by Anand Purohit
FICTION / Fantasy / Historical
1759 was a defining year for the colonies that became Canada. It was also the year the British Empire rose to preeminence over other European nations and empires. All that changes when technology deployed in 2047 to shield Canadians from an escalating world conflict inadvertently teleports a group of scientists, engineers, teachers and medical people back to Nova Scotia, 1759. Despite their technological superiority, they, like many new settlers, struggle to establish a homestead, feed their community and deal with the constant threat from a violent world. Established empires with their large populations are not about to let a small group of upstarts interfere in their lucrative slave trade and subjugation of whomever they please.
May 15, 2046
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Chan Wei is skeptical anything important will happen. I’ve been here before. Scientists and engineers are always excited about their latest project or idea. I’m willing to take risks. Sometimes it pays off immensely, but I must avoid the duds no matter how enthusiastic the supporters are.
Peggy Doyle meets him as he walks to the AI & Physics lab. “Hi, Peggy. I hear we’re in for a really big show.”
“So says Neil!” she laughs. “In all my years, I’ve never met a more erratic yet brilliant individual. You’ve given him a long leash. I hope he hasn’t strangled himself with it.”
“Thanks to your sales team, we’re having our best year. We can afford a misstep. What will our revenue be this quarter?”
Peggy smiles broadly. “I predict we’ll pass the billion mark for the first time! Our laser and AI divisions are steady thanks to our military sales. Graphene power storage has really taken off. We’re the world leaders.”
“Fantastic! When we go public, we’ll all be very rich,” Chan boasts.
“I’m thankful for the share options. The salary and bonuses go down well too,” she replies as they enter the lab.
Neil Gargano is bouncing around in his usual style. His project partner, Dr. Wu, is seated, smiling, and displaying more emotion than usual.
Chan asserts a challenge as only a company owner can: “Gentlemen, I’m prepared to be amazed or issue a pink slip. What will you be showing us today?”
Neil can’t contain himself. “Space is alive! We’ll show you proof. Space is alive!”
Chan is amused. “Peggy, is this something you can sell?”
Peggy takes the cue. “Let me see. I don’t see a fit with our laser division. Maybe we can sell the military some Alive Space. They buy some of the darndest stuff and pay well for it.”
Dr. Wu surprisingly backs Neil up, somewhat. “if this demo goes as planned, I think you’ll be recalibrating your expectations.”
“Great!” Chan enthuses. “Blow us away!”
About the Author
ANAND PUROHIT was born and raised in a Caucasian, Christian family. After several years of inexplicable experiences, he travelled as young man to India for insight. The shocking immersion, alone in a chaotic and foreign culture, forever changed him. Wandering among the slums, always on the edge of death and disease, his perception was shattered. He returned to Canada with a new name and legalized it to cement his commitment to a life of mindfulness.
While enlightenment proved elusive, the quest for greater understanding remained strong. Forty years of software design and business ownership did not quell the thirst. Constant study of history, logistics, physics and metaphysics watered the desire to weld a nexus between analyst and mystic.
The days of designing complex software systems have passed. A new door has opened.
Q&A With the Author
When did you first consider yourself to be a writer?
Only recently after I finished my career as a software developer and business owner. Writing is easy, being a writer is not. It requires a committed focus I can only now provide.
What advice do you have for a new writer?
Thoroughly acknowledge there is only an inch of attention span for every mile of text.
Ask yourself at the start of each day, “How can I make this day more enjoyable, for myself and others I meet along the way?”
Recognize events, small and large, that support or inhibit #2.
Make time before the end of the day to write, even if it’s just a few words, about the events.
Take stock each Sunday. Are you a writer or only hope to be one? Empty pages speak no lies.
Oh, you want to make money as a writer! Come closer, I have a secret to tell you. Normally I offer this advice as a paid subscription service, but I have a special deal on offer this week. The first installment is absolutely free! ( sarc 😂 )
Did you contemplate #1 above, or just breeze by it? Making money is the same for writing as any other business … you need to help other people make money first. After you’ve honed your craft and have a ‘salable product’, you need a sales channel to get it into the hands of consumers. Selling costs money.
If you do not already have financial resources with which to buy marketing and selling services, you need to work as an unpaid serf. Channels like Medium and Quora are businesses. They make money from free content, miles of free content for dribbles of money. Be generous with your time, serf. Provide your beautiful, salable content to as many channels as you can. Maybe, if your product is indeed salable and you have the luck of the Irish with you, a new channel will open with you and your brand in control of it.
What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
Writing words. I’ve always been a quiet and reclusive person with little to say and saying only what needs to be said. But when my hands touch the keyboard, a manic demon takes over. I never know what that devil will write next. I don’t review his ranting, posturing, and profound nonsense immediately. I save that chuckle for a later time when I can better appreciate if there is a jewel in there, somewhere.
What is your favorite part of this story?
George Washington’s outhouse with three seats. OK, I admit to finding joy in bathroom humor. When my research of various eighteen-century characters turned up the odd fact of Washington’s outhouse, my writing demon couldn’t resist taking it into a flight of fancy. Outhouse, Whitehouse, hmm. Washington led the first government with three branches or seats of power as the British might say. His outhouse had three seats. Could there be a connection?
What would a cabinet meeting held in his outhouse look, sound and smell like? In the Whitehouse, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were, apparently, constantly raising a stink with Washington in the middle trying to clear the air. I try to be respectful toward historical characters, but this was too good to pass up.
Which Character was the most fun to write about? Why?
Cecile Dubois, the ‘Mad Moiselle’. I knew the original ‘Mad Moiselle’ many years ago. A tragic and loving person. She taught French immersion to young students. To her face, she was Mademoiselle X. Behind her back, she was ‘the Mad Moiselle’, an overly rigid teacher with a fixed scowl.
Cecile Dubois wants and needs to be loved while she pushes away the few suitors attracted to her. I created a lover for her, Jacques Hébert, a large, loud, burly eighteen-century woodsman. He announces himself as “Jacques Hébert spectaculaire!”.
She replies derisively, “Tête de chou, Monsieur” (cabbage head, sir).
Which Character was the hardest to write about? Why?
Chan Wei, the eccentric billionaire who catapults into an Elon Musk level of riches. Though I encountered many very wealthy men during 30 years of supplying their businesses, all of them were thoroughly engaged in building and protecting their wealth. Like Chan, they believed the inevitable ‘Event’ would destroy much of society and its prosperity. They built private retreats, armed and protected against the expected hoards of desperate people. Business required I smile as they bragged and boasted their success and cleverness.
Chan believes in a prepared, professional, egalitarian community as the only way to ride out a calamity. I did not have a personal role model to base this character on. Also, Chan’s oriental heritage is not one I have a deep understanding of, so I hope I haven’t inadvertently offended a reader in my ignorance.
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Anand Purohit will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway