Chapter three is the turning point in the story, things start to evolve... (my favourite chapter so far)
Ash had been working for two weeks as the head of the Astrophysics department. He went to work every day and left on time as overtime was apparently frowned upon by upper management, as it was unwanted stress on a complete team. Ash wanted more than what he was doing at work. It wasn’t enough to calm his unsuitable mind that craved more in a creative manner.
Amanda ended up being more than just another workmate. If it wasn’t for her then Ash felt that he would have never gained a true grasp on what his duties in the work place actually were. She told him on the quiet, what was going on. What he was in charge of and what his subordinates knew was expected of him from management. Initially he had mocked her as he felt that his duties were ridiculous. He was told that he was going to be given the task of creating programs that increased the intelligence of 'computer operated aircrafts' and possible space crafts. This confused him as he was not specialized in programming. Astrophysics was his forte. When he argued this he was told that he was needed as mapping was essential and he
Everything was great. He
Two weeks have passed and Ash is in front of his work. He now knows the size of the company and is stunned with the growth that has occurred since his father's death. He didn't know the extent.
The company had roots within every continent and most countries throughout the world
Ash is called into the main office and there are four employees, Mark and three other head officials. Ash sat in front of the board, Directly in front of Mark.
“Good morning Ash” said Mark in a stern manner.
Ash looked at him and he appeared uneasy and unsettled. He noticed he was sweating and playing with his tie.
“Morning Mark, what’s up? I was busy recalibrating components that I have developed for the main drive” Ash stated with a smile. He almost giggled as the main drive was seen as the most complex task the Company had. In fact, Ash had finished it off in under a week. The company had spent two years on it already.
“I’m sorry to pull you away from your work...” Mark looked like he was having difficulty putting together. “We have another task for you and this does mean that your task current will have to take a back seat for now.”
“Ok” Ash replied dubiously. “Please fill me in”
“We need you to go overseas to a conference to discuss... global issues”
Ash was taken by surprise as he had only just started work there and he knew of people who had been there for over thirty years.
“Why me, I only just got here”
Mark went quiet and looked back at the other members. Looking down at the desk mark plainly stated “Because you were asked for.”
There was an eerie silence as nobody was prepared to speak.
Ash laughed out “Why me?” and slumped back in his chair, looking at the faces in front of him.
One of the other members sternly said “Simply because you were asked for”
This member Ash had never seen before. He seemed to o expression and an extremely dull voice.
“Who are you” Ash was getting edgy now. Not knowing the reason for him to go somewhere didn’t make sense and Ash needed to make sense of things, it was in his nature.
Mark introduced the member as Alcid, who looked at Ash blankly.
“When we get there I will explain more” Mark said.
Mark sat back and calmly told Ash that everything had been sorted out with is University
and that his lectures had been filled in or postponed till another time. He had to be overseas for fourteen days, of which nine days he would be at a conference.
Now Ash was excited. Nine days of conference and a few to explore the country. He knew that there was time for him to relax. This thought alone made him nervous as relaxation was not very productive but he had better get use to this.
For the rest of the day his fellow employees were a bit distant with him. Amanda only spoke to him when it was necessary. It kina pissed him off but he dealt with it and tried not to let it get him down as the trip was booked for the following day. This in its self was a bit difficult, but the company had paid and planned everything for him. Mark insisted on driving Ash home. It just meant that he would be leaving a little later than usual.
After work Ash waited outside the security complex for Mark. The sky was gloomy as the sun set. He felt weird and was trying to make sense of the events that had taken place over the past couple of months. He felt like he was part of something bigger. He felt that something was going to happen that would have an impact on his direction in life. Direction where? He had no idea but was still excited.
Mark arrived in his car already. Ash noticed that he didn’t exit from the security post but came from around the back. Alcid walked out the front door and exchanged glances with Mark and Mark nodded. Ash knew that the nod was a signal and was determined to find out what was going on. He knew that on the trip home he would have a chance to 'Chat' with Mark.
During the first five minutes of the drive there was only casual chit chat that really didn’t amount to anything. Then mark carefully stated “Please be careful”.
Ash took that in as a warning about the trip and before he could question Mark...
