Computer Entanglement

“I feel like this is exactly where you wanted me to be.” Jennifer looks at the old man standing in front of her.

“But of course you would.” The mad scientist looking old man paces in front of her, slightly hunching as he walks and then upright as he turns to pace back three paces the opposite direction. “You have to help me with a particular opportunity.”

“Sounds to me like you have a problem that you’re trying to spin to me as an opportunity.” Jennifer smiles at the old man. “What should I call you?”

“My name is Fredrick, but you will call me Fred.”

“I’m glad you’re making decisions for me, Fred. Since I was in the neighborhood, I figured I’d stop by and see if you needed any help.” Jennifer sarcastically smirks at Fredrick.

“You find my computer chip, and then I help you. That’s what happens.” Fredrick is speaking in a tone of certainty that Jennifer is familiar with and feeling confident about already about finding his computer chip.

“I’ll assume you already checked your computer, so I’ll need a little more information about the chip to play detective, Fred.”

“Before we begin, I just have one question for you. How did you get into this room?”

Jennifer pauses. A sudden and long sequence of events flashes in her memory. It seems as if she has more than a century of memories running through her mind. Entire events that she feels like she’s living for the first time in that very moment thinking about Fredrick’s question. She shakes her head.

“You don’t know, do you?” Fredrick drops his head with slight disappointment.

“Give me a second. There’s something playing with my mind.” Jennifer becomes engulfed in her memories.

#

Jennifer is watching herself standing in a room with Fredrick on a monitor inside a large, dimly lit spaceship hanger. Her heart is racing as she types ferociously on the screen in front of her. She receives a message via her optical messaging system from the computer in front of her. She has the location, but she knows she’s taken too much time. She hears voices coming down the hallway getting closer.

Jennifer closes her eyes for a blink and suddenly can observe the building she’s located in from a higher dimension. She can see that there is a possible escape route through the ventilation system under the computer terminal on the other side of the hanger. Jennifer opens her eyes and begins running towards the opposite side of the hanger.

She can hear the door open as she pulls the filter and vent cover inward to make it appear as if the vent cover was in proper condition. She slowly eases her way through the ventilation system until she finds the spot she remembers from her higher dimensional blink experience.

She makes her way through a series of hallways as quickly as possible wearing her advanced body suit that makes her invisible to the cameras and scanners along the way. She opens a door and walks into the room with Fredrick.

As she walks into the room, she suddenly opens her eyes and explains to Fredrick how she got to the room.

Fredrick smiles. “Then this is good news! Now we just need to find my optical lenses.”

Jennifer blinks for a split second that suddenly transports her back into the higher dimension where she can see exactly where Fredrick’s optical lenses are and knows how to get to them and four possible escape routes. This time she runs through all four escape routes to find the best option. Only one route will work. Her eyes open and she grabs Fredrick’s arm and walks out the door.

#

They make their way strategically through the service access system that runs along the hallways but isn’t monitored by scanners and cameras. Jennifer is receiving signals through her optical lenses with instructions on the direction to take the service access system and entry codes to enter into the doorways along the way.

The only surveillance they have to worry about is when they leave the room that has Fredrick’s optical lenses, and Jennifer already has that planned out.

They enter the room with Fredrick’s optical lenses. The lenses are sitting in their case on a beautiful mahogany wood desk in the middle of the room with several lights pointing directly onto the center of the desk. Jennifer notices that the lens case appears to have been positioned in just off-center, to the left of middle on the desk and pointing towards the door.

She grabs Fredrick before he can get too far away from her and there is a sudden cling of metal against the floor as a silent bullet whizzes just passed Fredrick’s head. Jennifer fires a single shot with her own pistol in the direction from where the silent bullet came from. A drone bounces off the wall and crashes down to the floor. Jennifer’s aim was perfect!

She reaches down to pickup Fredrick off the floor. “Grab ’em, and let’s get out of here.”

