Posted December 18, 2021

The Brilliant Boy Billionaire

The Amazing Journey of a Remarkable Kid, by Altimexis

PART ELEVEN – Of Cuba & Cars

Chapter 2: Buena Vista Social Club

The skin on my face still stung a bit from my very first shave as I emerged from my prison into broad daylight. The biggest surprise was that after walking up three flights of stairs, I found myself at street level. At no point had I suspected that my prison was located underground. When I looked behind me, what I saw was a very traditional colonial-style building in the typical pastel colors that seemed to dominate the landscape of the buildings around me. The black limousine I got into drove for some distance along the waterfront of what appeared to be an inland bay and then around what appeared to be a medieval castle. Obviously, it couldn’t have been medieval, but it certainly dated back to colonial times.

We then drove inland for some distance emerging in front of a large, open square that even I could recognize from pictures I’d seen of it, Plaza de la Revolución, dominated by a towering likeness of Che Guevara that adorned the side of one of the buildings. Rather than stopping there, however, we continued on a seemingly circuitous route, eventually entering the gates of an enormous castle that made the first one we’d seen look like a cottage. A sign along the way proclaimed it as Castillo del Príncipe. We pulled inside the castle complex and came to a stop in a central courtyard, where an identical limousine was waiting for us. The driver of our limousine walked around and opened the door for me.

Turning back to Boris, he said, “You must go now. The Americans are waiting for you. Go with care, and always travel with a bodyguard.” For some reason, I shook his hand even though he was one of my captors. Strangely, his mention of the need for a bodyguard was the first time I’d even thought of it, but he was right. There was nothing wrong with taking the subway if that’s what I wanted to do, but I must never again travel alone. The same was undoubtedly true for Henry. There was much to think about.

Exiting the limousine, I noticed that the driver of the other limousine was waiting for me, holding the door open a few steps from where I’d exited the first limousine. When I saw who was inside the second limousine, however, I nearly decapitated myself as I dived inside.

“Henry!” I screamed as our arms went around each other and our mouths came together. I didn’t even notice as the driver got back inside nor as the limo drove away. All that mattered was that I was inside the arms of the boy I loved as our mouths and tongues were reunited.

Finally, when we came up for air, Henry said, “My God, don’t you ever do something like that again! You don’t know what it was like wondering what had happened to you. We didn’t even hear anything from your captors for seven weeks. I was sure you must be dead. Don’t you ever do that again.”

“Do what, Henry,” I asked. “Get kidnapped?”

“We learned the hard way that freedom isn’t free when you’re rich,” Henry continued. “I know you don’t think we’re rich, but our combined wealth puts us among the richest people on the planet, and that’s just from the earliest of your inventions. When we start manufacturing and licensing our technology for motors, heating and cooling systems and electrical generation, we’ll be true billionaires, and not just on paper. Your father – your real father, that is – insisted that I always travel with a bodyguard now. I didn’t argue.”

“I thought bodyguards were only for rock stars,” I countered.

“Now that you’re back, we’re gonna hafta confront the fact that we’re the ‘brilliant boy billionaires who are gonna save the planet’,” Henry responded, making quote marks in the air.

When I didn’t say anything, Henry continued, “It’s gonna be okay, J.J. You can even tell your story now. No one would think of trying you for the killing of the man who kidnapped you in the first place. That was clear self-defense, and as far as identity theft’s concerned, that was fucking clever. The Justice Department won’t even try the case. And only an idiot would question the validity of the contracts you signed as a minor. Fuck, we’re still minors, but you effectively emancipated yourself when you were twelve. James assured me he’ll make it all legal, in any case.”

“Enough talk,” I responded as once again, I brought my lips to his.

I didn’t even notice the scenery passing by us let alone that anyone else was in the car with us. All too soon, we came to a stop, and I finally took notice that we were in the midst of a complex of stark, mid-Twentieth-Century modern buildings. I remembered seeing pictures of them from when Obama reestablished diplomatic relations with Cuba. It was the American Embassy in Havana. Only then did I notice the two other individuals in the car with us.

