match. The tax incentives he gave out were incredible; none had ever been so large or long lasting. Immediately an investigation was launched into his personal finances. In the history of the state, there had never been transactions like these without the politician in charge making bundles of money, but Mayor King was clean. His altruistic sense of duty to the public spurred major changes in the community.
The second greatest triumph of his effort was to give an Indian tribe the lowest of the lowlands, right up against the levees. For months, no one could figure out why he had done it. The newspapers had editorial after editorial decrying him as the biggest idiot to have served the city since it had been founded. Throughout the country, lands owned by Indians had been used to build casinos, that bastion of sin and moral turpitude that brought nothing but crime and degradation to the surrounding area. Surely, that was the plan for this land as well. Finally, after months of negotiations and manipulations, the land was certified a reservation and the truth came out.
The Indian tribe was its own sovereign nation. As such, it had no obligation to follow American laws. They had no requirement to get a permit for filling in the wetlands, for ignoring floodplain boundaries, or more importantly for the massive amount of red tape and environmental concerns that accompanied what they were about to build. Since the mid seventies, there had been no new refineries built in the United States, mostly for the reasons that the tribe did not have to address. Technically, it was not a domestic refinery since it was on a reservation, but it was a perfect match for the oil rich waters held back by the levees and the oil hungry country that railed against paying for foreign oil.
The ensuing construction solved housing problems, employment problems and even stemmed the tide of population flight from the city. In fact, the population boomed, the city grew—uphill, not to the lower areas—and became again the jewel in the crown of the New South. A model for all to emulate in the tough economy that followed.
King’s greatest triumph was the research and technology park that grew bigger then even he had anticipated. With Senator Lear’s mother Shaanda by his side, King lobbied for the facility that Doctors Rotcod and Kagami used to research, design and build the ship that carried Ernest Allman to the stars. The global initiative that was the Allman Project was a direct descendant of Mayor King and Shaanda Lear’s efforts to rebuild New Ixeveh after Hurricane Anne. The storm had unquestionably been the best thing to ever happen.
Senator Lear’s support of the Sinduraj Program had made many things possible for Kagami and Speil, it helped that she was a fellow alum and instructor at Dillard. The doctors had moved flawlessly from activity to activity, according to the model Rotcod and Kagami had set up, but unlike the first time, Senator Lear picked up the chatter on the project and latched on herself. With an up and coming shining star like hers as a champion for the cause, the political support was taken care of. Funding became a sidebar to political support, and so the two doctors were free to spend this week in the lab on the technical aspects rather than other aspects. As a result, they were on the verge of a breakthrough.
Six days into the calculating, building, figuring, rethinking and tinkering, and the impossible was about to become the simply very difficult. “Do you ever think about what Allman might be up to?” Speil asked his former teacher while peering through a microscope. A monitor on a stand in front of him relayed everything in the eyepiece, but Speil preferred to use the more direct approach. Kagami watched as he deftly manipulated with minute tools the larger object inside the smaller shell. This was the point it had fouled up each of the last thirty something times.
“No, after enough reports came in to let us know everything was working I moved on. Rotcod stayed behind. That was when we split up. He went his way and I went mine. I tried several times to get him to work on this with me. He kept saying that it wasn’t right, sacrilege to try another travel method, how many times did you want to live forever?” On the screen, Speil was about to make the last maneuver. Kagami held his breath.
Speil had been holding his through the last two moves. If it truly helped to make difficult tasks more successful than they should have tried it earlier, because this time the move was completed. The shell was now bigger on the inside then on the outside. “If I’ve said it once, I’ve thought it a million times,” he started as he set back from the eyepiece and admired the monitor, “Impossible is a synonym for unimaginative.”
The toothbrush sat on the console, but Allman did not want to touch it. It was not that he no longer wanted good dental hygiene; something just did not feel right about it. Things had begun messing up on the Danegeld. The power outages became more frequent. It had been three months since the last update from earth, and the engines registered only enough fuel for the flop into orbit.