Fredrick grabs his case and puts his lenses on. As Jennifer and Fredrick walk through the threshold of the door, they are suddenly surrounded by a contingent of soldiers pointing their guns at them. Jennifer hears foot steps and then sees the familiar face of General Z as she walks towards her.

“Looks like this isn’t your dimension after all.” General Z says as she stops one step away from Jennifer. Jennifer clenches her jaw as she stands tall in front of General Z. “I should kill you right now, but we need you alive so that the good Fredrick can examine your suit with you ALIVE in it.”

General Z motions to the guards and they escort Jennifer and Fredrick through the hallway.

#

The guards open the door to a solitary confinement prison cell with no opening except very smell vents heavily bolted to the walls. They shove Jennifer into the room and close the door. The room is well-lit but would barely fit more than two people standing up. She turns around and anticipates the door opening. She pauses.

The door opens and Fredrick is standing in front of her,

“What took you so long, Fredrick?”

“Just one unexpected glitch. Let’s go.”

Fredrick leads Jennifer through a couple of hallways and then signals her to come into one of the rooms with her. “This will give us a shortcut to the active hanger.”

Jennifer enters a room with a scanner in the middle of an observation deck and immediately tackles Fredrick and places him into an arm bar and dislocated his elbow and shoulder in one powerful move! Fredrick screams in agony as Jennifer stands up and stands over Fredrick. The door opens again and the Fredrick Jennifer had saved from the prison enters.

“Remind me not to ever choose to be that Fred.” Fredrick says to Jennifer as he runs to the computer console in the observation deck. “Go ahead and stand in the scanner.”

Jennifer stands in the scanner, and there’s a slight hum as the scanner begins slowly making its way from head to toe over Jennifer’s body suit. A series of different colored lights flash so quickly against Jennifer’s body that it almost appears to be solid white light scanning down her body.

As the scanner is going, Fredrick is connecting a computer device to the observation deck computer. His device begins downloading the scanner information and the scan of Jennifer and her body suit. The scan seems to be taking forever as the other Fredrick is no longer screaming in pain.

He looks up at Jennifer and scowls, “We make such a great team, don’t we?”

Jennifer ignores him.

“The universe is unfolding exactly as it should, Jennifer. In order for you to get the information about my scanner, you have to give me all the information about your suit. You picked the wrong side in this dimension.” He pauses for a second and then yells, “You picked that freak!”

The scanner finishes scanning Jennifer, and Fredrick unplugs his device from the scanner and walks over to the Fredrick on the ground and kicks him hard enough in the face to knock him out.

“That doesn’t hurt you?” Jennifer stares at the two Fredricks.

“He’s quite the asshole, so I really don’t feel any connection with him.”

Fredrick grabs Jennifer’s arm and pulls her towards the door. “Let’s get to the hanger and get out of this ship. If the data is accurate, then there should be a freighter we can piggyback on to get you to where you need to be.”

Jennifer pulls her arm away from Fredrick and looks at the Fredrick passed out on the ground. She looks over at the scanner terminal and then back at the Fredrick on the ground and then at the device Fredrick is holding in his other hand.

“Wait…” Jennifer runs over to the scanner terminal and begins prying the keyboard panel off the terminal to review a bright glowing light with a large bell-shaped object sitting on an optics channel motherboard. Fredrick watches closely as Jennifer pulls the bell-shaped object from the scanner terminal.

#

The bell-shaped object has a light green glow to it as Jennifer lifts the bell-shaped object out of the scanner terminal. As Jennifer lifts the bell-shaped object towards Fredrick’s face she is suddenly watching herself from a higher dimension. There is a cable that is connecting a series of wires leading from the monitor to her head.

Fredrick taps her on the shoulder and startles her.

“Quite the experience, no?” Fredrick lifts the brain connector from Jennifer’s head.

“It all seems so real.”

“That’s because it is, my dear.”

Fredrick explains to Jennifer that he made a very unique pair of quantum computer chips. The quantum chips are quantum entangled. “This means that everything taking place on one chip is also always taking place at the exact same time on the other chip. No matter how far apart in this universe they are from each other.”