“When your away don’t trust anyone and just focus on what your there for and above all come home in one piece” Mark finished off with.
Ash laughed “You sound like I’m going to war”
Mark grumbles “Soon enough”
“What was that Mark”
“There will be a number of women at the conference and that will be just as bad.” Mark stated with a cheeky smile.
They arrived home and Mark let Ash out at the beginning of his house. He walked the following thirty meters to find Lou waiting for him out the front of his place.
“Hi Ash” are you ok?” Lou somewhat timidly asked Ash.
“Yeah I’m ok, its been a weird day and I’ve almost had enough and need sleep, though I have something to tell you” Ash's face began to beam with an excited grin.
“Please tell me” Lou began to look a little desperate.
“The Company is sending me overseas and I leave tomorrow, apparently everything is organized for me to go” Ash was starting to get excited, feeling like a young child about to impress a parent.
At that point in time he saw something in her eyes. Her expression reflected a different opinion to what she then said.
“I know...Mark told me and I’m so happy for you” she began looking at the ground.
“Are you going to the meeting also?” Ash queried.
Lou looked emotionless and simply stated “I can’t go as I wasn’t asked for. Anyway do you need any help packing, have you eaten, can I help you in any way?” she trailed off.
Ash felt weird that she had a sudden interest in his life. Yet it could just have been that he had never realized that she was interested in his life. This was something he had to process by himself and he knew that he needed to sleep and just zone out for a while as the next day was going to be full on.
“I think I can manage to pack by myself and I don’t think I can eat right now” Ash replied.
“Though thanks for the offer, and I will talk to you before I go”
Ash smiled and kissed her on the cheek and said goodnight. Following that he opened his door and went inside.
Lou stood outside for what seemed to her as a long time, though it was probably only a few seconds longer than she needed. 'What was that?.. He never kisses me goodnight.' she thought and smiled while looking at his closed door.
That night Ash’s dreams were wild and complex. There was so much going on in his head and he didn’t have much decent sleep. He was dreaming about a time within his workplace, before he was born. The dreams were so surreal. He knew that the time frame was before his existence but most of the people working there were the same people he worked with now. There was confusion within the workplace. A lot of yelling and screaming and he knew that this was time of the division he'd heard of. He awoke in a cold sweat with the vision still on his mind. As it was blurry and confusing he dismissed it for research later, if he had the time.
Ash had been sitting on the bench in the waiting bay near the terminal 5 access door. Half an hour of watching people busily flutter to and through. The excitement he had felt has plateaus out and now he was just tired and longing to reach his next point of call.
The light had been flashing for a couple of minutes and the line of passengers had died down to a trickle. This was his time to go. He boarded the plane and almost robotically performed his duties in order to gain access to his allocated seat. How many times had he flown now? The number had become insignificant and plain.
Walking down the isle the faces seemed the same. The business people, The Tourists, The single men wanting to find someone to fulfill part of their lives . Always the same. It didn’t matter anymore. This was his trip and he had to focus on... Global issues? What was that anyway. This was the only information he was given. The name of the conference.
Global issues. He wasn't meant to prepare anything. This in itself frustrated the hell out of him. He needed time to prepare.
He arrived at his seat and as he turned to sit by the window he notices a woman a few rows in front of him take her seat directly in front of him. He found her very attractive and familiar. Although he didn’t recall ever seeing her before in his life, he quickly wished he had.
She turned his way and their eyes met. There was a sudden period of palpitations in his heart and for a few seconds he forgot to breath.
He sat down in a bit of a daze, still smiling. He had seen attractive and appealing women before but had never experienced the pull that he had just felt.
The plane took off and Ash put his head against the window and tried to focus his thoughts on his work. His mind became fully captured on his plans and tasks at hand. He constantly zoned out and went over the plans his father had and the plans that he his father had begun to put into place: The recycling of a dying planet, enabling the human kind to survive an almost certain extinction.
There were so many ideas his father had begun to put into place and most of these revolved around subterranean habitation. By moving the surviving people into self sustains cities that supplied goods and services from within its confined boundaries. These cities would be able to trade with one another and network with one another in order to survive and prosper.
