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Authors: Gina Marie Wylie

The Far Side

BOOK: The Far Side
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The Far Side

 

Gina Marie Wylie

 

Copyright ©
2008,2012 Gina Marie Wylie

All rights reserved.

ISBN: 1482303025

ISBN-13:
978-1482303025

 

 

 

CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

 

1

The Door

1

2

The Far Side

19

3

Other Explorations

39

4

Lateral Progress

60

5

Forward!

79

6

Real Progress

106

7

Things Happen

122

8

Melek

143

9

The Uncool

167

10

The Woman Who Counted

187

11

The Woman Who Figured

207

12

Precipitate Action

222

13

The Best Defense

242

14

Let’s Take a Meeting

261

15

Meeting on a Hillside

278

16

The Catch of the Day

298

17

Arvala -- the Golden City

316

18

The Golden Bough

334

19

Gray Dawn

356

20

The Opposite of a Thief in the Night

377

21

Down For the Count

392

22

Happy Face Again

413

23

Fighting the Good Fight

434

24

Rest and Recovery

454

25

Think About This

471

26

Thoughts Thought

492

27

Choo! Choo!

516

28

The Outlines of a Rescue

541

29

The Plan of a Rescue

557

30

I’ve Been Working on the Railroad

581

31

Another Problem

602

32

Working Things Through

627

33

The Adventure of a Lifetime

646

34

Kidnapped, or Two Lifetimes Before the Mast

664

35

Rescued

682

36

A Final Rescue

698

37

An Ultimate Lesson

723

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1
:: The Door

 

 

Kristine Boyle, Kris to her friends, opened her front door and smiled at the girl standing there.  “Hey, Andie!” Kris greeted her best friend of the last eight years.

Andrea Schultz was easily the smallest member of the senior class in their high school, barely reaching four feet six inches tall.  She was tied for a couple of other records as well: she was by far and away the smartest person in their class and had already been selected the class valedictorian -- not without a little trepidation on the part of Doctor Stone, their high school principal.

“Where the fuck have you been?” asked Andie.

“And good afternoon to you, sunshine!” Kris said trying pretend she was angry.  Andrea had the foulest mouth of anyone Kris had ever met -- so long as you didn’t count Andie’s father, Otto, the man who’d taught his daughter to speak when she wasn’t quite two years old and who had been unable to accept the fact that his daughter was actually able to learn to talk at that age.

“Well?” Andie said, sounding impatient.

“I don’t suppose you read the email I sent you Friday afternoon?”

“Why the fuck would I want to check my email?” Andie replied belligerently.

“Well, in case someone’s father insisted he needed another set of sticks covered during the last week of primary shooting for his latest project -- and that I was the best camera person he could get on short notice.”

“The cheapest fuckin’ camerawoman, anyway,” Andrea said.  “I sure coulda used another set of hands myself, getting my piece of shit science fair project done.”

“I’m really sorry, Andie.  He asked really nice and made it worth my while.”

“Until he’s paying you scale, Kris, he’s rippin’ you off.  Sue the fucker for violating the child labor laws or somethin’.”

“He’s going to buy me a new car -- a nice new car -- the afternoon of our graduation ceremony.  For that, Andie, I can be real patient.”

“Ya coulda had a ‘Vette!  But no!  You want a fuck shit Mini Cooper!”

As quickly as Andie had gotten off topic, she honed back on her reason for coming over on a Monday afternoon, the last day of the Memorial Day weekend and graduation minus twelve days.

“You wanna see the kick ass piece of shit I put together?  This is like so cool!  This is the coolest thing ever!”

“I thought you were going to do a math paper on string theory?  Gosh, Andie -- you have to have it done in a week!”

“Yeah, that’s why I want ya to come see it.  Ya gotta help me do the fuckin’ report for this!  This is all new.  I had a complete brain fart the other day!”

There could not be, Kris thought, a more disparate set of friends in the universe.  Kris’s father was Oliver Boyle, the world famous director and cinematographer -- one of the top names in Hollywood.  Every movie he worked on over the last fifteen years had turned out golden; everyone wanted him to come and work on their next project.  Kris’s mother was a rather unassuming woman who headed one of the top stem-cell research teams in the country.

Andrea’s father’s claim to fame was having won nearly three hundred million dollars in the lottery.  Otto Schulz, had won it big with the lottery.  He’d taken the one hundred and forty million dollar check and spent it all except two million dollars that his daughter had made him salt away “for college.”  Otto was an ex-Navy chief petty officer turned electrician, whose wife, it was rumored, had died the first time he got going good in his description of the San Diego whore, who, many years before, had made him a man.
  As Andie told the story, anyway.