He continues to explain how the quantum entanglement allowed him to build a computer that enabled him to jump to a higher dimension and eventually build another computer chip that was entangled at that dimension. The current dimension that they are in.

“In doing so, I can jump from observer of a lower dimension to experiencing the lower dimension whenever I want. My quantum entangled computers are even entangled within each other. I already know that at some point in this dimension I will create another entangled computer to take me to the next dimension.”

“How do you know that?” Jennifer is looking at Fredrick’s invention in awe.

“I am becoming entangled with every version of myself I choose to already. Thoughts, ideas, even memories and premonitions just come to me from nowhere.”

“The possibilities are endless, Fred!”

“Ya, well, you’d think that might be the case, right? Yet her you are in this very moment, experiencing what you are rather than being with your husband on Earth.”

Jennifer reflects on Fredrick’s statement and her eyes begin to well up with tears. “Why am I here instead of there? Why can’t you take me there?”

“What’s the fun in that?”

“Well, I love my husband, and I love everything we had together on Earth.”

“And still, you are here. Hanging out with a crazy old man.” Fredrick pokes Jennifer in the arm to remind her where she is.

“You can’t make it out of this dimension without me, can you, Fred?”

“Can’t…” Fredrick pauses. “Or I choose not to.” Fredrick walks away from Jennifer towards the cockpit of their spacecraft and looks out at the solar system they have just entered. There’s a massive star in the middle with a smaller, much dimmer star orbiting around it with several planets orbiting the smaller star.

“This is one of your favorite adventures, Jennifer! Buckle up, we’re heading to Cheebs!”

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The Little Mermaid (Idea)

Sci-fi version of “Little Mermaid” where Ariel is a genetically engineered mermaid who is part of a top secret military program (Atlantica). She is capable of sinking submarines and ships with a powerful sonar she is able to create with her underwater voice. She is ordered to sink a fishing vessel (mistakenly thought to be a foreign military vessel) in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Los Angeles. She saves the Captain (Eric) but becomes depressed about her situation of destruction and lack of legs. Of course, she’s smitten by Eric and wants to be with him on land.

Eric’s father happens to be the Admiral who has Project Atlantica under his budget. Once he hears of the incident, he decides to shut it down. The program director (Dr. Triton) is told of the news to shutdown the program and is ordered to euthanize all of the creatures in the program. Of course, he has to keep it a secret, but the AI running the facility (Underwater Research System – Los Angeles) discovers the plan and uses Ariel’s love of Eric to coerce her into becoming a bipedal land dweller.

URSLA sends an AI lobster bot (Sebatian) to make arrangements with Ariel to become bipedal. URSLA fabricates some bionic legs to allow Ariel to see the world through a bipedal experience. Of course, Ariel must do a favor within 72 hours for the URSLA AI by plugging in a blue and yellow device (Flounder) to the USB port of an specific computer (Admiral who is shutting down Atlantica/Eric’s father).

Since Ariel is an underwater creature, she cannot vocally communicate outside of water, and there is not enough time to create a vocal communicator for her. The AI hides her from Dr. Triton but doesn’t let on that it knows Dr. Triton is euthanizing all the creatures and allows them to be systematically killed, including others just like Ariel.

Meanwhile, Ariel gets Eric to fall in love with her via online dating apps and virtual reality, masking her lack of voice. She gets to meet Eric’s father after Eric invites her to have dinner at the Admiral’s house. There she discovers that the URSLA program is slated to be shutdown by Eric’s father because of the incident where Ariel sank Eric’s ship, killing everyone aboard. This is only after she has already plugged in the device to the USB port.

The URSLA AI spreads to a nuclear submarine and begins to move the submarine into the Pacific to initiate global nuclear war. The only one who can stop it is Ariel, but since she no longer has fins, Eric must take her in an old ship, under heavy weather, and drop her into the ocean where she can destroy the submarine. She will have no way to make it back to the surface without fins, but it’s the only way to save Eric and humanity!

