Hi everyone – first off, congratulations on making it all the way here, to Abysme’s very last chapter. It’s been a crazy ride, and I thank you for putting up with my delays in publishing and for your enduring support – I think the result it worth it, and I definitely couldn’t have done it without you.
I’ll be taking a month off to compile all the chapters and put Abysme up on Amazon. However, I’ve decided that Abysme will remain free, forever. The only favor I will ask of you is to please download it and leave a review when it comes out – as an author, reviews are the most helpful thing I could ask for. I’ll notify everyone when it comes out through my newsletter, so if you haven’t yet, I encourage you to sign up on the right -> ! (thank you!)
The next novel I’ll be publishing is Encore 2 – and I can’t wait to get back to Leo Melikian’s story. After that one however, well… let’s just say Abysme’s story doesn’t end here.
Thank you for everything. I hope you enjoy the final chapter.
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Chapter Twenty-Four: Epilogue
Mathilde floated up to observe the woman from up close. Despite the height of her heels, Ms. Alaoui strode straight to her desk with perfect balance. She dropped her braided-leather bag on the floor, and pushed back a rogue strand of curly black hair behind her ear.
An aura of power seemed to radiate from the woman. Mathilde felt it even through the prism of the Mosverse. Ms. Alaoui’s round brown eyes, rimmed with the faintest of crow’s feet, were drawing her in like twin gravity wells.
The office itself was strange. Perched at the top of a glass skyscraper overlooking the Mediterranean, it was entirely empty – with the exception of the lone wooden desk. The walls were white and unadorned, the floor an unpolished ash-grey wood. It spoke volumes to its owner’s personality.
Well, I knew she was special, she thought, and glided over to the desk.
Alaoui pulled out a tablet and tapped it once. Instantly, the massive desk swirled up into a giant angled architect’s table. Still standing, Alaoui set her tablet onto it and began to work. Compare to the desk, the tablet was tiny. It lay nestled in the bottom right corner, leaving a wide expanse of wood on the sides and top.
Carefully, Mathilde marked out a square in the empty wood, and launched the function she had prepared. In the Mosverse, a series of miniature black holes suddenly opened and closed in quick succession.
The effect was wonderful. Small dimples gouged themselves into the desk, as if hammered in by an invisible hand. They grew deeper and wider, until they connected into long carved streams. Alaoui glanced up, and jumped back in surprise. The marks slowly linked up to form perfectly stenciled letters pressed in the wood, all in Mathilde’s handwriting.
My name is Mathilde and I have invented something that will change the world.
However, I need your help.
I am currently in the lobby. Could you call me up?
Mathilde watched Alaoui carefully. Her eyes were wide with shock, her body frozen in surprise. Then, she blinked once slowly, took a deep breath and pressed an invisible button on her her desk. “Yes, reception please,” she said.
Mathilde swiftly logged out, removed her VR contacts and stowed them away in her handbag. Smoothing out her jacket, she carefully stood up from the orange couch she was sitting in, and walked over to the reception desk. A young man with light blonde-hair was manning the phone, a confused look on his face as he glanced around. His eyes locked onto her as she approached, a look at once questioning and expectative.
“Hi, I’m Mathilde,” she said, “I’m here to see Ms. Alaoui?”
Relief washed over his face. “Yes, Miss, let me just create a visitor badge for you.” He typed in a few instructions, printed it out and handed it to her. She pinned it onto her jacket.
“The elevators are on your right. Ms. Alaoui’s office is on the 15th floor.”
Mathilde nodded in thanks, and walked away. So far so good, she thought. She had worried that Alaoui would panic when she saw the words form, or think that this was a terrorist attack and call in her top-notch security.
But then again, such a reaction would have been surprising. Mathilde had done her research: Alaoui was phenomenal, and that was an understatement. Her reputation had almost made her a household name, admired for her business acumen, negotiation skills and incredible legal knowledge. In the past, she had even been the right hand of France’s most influential businessman.
