Last week, I unveiled the cover for my newest book, In A Greater Reality. I also revealed the synopsis, where I first mention the existence of the RETCON project. It is what drives pretty much the entire book. Only, what exactly is that project? At some point during In A Greater Reality, the character of Dr. Kevin Sherman persuades the book’s main protagonist to submit himself to RETCON. Frank Polansky is drawn to the project because it promises to greatly improve not just his life, but also his younger sister Courtney’s. They’ve struggled for success through most of their lives, so they can’t turn down such a wonderful offer.
With less than three weeks to go before In A Greater Reality is released, the time is ripe for a sneak peek. In this first preview, I’ll introduce you to Frank Polansky. This is the point near where his life is about to change…but is it for the better, or for the worse? Here it is:
“Where do you kids want to go?” Winston asked. He and Natasha had told their children that they’d spend some time around the city.
“May we go to the Wakefield Shopping Courts?” Courtney asked. Natasha looked at her, and then at Frank.
“I’m okay with that.”
“All right. Then the mall it is.”
Winston drove to the Wakefield mall. It was Courtney’s favorite. The selection of stores was excellent, and it was a good place to mingle. The mall also had a lot of customers, as it was one of the few of its kind left in the country.
At the mall, the group decided to separate. Winston and Natasha went to a clothing store. Frank and Courtney decided to head for a gaming store. It was a shared hobby of theirs. Courtney wanted to see if they had the newest release of her favorite role-playing game.
“That one’s awesome. I saw a short video of it online.”
“You haven’t played it?” Courtney asked.
“Not yet. I don’t have a holo-game console. It’s not in my priorities, anyway.”
Courtney bit her lip.
“You have more self-restraint than me. I just ordered myself a console, just to play that game.”
“You did?” Frank asked, raising his eyebrows.
“Yes! In my defense, I got a discount. I was sold with that video! Imagine how exhilarating it’d be to explore fantastic places in hologram mode. It’s just as if you’re in the game.”
“You should show me one day, Cutie.”
“I will,” Courtney said. She and Frank reached the store. They began browsing the shelves. Frank had few videogames, and they were not the latest holographic variety. The ones he had were the old kind that you played on a TV.
Frank and Courtney left the store almost a half hour later without making any purchases. He marveled at the new holographic games that were coming soon.
Courtney decided to go to a girls’ store by herself. Frank headed toward an electronics store. He wanted to see if he could get a few replacement parts for his kit.
In the store, Frank saw a new processor he’d been eyeing for some time. It couldn’t be bigger than an inch on each side, but packed tremendous capabilities. The chip was meant for computers, so Frank really didn’t have much use for it. His electronic design kit wouldn’t take such a powerful chip.
As Frank looked at a box of silicene integrated circuits, a man walked up to him. Frank turned. The man appeared to be browsing the shelves, too. When he reached Frank, the man looked up.
“These are intriguing, aren’t they?” he asked. Frank sized the man up. He appeared to be around forty years old. By his attire, the man probably had a job as a doctor or an executive.
“They are,” Frank agreed. He wondered what the man was up to.
“You might not remember, but they used to make electronics out of doped silicon. It was an excellent element for the purpose, plus it is the second most abundant on the planet. Eventually, we needed a new material that could push the capabilities of microchips.”
“A bond of silicon and graphene.”
“Correct. About fifteen years ago, scientists predicted that a new element would replace silicon. That could happen, but not anytime soon. Projects to find a brand new element could see the fruits of their labor in decades, not years. So, other scientists came up with the idea of bonding silicon with another material.
“One of the results is silicene. It can run faster and is more resistant to heat. Plus, processors made out of that material can transfer light signals, not only electrical signals. Photonic computers are much faster than any others.”
“Those are not available to the general public, though,” Frank said. The man shook his head.
“You must be wondering who I am.”
Frank looked at the man.
“Do we know each other?”
“No. But I seem to remember seeing you days ago. It was probably a week or two ago, at a nightclub.”
Frank raised his eyebrows.
“Scientists have fun, too.” The man offered his hand. “My name’s Dr. Kevin Sherman.”
“I’m Frank. Frank Polansky.”
Dr. Sherman shook hands with Frank.
“To what do I owe the pleasure, sir?”
“I’ve seen you a couple of times, not counting now. I don’t mean to be creepy, but you can’t fault a man of science to be observant.”
“I’m quite observant myself.”
Dr. Sherman gave a subtle nod.
“If you don’t mind me saying, you have this…vibe I’ve come across plenty of times. It’s like you’re stuck in a rut or something. Like you want more out of life.”
Talk about being spot-on, Frank thought.
“Have you been following me?”
“No. It’s just that I’ve noticed you, Frank, and I want to help. I work for a man with ample resources.”
Frank narrowed his eyes.
“What does that mean?”
“This man and I, we’re heading a project that helps people reach their dreams.”
“How do I know I can trust you?”
“You’re not the first person we speak to. We have already helped a few people like you. We are always on the lookout for them.”
Frank thought for a few seconds.
“Can you explain?”
Dr. Sherman scratched the side of his head.
“Each of these people had wishes. They told us what they wanted to have in life. And we helped them get it. Those people are much happier now.”
This time, it was Frank who laughed.
“As if it were that easy.”
“This is 2028, Frank. Pretty much anything is possible these days.”
Frank was still skeptical.
“We think you could use our help. You and your sister strike us as people who could do great things, if only you were given the chance.”
At the mention of Courtney, Frank perked up. He narrowed his eyes.
“How can we be sure that you’re not trying to fool us, Dr. Sherman?”
“I know my offer sounds hard to believe. You’re within your right to refuse. Just think about it, though. You can struggle to achieve your dreams…or you can just achieve them now.”
With that note, Dr. Sherman walked away. Frank didn’t move from his spot, puzzled as he felt.
So, RETCON Laboratories is now looking for beta testers. They’ve deemed their project safe enough for human trials already. I’ll tell you what the RETCON project is not about: giving people superpowers or any kind of enhancement. You can rule all that out. Some of you may have already guessed what the project involves. I ask you to please keep it to yourselves for now. It is rather exciting. This has been done before, but not quite this way.
I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek. There’ll be more to come. Have a good day!