This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Nakagawa Akio sat outside the tent in his foldable chair. As a man in his mid-thirties he shouldn’t be in charge of handling arrivals from a transition, but early April 2040 wasn’t a normal event.
“Sure they’ll transit this year?” the woman to his left asked.
Nakagawa nodded. “Last year’s arrivals said they planned to gather everyone originally involved for a midsummer’s party in Sweden.”
He stared at the hillside ahead. A few more minutes and he would know if he had interpreted the planned party correctly. Always the same time shift, he thought. Transit late June and arrive early April.
“Seems awfully early to me. They’ll be around forty years old. Wouldn’t they have children to care for?” The female voice from his left recalled him to the here and now.
And there was that of course. Those who were parents couldn’t blithely transit and leave their children behind in an upstream world. As far as scientists knew the transition event only allowed for downstream transitions.
“I wish I knew,” Nakagawa admitted. “Of all the arrivals since they broke the code I guess I’m the one closest to them.” He sighed. “But I can’t really say I was that close. By the time I transited I was retired from active service.” He grinned and turned to look at her. “Seventy years old, you know and they were university students so there was a minor age gap so to say.”
She shuddered. “It’s not natural. Well, I guess it is, but it doesn’t feel natural.” She looked at him with a question in her eyes.
“Almost twenty years ago. I arrived here 2021,” he answered. “So I’m almost 90 subjective age. What about it? I feel like my 35 objective. You get used to it after a while.” Nakagawa smiled at her. “You know I was the principal of Himekaizen?”
She nodded. “Yeah, in the upstream world. You never existed in this one. Said it wasn’t natural.” She was visibly sulking by now. “I know you’re called Principal Nakagawa out of courtesy, but there’s never been a Principal Nakagawa of the Himekaizen Academy here.”
Nakagawa rose from his chair and enjoyed the spring breeze for a few moments before he sat down again. “I could apply for the job, you know. I know the school after all.” He reached for a cup of tea and sipped it a little while he waited for the event.
A bit below them a lone sakura bloomed its promise of a restart as befitted the occasion.
“Well, I arrived here close to twenty years ago,” he said when she kept her silence. “I wouldn’t know which of them are parents now. They’ve lived those years upstream and the arrivals we’ve had since my transition didn’t have any information about their family lives.”
Nakagawa rose from his chair again. It would happen any moment now. “I’ve staked my reputation on this,” he continued, more a monologue now than anything he needed to tell the woman. “I refuse to believe they’ll go to such lengths without a reason. The upstream world is almost identical to this one and you don’t move a lot of people from Japan to Sweden late June just so that you can have an obscure party a continent away.” Especially not that close to the transit point.
The voice of a government agent reached him from his right. “Sensei, we have incoming arrivals!”
Nakagawa grabbed his binoculars and scanned the hillside. One, two, no five bodies materialised on it.
“Incoming! I count five arrivals. Move vehicles and collect them!” the agent said.
Yes, I was right! I know at least one of those faces. They look so young!
And they should. All of them fourteen years old objectively, no matter how old they were subjectively. Nakagawa knew that, but it still surprised him to see the kids pop into existence on that hillside even though he had spent the entire day waiting for it to happen.
“Agent Carlfeldt, I’ll join the ride and welcome them personally. After that we split them into different middle schools and gather them together in Himekaizen next year.” Just like in the old days. In the upstream days.
The transition event had occurred. Now the arrivals had a restart waiting for them. Nakagawa and Hammargren had finally agreed on that, even if it took some head butting first. The age reset was just too great to allow a fourteen year old child to take his or her place in society as an adult, no matter the subjective age.
A transition had to be followed by a slow reintroduction to society.
Ulf, you really coined a good expression for it. Transition and restart.
MelanyFrey: This story is just so realistic and so amazingly written that I felt I was a part of it. It starts off completely ordinary, describing the lives of three young brothers, then slowly shifting the focus on one of them, putting him into the spotlight and following him into this unusual, but yet so r...
Ruby0h: Overall I thought your story was really good! It drew me in right away and kept me interested as the story progressed. I loved the character of Kayla being inserted into this story, and the way she affected and shaped the life of the original story into something totally new and interesting. I lo...
Flik: Hi! ^.^ huge fan of yours on ff.net! When I saw the note about this contest on The Way We Smile, I couldn't help but rush over here, create an account, and vote! XD Seriously love this story and would recommend it to anyone! :D best FT fanfiction out there. Amazing story, amazing concept that wa...
Sandra Estrada: I loved every minute of it and I thank my lucky stars that brought me to the story, it's been a whirlwind of emotions, plot twist after plot twist but I never got tired of them. Abby and Kade's story is a hard one to understand but once you're submerged in their story and love, you can't help but...
Hawkebat: Playing both Kotor I & II and Swtor I found the story line interesting and it held me until chapter 35 Very good story and plot flow until then, very few technical errors. I felt that the main character was a bit under and over powered, as it fought for balance. The last few chapters felt too f...
Dru83: This is perhaps my favorite part of the Olafson story just because it is here that were are introduced to his "gang". The characters are so diverse and complicated that each of them could just about spawn their own story. Eric's buddies are just so captivating and the plot just rolls along. Again...
RodRaglin: Sounds like an interesting story, LesAnne.Here are some things you might want to consider when you revise this draft."Show don't tell." You've probably hear this before and wondered what's the difference? Well, the difference is as a writer you're telling your reader what's happening rather than ...
CurlyRed: I read this entire book in just under 4 hours I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! i found myself emotionally attached to the characters and making personal connections that i had never experienced before while reading a book! I was constantly wanting to read more, every chapter left me on a cliff hanger tha...
LouiseJ2: I enjoyed the detail you went into with regards to the case. It made the UNSUB appear believable. The crisis in the middle of the story was my favorite part, very dramatic but not over the top. I feel like sometimes pairings can be overdone but I liked that some of the relationships were a little...
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."