“Jeff!” I exclaimed when I recognized the face of Mr. Barlow, sitting across from me.

Chuckling, he responded, “It’s not often I’m summarily ignored like that, but I can’t blame you at all. Boys, don’t ever take what you have for granted, don’t ever be tempted to look for love on the side, and don’t ever forget the lengths to which others will go to use it against you.” I would have liked to have thought it could never happen to us, but Henry and I had both been in love before, and I knew that either of us could be tempted. We were human. Looking at Henry, I could tell that he was thinking much the same thing.

The fourth man in the back of the limo with us chose that moment to introduce himself. “Dr. Jeffries, I’m Ambassador Hernandez, the new American ambassador to Cuba. As far as the public is concerned, you were never abducted and have spent the last several months in intense negotiations with our Cuban compatriots. If you’re stopped by anyone from the press, simply tell them you’ll be speaking at a press conference tomorrow morning and have no comment before then. In the meantime, if you’ll follow me, you need to be debriefed before then, and that will take the rest of the day and possibly some of the night.”

It was only then that I even realized the driver was holding the door open for us. The ambassador stepped out of the limo first, followed by Jeff and then Henry and, lastly, me. We walked as a group up to a podium as photographers trained their cameras on us.

“Good afternoon,” the ambassador began. “I’m here with Mr. Barlow, the executive chair of the board of Applazon, who truly needs no introduction. We’re also introducing Applazon’s newest CEO, Dr.  J.J. Jeffries, often dubbed by the press as the brilliant boy billionaire, who as of today will be directing Applazon’s new super­conducting ceramics group. Enrique Gonzalez will be the director of a new division of computational mathematics, which will be an integral part of the group. Don’t be fooled by their apparent youth as the two of them hold hundreds of patents between them.

“With assistance from these important executives, we have concluded a series of intense negotiations with the Republic of Cuba that will formally put an end to the isolation of our important neighbor. Congress will, of course, have to vote to end the trade embargo, but the Administration is confident that the concessions we have obtained will lead to the speedy end of more than sixty years of a failed economic and political policy. Not only has Cuba agreed to reestablish full diplomatic relations, free of the threat of injury or illness, and not only have they agreed to fully open their markets to our products and vice versa, but they have agreed to allow a free and independent press to operate within their borders.

“Applazon will be initiating the first of what we hope will be a series of joint partnerships with our Cuban friends. In return for full access to the Cuban market, Applazon will establish full retail operations on the island, including the construction of several Applazon fulfillment centers, each of which will offer thousands of jobs. Further, Applazon will build the biggest data center in the world in Cuba, providing an important link between North and South America – and Africa. The data center will make use of the latest server technology – technology developed by Dr. J.J. Jeffries and Mr. Gonzalez. The center will provide hundreds of high-skilled, well-paid jobs and will provide the training for those jobs. It will also host the websites of the Cuban government at no cost.

Finally, Dr. Jeffries and Mr. Gonzalez will be establishing a partnership with Cuba to manufacture and install a new breed of wind turbines that use super­conducting ceramics to generate electricity from wind power without the use of any moving parts that might wear out. We expect that Cuba will become a major supplier of wind energy for the entire Caribbean and much of the Southern United States. The joint factory will be the first of many such facilities that will export wind-turbine generators to feed the energy needs of the entire planet. Once built, the energy is essentially free in perpetuity. Mark my words, the technology being produced here in Cuba is a true game-changer. These turbines are highly efficient, durable, maintenance-free and easy to set up. Fully deployed, the turbines will provide sufficient power to completely replace humankind’s dependence on the use of fossil fuels. Building them here on the island nation of Cuba is symbolic, as it is the island nations of the world that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and rising sea levels.

