“Ladies, gentlemen, and others, we are here to talk about saving two worlds.”
A bold opening. Grab their attention first, carry them along, answer just enough questions to keep their confidence going. Meetings are all about the emotions, not the facts. Nobody cares about a dry PowerPoint presentation. The slide deck is just like wearing a necktie. It just says you’re serious.
The murmur of voices, both in the conference room and on the holographic screens representing remote callers, is palpable. Jason raises his voice slightly to keep command of the presentation. “Our world is under assault. By forces human and otherwise. We all remember the Blot invasion, but aliens aren’t the only danger.”
“And there is the Sepiaverse - the parallel world from which the Vyortovians came.” Jason nods in acknowledgement to the men and women in subtly foreign suits, holographically projected into the room. “A world where, even now, people are suffering.”
The voices rise once more. Jason silently signals his nanobots. The room’s own loudspeakers subtly cut in, carrying and amplifying his voice over the babel of his audience. The effect is subtle, but it’s been amazing in previous experiments. He’s once again in command of the room. “We have the resources. I can prove it, to the satisfaction of anyone who doubts. The competence of everyone assembled here to carry out an objective we all support has been thoroughly demonstrated. What we need is the will.”
Jason’s vocal volume falls as the room gets under control. I’ve gotten over the first hurdle. They’re engaging. They’re building up intellectual reasons why this will fail, but I’ve got the initiative, and the idea is in their heads.
“I understand the doubt that some of you have objections to the plan we’re proposing. We will address those objections in any order you like, but we will address them.”
“But first, let me recap what was in your handouts, just in case there is any doubt.” Jason ticks off points on his fingers, and thanks to his nanobots, the slide deck on the wall behind him follows along perfectly.
“First. While Earth’s problems are not solvable in a day, or a year, we are making progress and the proposed Sepiaverse reclamation project will not harm them. Let me show you.” Slides glide by, indicating the progress of numerous projects. Leo Snow’s understanding of neuroscience being turned into low-cost medication for people with treatable mental conditions - under review by the FDA. A device cobbled together by Byron for a one-time job, uncovered and rebuilt by Alycia Chin, to help combat plagues and pathogens - being evaluated by the WHO. Genetically hybrid crops, suitable for growing in arid locations. Solar oases to reverse desertification.
“The bottleneck here is not resources but time,” emphasizes Jason. “Nobody is more cognizant of the need for a safe and thorough evaluation of hypertechnology than myself and my staff, and we agree with every domestic and international regulatory body that caution is a priority. We cannot change the world overnight, and shouldn’t try.” Time to finish with the emotional message. “We are making progress here, and that means it’s time to look further afield.”
More slides. “The Sepiaverse reclamation proposal itself. First, an evacuation of citizens from one world to another one. You’ll see here that we are addressing the resettlement question not through political means, but through technological ones. The Quill foundation will be using a new process to set up artificial landmasses in international waters - and subject to international scrutiny. You can see here not only the proposed tech, but video of these systems actually working, in the real world. This is not some kind of pie in the sky proposal. This is in use, now, today.”
“Second, a reversal of the physical conditions that make that world experience such inherent hardships. This is a forward-looking proposal, more research than engineering, and that’s why I want to officially unveil our other uh, surprise today.”
Jason steps back, and the Vyortovian holograms slide across the room and take his place as presenters. “Nýr Heimsháskóli. For the convenience of the English speakers here, the New University, or N.U. is the term that has been adopted. As Mr. Quill has said, saving two worlds is the work of generations. We of Vyortovia bear a responsibility for our attack on the United States. We have agreed to discharge that responsibility by opening our borders, sharing our technology, and educating the next generation of scientists and operators. As Mr. Quill has indicated, international oversight is an expected and integral part of this process.”
Jason takes over again. “As some of our attendees already realize, and as I’ve been authorized by them to reveal, organizations like Rook Industries are somewhat in the same business as us, but not with the same goals. They have a skunk works program to discover and militarize hypergenius and hypertechnology. Now I understand that some people are skittish about working with the Vyortovians, even with their assurances. Saving two worlds is a big job. I want to say that our options right now are ‘go it alone’ or ‘partner with someone’.”
The memories come back, filling Jason’s voice with conviction. “I speak from experience when I say ‘go it alone’ is a losing strategy. Given a choice of partners, I would rather work with people whose motive was desperation, than those driven by greed.”
The slide deck stops on the “Questions & Answers” screen. Jason smiles. “Who’s first?”