The idea for living and performing industrial tasks below surface was to separate human habitation from the environment above. These thoughts continued to grow and develop in Ash mind. Even though he had been over every aspect of the plans and the City was complete and had occupants.
The plane dropped a few meters and Ash was jolted back into focus of the chair in front of him. He caught a glimpse of the woman who had stolen his attention before looking back at him. Ash smiled and she returned the smile and waved back at him..
The plane landed without complication and everyone instantly assumed the standard rat race characteristics and hustled quickly off the plane.
Ash stood up and grabbed his overhead bag out of the compartment. He was content with himself and looked forward to the conference.
While exiting the plane Ash found that the interesting woman seemed to always be close by. This alone was intriguing. He knew that there was only one way to exit the building but for some reason he constantly caught himself glancing at her.
He grabbed his luggage off the rotor turn at the same time as she did. He walked off to the taxis by her side and they both halted at the same time.
Ash scanned the congested taxi bay for someone holding up his name and he instantly saw a newish, shinny white board with a list of names. There were many people indigenous to the country, who were just trying to make ends meet. Ash's Taxi Cab driver looked somewhat comical.
He stood out. Man this guy was not afraid to make a statement. In fact his appearance boldly beamed out the statement. It said “I’m *beep* here... So LOOK AT ME”. He approximately five foot tall, a little below average and he was wearing a Neon Orange suit. Man in the dark he would have glowed. It was mid afternoon and he was almost shining.
Ash saw his name on it and waved at him. There was a burst of uncontrollable giggling coming from somewhere to his left. He scratched his head in bemusement and felt someone brush past his left hand side. Anna was trying to approach the man who looked like a beacon. Ash had to control himself. Just looking at an attractive woman who could hardly walk, let alone stand up due to her body contorting from giggles.
They were going in the same vehicle. Ash day was getting better and better.
They hopped into the car, eight people in total and most of them knew each other.
“Hay there” Anna smiled as she cheerfully greeted an old friend. She turned and looked at Ash, slightly nodded her head. Her gaze almost penetrated Ash mind. He smiled as she turned back to her friend and began a conversation about standard female issues... Like each others hair and who' seeing who.
Ash looked at the ceiling, sighed and looked out the window.
The drive to the hotel took about twenty minutes. That was twenty minutes of the constant conversation between the two women. The words all linked into one as they tossed gossip back and forwards. Seemingly repeating themselves every now and then.
The Cab stopped and as Ash was close to the door. For the entire duration of the bus Cab journey, Ash wanted there to be a break in the constant conversation that the women had. He wanted a gap to introduce himself. He wanted to scream out 'Hello' or perhaps swap suits with the diver so he could get some attention. All he wanted to do now was meet that one woman. It was really driving him crazy.
Once again he sighed as he got off the buss.
“Well how rude” was the statement Ash heard from behind him as his feet his the pavement.
He turned around and saw the two women smiling at him. They also gathered their belongings and got out of the Cab.
“Well? ... aren’t you going to introduce yourself” spoke the lady from the plane.
“I.. Uh..ok..hmm” Ash face went bright red. Then he decided to firm. “My name is Ash, its pleasure to meet you” He held out his hand for the woman to shake.
“Anna” she said as she firmly held his hand and smiled. “The pleasure's all mine” She said as she smiled.
“My names... obviously not important” said the other woman as she walked off.
“Don’t worry about her, she's got alt on her plate... performance anxiety”
“What?” Ash was confused.
Anna replied “Don’t worry, I’m sure you'll find out down the track”. “Anyway, I take it your here for the convention as well”
Ash had realized that they whole Taxi Cab consisted of members of the Convention, due to snippets of information that Ash took in during the gossip session. There was other information that he gathered from the gossip but it's not relevant at the moment.
Ash put it down to intuition, he felt like he belonged to this group although he had very little input so far.
They all entered the Hotel. It was particularly lavish and Ash wasn’t use to such a lifestyle.
He had to adjust and make the most of it. The conference was in a couple of days and he had to make it on his own for the evening and the following day. This was something that he always found hard to do. He had his laptop and access to literature. But it didn’t feel fight. Not this time.
