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NaNoWrimo Day 1, 2013

NaNoWrimo Day 1, 2013

This is the first section of the book I am working on during National November Writing Month, 2013. (It has not been edited and it makes me extremely uncomfortable to post it, so that’s why I thought I should do it.) My novel is still untitled. Suggestions welcome.
TESTING
Eleven sets of eyeballs from my scientific staff were glued either to my hand or to the acorn on the enclosure room table. I could also see a few eyeballs trying to lean around the door frame.

I cleared my throat as quietly as possible and said to George, my absolutely adorable new camera man, “Time Machine Trial #1. April 16th 10….40 a.m.”

I was so nervous I did not even trust my watch. I had no faith that the first test would give me any result other than an acorn to use on the next test. I seriously planned to just leave it on the table. But who was I to know, the machine might also take the whole room with it or blow up the building, making me just another psychopath, with multiple PhDs. I mean toying with experimental physics is asking for trouble but it seemed like a perfect waste of my mechanical engineering doctorate. George reached around the camera and brushed the red hair out of my face. The glancing brush of his fingertips caused me to unconsciously draw back. He stiffened, realizing he had already forgotten how Asperger’s could make our working microcosm more complex.

I smiled at George trying to signal everything was fine, no meltdowns right now and hoped I was not blushing. I knew I should have worn my hair up. I wanted to look nice for the video but somedays, like while sweating bullets, long hair seems like a poor decision. It was not poor George’s fault.

I looked to my team and counted “3…”

~~~
I know the whole procedure only lasted 4 minutes. I had practically had to peel my eyeballs away from my watch ever since I entered the observation room. I was quite disappointed in my self abuse and doubt. Now I was just mad about the table.

“Damn it, why did we not put the acorn on the floor? That steel lab table cost $5,000!”

“Abigail, you just successful built a time machine. We’ll buy another table. Hell, we’ll buy anything you want. Do you want a unicorn?”

The test was successful, but my skin rolled with stress. The results were difficult to verify with a time machine, that could have just turn out to be a teleportation device. I need to move in time and space… not just space.  I called out to the team, “No traces of the marker in proximity?”

Dominic, my second-in-command, yelled back, “The acorn has left the building. No trace of it within 10 kilometers.” I really loved my faithful companion.

Matthew brushed his fingers down my shoulder, a little too intimately, as he circled behind me talking into my hair. I suddenly wished I had gone to more than one krav maga class with my best friend, Maggie. Being Director of PR had given Matthew a big head but his single-minded determination to get in my bed was getting a bit annoying. I had not bothered to count the number of times I had shut him down. Fortunately it was clear to everyone else on the planet that I was not with him, which was good for my team and could go either way on all the guys in the real world that gravitated toward me. I never understood why so many people reach toward my hair when they talk to me and then do not want to stop touching it when they say “Oh my God. Your hair is unbelievably soft.” The conversation that followed about what commercial hair products do to human hair, usually ends with “Would you like me to draw you a diagram?”

“What are you? A rocket scientist?”

“Me? Oh no. I am a privately funded, experimental physicist. Aerospace engineering and rockets are a completely different subset of geek.”

Fortunately in five years, no one had really asked where all my private funding came from. I kind of felt badly for the university scientists who were begging, haggling, and running out of money and time. Occasionally when I would see promising work, I would send a donation worth a year of research from the nonprofit I set up. The nonprofit essentially allowed me to channel money from myself to myself without anyone asking questions. It was fundamentally easier for people not to realize I was quite well off, and controlled ever aspect of my work.

During my second year of grad school, I started reverse billing. My rate started at $100,000 if I could diagnose a problem with a machine in under 10 minutes. Every further 10 minutes reduced the invoice by $10,000. At one hour, my rate stayed flat at $40,000. At two hours my rate went to zero. No one expected a girl to figure out the issue so quickly, so they jumped at the chance to get a free consultant. If they wanted me to fix the machine, those rates started at $50,000. But I found most of the men and women who worked with the machines could fix them once they knew what the problem was and I was always nice enough to leave them with instructions if they did not know off hand.

Very quickly I got a reputation for knowing the problem before I actually got to the correct machinery and surprisingly I got more consulting work because I was quick and accurate. People I do not understand. Machines I do and they make a lot of noise. But that is not the important part, you have to stop listening to the noise and hear the vibrations. Only three jobs took more than 10 minutes and one was because I needed blueprints that had to be found. One of those three, had actually taken more than 2 hours. The job I billed $0 for, the owner and foreman insisted something was wrong with the machine. I spent over an hour trying to convince them the machine was fine and to let me see the programming. I guess it was classified work or something but finally they gave in. A thousand lines of code or so and I found the misplaced decimal. I refused to bill on the grounds that it was a simple mistake, even I could have made. My dad was a Master Machinist, just like the one who looked so disappointed when I found his decimal point. The foreman followed my eyes, and was good enough to say “Glen, I’ve worked with you over 30 years. Time you made a mistake. We’d started to think you were superhuman.”

I could not stand the thought of Glen loosing his job, even in the distant future, so I left him with an invitation to work for me even if I did not particularly need a machinist.

I also left with the owner, Kyle. We had a very lovely dinner, which surprised me. I rarely dated, and it was even more rare that someone could keep up with me in conversation. I dated him for over a year. He was gentle, and understood when I could not stand to be touched. He would lie beside me if nothing else. As Matthew touched me again and ripped me from my daydreams, I was thinking I should call Kyle and tell him Time travel is successful now… He would celebrate with me.

“Abigail, where did you go? Time traveling already are you?”

I started to walk away. I had a lot on my mind.

Matthew called after me, “Are you ever going to explain how the device works?”

I turned, slowly walking backwards, “Oh, you want me to explain how I harnessed the power of the sun into a device I can hold in my hand?” I was taunting him and I knew it.

I called out more loudly to the team, who were excitedly buzzing around, “Somebody write up a report. George, you have got a full time job!” I stopped really quickly and spun around so hard, my entire team looked up. “Oh MY GOD! I could go back in time and see if unicorns were real!” My laughter filled the hallway, as I jogged out of the building.

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