That amount of fuel was the default level; the programming of the ship would not allow the engines to consume the final drops. Allman called it the flop, because that was what it did to his stomach. Each time they ran through the maneuver in training his stomach did flops. It was not a comfortable action. Except that, it would be a sign that the trip was over.
The power outages were almost predictable, so just before they would occur, Allman would enter his special place. He no longer put the cover back on the alcove. It just slowed him down. Glancing at the chronometer beside the toothbrush, he pushed off and quickly glided into the next room to crawl in the spot. Instinctively, he knew. The ship would correct itself if he just brushed his teeth. A severe feeling of déjà vu way down in his gut told him so. But Allman was afraid of losing his Adonai, the name he gave to his small globe.
He still had no idea what it truly was, or where it had come from, all he really knew was that it was addictive. Like a drug, he kept coming back, but unlike every other man-made or man-discovered pleasure, the feeling that overcame him as he indulged in the enjoyment of exploring the globe seemed equal or greater each time, certainly never diminished.
Crawling in, he felt for the spot just as the power went out. The gentle tinkling of the aether filled his ears. A prelude to what was to come. This was it, the final time before he used the toothbrush. To risk it any longer would endanger his life. The ship needed to regenerate its fuel and Allman needed to get back on track. He had notched the spot so it could be found again, even in the dark. The instructions on how to find it had been etched on the inside of the panel, so that just in case he forgot it, he would be able to find it again. Just one last look.
The aether became more noticeable, and then suddenly, just like the multiple times before, it appeared. This time it was a person. Allman’s heart leaped, just as it always did. He had long since given up on communicating, clearly it was a one way medium, or at least he had not figured out a way to do anything other than look through the looking glass, a virtual two-way mirror for Allman’s viewing pleasure along.
The subject appeared to be a young, aspiring author. Tonight it was the computer screen dashing his hopes at a literary gold mine. An endless thought began to progress in his mind, and he started absentmindedly to type. Without realizing, he begins to describe himself, and his predicament. Without intending to, the subject of his writing is himself. An infinite loop begins. A kind of living breathing moebius strip of thoughts and words.
Allman shifted to the screen to read the words. History repeats itself, it is said, because no one listens. By this very thought process, the future reveals itself through our historic ignorance. At one time, it was thought that going over thirty-five miles an hour in an automobile would bring on one's death. Prior to Chuck Yeager, some thought the sound barrier impossible to break. A handful of people still choose to disbelieve that man has walked on the moon. Without Asimov, robots would have no die hard, steadfast rules to live by. Without this work, the same would be true of time travel.
Just as people did not believe that most forms of transportation would work until some Wright brother-type pioneers come around, so too is travel in time possible. It takes merely the ability to test Einstein's theory of relativity. By going close enough to the speed of light, one can allow oneself to travel great distances in little amounts of time, while real amounts have passed at the departure and arrival locations. The real trouble is in getting back. Or at least understanding that in a similar manner that travel backwards is just as possible as travel forward in time.
Some highly theoretical quantum physicists believe that even backward time travel is possible for some small objects: atoms, electrons, infinitely small objects can be sent backward. If this technology is advanced to a far enough stage, eventually larger objects could be sent, until finally people themselves are "small" enough to send.
Enough for theory. When in the future, anything is possible, your actions cannot change the way in which you arrived to the future. Paradox occurs in the past. By sending one's "small" particles back in such a way as to not deteriorate the cohesion of the individual, whose parts have been quantitatively returned to the past is the simplified version of what happens. Any changes made by the transported person can affect both the ability to travel, and the person.
