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The Third Way

Novel By: Toni Roman
Young adult

This novel has a strange parentage. It started as a short story that was a by-product (believe it or not) of a young adult story titled "Volunteeers" (which I have yet to publish) and inspired by my Twitter fiction series "President Evil" though not set in that universe.

Now that you are totally confused, read and enjoy.
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Submitted:Oct 2, 2009    Reads: 60    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   

The Third Way (part 3)
March 2006
Jameron Enterprises has doubled its size and now hired its tenth employee.It now had two full-timers.
"The problem with this company is the name.It should be called Camerjohn Industries to reflect the relative importance of the partners.I do all the work and you sit on your butt --"
"-- thinking up stuff that will save the world, pay taxes, and keep our investors happy."
Cameron lowered her voice. "You do know that we are on borrowed time.Sooner or later, the terminators will show up."
John lowered his voice also."This is why I spent part of my day developing electronic ghosts to make the terminators chase ghosts.How are you coming with setting up a dummy corporation to protect our anonymity and privacy and secrecy?"
"Too slow.An IRS audit is better than being shot up by terminators.Or worse.Skynet might send a T-1000."
"Maybe if we hire a good tax lawyer and a good corporate lawyer."
"Better yet Cam, why don't you go to law school?I can't think of anything more terrifying than a terminator attorney and a Microsoft lawyer combined into a lethal weapon against Skynet."
"Ha ha.Very funny."
"I wasn't really joking."
Cameron mumbled something to herself about not getting the legal brains in the family.
"Then go to medical school.You can't tell me you wouldn't be good at that." (apparently he made out what she was mumbling)
"Are you trying to get rid of me?"
"No, I'm just saying.I do creative stuff.So should you.We can hire a manager to do the administrative stuff that is obviously no challenge to you and boring you to death.You're good at diagnostics and biology.I'm more physics.If we started a biotech company, then by the time you got out of medical school you could take it over as CEO."
"Why biotech?"
"Think Cameron think!I like electronics and robotics but even I can see that in the medical field that every time somebody loses an arm or a leg or organ, the doctors want to slap on a gadget, a mechanical prosthetic device.Doctors have gotten so lazy that they don't even try to reattach the arm or leg or re-grow it if it was destroyed.Piece by piece the human race is turning itself into robots.Some stupid people even ask for electronic implants.Who needs Skynet?We're our own worst enemy.We're doing it to ourselves.Don't get me wrong.I'm looking at you, my sister, a marvel of advanced technology.Wouldn't you like to be all-biological or all-synthetic android?"
"And not half and half?If we set up a biotech company and you go to medical school, we can steer the human race away from Skynet and toward regeneration and human potential.The way we're headed now, it will be just humans and machines fighting each other in a battle to the death with no winners.With your skills, we can make a difference."
"We already have too much on our plates as it is.Software company.Fusion research not-for-profit.We're still in high school.And you want to start a biotech company?"
"The software company practically runs itself.I no longer do most of the coding and programming.I leave that to the new hires.With professional managers brought in, I can spend most of my time with the fusion research and we can split up the work setting up the biotech company."
"I don't know John . . . "
John started using his feet to scratch at imaginary dirt on the ground, though they were standing on a carpeted floor inside.He started clucking hen-like noises.At first Cameron thought he had gone stark raving mad like their mother but she suddenly realized and her face reddened a bit.
"Stop that!I'm not chicken."
"For a terminator you have an awful lot of feathers on you.Would you like some dry shelled corn or perhaps an earthworm?"
"Shut up!Not everybody has your confidence about trying new things John.And I might remind you that I was sent back to encourage you so that our mother didn't scare you out of this.Who encourages me?"
As soon as she said it, she bowed her head.Fallen into one of John's mental traps.
"Don't say it John.You do.You encourage me.Okay, okay.I'll send off my application to medical school and I'll get the paperwork started on the biotech company.But you'd better hire a bodyguard because I'll be so busy I won't be able to watch your back."
"Mom's right downstairs.She's not exactly chopped liver.She was watching my back long before we became brother and sister."
"We've been brother and sister for fifteen years.For you only one year.You don't remember the other years because for you they haven't happened yet and hopefully will never happen on this timeline.Future John remembers the other fourteen years but will never know our year together."
"But we're sixteen.If Future John has known you practically since you were built, how do you account for the other year?"
"Between build-day and being captured was about a month or so.Other months with The Engineer.And when I arrived in the past, I spent about a month observing you."
"That's creepy.You're a stalker.Insanity runs in the family."
It was kind of a running joke between John and Cameron to pretend that their mother was a lunatic.She had been railroaded into an asylum by the police psychologist after she first went to the police to report a terminator and a crazy man after her.The "crazy man" turned out to be Kyle Reese, John's father.At present, Sarah had tired of being alone in the frequently empty house.When John and Cameron weren't at school, they were in the loft above the storefront that they had leased for the regrettably named business, Jameron Enterprises.
So Sarah rented out the storefront below the loft for her bookstore.It solved several problems.She could watch her children as a parent was supposed to do, she could see them more often instead of feeling lonely at home, and they could all go home together at six-thirty for a not too late dinner.At ten o'clock (sometimes eleven or twelve on Saturday), it was lights out.John needed rest.And she was starting to think that Cameron needed rest too.
After Sarah hired a stocker and an assistant manager, she had second thoughts about the bookstore. Not that she had started the business but that it became like her children.Not needing her so much.
She had started the bookstore as a way to pay for historical research.Maybe just start an honest-to-gosh research business or archiving service or become an historical consultant.Take some classes.Charge people to do genealogy research.Contract services in association with real historians, restoration specialists, and archaeologists. Become a history detective.That is what the bookstore was supposed to have enabled her to do.But she got sidetracked with book returns and reimbursements and ISBN's and customers and advertisement and web site and then worry that this would attract Skynet and terminators.
Become a history detective.Find evidence of terminators throughout history if Skynet was that ambitious.Seemed logical since Skynet also planned to end history with thermonuclear bombs.Become a history detective.But how to make it pay for itself?Give up the idea?Stick with the bookstore?Give up the bookstore?
Maybe start an exercise studio for aerobics classes and calisthenics and weight loss groups and yoga.A business that didn't make you think so much.Those kids upstairs.John and Cameron.Because of them she had been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.


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