Ash wanted to break free from his routine. He had never had the time to experience life by himself. There had always been someone watching. Someone close by who had an eye on him. He was use to it and accepted it. He now has the opportunity to take time out for himself. It was new and he liked it.
At the counter he was given the key to his room. He was located on the third floor. Room C08. He took the key, thanked the employee and turned back to the group. They all seemed to busy to notice him as they were all wrapped up in their own conversations.
Ash Picked up his belongings and walked to the elevator shaft. He pressed the button and once again looked back at the group. He noticed that the conversation had died down and Anna was looking at him. She realized that he saw her and she casually waved. He elevator door opened and waved back and walked in.
The elevator stopped and opened at level three. Ash entered the hallway and turned right. His room was at the end on the right. He entered his room and simply fell on his bed and tried to relax. There was so much going on in his head. He had the Conference in a couple of days. He had his workload. There was Lou and how she was. There was the Chapter 3.docMy Computer Page 8 3/31/2011Anna. He knew her name now... with that he drifted off to sleep.
It was Ten O’clock at night when Ash awoke. He felt alive and was far from tired. He sat on the couch and went through various folders of information relating to the conference. He became anxious about everything that was going to take place. Sitting there wasn’t going to make things easier for him and he knew this. He needed to get away. This in itself was quite funny as he was already away.
He gathered the essentials and left the room. Closing the door behind him he turned and saw Anna at the other end of the hallway. She appeared to be doing the exact same thing. Only she wasn’t looking back at him. He closed the door and waked toward Anna, as the elevator shaft was in between. Anna was walking while adjusting the contents of a full handbag. Ash stopped at the Elevator and it became apparent that she hadn’t seen him as she almost walked right into him.
“You couldn’t sleep either” Ash stated.
Anna looked up and instantly smiled. “Something like that”
They both entered the elevator and Anna pressed the 'Ground Floor' button.
“where are you going?” Lou asked.
“Just going for a walk, I couldn’t sleep and I need to be doing something. What the something is I don’t exactly know and at the moment I don’t care. I just can’t sit in that room any longer”
“Do you know the area well?” Anna queried.
Ash didn’t know the area and felt that he needed her assistance, but he didn’t want plain directions. “How bout a drink?” he asked frankly.
“Sure there's a bar built onto this complex, its a bit pricey but the ambience is nice and I can give you some information about the area”.
Ash was stoked. “I would like some company right now, thank you”
They made there way to the lower landing where an open forum bar and grill was located. This place was clinically clean, had very little in the way of advertising. It had warm colors and pleasant soft music. Ash liked the fact that there was no thumping “DOOSH DOOSH” music. A place where people could talk without tearing legions in their throats.
They had a couple of drinks and the conversation seemed surreal. He felt like he had known her for a long time. They had similar interests, a similar sense of humor and when it came down to what they wanted out of life they wanted the same thing.
At twelve o’clock the conversation went to a different level. Ash had explained about his internet chat friendship.
Anna went silent and looked a little confused. After a few seconds of silence she looked him in the eyes and simply said one word... “Quantum”.
Ash went silent. 'What?'... this couldn’t be possible.
He then looked at her and said one word that he knew would change the relationship that he saw developing... “Vortex”.
“WOW” Anna exclaimed.
Ash had to sit back and try not to grin. Try to control himself.
“Small world hay” Anna was trying to get Ash to talk. She needed him to be confident in their relationship. The fact that he was sitting there speechless didn’t really indicate any level of trust. Or even acceptance.
“Your...Vortex”? He had never expected to meet his old Cyber chat buddy. To find out the chat buddy was a woman kind of intrigued him. He fact that she was HOT shocked him. On line VOTEX was a source of information. One that gave information and also asked questions that required answers he usually could give straight away. Sometimes he was actually baffled by the questions and that sent him into an absolute spin. He often searched and studied to find the answers. He was never beaten. Vortex was much the same. Only Vortex was beaten a couple of times.
At one stage Ash considered VORTEX to be his best friend. Actually his only friend. Though this knowledgeable character lived in England.
Ash looked confused “You told me you lived in England?”
