Samantha – Alternate Earth

Author’s note: Although Samantha is a principal in a Science fiction novel, her character study takes place before anything speculative (sci-fi) does. This interlude with her on vacation, however, is after the story in which she is the protagonist (Antimatter).While Samantha is on vacation visiting the Alternate Earth, she sends in brief reports occasionally. I got this one today.

This has been like being in a whirlwind. When you can simply step through a portal and be somewhere else on earth, you can have breakfast in Seattle, lunch in Paris, and dinner in Tokyo and still catch a show in New York. After touring all sorts of places on this Alternate Earth, I needed to take a break to clear my head. I was surprised to find that Eric ­– Dr. Friedlund – was having the same problem. He had never had a reason to tour so many places so fast. He suggested a camping trip to relax.

He and his wife, Larissa, took me to a camp in the Pike National Forest. It was a fascinating experience. They have an electric RV. It gets lousy mileage, but it doesn’t need good mileage. It doesn’t have to go very far. There’s a vehicle portal just down the street from their house.

The transfer process took several steps. We drove up to the airlock, and Eric keyed in his personal Id. The pressure door slid aside. We drove in, and the door slid shut. He keyed in the destination, and the portal opened. My ears popped but not as badly as I expected because there was another airlock on the other side. We drove through to the other side, the portal closed, and when the air pressure had bled off the pressure door opened.

The camp is pretty much the same as one on our Earth. The only real difference is the vehicle and human portals. There are tents and RV scattered around with campers from all over the planet. There is even a family from Australia. The forest is beautiful despite the snow outside the camp area being about a foot deep. A lot of the campers have brought cross country skis. Eric and Larissa brought skis with us. It could be fun, but when we go back to Toronto in a few days, I have to go to work. I’m here specifically to get help from Eric’s team on security issues. So I think I’m going to just relax and enjoy the serenity.

I’ll try to send some more next week.

Samantha – Vacation

For those of you waiting with bated breath for more episodes of Samantha’s story, you’ll have to wait a few weeks. She is currently on vacation in the Alternates’ New York City. She plans to be on Alternate Earth four weeks and be back to continue her story thereafter. She sent this comment.

Today was my seventh day on Alternate Earth. It’s so much like our Earth and yet so different. New York is still a bustling metropolis, but people are walking down the middle of Broadway and the only show I recognized was Beauty and the Beast. Dr. Friedlund is showing me around and I have to admit it’s a little overwhelming. Let’s see, I’ve been here a week already. I hope to be able to give a coherent report by next week, but I won’t make any promises. TTFN.

Samantha – Wilson

Samantha’s plebe summer was a challenge from the start, but Lance Wilson had hit her stubborn button. She wasn’t about to be beat down by a bully. She worked with everything she had to make sure he didn’t have any excuse to put her down. Every time he criticized her, she worked that much harder and imagined ways to get back at him. In fact, getting back at him no matter what the cost became an obsession.

As far as I was concerned Lance Wilson was in my crosshairs. I was going to do something to get back at him, and it looked like I might have to get in trouble to do it. But by that time I was beginning not to care what kind of trouble I got into. I was ready to take a risk.

Our rooms, including Wilson’s, were on Deck 4. That meant we had access to the Green Beach, a ledge outside our window that ran around the whole of Deck 4. There was a story, probably apocryphal, about one of the plebe classes saving up newspapers and using the Green Beach to deliver so many crumpled up papers to the company commander’s office while he was away that he couldn’t open the door when he got back. I thought that might be my access to Wilson, but since then they had installed air conditioning in Bancroft Hall. Most of the windows were kept closed. Besides, Wilson had roommates, and I wasn’t after them.

Early on, much of our time was spent with military fundamentals, marching, formations, manual of arms, saluting. It was practice, practice, practice. As plebes we marched to every meal even though it meant going through Bancroft Hall to get to King Hall, and we ate at attention. If we wanted to have food or drink passed to us we had to stick out our paw and be recognized before we could ask for it. When we weren’t busy with training activities, we spent our time making sure our rooms were shipshape or memorizing material from Reef Points and articles from the newspaper.

Keeping our room in shape was an almost impossible task. The inspectors were looking for the slightest flaw. We did better than most, but we still got demerits. It was dust somewhere, or the bed cover’s corner wasn’t 45 degrees or a book was taller by a millimeter than the adjacent book on the taller side of the books on the shelf. And since we were a team we all got the blame. The demerits added up and to pay them off we marched, carrying our parade rifles – non-functional M-1s. Fortunately we didn’t do a lot of that.

When my turn came for Company Mate of the Deck or CMOD, I stood watch in the company office where I answered the phone, delivered messages, and sorted the mail. The first time I had the watch, I got my opportunity. A caller left a message for Wilson, and I was the one to deliver it. I realized this was my chance. I double timed to Wilson’s quarters. As luck would have it, all the detailers were in the yard. I quickly tore down Wilsons rack and remade it with the top sheet tucked in at the top and folded back to look like an ordinary top sheet.

As I left, I checked very carefully that no one saw me and dropped the message off in the nearest other detailers quarters. I expected one of the detailers there to deliver it to Wilson, which she did. I knew I’d get in trouble for mistaking her quarters for Wilson’s, but it disassociated me from the short-sheeting.

As expected, Wilson came to the company office and chewed me out about misdirecting his mail, but he didn’t ask me any questions about why I had done it. Maybe he thought his bullying was finally rattling me.

I waited for the rest of the day with anticipation for  him to discover the short-sheet, but the final assembly for the day came around and he treated me as he always did. So far so good.

Danielle, Ashley, and I hit the rack as if nothing had happened. They didn’t know what I had done and went right to sleep. I was too keyed up to sleep. I kept expecting Wilson to bang on our door and roust me or maybe the whole company. Finally, I drifted off. I dreamed once that Wilson was yelling at me and woke in a cold sweat. No one was there. I went back to sleep and woke to reveille.

While we were at PEP, I heard one detailer talking to another, saying that someone had short-sheeted Wilson’s rack and he was mad as hell. Yes! I almost paused in doing my crunches just to relish the moment. Of course there was the question of when he’d come to suspect me and what he’d do about it. But I could and would live with that if it happened.