“It is fortuitous that the gentlemen who developed the technology, Dr. Jeffries and Mr. Gonzalez, have agreed to oversee the construction of the factory and to supervise the installation of the wind turbines. Please hold your questions until the press conference in the morning,” the ambassador concluded, and then we departed the podium as the press shouted their questions at us, nevertheless. Not surprisingly, I heard more than one question related to our young age. Well, that was an interesting turn of events, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I would ever finish work on my A.I. Ph.D. or if Henry would finish his mathematics Ph.D., for that matter.

Another man came up to us as we walked away from the podium and led the group of us inside one of the main buildings within the compound and into a waiting elevator. When we exited the elevator, we headed around the corner and into what appeared to be a conference room, where I was led to a plush leather chair. Everyone else arrayed themselves around the table, with Henry on my immediate right and Jeff on my left. The ambassador sat directly across from me, with a couple of his staffers on either side of him. A woman in a chef’s hat entered the room through another door, pushing a cart in front of her. She set a plate in front of each of us and removed the metal dome that covered each plate to reveal a piece of salmon on a bed of greens. There appeared to be a creamy dill dressing over the salmon. A glass of what appeared to be iced tea with a lemon wedge was placed in front of each of us.

“Dr. Jeffries, I know you probably didn’t have time to eat lunch before you left wherever it was that they were holding you, so I asked to have a light meal prepared for us to eat during your debriefing,” the ambassador began. “I know it isn’t much, but we’ll have a much more substantial meal this evening, and we have a state dinner planned for tomorrow. You’ll want to save room for those in any case.” As the ambassador cut off a piece of his salmon and popped it into his mouth, I did likewise. The salmon was chilled and very fresh, and the creamy dill dressing was definitely freshly made and not something from out of a bottle. The greens were crisp and tasted like they were freshly picked from a garden. Compared to the food I’d been eating over the course of the last several months, the food was heavenly.

“First decent meal since you left New York?” the ambassador asked. Apparently, the look on my face had given me away.

“You’ve no idea,” I replied. “Not that they didn’t feed me adequately, but it was like eating only airline food for the past several months.”

“Yes, that certainly can become tiresome after a time,” the ambassador responded. “We have a lot to discuss before the news conference, starting with a thorough debriefing of your captivity. After that, I’ll go into a bit more detail regarding the deal we made for your release. You’re probably quite curious after hearing what was announced when you got here. Just to clarify, you aren’t going to be moving here, but you will need to make frequent trips to Cuba, perhaps a couple of times a month for the next few years. I think you’ll find those well worth your while once you hear what we have planned, but first, let’s go over what you’ve just been through, starting with the day you were taken into captivity.”

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It was a grueling afternoon, as what was billed as a working lunch with a quick debriefing was anything but quick. It was actually one of the people I thought was an aide to the Ambassador who did most of the questioning, and it quickly became obvious that she was with the CIA. She was damn good at it, too, as she asked insightful questions and managed to tease out details that otherwise would’ve eluded me. She started with the specifics of my imprisonment and worked backwards, filling in the subtleties of the scene before moving on to something else. She got into things I hadn’t even thought of, such as if there were table lamps in the apartment and if they contained incandescent, compact fluorescent or LED bulbs. I’d actually removed each of the bulbs out of curiosity, to see if there was a brand name or wattage, but they had all been unmarked. The fact that they were incandescent bulbs meant nothing to me at the time but now seemed relevant. It made sense that in Cuba, access to more efficient technologies such as compact fluorescent or LED bulbs would be limited.

Eventually, she asked about the abduction itself, forcing me to recall information that I otherwise would’ve forgotten about. Finally, she went over my early childhood and my escape from my father. It was evident from the questions she asked that she already knew a great deal about me, including details of my early life in Cincinnati that I’d never heard before. Obviously, she’d interrogated my biological parents and my brother during the time I was held captive. We also spoke a great deal about the man who’d raised me as his son and sex slave. She’d actually managed to identify him and related my experience to his own childhood with an abusive uncle. It was a true revelation.