If the person who advances this theory enough to work goes back in time, and they were able to affect their ability to advance the theory enough, then because of past time travel, there would be no past time travel. In the present-future, the ability to travel backwards would be lost because of backward travel; which in turn would mean that since it was impossible to travel backwards, backwards travel would again be possible. The catch-twenty-two paradox of this causes the traveler to observe only, not make any changes. Almost as if the backward time traveler were intangible, unless of course that the backward time traveler went back solely to help himself learn how to travel backwards in time.
Of course, this would negate the intangibility law, which would negate the ability to go backwards. This means that it would be possible to go backward except that it is impossible, and that it is impossible to go backward unless you can go backward.[ Me , 5/13/17, 10:28
Probably need to remove all of this.]
Allman pulled back to see the author again. Shifting positions in his window on the Adonai, he looked on the face of the young man. An adolescent Otto Rotcod, or was it a child of the man who had put Allman into motion? He reached out to touch the face. What looked like a ripple in a pond waved through the image. Allman blinked and shook his head. He pushed back from the spot and started crawling out. The dark ship awaited him.
Thinking better of it, he repositioned himself and waited on the aether and the globe. As it reappeared, he saw the back of another man. This one also had his head wrapped up in what he looked at on the computer screen. He also had the look of being dead tired. Overworked, and under rested.
Shifting to view this screen showed what appeared to be a confusing tangle of wires. Only two objects were on the screen other then what he was taking to be the wires in a wiring diagram. One of the objects was a rectangular box; the other looked like a small globe. Zooming in even closer, Allman could see the first man sitting at his screen. Now Allman was the moebius strip.
Abe had been dozing at his desk. Between working too many hours trying to finish things and entertaining Faith, he really did not have time to waste on his hobby, but it was more than a hobby. It was his obsession now. He blinked; the wires had revealed another object. The door actuator was clear now; the wires running into and out of the rectangle were easily visible and traceable for quite some distance. Just not all the way. The last line he had moved revealed what for a brief instance reminded Abe of something from the basement of Daneri’s house. Then it disappeared and a dark image took its place. Squinting, he began trying to make out what it was. As his eyes adjusted to the pitch-black circle, he could make out what looked like eyes, and the shadow of a nose.
He took his focus from the screen to reach for a pad of paper and pencil. When he looked back, the image was gone.
The lights came back on, eliminating Allman’s Adonai. For a solid minute he did not move. Trying to interpret what he had seen was as difficult as recreating the feelings he got while viewing the globe. For a brief second, Allman thought he could hear something other than just the aether. Light classical music had filled his ears. He was certain that it was in the ship’s database, but had not been played in quite some time. Imprinting the notes on his mind, he went to uncover what the tune was, and then he would brush his teeth.
The shape came back, but the face was gone. Abe sketched it on the pad, and looked at it to see if it matched. When he looked back at the screen, it was gone, but after a bit of staring, it came back, just like on the house plans. The pad matched the screen, but he was too tired to keep going. He saved where he was in the stripping of the wiring diagram, glanced at the pad, and closed the browser, turned off his background music, Gustav Holst’s The Planets. Holst never attempted to write anything similar to these works once he finished them. They sounded as if from another place, Holst could not fathom its success, and none could match its intensity.
Abe glanced over on the couch, Faith stirred in her sleep beneath his blanket. They had gotten closer over the last two days then he had gotten to anyone since his parents had passed. It was not sexual, or even romantic, they just shared a common trait, obsession with an archaic, old and forgotten object. Close as they were though, neither knew why the other was so obsessed. Yet.
Setting up the search engine, Allman absently reached for the toothbrush. This time even the prick did not faze him. The Planets, specifically, Mercury, the Winged Messenger, was the tune that Allman had heard just before the power came back on. What did it mean? Why? A yawn overcame him as he began brushing his teeth. He could not really tell, but it felt as if he were literally scraping a layer of gunk off his teeth. The tartar had not built up that severe that he could really feel it, but the smooth enamel felt good all by itself to Allman’s tongue. Tomorrow, another day, what would it hold? Allman did not know, but he would learn soon enough.