First 3 Chapters of the Encore Thriller

Chapters 1-3 of The Encore: A Transformational Thriller

1     THE TRIP

I don’t remember dying thought Connor Kane as he hurtled through an ethereal tunnel.  Towards what, he wondered.  God?  Heaven?  The promised light that was to bathe me in feelings of overwhelming peace and love?  Unfortunately, I feel only nausea, vertigo, and an overwhelming fear of the unknown.  Did these foretell a less desirable destination?

The ragged walls of the tunnel whizzed past him at dizzying speeds.  But worse, Connor was ricocheting off the walls upside down, sideways, right side up, then upside down again as if there was no grounding gravity.  His aching body felt as if he was being pummeled by a prize fighter.

But wait.  He suddenly realized he wasn’t colliding with the walls of the tunnel.  Rather he was hitting a spongy clear membrane of some sort surrounding him.  I’m inside a transparent bubble he concluded as he bounced off the right wall then face-planted into the opposite wall.

He had read about near-death experiences.  NDEs.  People who had been pronounced clinically dead but been revived.  There were no bubbles in their accounts.  What did this mean?  Their accounts talked about going to the light.  There was no bright light ahead of him.  Only darkness.  Could he not be going to the light?  Why was his experience abnormal?

How’d I get here?  He searched his memory as he negotiated the collisions.  He was still in his tuxedo.  He remembered being at the gala celebrating his decade of accomplishments.  Then what?  Think.  He remembered he and Lenore leaving in the limo.  Then blackness.

Lenore.  Where is she?  Panic gripped his body.  Is she alright?  If I’m dead, she’ll be devastated.  His heart was besieged with pain at the very thought of her pain.  They’d not been apart since their childhood years in the orphanage in Denmark.  His heart broke in empathy with the anguish she must be feeling.  A second later it hit him that he’d no longer be with her.  His own anguish echoed hers.

Suddenly, the bubble came to a complete stop.  His stomach flip-flopped as it does on the downhill drop of a giant roller coaster.  The rushing walls of the tunnel were finally still.  Silence.  Darkness.  What is happening?  Again, where was the bright light, the beings of light, the welcome of deceased family and friends?  Where was his unconditional love and acceptance?

Suddenly, the blue glow of another tunnel materialized out of the pitch black to his right.  His bubble immediately made a right turn and raced through the adjoining tunnel.  He was again bouncing off the membrane in every direction.  He was dizzy again as he was flung from wall to wall upside down.

How can this be?  What’s going on?  Still no bright light up ahead as he was thrust around the endless winding curves characteristic of this second tunnel.  Great.  Something to make his nausea worse.

Epiphany.  I might be able to turn myself right-side up as I bounce off the walls.  He dove towards his feet with his upper body then thrust his feet down underneath him.  It worked.  He was upright.  Well this is better he thought.

Wait a minute.  Another epiphany.  If I’m not near the walls, I won’t be battered about like a badminton bird.  He softly pushed off the wall with the form of a professional swimmer.  He headed for the center of the bubble.  Stillness.  The cacophony silenced.  Phew!  The calm in the center of the storm.  Well this is better he repeated with self-congratulatory pride.

Now I have a chance to think.  What has happened?  What is happening?  He struggled to remember as he guardedly surveilled the speeding tunnel terrain swishing past his purview.  Connor would’ve liked to have had the out-of-body experience so many NDEs experienced.  Floating above, he could’ve observed his death and the people around his body discussing what had happened.  He might then have more answers as to how and perhaps why his life was cut short.

Suddenly Connor’s life review launched.  He was “seeing his life flash before his eyes” just as most NDEs report happens after death.  Finally.  Something expected.  Maybe he would receive knowledge about his true essence and the nature of the universe.  Throughout his life he had continuously craved such knowledge.

A moment later, Connor realized that this life review had actually started before he died.  At the gala celebrating his achievements hours ago.  For the best decade of his life, Connor Kane had the honor of serving as the very first Commander-in-Chief for Global Human Resource Maximization.  It was his job to mobilize the world’s human resources into the service of mankind in a time of extreme crisis for humanity.

This position had been created because so many natural and man-made disasters had threatened the survival of the species and the planet.  Everyone’s greatest talents had to be conscripted to save both.  The problems could not be solved by money or power.

Consequently, the existing power holders were willing to relinquish the stage to those with the talent and creativity to solve those challenges.  They were motivated by self-interest.  They wanted to survive.

According to the praise and awards he’d received, Connor had apparently excelled at this mission.  Unfortunately, all government positions were now limited to 10 years in order to give others an opportunity to contribute their talents and creativity.

A paradox.  In producing a talent-celebrating world, Connor had spawned the termination of what he considered his greatest opportunity to use his own talents to the fullest.  He would dearly have loved to continue as Commander-in-Chief for the rest of his life.  He was too young to retire.

Releasing the world’s human resources to their full potential in the service of mankind was meaningful work, of course.  However, more than this, there was no greater thrill for Connor than enabling people to do their most gratifying work, make their most significant and meaningful contributions, and receive their greatest intrinsic and material rewards.  This is what filled his heart.