I got the impression that one of the major reasons for the debriefing was to perform a psychological assessment of me to ascertain the extent to which I might have been brainwashed into serving their agenda. That, of course, was something that would never happen.

Once the interrogation was complete, Mr. Barlow outlined the extent of the deal that was struck with my captors. It was important to go over the specifics, as we’d supposedly been a part of the negotiations and we might face questions about it at the news conference in the morning. In return for restricted access to our latest server technology, limited to Cuba only, Cuba had agreed to significant concessions, chief among them being an opening of their markets and unrestricted access by a free press. There’d even be an Applazon Shoppe in central Havana. What was left of the American base in Guantanamo Bay would be dismantled and the territory returned to Cuba. Cuba would be the site of Applazon’s largest data center in the world, and although it would employ the latest data servers based on my design, it would be built under the direction of the Cloud Resources group, run by Jitendra. I’d have very little to do with it for a change.

Most importantly for Henry and me, we’d be responsible for the opening a factory to manufacture super­conducting wind turbines. Calling them turbines was a misnomer, but it was a term the world understood. I would also supervise the installation of the world’s largest wind farm, taking advantage of the brisk Caribbean trade winds. Cuba’s central location made it an ideal spot for both undersea data and power transmission cables, serving all of the Americas. Compared to the six-hundred-mile power transmission line between Norway and the U.K., the ones that were planned for Cuba would be a walk in the park. The thing was, the design for the turbines was preliminary, and we’d only built a prototype wind farm in eastern Washington State. Our wind turbines were far from being ready for prime time. We’d have to hustle to perfect them before critical decisions about the layout of the factory were needed. At the same time, there was the Indy 500. I asked Jeff about it during the debriefing, and he made it clear that he was all in and would need my full participation. Somehow, I was going to have to work on both at the same time.

“Obviously, the turbines would need to be strong enough to survive a Category Five hurricane.” I related. “With plans to install a hundred thousand 300-meter turbines, Cuba would have the capacity to provide power to 3.6 million people, which is barely a third of the Cuban population, let alone the rest of the Caribbean or the Southern United States.”

“Those figures were based on American utilization patterns and average wind speeds in the Continental U.S.,” Henry added. “I’m pretty sure there would be enough power for Cuba to be self-sufficient.” 100,000 turbines might sound like a lot, but the yield per meter of height of a single turbine in the prototype was barely 150 watts in a 15 kph wind, so a 300-meter tower would generate on average 45 kilowatts, enough power to satisfy the needs of only 36 people at American utilization rates. With Cuban utilization rates and Caribbean wind patterns, each turbine could probably satisfy the needs of at least a hundred people, so 100,000 of them would come close to meeting the needs of the island, but there’d be nothing left for export.”

Part of the problem was that we could only utilize half the theoretical capacity of each tower, depending on the wind direction. If I knew which way the wind would blow, I could optimize the geometry for that direction. Although that might be possible in many places, I’d otherwise need a mechanism to turn the towers into the wind, adding a layer of complexity that would eventually wear out, or build twice as many towers. Then Henry made a suggestion that would be a game changer. As we were discussing geometry and efficiency, he suggested, “What if we were to use a series of horizontal, curved discs? The pressure would be decreased, and the temperature increased on the convex side relative to the concave side.” It was an ingenious solution.

A back-of-napkin calculation showed that a one-meter-diameter disc could generate about 1.5 kilowatts in a 15 kph wind. Allowing for the thickness of the discs, that efficiency was maintained so long as they were spaced no closer than twice the boundary layer, which is proportional to the diameter and inversely proportional to the square root of the Reynolds number, which is itself proportional to diameter and density and inversely proportional to viscosity. For air at sea level at about thirty degrees Celsius and discs that were one meter in diameter and ten centimeters in thickness, that worked out to 82.4cm. “I calculate the power output would be over an order of magnitude greater, and a 300-meter tower could generate over 500 kilowatts in the same space,” I announced, “Better still since the power output increases with the area of the disc, but the spacing with the diameter, if we increase the diameter of the disc to two meters, which is the maximum width that could fit into a shipping container, the power output would increase by a factor of three, yielding 1.5 megawatts for a 300-meter tower in a 15 kph wind.”