More importantly, she had also left all of that behind to start the Nikaïa Foundation, France’s largest tech-charity, focused on helping institute world-class education programs throughout the world with the help of new technology. Alaoui had never said exactly why she had left politics behind, but it wasn’t that hard to piece together: she had simply become disillusioned with it.
Which was exactly why she was the perfect choice.
The elevator doors opened with a ding, tearing her away from her thoughts. Mathilde stepped out, and made it no more than two steps before a fearsome Alaoui blocked her path, her arms crossed and her face a stony goddess of wrath.
“Explain,” she demanded.
“Yes, of course,” stammered Mathilde, “First, thank you for seeing me. The easiest way to explain this all is, um, if I show it to you. I have it here in my bag.”
Alaoui raised an eyebrow, but indicated approval with a tug of her chin. Mathilde rummaged through her bag and pulled out a clear glass cube.
“This is the future,” she said, handing it to Ms. Alaoui.
“This?” Alaoui studied the box.
The glass cube was unremarkable, and fit snugly in her palm. Encased in it however was a three-bladed turbine attached to a long metal pole that stretched between two opposite panes of the cube. It spun wildly with a constant buzz.
Alaoui turned it around, examining it.
“I don’t understand,” she said, “Is this a toy?”
“It’s a generator. A Mosgenerator, to be precise.”
“What powers it? Movement? Are there batteries hidden in the blades?”
“No batteries. No source of power either. But it’ll run forever anyway.”
It was her brainchild – the logical and most useful outcome of the Mosverse.
It had been surprisingly easy to create. The hardest part had actually been building the box – such a manual endeavor – to the extent where she had given up on trying to do it herself and outsourced it to freelance 3D-printer instead. Her expertise was in the code powering it, and that had only taken her three days.
The concept was simple. In the Mosverse, a small function was now running, opening little gravity wells right in front of the turbine’s blades and closing them a heartbeat later, then opening them again just a little bit farther, and closing them again. The gravity wells ran in a circle, dragging the blades behind them. As long as the routine was running, the generator would spin.
Mathilde extended her hand, and recited the mini-speech she’d worked on all morning. “I haven’t introduced myself. I’m Mathilde, the CEO of MOS Corp, and I’ve invented a machine that will offer free energy to Earth, forever.”
Alaoui looked from Mathilde, to the box, and then back to Mathilde. She silently shook her hand.
“Can you tell me how this works?” she asked.
“No, that’s the catch.”
“No. I’m sorry.”
“Well, I’m sorry too Mathilde, but then this meeting is over,” Alaoui spun on her heels and walked away.
“Are you familiar with Leo Szilard, Ms. Alaoui?” asked Mathilde.
Alaoui paused mid-step. “Leo Szilard of the Szilard letter? The one warning Roosevelt of atomic bombs?”
“What I’ve invented, Ms. Alaoui, is orders of magnitude more dangerous than Szilard’s discovery of atomic power. And orders of magnitude more useful as well.”
She pressed her feet together and drew herself up tight.
“And although I do hope we cooperate, I have decided that I shall never share the details of how this invention works. With anyone. I have seen first-hand how dangerous it can be. Being the sole owner is the only way I can think of to protect the world from its power. ”
Alaoui frowned skeptically. “So what is it that you want Mathilde? Financing?”
Mathilde shook her head. “MOS Corp, my company, has liquid assets of over half a billion euros. I can finance this myself.”
Finally, Alaoui looked taken aback. Mathilde grinned inwardly – it clearly wasn’t easy to surprise this woman. Alaoui motioned for her to follow, and walked back to her desk, where she typed in ‘MOS Corp’ into her tablet. Looking for confirmation, thought Mathilde. She had prepared for that too. Once again, she opened her bag. This time, she pulled out a heavy file and handed it to Alaoui.
“These are some of our recent bank statements. They’ve been notarized. You can also call our lawyers at Laurence, Laurence and Humphrey for further confirmation. You’ll see, Ms. Alaoui, that this is the real deal. I’ll be building a prototype to prove it works in the next six months, using my own money. Financing is not why I’m here today.”