The Cost of Living

Cost of living expenses have continued to soar while wages have remained relatively stagnant for an historical 20 year run. Unemployment rates have remained near historical lows as have crime rates. In fact, crime is all but eradicated. The gap between the cost of living and average income continues to grow and remains a concern for potential increases in crime. To combat this massive living wage gap, the United States government has recently passed the Government Economic Oversight Act to help empower families through a variety of somewhat controversial (but effective) incentive programs.

The newly formed Economic Empowerment Department is well underway with ensuring that population growth does not outpace economic growth while offering parents alternatives to traditional family options. Rebecca and Jonathan are in their final weeks of a rare twin pregnancy. Concerned with the future conditions for their children, they meet with an economic counselor to discuss their situation.

“Welcome to Economic Empowerment!” The counselor sounds like a self help guru. “I’m glad you are taking the time to explore your options with your…” the counselor pauses, pointing at Rebecca’s stomach, “unique condition. It has been quite some time since we’ve had a pregnancy such as yours. So many opportunities for you!”

Rebecca explains to the counselor that she has read up on all the programs online. Rebecca doesn’t view any of the options available as opportunities, but both her and Jonathan are concerned about the grim future for twins.

The counselor holds up a finger to get Rebecca to stop talking and reaches deep into the lower left drawer of his desk. He practically disappears behind the desk, he’s reaching so deep. “Well, there is one new program…” the counselor grunts from behind the desk, “that you might be eligible for,”

“What’s that?” Jonathan stands up to see if the counselor is okay.

Pulling a green folder up and sliding it with his long bony fingers gently on the the desk, the counselor begins to explain. “This is the Governing Responsibly Economic Empowerment Directive. It’s a new program with very strict eligibility requirements and strong privacy guarantees. It is unlike anything else we offer. And it’s good for our economic environment.”

“I’ve never heard of it, but it sounds good,” Jonathan says as he sits down.

“With this program, we run a few tests on your child to discover certain genetic determinants. What that means is that we can predict with 91.9% accuracy how your child’s genetic makeup lends itself to them being a productive member of our society. In the event that your child will not make a living wage, you are given options.”

Rebecca and Jonathan look at each other and then back to the counselor, “Continue.”

“If your child is determined to be unable to achieve an adult income over the predicted livable wage, the United States government will provide you with his/her lifetime earnings in exchange for you donating your child to scientific research.”

“WHAT?!” Rebecca is disgusted.

“Keep in mind that you will also be receiving this payment from our government 100% tax free. No restrictions. And what you’re doing is for the greater good of our fragile economy.”

“You want me to abort my child for a few measly dollars?” Rebecca stands up, but Jonathan remains seated and grabs her wrist.

“Rebecca, listen to what he’s saying. I’m sure the government isn’t going to abort our child. That’s illegal anyway.” Jonathan looks at the counselor, “You’re not going to abort our child, are you?”

“Of course not! That’s illegal!” The counselor motions to Rebecca to sit back down. “Your child will become part of scientific research. None of which involves abortion. It is part of a government program to ensure that we have enough subjects for ongoing child development research and studies into social behavior. It’s all for the greater good, really. This program ensures your child lives a happy, healthy life without concern for financial well being or being a drain on societal resources. It also provides financial security for your family.”

“It’s tax-free, Rebecca,” Jonathan interrupts.

“I’m not going to do it,” Rebecca says adamantly as she gets up and walks out the door.

Jonathan turns to the counselor, “Give us some time. Do the tests have to be performed before birth?”

“No, Mr. Jones. You can perform the tests and complete the paperwork anytime within the first 24 hours of giving birth as long as you have not returned home with your child. Keep in mind that a lifetime of wages for an individual child is often more than $5 million in tax-free income.”

#

Jonathan and Rebecca are in a car riding back to their apartment. She’s giving him the cold shoulder.

“This is something we need to consider. We don’t make enough to support two children. We can barely make enough just to support ourselves,” Jonathan pleads with Rebecca.