“You know that cyanosilicates are piezoelectric, J.J.,” Henry interjected. “Have you taken that into account?”

“Damn, I should’ve thought of that,” I exclaimed. I felt embarrassed that I hadn’t. Quartz was one of the first substances found to be piezoelectric in a series of experiments by brothers Pierre and Paul-Jacques Curie. As first posited by Carl Linnaeus and Franz Aepinus in the mid-Nineteenth Century, any crystal structure with an asymmetric charge distribution could generate a small electric current when put under stress, and vice versa. In fact, Pierre and Marie Curie utilized piezoelectricity in the discovery of radium and polonium toward the turn of the Twentieth Century. It was the discovery of synthetic ferroelectric crystals, however, that led to practical applications such as phonograph cartridges, microphones and the sonic and ultrasonic transducers used in sonar and medical imaging.

“Fuck, that’s the reason the motors generate so much heat,” I suddenly realized aloud. “The crystal orientation results in angular stresses as the phase moves around the stator, and that stress generates heat. I can fix that! But when it comes to the wind-turbine design, I ought to be able to take advantage of the piezoelectric effect given the stress induced by the pressure differential. My best guess is another fifty-percent yield, but I’ll have a better idea when I get back on the corporate server. I can invert 21-element tensors in my head, but computers can do it a lot faster and test many more possibilities than I can in a reasonable timeframe.”

“That’s great, J.J.,” Jeff said, “but there won’t be time before the news conference tomorrow, so let’s just ignore the piezoelectric effect for now. No one will object if we revise our estimates upward, but they sure as hell will take note if we fall short of the promised yield.”

“Why limit the height to 300 meters?” Henry asked. “People are building wind turbines much taller than that. If we increased the tower height to a half-kilometer, the height of an 80-story building, the output would jump to 2.5 megawatts. That would be enough to satisfy the energy needs of 2,000 people at American utilization rates. However, if we make the discs 24 meters in diameter and segment them into 36 ten-degree wedges, each two meters wide by twelve meters long, we could still fit two stacks of wedges side-by-side in a forty-foot shipping container. That would boost the output to nearly 125 megawatts per 80-story tower, enough to supply the energy needs of more than 100,000 people at American utilization rates.”

Shaking my head, I responded, “A disc segmented into 36 parts would be too fragile, and you’d lose a fair bit of efficiency where the segments are joined together. It would be easier to stick with two-meter diameter discs, but perhaps arrange them like the steps in a spiral staircase, around a central structural core. Again, I’d have to do the calculations, but you could probably realize a greater increase in efficiency than simply from the increased number of discs —”

“A double helical arrangement would be the equivalent of a six-disc hexagonal array,” Henry interrupted, “but without the loss of vertical spacing you’d expect using such an array. Actually, you could use a one-meter diameter central tower, so you’d have the equivalent of six separate towers, but in a footprint of only five meters in diameter. We’d get fifteen megawatts of power – enough to serve the needs of 12,000 people at American utilization rates. That’s still quite good.

“In the event of a hurricane you could collapse the tower from five hundred meters down to maybe fifty meters, the equivalent of only eight stories. Build the tower over an underground silo into which it could retract, and you’d have a structure that’s impervious to hurricanes.”

“That’s a great suggestion, Babe,” Henry exclaimed, embarrassing me to no end.

