Previous | Table of Contents | Next

“Ultimately, what is your business plan?” Mizuki asked.

“I was a tech business.”

“Technology…” Mizuki looked uncertain.

“What is it?”

“Like, medical technology?”

“No!” I declared and then coughed. “I’m thinking more applied science. Robotics, software, artificial intelligence.”

“You’re developing artificial intelligence?” Mizuki wore a slight smirk as she said that.

“I might, one day.” I shot back.

She winced slightly. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to come off that way. It’s how I was raised. If you wish to create a technology business, then we can create a technology business. I can only put up $10,000 in starting capital.”

I pulled out the black VIP card and put it down on the table. We were outdoors sitting at a picnic table. Mizuki looked impossibly pail, but the sun had to be good for her. I was far more comfortable in this kind of environment anyway.

Mizuki looked down at the card, but she didn’t seem surprised. “How much?”

“$100,000,” I responded.

“A respected partner. Nice. They only loan that much out to people they’re showing trust in.”

Her words naturally caused me to think of Lily. She was interested in my plans too. However, where I didn’t care what Mizuki thought, I didn’t know if Lily looking at me like a weirdo would sit right for me. Would she have been able to offer more? I didn’t know.

“Alright, what name would you like to give it.”

This was something I had thought about. Ultimately, I had come up with a name that I felt was suiting.

“Argos Solutions.”

Although I hoped to make money from this business, its true purpose was as a cover for the exchange of goods to and from the Apocalyptic world near Argos city. I hoped to help Argos city recover from their apocalypse using what I had here, and then allowing my old world to advance so that we didn’t end up in the same state as that world. My motives weren’t completely controlled by greed. I just wanted the people I cared about to live safe and peaceful lives.

Mizuki gave a slight nod. “Very well, I will register the business and get my end set up. However, if you want people to invest in your company, a little proof of concept would be appreciated. If you don’t plan to create an R&D, then I assume you must have technology that is worth it?”

“I will. In the meantime, just use my card to fund everything.”

“I see… and what should we be funding?”

“I need a warehouse. I also want food and water.”

“Food and water, you say?”

“They need to not have labels or at least the labels need to contain minimal information.”

She frowned slightly. “What for?”

“That’s for me. I also want other personal goods. An assortment of items would be fine. I’ll let you know what I need in higher quantity later on.”

“Alright… fine. I can negotiate with some vendors and get you some bulk orders of supplies by next week.”



“I need it by Friday. Well, you can get more later, but a good amount by Friday would be preferred.”

She looked at me for a moment but ultimately didn’t say anything to protest. “Done.”

I took a deep breath. If she had given me much more trouble, then I would have considered going to Lily after all. Thankfully, she understood my needs and decided to fulfill them. That’s all that I expected.

“Then, is that all?” I asked.

“Just one more thing. Your high school exam. I’ve set it up for next week.”

“I see…”

“I also graduated early. Unfortunately, you’ll need to finish the exam. If you need any help, I can…”

“That won’t be necessary.”

“If you insist… then the exam will be based on you. I will contact you later this week with the information for your warehouse. I can’t promise how large the stock will be with only a few day’s warning, but I will do my best.”

“That is all I’m asking.”

Mizuki seemed strangely reluctant to end the conversation, but she didn’t seem to have anything else that needed to be said. We exchanged information, and I left. I was able to find my bike, the place having emptied after such an event. It still worried me letting Mizuki handle it, but I asked Cecelia to check the internet and give me notice if anything about it was revealed. As for Caleb, I called him off shortly after the situation had been received, and didn’t pay it anymore mind.

“I need a car too.” I sighed.

“Your $100,000 credit line should be able to afford something like that easily.” Cecelia declared.

“I need to learn to drive,” I responded.

When I returned home, my sister was in her room and my mother was at her job. I went online and registered for driving lessons. Then, after a moment, I looked up a gun range and signed up for shooting lessons too.

“I wish there was some way to learn things quickly.”

“You mean Virtual Reality Pod?”

“Huh? Virtual Reality? Something like that isn’t going to help me.”

“Maybe in your world, but in our world, virtual reality advanced to the stage of appearing realistic. Furthermore, it could speed up perception, so an hour in there could be eight hours of training.”

“Seriously? Argos City had such a thing?”

“I don’t know about Argos City. The technology was still being developed. They cost a lot of money, and so the number in any city could be counted on your hand. Most of the pods were moved to the colonies during the outbreak. They figured that was where they’d be needed the most for humanity’s future.”

“I see… so we’re unlikely to find one outside of a colony.”

“I don’t know the state of Argos city. Randall didn’t exactly fill me in on the details of local politics. I’m just saying that if there was one known, it’d be the prized possession of whoever owned it, that’s for sure.”

“So, what? You get into the pod, and you can learn eight times as fast?”

“I mean, it’s not that simple. There is such a thing as muscle memory. You wouldn’t be able to go in and become a karate master overnight. Your body would still be somewhat weak.

“Unless I had more Allco injections.”

“I suppose they’d help, but as I said, it’s not that simple.”

“I understand.”

It wasn’t perfect, but it would still save a lot of time if I could get my hand on one. I was extremely interested. Time was one of my limiting factors at the moment. There was too much I didn’t know and too little time to learn it all. If I could accelerate that, I’d be able to succeed much quicker.

I decided I’d ask once I returned to the Ascension base. For the moment, I filed it in the back of my head, and instead did something I hadn’t done in a long time. I pulled out some books and concentrated on studying. Mother eventually came home, and Hazel came out to bug me a bit. Mostly, she was lonely and wanted attention. She wanted me to go into her bedroom and look at some of her paintings. I told her she could just bring the paintings out and I could look at them in the family room, but that seemed to make her unhappy. In the end, I didn’t go and I didn’t get to see her paintings.

“I’m going to be gone this weekend.” Mother announced over dinner.

“What’s going on?” Hazel asked as I blankly picked at my food, my mind feeling fried after everything I had experienced that day.

“Nothing major. Gabriella got some tickets to a spa, and she’s determined to drag me to it.” Mom laughed dismissively. “Are you two going to be okay?”

Although she had asked generally, both of them had ended up looking my way. “I’ll be out this weekend. I’m going to be doing my test next week so I’ll be studying.”

“The whole weekend?” Hazel demanded, pouting a bit.

“The Mizuki Foundation says that if you want to study, you must free yourself of all distractions.” I came up with some made-up reason that sounded plausible.

“A-are you calling me a distraction?” Hazel cried.

“Are you not?”

“I’m your cheerleader! I can help you study.”

“Didn’t you practically flunk out of high school? How could you help me study?”

“I could do all kinds of things! Like… like… I could motivate you.”

“Motivate me?”

“Right… like, I could help quiz you, and if you’re right, I have to take off a piece of clothing, and if I’m right, you have to take off a piece of clothing.”

“Won’t that just make us both naked?”

“Mom’s gone… so we can play these games.”

“Mom!” I cried out at her, who was conveniently ignoring this while playing on her phone.

“Hmm? Hazel, stop badgering your brother. You are a distraction.”

Why did she hear that part and not the other part? Was she in denial? Hazel gave me tearful looks, but I wasn’t so easily swayed by her.

Previous | Table of Contents | Next