Anna firmly stated “I was based in England, now I’m in the process of relocating”. She with her body in a way appeared to make Ash feel a little belittled. Like he should have known. In a way he suddenly felt uncomfortable.
There was an uncomfortable pause and Anna shook her head quickly and smiled. When Ash saw the smile and the uncomfortable tension was instantly gone. Anna knew that whatever had just happened can not happen again. She needed him and could not push him away.
“So where are you living now?” Ash piped up.
“Technically I’m living out of a suitcase and waiting on directions from my boss” she finished the comment while rolling her eyes to the ceiling. “Im not sure where im going after the conference, it kinda *beep* me as I know where I want to go” she smiled at Ash while she said this, moving the hair from the side of her face with her hand.
Ash smiled and didn’t peruse the topic.
They continued talking for a few hours until Anna informed Ash that she was fairly tired and needed sleep. Ash wasn’t phased by ending the conversation. In fact he thought that there was a good chance that he might be invited into her room for a night... or the night.
This didn’t happen as Anna stood up, kissed Ash on the forehead and said good night.
She walked to the elevator; Ash sat in his chair and watched her walk away, waiting for her to look back. As she turned the corner she looked his direction and smiled. Ash waited a few minutes before returning to his room. He felt excited about the prospects of the development of something he had never felt before. He knew that it had been only a very short period of time that he had physically known Anna. In a way he was trying to use the cyber relationship as a justification of advanced feelings for her. This way he in fact had known her for over five years. This looked better to him.
He spent the next day doing the tourist thing and that evening prepared for the conference the following day. Everywhere he went he kept an eye out for Anna or her companions. He was a little disappointed that he didn’t see her but was even more so excited about the conference and that fact that she would be present.
The conference started at 0830 hrs the following day. Ash had spent an hour brainstorming his own personal goals in regards to Global Healing. There were several points that he felt he needed to share with not only at this conference, but the entire world. There were numerous avenues that hadn't been ventured down yet that had the prospects of working. Ash knew he was going to be walking into a Brainstorming event that was to be unmatched by any. He had the knowledge of concepts and devices that the world had never seen before. He knew that he had to restrict what he could and couldn’t discuss, as the world wasn’t ready yet.
The Convention was located in the building adjacent to his hotel, so getting there was just a matter of crossing the road.
Ash stood at the side of the road for a moment. Just taking in the atmosphere and taking a look at the other participants as they slowly came from every direction. So many faces that he had seen before. Faces that were known world wide and faces that the general public either loved or hated. There was a figure that Ash made out in the distance. A familiar face and Ash shook his head in disbelief. What was going on? He couldn't be here, what was he doing here?
“Paul!... What are you doing here?” Ash shouted out over the road.
“I dont know...” Paul replied as he crossed over to Ash.
“Apparently someone read an article I wrote and liked what I had to say” Paul said with a chuckle.
Ash was confused. The person that Ash spoke with at the Coffee shop was a person who was a bit messed up. He needed time out and had to take a look at himself and change certain aspects of his personality. Apart from that he was a good friend and Ash was pleased to see him.
“What did you write about” Ash asked while scratching himself.
“I wrote an article about how unethical decisions by humans, across the board, has lead to the destruction of the planet.” Paul paused with a grin “I was in a negative state of mind... I just sat in front of my PC and it just came out.”
“Wow, I need to know more, just not now. Shall we do it?”
“Yeah... lets do it”
They crossed the road and walked into the Theatre.
During the first day of the Conference the air was abuzz with excitement. Specialists shared their views about the decline of the environment. Hours were spent acklowledging the massive percentage of species of life that had become extinct. There was a limited amount of tension in the air as there was nobody to direct it at. Everyone wanted a solution. Something to fix or heal the earth.
After a few hours of discussion, Paul hadn't opened his mouth. Ash nudged him and asked him if he was ok.
“Im fine he quickly whispered, I don’t know why im here. Everyone else is a spececialist in a field that directly related to healing the planet. My field is in the study of thought”
across the room several people were taking a lot of notice as to the input of Ash and Paul. When they saw the couple discussing their opinions to each other they made a scene.
A elderly man who Ash had never seen before stood up. “This is meant to be an open discussion, please share your thoughts with us all” He indicated to Paul.