“Even a thousand turbines of that size, much less 100,000, could supply a city of twelve million with all the power they need,” I pointed out. “We’re talking metro New York here. 80,000 of them would be more than enough to power the entire population of the planet – not that it would be desirable to place all our energy eggs in the path of a single hurricane. Still, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to power all of the Caribbean islands, Florida, the Gulf Coast states, Mexico, Central America and the northern half of South America entirely from 10,000 wind turbines in Cuba. Cuba’s future would thus be tied to the entire Gulf of Mexico.”

“The biggest challenge would be coming up with enough battery storage to allow for fluctuations in both wind and demand,” Jeff countered. “That’s a hell of a lot of lithium. If only there were a way of storing power inside the structure of your super­conducting ceramics.”

The moment Jeff said that, it dawned on me that I could do just that without adding anything to the weight or cost. I started to speak, but then stopped speaking entirely in mid-sentence, leaving everyone except Henry to wonder what was wrong. Henry jumped right in and explained, “I suspect that J.J. has a preliminary design for a super­conducting battery. I’ve given some thought to it myself, but J.J. knows far more about the quantum physics involved. I think my boyfriend just realized he can combine the design for his batteries with that of his wind turbines. I think he’s calculating the storage capacity of each disc —”

“Approximately 250 kilowatt-hours,” I interrupted, “assuming an efficiency of fifty percent. That’s enough to provide power for a week without any wind. The added cost would be negligible – less than five percent. I still have to figure out how to use the linear current generated by the Seebeck effect to induce a circular current in a toroidal super­conductor.”

“Perhaps instead of using a purely circular toroidal ceramic structure, you could make it helical,” Henry suggested.

“That’s a thought, but there would be magnetic losses from the helical pitch, and you’d need a return path for the current,” I pointed out.

“Actually, I think I have a way around both problems,” Henry countered. “I’ll work on it when we get back to New York.”

“Back up a few steps, guys,” Jeff interrupted. “Are you telling me you’ve come up with a cost-effective super­conducting battery? Are you able to estimate the charge capacity?”

“My preliminary estimate is for ten kilowatt-hours per kilogram,” I replied, “but that’s just an educated guess based on calculations I did in my head while in captivity. We’ll need to model it first, and the charge capacity could well be higher.”

“That’s twenty times the capacity of the best lithium-ion batteries!” Jeff said in astonishment.

“The super­conducting magnets in MRI machines can maintain a perpetual circular current for months at a time,” I explained. “We can use the same principle in our super­conducting ceramics as a way to store energy. Rather than storing power as a charge in an electrical dipole, we’d store it as a circular current in a magnetic dipole.” Little did I realize at the time that the inherent ability of cyanosilicates to store power within any device would be the greatest discovery of all.

During the rest of the debriefing, I learned just what changes would be coming to Henry’s and my lives. We were about to take charge of a new Applazon super­conducting-ceramics group in which I would indeed be the CEO. I’d need to complete coursework for an MBA at NYU over the course of the next few years, but a background in business and economics was a necessary step that would allow Henry and me to implement our ideas directly with the aid of thousands of people working under us. Moreover, I’d answer only to Andy and Jeff. It was a sobering prospect.

Our headquarters would occupy the entire eighth floor of the building in Manhattan, where we’d also have our primary research facilities. Wow! Although we’d have a role in future server design, the existing design group would remain in place in Cupertino, with oversight of the completed data centers by Jitendra and his cloud-resources group. Our first major project would be the wind-turbine factory in Cuba, with an automotive-component factory anticipated in Central Indiana and a refrigeration and HVAC equipment factory outside of Omaha. Obviously, our new jobs would entail a lot of traveling. I would continue to oversee the A.I. division, which would operate as a component within the group, and I would resume work on my Ph.D. Larry had already been elevated to the position of director with the salary to match, and he’d been busy recruiting top talent including the people we’d discussed before my abduction. Henry would head a new division of computational mathematics while he too worked on obtaining his Ph.D.

