Would you alter reality for love?
Morally complex, orphan, and absolute genius Vincent Abajian is hellbent to uncover all he can on Artificial Intelligence. His relentless pursuit distracts him from a traumatic childhood loss — his childhood best friend Akane was engulfed in a time-turbulence, a random rift in space and time.
But when a beautiful, temperamental, post-doctoral scientist, Emika Amari, joins his Center, everything changes. Vincent is convinced that Akane is inside the irresistible Emika. As they begin a life together, Vincent’s past and his connection with a time turbulence survivor challenge everything they’ve created and push them into a spiral of politics and conspiracy. Vincent’s silence to protect Emika threatens to tear them apart. Unknowingly, Emika is torn between what she wants and what Akane wants from her. With his newfound power, Vincent struggles with whether or not he should create another time-turbulence to free Emika from the grasp of Akane once and for all. But will tinkering with time be more destructive than anything he has ever encountered before?
Targeted Age Group:: adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
In 1994, I dreamed of speaking with a girl fluently in Japanese. But this dream seemed like a past life but set in the future. I ignored it and dived into the world of Calculus, Statistics, Quantum Mechanics. When I shut my eyes while listening to my favorite composers—from Chopin to Hans Zimmer, I can picture beautiful scenes of real places where I have never been and never seen on TV. They are almost always in Japan. (I don’t know what connection I have with that land). In 2020, the dream reappeared. And I began to write. That’s the best I can do to touch the fragments of an unlived life.
(the connection of Vincent with Japan becomes clearer in book 2)
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Music plays a significant role in my drawing of characters.
I want them to stand out. Vincent is named after my favorite artist. The names like Philip Nardin, Oliver Journe, Victor Constantin, Ulysses Bovet are homages to some watch brands that have created breakthroughs in mechanical movements.
My book has four influential lawyers— Jerry Bernstein, Kenji Ozawa, Alberto Toscanini, and Dinesh Mehta. Those are the last names of some of the most famous music conductors across a hundred years.
Akane means deep red, which goes with her personality, which you will see in book 2. Emika means blessed, blossom, flowering herb, while her last name Amari means bountiful. Yes, she has a lot to offer, but she can’t, which becomes apparent in the final chapter of book 1.
Vincent’s AI assistant Ludwig is named after one of my favorite composers.
I can barely keep my eyes open with the makeup lights glaring at my face. Sophie, the show's stylist, is struggling to make my face presentable, using all kinds of pigments. She sees a little sweat on my forehead and quickly rubs it. The chair is squeaky, with no lumbar support, and I shift uncomfortably. I've placed my briefcase and scarf on the chair next to me. The wall opposite the mirror has eight posters of Maurice Johnson, the host.
"Nervous, Dr. Abajian?" Sophie asks around the makeup brush in her mouth.
"I didn't think you would be." She takes the brush off her mouth. "I saw how you rebuked the senators in the hearing. That was totally awesome." Her eyes glow.
I shut my eyes and recall every incident that led me to the Senate floor in April this year. "They had it coming."
"Dr. Abajian? Did you mean it when you said that politicians can be replaced with algorithms?" she asks, squinting at me.
I smile. "Yes. And it doesn't have to be a complicated one either."
She fans the brush across my face. "It will be just a sec." As she leans closer, the top note of her perfume is revealed—jasmine. Then she leans away again to look at her art, smiling. "You have nice wavy hair."
"Thank you, Sophie."
She puts her brush back, contemplates for a second. "Can I ask you a favor?"
After reaching into her bag, she hands me a paperback of The Time Fixer: Three Lives of Philip Nardin. I scribble, "Dear Sophie, The future has already happened. But you can change it, Vince—August 15, 2024."
Grabbing the book with both hands, she jumps up and down. "Thanks so much. Can I take a selfie with you?"
"Absolutely, but you should know, I am not on social media."
She tilts her head. "I know that." Then she gets uncomfortably close to me, pouts her lips, and snaps a selfie. "Jim will come and get you soon. It was totally awesome to meet you."
I blink. "Likewise, Sophie."
She leaves, waving at me as she goes out the door.
Alone again, my mind starts racing, and my chest begins to pound. What questions will Maurice ask? About my book? About my performance in the Senate that put three senators in jail? Those are easy ones. What if he asks about my personal life?
I snap my fingers. Sparks transform into a miniature core—a white luminant sphere levitating an inch over my palm. As I examine the sphere I think about what it means. I am the key to the time turbulence, a secret I discovered only a few days back. Inside the time turbulence, I can change the past and the future. Closing my palm, I dissolve the core. Mr. Kruger never revealed what I could do with the sparks, and only recently had I understood why—I had to find out myself.
I straighten my necktie and adjust my pocket square. The necktie button has gotten looser. I've lost fifteen pounds, five of which were since August 13, when I did the unthinkable. Yes, given the task's magnitude, I'd had my doubts—my incompetence with the sparks to create turbulence. And, even if I could muster the power, should I? Emika would forget me. But, as my resolve strengthened, I could create turbulence through these sparks. There was no stopping me. Emika is now free, and I am OK with her not remembering me. Maybe that's why she never returned my voicemail that I left on August 13. But, that dream this morning… Is she coming back?
I lift my cuff to look at my watch. It's 4:25 p.m. My JLC Reverso is now ticking beautifully at 21,600 vibrations per hour, 6 ticks per second. But, it stops when I enter my property, just like all my mechanical watches. It means only one thing—my action on the thirteenth removed my property from this reality.
Which dial goes better with my blue shirt and charcoal plaid suit? The white dial with local time or the black dial with GMT—Emika's time? Let's toss a coin. I throw a penny into the air, and there's a knock on the door. As soon as the door opens, I can hear the crowd chanting "Maurice, Maurice" against the poorly orchestrated sound of the trumpet, drums, and bass guitar. Jim comes forward. "We are ready for you." The coin lands on my left palm. Showtime.
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