It was almost certainly true, Kris thought, that Andie’s IQ was, literally, twice her father’s.

Now, Kris sighed theatrically.  “I’m good, Andie.  I’m very good.  But even I’m going to need a while to come up to speed on whatever you’ve come up with this time.”

“I was readin’ this piece of shit online about some fuckin’ asshole back in Illinois who built a fuckin’ fusion reactor for his science fair project in his fuckin’ basement.”

Kris winced.  “And you did what?”

“I can do anything better than any fuckin’ guy who was ever born.  The stupid fucker needed expensive equipment to detect the few neutrons he was generating.  I knew I could do a lot better.”

“You built a fusion reactor?” Kris tried not to show how nervous she was at hearing that, and tried to resist looking down the street to see if there was a mushroom cloud over Andie’s house.

“Yeah.  At first the dumb fuckin’ thing didn’t work.  Then I remembered that old gasbag Marshall getting on my case in Physics this year for not checking my work.

“Damn!  Thirty-five hundred parts and I got just two of them wrong!  That’s ninety-nine point nine-four percent accurate!”

“You were trying to build a hydrogen bomb and I’m supposed to feel good you only screwed up twice?” Kris said, a look of pain on her face.

“Not big mistakes and the fucker isn’t a bomb.  I found the fuckups in about an hour.  No big.  But the piece of shit was just like the cock-sucker’s.  Almost no neutron production!  Some, but not much more than a puddle of piddle.”

Kris sent a prayer flying up to heaven, thanking God.

“So, I tinkered with the fucker, and I did some more research, and then tinkered some more.  I had it working pretty fuckin’ good by yesterday morning.”

“Lots of neutrons?” asked Kris, appalled.  She wasn’t nearly as smart as Andie, but she wasn’t stupid, either.  Neutrons were dangerous.

“Yeah, well about that -- I added some boron around it.  The old man is going to freak when he gets the bill for that shit... I put it on his credit card.”

“And it works?”

“Yeah.  That was a problem too -- yesterday afternoon the fuckers from the power company were banging on the door, all pissed about the shit I’d done to their fucking power pole.”

“What did you do to it?”

“Well, I could tell I was generating a lot of power, so I put in some heavier wiring.  I didn’t want it showing up on the meter, so I bypassed it.  They found that I’d rewired the transformer on the pole, too.  There’s too fuckin’ many rectifiers in that useless piece of shit.  I’d have blown the transformer if I’d just run it in there without fixing their shitty design first.”

“Good grief, Andie!”

“Relax, they’re fuckin’ stupid.  Do I look like the sort of person who climbs a forty-foot power pole and rewires a hot transformer?”  She sniffed.  “Stupid fuckin’ morons!”

“Andie...”  Kris moaned.

“Yeah... Well, now I got a new fuckin’ problem.  I decided I needed to generate some kinda fuckin’ load, so I didn’t keep putting the power back in the grid.  The fuckers undid all my wiring, anyway!  Stupid fuckers had the power off for four hours this morning!  Bunch of yellow dumb-asses!”

“What sort of a problem?” Kris asked, not sure she really wanted to know.

“No fuckin’ clue.  I created this rotating magnetic vortice.  I figured, what the fuck, I could do it virtually, not actually have any fucking thing that moved.  It was cool at fifty megahertz.  It didn’t do anything except tug on a few fuckin’ nails in the walls, and not too fuckin’ hard.

“I tinkered some more with the design.  Jeez Marie!  Can you imagine that fuckin’ borax right out of the Twenty-Mule Team box is 80% a good fuel isotope?  It combines with straight hydrogen into an unstable version of carbon 12, which is radioactive and breaks down into three alpha particles -- three helium nuclei, without electrons.  Jeez, this is so fuckin’ cool!  I can siphon off the charged alpha particles and generate electricity by direct conversion!  It’s fucking 95% efficient!

“So, I had all this extra power I had to fucking get rid of, so I put a whole lot more torque into the fucking spinning magnetic field.  Fucking cool!  I was thinking I might get it going so fast I could maybe see some fuckin’ frame dragging!  Get me two fuckin’ Nobels at once!”

Andie stopped talking and stared at Kris.  “So, like I said, I need someone to help me with the fuckin’ report.  And this other thing came up...”

Kris grimaced.  “Something else?”

“Yeah, something else is going on.  I’m not sure what the fuck it is!  Something freaking fucking odd!”  Andie stopped for a second.  “I don’t suppose you could borrow one of your old man’s fuckin’ video cameras?”