Dinner arrived promptly at seven, and it began with seafood bisque, followed by a large salad with an assortment of breads. The main course consisted of bacon-wrapped scallops and a petite filet mignon with fresh asparagus and a twice-baked potato with sour cream. New York cheesecake was served with coffee for dessert. It was a very fine meal indeed but seemed so out of place for something served at the Cuban embassy. If only I’d known I was in Cuba, I’d have definitely requested Cuban food all during my captivity. Local food would’ve been so much better than what they’d served me.

In the evening hours of the debriefing, I learned how Applazon intended to portray my background and Henry’s at the news conference in the morning. Jeff intended to be surprisingly frank about my background, saving me the trouble of explaining my past deceptions to the press. Officially, Henry and I would be introduced as child prodigies who’d finished our undergraduate degrees by the age of fifteen in Henry’s case and fourteen in mine.

As Jeff would explain it, I’d been born in Cleveland to James Walters and Dr. Mora Fitzpatrick but disappeared when I was only two, having been abducted and raised by Tucker Cranbrook, a known sex offender, in Southern Indiana. I’d escaped from him when I was only twelve; there’d be no mention of my having killed him other than to note that his body was discovered more recently when his shack burned down in an electrical fire. There was no reason to belabor the point as there never would be any further investigation or prosecution for it. In any case, pretty much everyone up to and including the President considered it to have been a justifiable homicide, so let the press think as they wanted. I was unofficially off the hook for his murder.

Jeff would continue the story of my escape by noting that I was taken into custody for a time in Missouri, where I was placed in a group home – that was an interesting euphemism for juvenile detention – and was ultimately placed with a family in Kansas City. We’d conveniently leave out the part that the Rodriguez family lived in Kansas rather than Missouri, which wouldn’t have been permitted if CPS had been involved, nor that I’d worked for them painting houses.

Jeff would note that I was never aware of just how young I really was, and I’d inflated my age to get a job with Applazon in Omaha. Both of those statements had the advantage of actually being true. While living in Omaha, I’d rented a room from a colleague, Roberto Gonzalez and his family, which was how I came to meet my partner and my soul mate, Enrique, Roberto’s brother. While working for Applazon, I finished my Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Nebraska based on a revolutionary new concept for a data-server design that I developed.

With the onset of the pandemic, worldwide demand for data servers soared, and Applazon took full advantage of the greatly increased capacity, speed and efficiency of my design. We wouldn’t bring up the explosion of the prototype unless someone in the press did, which I expected was highly likely. In that case, we’d lay the blame squarely on Frank’s negligence. In any case, we’d acknowledge that in the face of a global pandemic, I took on the responsibility for upgrading data centers all over the world to meet the demand.

Jeff would conclude our story by noting that, as the pandemic wound down, I returned to the research lab and explored the mechanism behind super­conductivity in ceramics, discovering a new class of ceramics based on cyanosilicate crystals that were super­conducting at room temperature. I went on to design a quantum supercomputer and data server based on the new technology and was currently working on designs for super­conducting electric motors and batteries. Henry was my partner in these endeavors, doing most of the mathematical modeling.

The debriefing session seemed to go on forever, but we needed to be ready for a press conference in the morning that bore no relation to reality. Well, very little in any case. Between the two of us, Henry and I had more patents to our names than all of the rest of Applazon’s employees combined. That was certainly news to us, and it was no wonder Jeff had put me in charge as an Applazon CEO. It was no wonder he’d given Henry the responsibility for an entire division of computational mathematics. It was no wonder I’d been kidnapped.

The author gratefully acknowledges the invaluable assistance of David of Hope and vwl-rec in editing my stories, as well as Awesome Dude and Gay Authors for hosting them.

Disclaimer: This story is purely fictional and any resemblance of characters to real individuals is unintentional. Although it takes place in actual locations, in no way are any official policies, opinions or events inferred. Some characters may be underage and at times engage in homosexual acts. Anyone uncomfortable with this should not be reading the story, and the reader assumes responsibility for the legality of reading this type of material where they live. The author retains full copyright and permission must be obtained prior to duplication in any form.