Thanks again for your support
Hey everybody, thanks again for your support of The Journey. It has been a very rewarding experience trying to get this project funded, and as we wind down the final days there are some things I would have done differently, but I am still optimistic.
Regardless if the project is funded or not, please sign up for updates on my blog at troyrutter.com to receive notification when The Journey is printed. I am going to get it published and available no matter what - and I want you all to be the first to see it.
In editing the book I had forgotten some of the really great moments I created for the main character. I fondly remember placing all the characters in a room and then just watching to see what they would say and do. It was a magical experience, and I haven't felt like that while writing in a long time.
Here is a continuation of the story... this is the unedited version continuing from where I left off.
As he continued clearing off the book case, the intercom rang. Jacob looked over at the vid panel and saw it was Chris, one of his best friends at school. Jacob reached up and touched the answer button on the vid and Chris appeared on the monitor. Upside-down.
Chris was always playing some kind of a joke on the vid. Sometimes, like now, he would be standing on his head when he placed the call, while other times he would be wearing a mask, disguising his voice, or even using a hologram of this years Sports Illustrated Super Model around himself. Chris had been his best friend since kindergarten and was always there to cheer him up. “Hi, Chris.” Jacob said, craning his neck so he could almost see his friend right-side up. “Does the extra blood running to your head make you smarter?”
“Ha, Ha Ha.” Chris laughed sarcastically as he broke his hand-stand and thumped to the floor. “How’s it going? You saving me any good stuff?” Chris pulled out a chair from his desk and sat down.
“Sorry, dad wants all of this done tonight so I’ve been doing more throwing than saving.” Jacob turned from the monitor for a second and grabbed a stack of small paperback books from the top shelf. “I can save you the Asimov books, though.” Jacob set the stack of books from his favorite author on the floor at the point furthest away from the trash bins. He wanted there to be no question as to whether they were to be thrown out or saved. “That cool?”
“Yeah,” Chris said. “Hey, can you come over for pizza tonight? My mom and dad said I could invite a few friends over to help celebrate.”
Celebrate. That’s one word for it, Jacob guessed. He knew what Chris meant, but there was something about saying it out loud that almost made Jacob break down crying. Chris wanted to get the guys together to celebrate. Celebrate him leaving. Celebrate him not only moving away from the school, the city, the province, the world but the solar system. Yeah, celebrate was not the right word.
“I’ll have to ask my dad. He really wants me to finish my room tonight.” Looking around his room, Chris knew he would be able to finish quickly if he wanted to. Everything and anything was going into the trash bins. “Can you hang on, I’ll go ask.” Chris nodded ok and then promptly started spinning around in his desk chair while looking up at the ceiling. Jacob shook his head and bounded down the hallway to his dad’s room.
“Dad? Can I go over to Chris’s and have dinner with the guys? You know, one last time?"
Jacob’s dad turned around and saw his son in the doorway. He could tell by the look in Jacob’s eyes that he really needed to go, to say his goodbyes on his own terms. “Sure, champ. Be back by eight thirty. You need a ride?” Jacob smiled, obviously surprised his dad gave him the green light to go goof off for a couple of hours. Jacob bit his lip.
“Uhhhhhhhhhhhh, I’ll go ask!” Jacob ran down the hallway and came back to his room and asked Chris if he could get a ride with one of the other guys or if his dad needed to bring him. Chris stopped twirling around in the chair and took a moment for his eyes to focus on the vid.
“Can you take the jet?”
The jet was the fastest way to get around the city. Privately owned and operated, there was never any down time since being inoperable for construction or repair would mean huge financial loss. The system was designed so that if one track was out of commission for repair, the system would re-route all the traffic to a nearby section. Jacob had seen pictures of earlier versions of the jet that were called Subways in one of his classes at school.
Jacob ran once again down the hall and asked his dad if he could take the jet over to Chris’s house. His dad nodded and said he would pick him up though, at eight thirty sharp. Chris jumped up in the air for joy, and as he did so looked a little embarrassed at behaving so childlike. Then he sprinted back to his room. “Yeah, dad says its ok. I’ll be there quick.” Chris gave a peace sign with his hand and Jacob grabbed his identification badge, the stack of Asimov books, and a jet token off his dresser door. He stopped once again at his dad’s room. “Thanks, dad. See you in a bit.” Then he was off again, bounding out the door, down the elevator and across the street to the jet station.
Jacob’s dad stopped working in his own room and went to check on his son’s. He looked around and saw the bare walls and half-emptied bookshelf. He knew the location of every book on the shelf it seemed. Glancing at the trash can, he spied a hardbound book with a green cover. He pulled it up from under the other books and opened the front cover. "Love, Mom."
He knew moving the Phaedra was going to be hard for Jacob. What he didn’t realize was how hard it was going to be to leave almost everything behind. He ran his fingers over the indentation the pen left in the book’s page. He traced the word Mom and closed the cover. He walked back to his own room, opened up his moving box and gently placed the book in the bottom. A surprise for when they reach their new home.
Jacob reached the jet station entrance and scanned his identification badge and dropped in a token. This was the first year Jacob had been allowed to take the jet by himself, and it always made him feel cool to stroll in through the doors by himself. Once he made it through the identification doors, he stepped on the moving sidewalk and almost dropped the books he was carrying for Chris. After a few seconds, a jet car matched his speed and he stepped in and scooted to the middle of the seat. The car showed him a list of his most recent destinations and prompted Jacob to either choose one of the routes on the screen or enter a new destination. He clicked on Chris’s name and instantly the doors clicked and pressurized. Jacob always held his breath when the jet car was about to start. Nothing, nothing then whooooosh!