“A camera?” Kris asked, still a couple of laps behind Andie.

“Yeah, I tried looking at it, but I can’t see shit.  And I might be a fuckin’ genius, but I’m not fuckin’ stupid!”

“My dad gave me a camera a few years ago.  It was a good camera at the time, but there are a lot better cameras now.  Wait a sec.”

Kris went and fetched the hard camera case and contemplated it.  She had recharged the batteries a few weeks before, thinking she was going to sneak it under her graduation gown and get some behind-the-scenes shots at graduation.  Her father’s reaction to that idea was to remind her that a naked picture of anyone under eighteen was kiddie porn and she could go to jail for a long time.

So she got the XL-2 from the case and carried it out to where Andie was waiting in the living room.  “Where’s your old man?” she asked Andie.

“It’s six fuckin’ o’clock on a Monday evening.  Where the fuck do you think he’s at?  He’d down at the sports bar buying rounds for his fuckin’ ‘friends.’”

Several times Kris had seen Andie’s father beet red from anger at what his daughter had said to him.  At some point, Kris was sure, he was going to kill Andie.  She hoped it was metaphorical but she wasn’t sure, which is why she was careful around him.

The two girls walked four doors down the street, except Laurel Canyon Road wasn’t an ordinary street.  Four doors meant out to Laurel Canyon, across two streets and maybe forty feet lower, into another cul-de-sac and past a couple more palatial homes like the others along here.

Kris looked up at the power pole in front of Andie’s house.  It was about forty feet tall, the first rungs about ten feet off the ground, and at the top a tangle of wires and stuff, plus two gray transformers.  Kris was positive that Andie had climbed up there and confidently gone about whatever she’d done.  She closed her eyes.  She wasn’t that afraid of heights, but she wouldn’t have wanted to get into that tangle of wires.

Andie didn’t seem to notice her discomfort, instead, walking steadily through the main gate and into the house.

“Oh yeah,” Kris asked.  “I know this is probably a stupid question, but just where did you build your fusion reactor?”

Andie had the good grace to blush.  “I can’t put it anywhere my fuckin’ old man would notice, so the fuckin’ garage was out.  This is California; no one has a fuckin’ basement.  I moved most of my fuckin’ shit out of the closet and put it in my dresser.  The rest I boxed and put up in the garage.  He’ll never notice another couple of fuckin’ boxes in there!”

Kris grimaced.  Yeah, where would you want to put a fusion reactor?  Why, that would be in the walk-in closet in your bedroom!  Sure!  Why not?

Kris wasn’t sure what she expected, but she hadn’t expected it was going to be as large as it was.  It filled the closet.  Equipment was piled on the shelves; more things were on wooden saw horses with pine planks across them.

“This is it?” Kris asked, waving at the apparatus.

“Fuck, yes!  It costs less than that fuckin’ pony my father bought me for my birthday did!

When they had been in sixth grade, Kris’s mother had insisted that Kris do something about Andrea’s language.  “Dear, it’s not lady-like.  You’ll be doing Andrea a favor.”

Well, Andie hadn’t liked it at all; several times telling Kris she fuckin’ well knew how to talk and she didn’t fuckin’ need someone telling her how.

It was, Kris was sure, something Andie did to piss people off, but even more than that, to call attention to herself.  A four and a half foot miniature blonde just didn’t strike people as imposing or important.  No matter what Andie did, it was hard to get people to take her seriously.

Andie drew herself up. “The original design calls for a voltage of about 13,000 volts at 30 milliamps.  The stupid fuckin’ shit barely works, so the first thing I did was increase the voltage.”

Kris smiled, knowing she would make Andie’s day.  “What are you using now?”

“I fixed up a Van de Graaff generator to create the potential well.  It’s about four feet long, which is kind of puny, but I put three 13,000 volt transformers from neon signs on it, to speed up the charging.  I get about three quarters of a million volts now.  No fucking amps, but...

“I can’t get any more voltage in the fuckin’ closet, because the Van de Graaff keeps fuckin’ arcing to nails in the fuckin’ studs.  Pain in the ass.  I get a pretty steady three quarter of a million volts.”

“That’s a lot of volts,” Kris said mildly.

“Fuck!  It’s volts times amps that gets the job done!  No fuckin’ amps.  Micro-fuckin’ amps.  But for this, it’s the fuckin’ potential well that fucking makes it works.  I don’t fuckin’ need any fuckin’ amps.”

“How is a micro-fuckin’ amp different from a regular microamp?” Kris asked with a straight face.

BOOK: The Far Side
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