“Jon, this is OUR child we’re talking about. This isn’t a cat or a dog. This is our baby. Our unborn child who we will never get to see grow up. Who will probably be poked and prodded and experimented on. God, just thinking about the children who have already been subjected to this experimentation. For what? For science!? For some fast money. A few measly bucks!”

“He said all the experiments were for the greater good, Becks. It’s not a few measly bucks! And we’d only accept the offer if our children qualify by not making a living wage, which means they’d be a burden on us their entire lives. If they are going to be making a living wage, then we don’t even have to consider it at all. It’s a non-issue!”

“The whole thing is a non-issue, Jon. I’m not giving up my children just so that we can have money. I can’t even believe that there is a program like this. It’s disgusting! And the fact that you are even considering it…” Rebecca looks at Jonathan with more anger than he’s ever seen before. “This topic is never going to come up again. You understand me?!”

“Yes, ma’am!”

#

Rebecca is breathing heavily and working through the pain as she’s being rushed through the maternity ward of the hospital. Jonathan is holding her hand and trying to remember the coaching they received during Lemaze class. However, they both know this isn’t a situation that Lemaze prepares you for. Rebecca’s breathing is becoming erratic and her eyes start rolling into the back of her head.

“Emergency C-Section!” The nurses escort Jonathan out of the room and take the now unconscious Rebecca into the emergency ward.

Jonathan is standing in the hallway, palms sweating as he nervously chews on his fingernails. The counselor from the Economic Empowerment Department taps him on the shoulder.

“Have you given further consideration to what’s available to you, Mr. Jones?”

“Rebecca said no way.”

“It would seem Mrs. Jones is incapacitated at the time, is she not? You could sign for her. The tests take only an hour to run through our AI simulator. I can get back to you with the amount, and then you can make the decision.”

“It won’t matter. Rebecca said no way. I can’t make that decision without her.”

“Mr. Jones, you have no obligation to donate your child to the greater good. This is merely to run tests. If you give me your consent, as the only able-bodied parent I can find at this time, I can run the tests and then bring you back all the paperwork and a check with the full 100% tax-free lifetime amount.”

“But it won’t matter. She’s going to notice millions of dollars showing up in our bank account.”

“We can arrange an installment plan, Mr. Jones. You have an opportunity to win the lottery right in front of you. The choice is entire up to you, of course.”

Jonathan nervously fidgets with his fingernails as sweat is starting to bead on the side of his head. He knows that $5 million would allow him to retire. Who knows, it could even be both children. Then he and Rebecca would be $10 million richer! They could retire today. They’d never have to work another day. They could travel the world. Jonathan snaps out of his day dream.

“Mr. Jones?” The counselor extends paperwork towards Jonathan as his eyes widen.

#

Rebecca and Jonathan sit on the balcony of their apartment, drinking coffee. Their son waddles up to them and tugs on Rebecca’s shirt.

“Yes, Aiden.”

“I love you, Mommy.”

“I love you too, sweetheart.”

“Oh, and I think Jackson pooped himself.”

Jonathan jumps up, “I’ll get that on my way out, honey.”

Jonathan walks into the apartment while Aiden crawls into Rebecca’s lap and snuggles up with her. Jonathan puts his empty coffee cup in the dishwasher and washes his hands. He then walks out of the kitchen and into the living room to the fowl odor of poop.

“Aiden was right! You sure pooped yourself!” Jonathan reaches down and picks up Jackson from the crib and places him on the changing table. Jonathan whistles while changing his newborn son and looks out on to the balcony to see his wife and Aiden snuggled up with each other.

Aiden lifts his mom’s sleeve on her left arm and starts tracing his finger along her tattoo.

A beautiful red rose surrounded by a child’s footprint with a banner above the toes: In Loving Memory of Rose.

The Loving Voyager

“Will you marry me?”

Tears start falling from Jennifer’s face as she looks at her boyfriend bending down on one knee in front of her,¬†revealing the most beautiful ring she has ever seen.

“I had it made just for you. You are my rose. So sweet. So resilient. So beautiful. And most important of all, you make me smile with joy every time I look at you or think of you. Please allow me to do the same for you for the rest of our lives. Please allow me to love, honor, and cherish you forever.”