Paul gulped and stood up and there was silence as everyone else sat still and glared as Paul.
The first thought that came into Paul’s head was '*beep*' followed by a pause where his mind became involuntarily stagnant. After a few seconds Ash prodded him. Paul’s body shuddered and then he regained his composure.
“Greetings everyone. I stand here before you all as a person with limited experience in regards to events such as this. My study and way of though is specific to the background of Philosophy. In fact I haven’t finished my study, I still have a year to go before I receive my Graduation Certificate. The reason I am here kind of surprises me. I wrote an article some time ago and have been asked to summaries it to you all.” Paul paused as he glanced around the auditorium.
Ash was shocked at the confidence that Paul had summed up and was eagre to hear what was to come out of his mouth next.
“There people who believe in the cycle of life. The repetitive cycle that the planet has experienced before the evolution of mankind. Scientists has positive proof that the world had gone though many changes. It has experienced global warming before and numerous ice ages. What my article discussed was more of an argument about the causes of Global warming. I do not believe that Pollution and the damage to the environment was that main factor.” The audience looked confused, but curious.
“Everyone knows that is mankind that, over a period of time, through advancement in technology and drive, we have almost destroyed the planet. Unethical decisions of mankind has reduced Earth to what it has become”
“We all know that” someone boldly stated from the crowd.
Paul sat down and appeared somewhat disillusioned with the whole event. He felt that there was no need for him to be present at the conference anymore as he wasn’t as smart as them all. He shared opinions that were apparently shared by all though that seemed to be as far as it went.
The Conference continued into the late after-noon. It was constant, no breaks. A food trolley was being continually pushed around by a member of staff and there were several toilets.
Over the next few days the conference was a constant. Ash woke up, showered and god prepared and went to the conference. There were many times that he as caught looking towards Anna and he noticed her doing the same thing. There was always that cheeky and adorable smile that Ash found adorable on Anna’s face.
During the walk back to the hotel they talked every night. Anna made numerous statements about how e was seen as the most powerful and influential person at the conference. Ash saw these remarks as more of a morale booster that the truth.
They flirt during the remainder of the conference. At the end of each session Ash is exhausted and returns to the hotel alone.
On the last day of the conference she asks him to join her on the remaining days to get to know each other and to discuss.... Work.
They spend the next 3 days doing the tourist thing together
For the first time in Ash life ha has been able to switch off for more than a few minutes and he feels like he has just come alive.
On the last of the three days Anna leaves abruptly, but requests time with him that evening.
She meets him that evening and takes him to see a band.
When they arrive at the club, which is full of paying customers, she gets through the security without question and they robotic ally move aside for Ash the same way.
They walk into the club and the DJ is playing. The song finishes and the DJ looks at Anna and smiles, he then announces that the band ***** will be on next.
This really amazes Ash as it is his favorite band, when he studies he listens to this band, in particular one CD, but this is his favorite band.
The concert finishes and the band gesture to Anna to come out the back.
She does and takes Ash
He meets them and they are all happy to meet him, they all have their questions to ask him and the questions are very diverse. One in particular asks a question that alarms him, in regards o his intentions with Anna
The night ends there and Anna goes with Ash back to his Hotel room and they discuss how they enjoyed the conference and the time together, he packs quickly and they go to the airport that night.
Anna explains that she has to stay a few nights longer before she returns to her work location in Europe; she explains why she was on the same flight.
They exchanged numbers and email addresses, she smiles when he gives her the email address.
When they say goodbye, she hugs him and they kiss, a short seductive kiss that lingers longer than a goodbye kiss
They smile at one another and he boards the plane.
During the trip home Ash was in a daze, thinking of Anna, of his work, of Lou
Lou, he wanted to tell her about the whole fourteen days, and about who he had met.
All his life, he had never been romantically involved. He was always too busy, to wrapped up in his own CRUSADE. He didn’t know what to do or how to approach the whole situation. He was relieved to a certain extent, which she was going to Europe and he to Australia. He knew a relationship wasn’t the answer for the hole he felt in his life. He wanted so much to develop a relationship. He didn’t have time... did he?
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