Everyone around the table waited in anticipation as Maddy slowly opened the envelope. She removed a piece of paper and read it. She looked up, stunned.
“There’s no way I can do this,” she said to her grandfather.
Isaac smiled. “I respectfully disagree. Your actions this past week prove otherwise.”
Maddy didn’t look convinced. Isaac pressed on.
“The ingenuity, bravery, teamwork, and scientific knowledge you and your friends demonstrated proves you are more than capable of taking this on.”
Maddy blushed and looked down. “But, I’m so young. What can I—?”
Corbyn interrupted her. “Care to let us in on what you’re talking about?”
Maddy smiled. “Sorry.” She handed him the paper.
With Aaden looking over his shoulder, Corbyn read a letter the team had worked so hard to obtain.
To Whom It May Concern:
Generations of employees of EIS, Incorporated would like to extend our sincere congratulations on successfully making it through the company’s inheritance quest. Because of your extraordinary determination to work through the many challenges you faced, we would like to hand our company’s greatest discovery…one that will forever change the face of our planet…over to your very capable hands.
As you may know, our planet currently depends on the burning of fossil fuels for energy to heat our homes, provide us with electricity, and transport us. Unfortunately, fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas are nonrenewable and pollute. Because the human race is using them up much faster than they can be produced, we must come up with renewable energy alternatives that can carry our world into the future after our current energy sources cease to exist.
This is where you come in.
You have demonstrated you are capable of taking our company and our world in a whole new direction. Although it will not be an easy task, we are confident in your abilities as a leader, thinker, problem-solver, and innovator.
Corbyn looked up at Maddy. His face registered the same awe she was undoubtedly feeling.
Our world is in desperate need of new, innovative, clean, renewable sources of energy. Many alternatives have been suggested: wind, biomass, hydroelectricity, geothermal, solar, and nuclear, just to name a few. Although they have many benefits, they also have many downsides.
For the past fifty years, our company has developed new ways to replace the old and familiar energies of yesterday with the new and limitless energies of tomorrow. We believe our company has discovered a means to generate a new energy source that will last until the final human walks the face of our planet.
The energy source you are now responsible for has been termed a low-energy nuclear reaction by scientists throughout the world. This energy source is limitless and promising. However, the challenge to make it a reality lies in the fact that it only exists naturally under extremely high temperatures, temperatures that are not reproducible here on Earth. For billions of years this source, known as nuclear fusion, has fueled our sun.
The Sun generates massive amounts of energy by fusing two hydrogen atoms in its core. The hydrogen atoms combine into one helium atom, and unfathomable energy is released as a byproduct. We have all observed this incredible energy release in the heat and light the sun produces every single day.
Because the center of the sun is millions of degrees Centigrade, harnessing its energy source on Earth has been impossible…until now. Fortunately for our planet, we’ve found a way to exploit the same energy, but at much cooler temperatures. Our company is the only one in the world that has finally found what we believe to be a long-term solution to our vexing energy problem: Cold Fusion.
Our planet will never be the same.
Aaden looked up. “I’ve heard of this. But I never knew it could actually be done.”
Isaac smiled. “Indeed it can.”
The twins couldn’t hide their fascination. They eagerly read on.
As the heir of our company’s incredible discovery, you might be wondering what this new energy source means to you. The answer is simple yet complicated. With the help of our scientists, your responsibility will be to ensure that our company’s new, clean, renewable energy source will one day be made available to every person on the globe. Additionally, although the infrastructure already exists to switch from fossils fuels to cold fusion, it will be your responsibility along with politicians, scientists, and energy experts alike to head up the switch.
This is why you had to complete our company’s inheritance quest.
In order for someone to successfully oversee a worldwide switch over to cold fusion, we needed to ensure that he or she: is a demonstrated leader; can work cooperatively with others; is knowledgeable about all of the natural sciences; is an innovative thinker; is a problem solver; and above all, is determined to succeed.
You have proven you possess all of the above.
We would like to again offer our congratulations. You have overcome great odds to inherit our company’s incredible scientific breakthrough. At this point, our current CEO of EIS, Incorporated will provide you with further details.
EIS, Incorporated and all of its stakeholders
P.S.: You must still locate the plans to build the cold fusion reactor that our company has designed. Good luck!
Corbyn and Aaden exhaled simultaneously.
Maddy nodded. “See what I mean? There’s no way I can do this! There’s gotta be way more people here that are more qualified. I’m just a kid!”
Isaac smiled again. “You may be just a kid, but the results of the quest suggest you possess far more potential than you are giving yourself credit for.”
“Look at it this way. You are truly a product of your adoptive parents, even though you spent far too little time with them. They were the most motivated and innovative leaders I have ever met…as are you. Somehow, some way, their qualities imprinted on you before they died.”
A tear formed in Maddy’s eye.
“If for no other reason,” Isaac continued, “do this in honor of your parents. They would be so proud of you, and I know they would believe in you as much as I do. Besides, you’ll have plenty of wonderful individuals supporting you every step of the way.”
“Well, for starters, I see two friends sitting right next to you that seem pretty incredible in their own right. I’d be willing to bet that, if you wanted them to, they would do whatever they could to see to it that you succeed.”
Maddy looked at the twins and smiled. Corbyn and Aaden nodded encouragingly.
“Not to mention,” Isaac continued, “I have a pretty good feeling that Mr. Zhang, along with K-1…assuming that really is your name…will be indispensable to you as well.”
K-1 laughed. “My apologies. I never gave you my real name. K-1 was my spy name. My real name…the one I’m going to go by from this day forward…is Jake Schneider.”
Isaac nodded. “And I would like to be the first to welcome you, Jake. At first, I didn’t know what to make of you. Now, I cannot deny your heroism today. I believe you have greatness inside of you as well. Hopefully this past week has brought that out for good. With my granddaughter’s permission, I would like to help out with that and offer you a position at my company.”
Jake’s ears perked up. He had not expected this.
“I’m extending this offer because your knowledge of Charles Bronson and his oil company will be invaluable at a time like this.” Isaac sat back. “Besides, I’ve been looking forward to a much-needed retirement and I’ll feel much better knowing my company has the good guys working for it. What do you say?”
Jake was suspicious. “After what I did, you’d trust me enough to hire me on?”
Isaac thought for a moment then nodded. “Like you, I have to trust my instincts at times as well. But of course, like I already said, the final decision rests with Maddy.”
Maddy wrestled with her feelings about Jake. Try as she might, she couldn’t fully accept that he was a changed man. However, she also trusted her grandfather and finally agreed. Jake was thrilled. He readily accepted.
“I won’t let you down,” Jake told Maddy. “You have my word.”
Isaac smiled. “You know what this means, don’t you?” he asked his granddaughter.
“That you just made your first executive decision for your new company. It’s impossible for you to say no to your opportunity now.” Isaac laughed loudly.
Maddy looked around at everyone sitting with her and took a deep breath. “As long I as have you with me…I will do my best.”
Isaac smiled. “That’s my girl.”
Mr. Zhang stood up and looked at Team SoNaR. “You have all made me very proud today. I know you will do great things. Unfortunately, I am a nomad of sorts and can’t stay in one place for very long. I have other important items I must now attend to. If you’ll excuse me, I must take my leave.” Mr. Zhang bowed, said his goodbyes, and walked out.
“That’s Mr. Zhang for you,” Isaac said. “Always on the move.” He turned to his granddaughter once more. “You are an incredible young lady. And the world will be better off someday because of it. I promise you that.”
The torch was officially passed. Maddy was now in charge of EIS. It was officially her responsibility to introduce the world to the company’s newest and most promising energy source.
Ever known to mankind.