Jared lifts the ring higher. It’s a beautiful pink diamond ring surrounded by green diamonds in the shape of rose pedals with blue diamonds and sapphire going down the band.

“That is the most beautiful ring I have ever seen! Yes! And not just because it’s a beautiful ring.”

Jennifer kisses Jared. “I love kissing my… fianc√©!”

“Jennifer, I know this wasn’t the best timing with your upcoming mission. I don’t want to rush things. We can wait until you get back.”

“I love you to the galactic center and back, Jared! Being with you over the last couple of years has been the best time of my life. I can’t wait to get back so I can make you my husband!”

Bystanders nearby begin clapping and cheering the public display of affection. An elderly lady approaches the couple. “Would you like me to take a picture of this momentous occasion?”

“How sweet.” Jennifer hands her device to the old lady.

“Let me see if I still know how to use one of these. I couldn’t help but overhear that you’re going on a mission. What kind of excitement are you heading into?”

“Well, I’m part of the mission that’s going to Zathustine Major to evacuate and relocate the inhabitants of Mohcia. Have you heard about that project?”

The old lady smiles. “I remember hearing about that awhile back. That is a wonderful thing you are doing to help save all those who live on that planet. You seem like such a wonderful, loving couple. I think it’s great that your kind of love is being shared in this universe to save so many lives.”

Jennifer and Jared go to dinner at their favorite restaurant and discuss Jennifer’s upcoming voyage. Two years to complete the rescue effort of a planet that is slowly dying as its star is becoming a red giant. Approximately nine months in hyperspace, nine months to perform the rescue effort, and nine months back.

“Jen, I know this won’t be an easy two years for you, but it’s such a great thing you are doing for that planet. I only wish I had been chosen to go as well.”

“I know, honey bunny. And I know it’s not going to be an easy two years for you to be without me. I know how much you love me. I love you so much too. I want you to do me a favor. Please record a video for me every single day. Even if it’s just 10 seconds. I want to always be fresh in your mind. And I promise that I will do the same. Now, let’s enjoy this wonderful dinner and the next three days before I leave.”

#

Jared is whistling as he briskly walks down the street from his apartment towards the flower shop to get Jen a farewell bouquet. He looks up at a bird flying effortlessly in the sky. Suddenly, he bumps into something… Someone.

“I’m incredibly sorry, ma’am,” Jared says as he helps the person he bumped into catch her balance.

“Oh, it’s quite alright. I’m just glad I didn’t walk into the street as I was following that beautiful bird in the sky. Hey, you’re that guy who got engaged two nights ago to that wonderful lady.”

It’s the old lady who took their photo.

“I sure am. I’m so sorry for bumping into you like that though. Are you alright?”

“I’m alright. Where you headed to in such a hurry?”

“I was heading to this flower shop right here. You wouldn’t mind helping me pick some flowers for my fiance’s going away would you?”

“For such a lovely couple, how could I say no?”

Inside the flower shop, Jared is pining over Jennifer to the old lady. Boasting about her intelligence, tenacity, resilience, and toughness.

“Yet, here she is showing such tender love and commitment to life in the universe. She’s pure love.” Jared pauses… “You know, I didn’t even get your name”.

“Rose”

“That’s Jen’s mother’s name. Come to think of it, you look a lot like her.”

“Oh, really? Well, I suppose Jennifer had to get her smarts and good looks from somewhere.”

“Witty, just like her too! So much of you reminds me of her mother. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear you were her.”

Jared and Rose leave the flower shop.

“You must not live far from here do you?” Jared asks Rose.

“Just over there. Top floor.”

“Wow, you can probably see our place from there. We’re down here.”

“You don’t say.”

“Hey, well… we’re best friends now. Why don’t you come over. It’s Jen’s going away party in about 30 minutes. We’d love to have you over.”

“I suppose I can accommodate that request to attend the going away party for a super hero woman.”