“Why are you here then, Mathilde?”
“I’m here because I have invented a way to create unlimited and free energy for the entire planet, and I want to change the world for the better. But I need your help.”
Alaoui took the files cautiously, and set them down on the desk. As she did so, she raised her other hand and ran it over the grooves of Mathilde’s message in her desk.
“Did you use your invention to do this too?”
“Yes, although I don’t plan on using it that way ever again.”
Alaoui closed her eyes as she ran her fingers along the carved letters. “Okay, let’s assume that I believe you. That all you say is true. Get to the point and tell me what you need me for.”
“I need you for politics.”
“If we do this, we’ll need permits and authorizations to launch an energy company. It’s a red tape nightmare that I’m certain your political relations, if not just your name, could cut through in an instant. That’s the short-term gain.”
“Long term however,” she continued, “Is where the real danger lies, and where I’ll need you the most. Not only are we going to be facing energy giants like Total and Areva, but governments themselves are going to want to control this technology. I can never let that happen, and I need you to be my political and legal wall in this battle. Most importantly, I need you to be the face of the company. I want to remain in the shadows, unknown.”
Mathilde stood firm as she waited for Alaoui to answer, trying her best not to move.
“You’ve thought this through,” Alaoui finally said.
“I have. I want to make the world a better place, and this invention is the solution. But it needs to be approached with utmost caution.”
Alaoui picked up the glass box and turned it, looking at the turbines spinning wildly.
“This can be scaled to any size?”
She set it down on her desk, and locked her eyes onto Mathilde’s, staring straight at her for a full minute without saying a word.
“Alright,” she finally said, suddenly slamming both her palms on the desk, “I have a feeling this is going to be a long conversation. Let’s go to a meeting room where we can sit.” She strode off towards the elevator.
Mathilde smiled. It was a win. “Thank you Ms. Alaoui,” she said as she followed, “You won’t regret this.”
Alaoui didn’t turn back. “Please,” she answered, “From now on, just call me Hanaa.”
Night had already begun to fall when Mathilde finally exited the Nikaïa Foundation building, and her mind reeled from the unexpected brainstorming session she had just endured. More than anything, it had hammered home the sheer brilliance of Hanaa Alaoui. The woman operated on a whole other level. While Mathilde had been content with the simple idea that free energy would better mankind, Alaoui had looked at the planet as a while, and recommended putting a stipulation that 10% of all energy be allocated to air and water purification. She had also suggested using energy to enact democratic change, by upsetting government monopolies of resource-rich nations and tie carrot and stick approaches into their international expansion plans.
Mathilde’s mind still swirled with implications she hadn’t even begun to consider. Alaoui was consistently ten steps ahead of her when it came to politics – which, was exactly why she had asked her for help in the first place.
Stored in her tablet was now a long list of documents that she had to provide Alaoui, and the next steps they had agreed on to prove that Mathilde’s invention wasn’t a hoax. Eventually, Mathilde would also have to ask for her help to outright purchase l’ENS‘ quantum computer. Right now she was renting the whole thing non-stop, but that couldn’t go on forever, if only because she needed to bring it to a more secure location at some point.
There were a lot of challenges ahead, but she couldn’t help but smile. She had finally found a way to use the Mosverse for the greater good: free worldwide energy.
A quick glance to her watch informed her that she had missed the last flight to Warsaw. She swore softly, and began looking up hotels instead. She knew she would still check up on Szymon through the Mosverse that very night, but she still couldn’t wait to be there in person, and tell him about the meeting with Alaoui.
Even though he still wasn’t able to answer, she knew he would approve of her decision.
Hopefully though, he’ll be able to tell me directly soon enough.
When she finally settled down in her hotel room, she took out her tablet and began to work on code. It was time to make some progress on the most important project of them all. She opened up the code Oliver had once forced her to work on and skimmed through it.
Somewhere, Szymon was still there, trapped in his broken body. No matter how long it took, she would find a way to use the Mosverse to break him out.
She began to type.
~ End ~
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