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.
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...
_JosephJacobson_: I don't understand why this has such low ratings. I really enjoyed it!I think that the whole idea behind the plot had something very special and that was something that I really enjoyed. It was new, unique. I think that some of the writing was a little strange in places but overall it made sense ...
Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...
Alex Reltin: This is a great story! I love how well you go into detail and emotions of Capri, and Mel. You have amazing dialogue and overall it's just a thrill to read!The only critique I could find is that some of the paragraphs should be separated. For example:-"If Nia would have just let me take the car an...
Usagi Kita: This story is emotional from beginning to end. You get to watch the characters struggle and grow, maturing in different ways so that they come to be the people they are meant to be. Inea is insanely adorable, and his antics made me laugh more than once, and Kaedon is perfect for him in so many wa...
Prasino45: Hi! I happen to see your updated chapter on FF.NET!It happened to be about you coming onto Inkitt with this story! I've been a fan for a while! I'm a scqualphie writer myself. I ship them HARD! Love this story! I'm gonna do a reread as you said you changed some things! Glad we both made the switc...
Nymeria: Really can't get enough of this story. It flows well, it captivates the reader from page 1, and throws you into such a well-written, well conceptualized world that you'll believe it's real. Everything in the book is meshed together really well. From character backgrounds to plot twists, you can t...
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."