#

Back at Jared’s apartment, the going away party is a huge success. Jennifer is surrounded by her family and closest friends. Everyone wishes her huge success on her mission and head home for the night.

As Rose is walking out the door, Jared holds the door for her. “Are you sure you don’t want me to walk you back to your place, Rose?”

“This old woman can handle herself. I’ve seen much worse than the mean streets of Pasadena. You go spend the night with your hot wife, doing what 20 year old lovers should be doing on a night like this, and I’ll handle walking back to my place. Thank you.”

Jennifer can’t help but get a chuckle from the exchange. “Rose, it was very nice meeting you. While I’m gone, you feel free to check in on my Jared to make sure he’s eating well. He has a tendency to eat junk food while I’m away.”

Jared has to defend himself, “Well, your cooking is just so wonderful that I don’t want to ever eat any other cook’s meals.”

“Oh, c’mon, I bet you cook most of the meals in this household.” Rose winks at Jared.

Jared and Jennifer look at each other and then back to Rose before Jared coyly nods his head.

“Jennifer, you are an amazing woman. I have no doubt you’ll have a great mission and change the lives of so many along your voyage. See you in two years!” She pulls out an ye’olde paper calendar. “I’m putting it on my calendar. January 18, 2889.” Rose closes the door after herself.

#

It’s been two weeks since Jennifer left on her mission. Jared is busy about his apartment on a Saturday afternoon, blaring music and cleaning the kitchen. There’s a knock on the door.

“Hi, Rose!”

“How are you doing, Jared? Keeping your spirits up?”

“Yes, it’s a bit more difficult each day, but I keep making my daily videos and sending my love her way.”

“I’m sure she’s going to love seeing those videos when she returns. We doing this?”

“Yes, ma’am! Sailing boat, here we come!”

“Don’t ever call me ma’am again. Okay?”

“Yes m”… Jared jokes as they leave the apartment.

#

It’s been six more months. Jared knows that Jennifer should have already arrived at the planet and is probably already making great progress on the evacuation. Still, he can’t sleep. He starts writing Jennifer a letter when, suddenly, he receives an emergency alert warning on his phone! Looking down at his phone, he clears his eyes: CRITICAL ALERT! Come to Space Force Headquarters IMMEDIATELY.

Jared jumps out of bed and gets his clothes on. He heads down to the elevator and gets into his vehicle, which speeds off to his work. Everyone is there.

“Based upon the observable evidence, it would appear that Zathustine Major has imploded on itself. We have no knowledge about the mission at this time, but we are optimistic that they were able to detect the instability of the star, halt the evacuation, and clear themselves out of harms way in time. We will know in 3 months. Our thoughts are with you and your loved ones.”

Shaken, Jared returns to his apartment and finishes making his daily video for Jennifer, not knowing if it would be the last video he should ever make for her.

#

The next morning there’s a knock on the door. As regularly scheduled and right on time, it’s Rose checking in on Jared. Jared tries to maintain his composure while telling Rose about meeting last night, but he eventually breaks down and starts crying on Rose’s shoulder. Rose embraces him and tell him everything is going to be okay.

“Just keep making those daily videos. She’ll be back. I know it, and you know it! Spirits up, buster!”

“Thank you, Rose. You are a true friend. Jen will definitely appreciate you helping me out when she gets back!”

#

Another three months have passed. Jared has maintained a positive attitude with the help of Rose. The news has arrived that the rescue mission fleet has returned to the solar system and will be arriving on Earth within 72 months. Jared is looking forward to the arrival and decides to take Rose with her to greet Jennifer upon return.

When they arrive at Headquarters, Jennifer’s commanding officer asks Jared to come with him. Rose is not allowed to come with him. Jared returns a few minutes later, distraught and broken. He shares that Jennifer stayed the longest to evacuate as much from the planet as possible. After having loaded the last of what she could onto the shuttle, she boarded and headed back towards the main ship. Unfortunately, the star imploded, her shuttle, and another ship were destroyed.

“Rose, I can’t explain how I feel right now. I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to need to be alone today.”