The jet car has no windows, and Jacob acknowledged that was a good thing. Moving over 200 miles-per-hour, the jet cars were completely computer controlled and independent. They zigged and zagged among a series of 10 separate tracks throughout the city. It took a lot of computer power to keep track of hundreds of cars going that fast without any accidents. The cars themselves could withstand an impact with another car or object with each going 300 miles-per-hour, so they were very safe, and if something did happen, the worst would be a dozen or so cars being thrown off the track and the mild inconvenience of their passengers.
Within a minute Jacob arrived across town at the jet station down the street from Chris’s house. He liked going to Chris’s house because it was so big. All Jacob had ever known was a small two bedroom apartment building, but Chris had one of the biggest houses on the south side of town. Chris didn’t talk much about what his parents did, but Jacob’s dad told him they worked for the government. They were nice, but sometimes almost too nice. Jacob reached the door and pressed his finger on the vid screen. Chris’s face popped on the vid again. “Hey, man. Come on up.” The door buzzed and opened and Jacob walked in.
Jacob was halfway up the stairs to Chris’s room when Chris’s mom yelled hello from beneath him. Jacob leaned over the railing. “Hi Mrs. Kasperall.” Jacob did one of his make-parents-think-I’m-cute smiles and waved to her from the staircase.
“Good to see you, Chris. We’re going to miss you. You’ll have to let us know how you are doing when you get settled.” She smiled back at him.
“Yeah, I will. Thanks again for having me over.” Jacob ran up the rest of the stairs and almost laid himself flat when he took a turn too fast when he reached the top. “Chris?” Jacob didn’t see Chris in his room. Of course, with as messy as it was, Chris could be standing in the middle of the room waving both arms and Jacob might have missed him.
“In here!” Chris yelled from the playroom down the hall. Jacob stopped for a minute to catch his breath then walked down the hall to the play room, swaggering to look cool as he entered. “About time.” Chris smiled went up to Jacob and took the books from under his arm. “Thanks again for the books – I’ll save them for you so you can have them back when you come back to Earth.” Chris was always the optimist of the group.
Jacob said hi to Ralph and JT who were already engrossed in a video game. They managed a couple of “Heys” and “Cools” in conversation and then Jacob plopped down onto part of the sectional sofa near a window. “Bill and Aaron are coming too. You want anything?” Jacob shrugged and Chris left the room for a second and came back with a cold Strite, his favorite drink. Jacob took a sip and let all the little bubbles burst on his tongue before swallowing.
“Thanks.” All the boys rotated between playing video games and looking through Chris’s latest comic book acquisitions. When Bill and Aaron arrived, Chris’s mom and dad emerged from the hallway with three giant pizzas. The smell of the pizzas instantly made all of the guys stop whatever they were doing and almost line up in anticipation.
“Here you go, guys,” Chris’s dad said. “We’re going to miss you, Jacob. The only time I can get Chris to clean his room is when you are coming over, don’t know what I’m going to do now.” Chris’s mom and dad laughed but Chris did not look amused. “We’ve got one sausage, one cheese and one of your favorite, Jacob – pepperoni.” His parents set the pizzas down on the hobby table near some cabinets in the back of the room and left the kids to be alone. Jacob ripped into the pepperoni, taking three slices for his plate and sat down with his Strite in one hand and pizza plate in the other.
The next ten minutes were almost silent, except the occasional cough of someone trying to gulp down too much soda at once. One by one each of the boys slowed down until they were finally just staring at the last few bites on their plate and willing themselves to finish it. Jacob looked over at Chris’s plate and saw five crusts neatly placed in a circle around the plate. If Jacob didn’t eat the crust on pizza at home, his dad would kill him. But it kind of fit in with Chris’s lifestyle. It didn’t take a genius to realize Chris was spoiled, heck, Chris even knew it himself.
“So, how long does it take to get to Phaedra?” Aaron asked. Aaron was the smart one in the group, always asking for extra credit at school and always learning. When Jacob was reading I, Robot, Aaron was reading Principles of Instellar Drive Mechanics.
Jacob took another gulp of his drink. “Well, technically about 4 months. We spend 2 weeks getting far enough away to turn on the C6’s, then go into cryo for over 3 months.”
“That sounds… cool.” Replied Bill. “Get it? Cool?” Bill was always trying to turn every conversation into a joke or a pun. The rest of the group simply rolled their eyes. “I heard when you go into cryo, they stick this long tube up your-“
“Aw man, shut UP, Bill!” Chris came to Jacob’s rescue. “Geez, he’s going to have a hard enough time leaving everything without worrying about THAT.” Chris paused for just a moment. “Besides, they would have to find it first.” The room burst out laughing and Jacob punched Chris in the arm then laughed too. If there was anybody you could count on to make crude comments – it was Chris.
The friends managed to completely obliterate the rest of the pizza and then stopped for a minute or two, drowning their last bites with a few gulps of soda pop. Chris watched Jacob stare out of the window, staring blankly at the park in the backyard where they had grown up. “It won't be so bad, man.” said Chris. “Besides, you're like, colonizing the entire planet!”
“Yeah,” said Jacob. “Sorry, guys – I just can't help thinking about what I'm leaving here instead of 'the great adventure'” Jacob emphasized his last words, mocking his father's voice when he came home that Friday night and told Jacob about the program to colonize Phaedra.