Jared drops off Rose and returns to his apartment.

#

There’s a knock on Jared’s door. Not even sure what day it is, Jared fumbles around for his communicator. There’s another knock. Jared decides to get up and answer.

Depressed, Jared mumbles, “Hi, Rose.”

“I know you are depressed right now. It’s barely a week since you got the news, but I made a promise to keep your spirits up, and I intend to honor my word.”

“Rose, I can’t do this. I can’t pretend that I’m going to be okay anytime soon. I can’t pretend that I don’t want to jump out that window.”

“What would Jennifer want you to be doing right now?”

“What? She’s gone. She doesn’t exist anymore!”

“But if she were here right now. Instead of getting the news you got last week. What would she want you to be doing?”

Jared chuckles, “Something you definitely shouldn’t be here for.”

“Well, at least something still makes you smile! Now, besides fulfilling on your animalistic instincts. Let’s say you get news she’s just weeks out. What would you be doing?”

“The same thing I’ve been doing every day, but maybe with a smile instead.”

“You better not be referring to the same thing you just were.”

Laughing, Jared grabs Rose’s hand. “No, not that. Let me show you something.”

Sitting in the living room, Jared shows Rose every daily video and journal he made for Jen. He gives her the back story to every inside joke. It’s like he’s living their love all over again. Before you know it, it’s late at night and Rose says goodnight.

#

Two weeks later, Jared is eagerly awaiting Rose’s arrival. He’s kept up his daily video and written journals for Jen. But Rose never arrives. He calls her apartment, but there is no answer. He decides to wait a bit to check again. Still no answer.

Thinking that since Rose is an old lady who might need assistance, he decides to go to her apartment to check in on her, only to realize that he doesn’t know exactly which apartment is hers. He calls again, and no answer. He goes to her apartment building anyway, in hopes that her name might be on the digital directory outside the apartment building. No such luck.

Remembering that Rose told him she lives on the top floor, Jared gets into the elevator and goes to the top floor. The elevator opens, revealing just a single door with the number 18 on it. Jared knocks on the door, and Rose answers. “Hi, Jared.”

“Are you okay? You didn’t answer for a long time, and none of my phone calls.”

“Ain’t that the truth! Come on in.” Rose walks away from the door and into her kitchen.

Jared enters her sparsely furnished apartment. There’s a TV, love seat, telescope, and one shelf.

“Make yourself at home,” Rose yells from the kitchen.

Jared walks over and plops himself down on the love seat. Something on top of the shelf catches his eye. It’s a ring. He gets up and walks over to the shelf.

“You ever been married, Rose?”

“Nope. That’s my one regret.”

It’s unmistakable. It’s Jen’s ring. The ring that looks like a rose he had specifically made for her. He picks it up, his hand shaking slightly. Jared hears Jen clear her throat behind him and spins around.

Holding the ring and confused. “How did you get this? Who are you?”

“Well, darling. You gave it to me 123 years ago.”

“What?!”

“When you asked me to marry you in front of the fountain. For me, it was 123 years ago. For you, it’s been barely over 9 months. When I was pulled into the imploding star, it shot me back out the other end, and I have lived 123 years, battling across the universe to be with you again.”

“How is it possible that you came back here and didn’t stop yourself? You had the opportunity!”

“Yes, and I also lived 123 years of great adventure because I didn’t.”

“And you just want to leave me here without you? You don’t see that as selfish?”

“I was holding on to you, Jared. I was holding on to you inside that black hole, and I was being ripped apart. So, I let go of you and still loved you, and it released me.”

Tears streaming from his face, Jared hugs Jennifer. “What am I supposed to do now?”

“Let me share with you my voyage. There are seven big adventures, five small ones, and two really ugly ones. I want to share those with you before I die.”

“That’s going to be the hardest part, I think. Living the rest of my life without you.”

“No it won’t. You have already done it. You let go, Jared. Hold me in your heart forever, and let me go. And when you are ready, you can watch these.” Jen hands Jared a storage device. “I kept my promise to make you a daily video too.”