Accordingly, he and Lenore had spent their entire careers developing the best techniques for individuals to operate at their maximum to achieve their greatest legacy and rewards.  That maximum included increasing the breakthroughs and creative inspirations that could bypass hundreds of steps to achieve goals faster.  And better he thought in remembering so many unexpected solutions.  They had figured out how to create world changers.  World builders.

The mission for the global maximization of the world’s talents had allowed them to apply those techniques to catalyze transformation on a massive scale.  To transform individuals en masse.  This was his lifework on the grandest of scales.

Yet, neither he nor Lenore had foreseen the peripheral world benefits that would result when talent and the ability to create the unprecedented became supreme.  There was no longer tolerance for the prejudice that interfered with the performance of the world’s talent assets.

Every glass ceiling was smashed for the ordinary to achieve the extraordinary in the service of mankind.  Blocking those who had something to contribute because of their sex, race, religion, birth, financial wherewithal, education, language, culture and whatever was now verboten.  Sanctions could be severe.  This dramatically changed how the world operated.  There was a dedication to constructing a climate favorable to creative breakthroughs to solve the plethora of world crises.

The economy and power structure changed as well.  As talent was cherished, those with it were paid massive amounts of money.  With the money came power – power to change how the world was run.  Life-threatening wars over geography disappeared.  So many of humanity’s failings were erased.  All-in-all, Connor was pleased with his impact and legacy.  His life review was good.

Connor was startled out of his reverie by a second abrupt stop of his bubble’s whirlwind rush along the tunnel.  A second roller coaster stomach flip-flop from the dramatic deceleration.  All was dark and still again.  Had he arrived?  Was this twilight where he was to spend an eternity?

He recalled the previous stop.  This likely means the transfer to another tunnel – one which had not yet appeared just like the last time.  No NDEs had reported such occurrences.  There was a breach in logic here.

He began to question his assumption that he was dead.  If this was not death, what could it be?  Before he could delve into that answer, the dull blue glow of another tunnel appeared on his right.  Seconds later, Connor’s bubble was again shooting through this adjoining tunnel as if it was a bobsled on a downhill icy track.

He was very much in descent.  As he careened with each turn, he could catch a glimpse of a brilliant crystalline circle of light off in the distance below him.  Finally, he would be embraced by the love and peace so many NDE’s described.  Or would he?

Connor had another eureka moment.  As a lover of all things cinematic, his mind was suddenly flooded with visions of wormholes in the Star Trek and Stargate television series and movies like Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.  In fact, I think a theoretical physicist designed the wormhole scenes in Interstellar he recalled.  Kip Thorne?  Thorne ensured scientific fidelity.  Then it hit him.  Could he be travelling through a wormhole rather than crossing over?

What he’d been seeing could just as easily have been a wormhole.  Or could it be that death is just a wormhole trip into another dimension or space-time location?  He was a man addictively drawn to the exploration of such deep questions.  Today he’d no time for such digressions.  “Focus” he demanded through the fog of his still-dizzy brain.  What did he know about wormholes to help him deal with his current plight?

If he was in a wormhole, he was still alive.  He was going to live.  This was cause for celebration indeed.  This was the first good thought he’d had on this trip.  He might still be alive?

What did he know about wormholes?  A wormhole is a conduit through 4-dimensional space-time.  Wormholes are considered to bend space and time to allow two vastly separated regions of the universe to connect.  He remembered some video from his past in which two points were drawn on a piece of paper and then the paper was folded so that the two points touched.  The wormhole connected these two points.  Space commutes that might take thousands of years could be achieved in minutes or hours.

There must be a network of wormholes.  I wonder if some civilization made such a network or was it a natural phenomenon.  They would have to be pretty advanced to achieve such a construction he ruminated.  That would explain the pauses.  A wormhole into a different direction was required to speed my bubble to its destination.

Darn!  I might be light years away from Earth.  Wormholes allow interstellar, intergalactic, and sometimes even interuniversal travel within human lifetime scales. They have also served as a method for time travel.

Didn’t Stephen Hawking posit that wormholes might theoretically be utilized for travel through time as well as through space?  Well, that is disconcerting.  I might not only be a great distance from Lenore.  I might also be in another time.  They would be separated as the lovers on the TV show Outlander.  Did he accidentally pass through a special Stonehenge-type rock as Caitriona Balfe did in her role as Claire Randall?

What was that thrilling 90s-something movie with Jody Foster?  It was a Carl Sagan novel.  Contact.  Jody Foster’s Dr. Ellie Arroway travels 26 light years through a series of wormholes to the star Vega. The round trip, which to Ellie lasts 18 hours, passes by in a fraction of a second on Earth, making it appear she went nowhere.

Am I living science fiction or just dreaming it?  How long have I been traveling?  He had no idea.  Gosh, he could be thousands of miles from his home.  How was he going to get back?  His anxiety was interrupted by suddenly glimpsing the circular brilliant white light again only a few turns away.

To Connor’s surprise there was another bubble in front of his.  No.  There were two!  What did that mean?  He was not the only one kidnapped?  These were his kidnappers?  His fear of being battered about again kept him anchored to the center of his bubble.

However, he stretched cautiously off-center to try to see who else had come from Earth.  He could not make out who stepped out of the two bubbles.  The de-loading seemed to take place in some kind of station structure.  How did the bubbles know to come to this station he wondered?

For the first time, Connor noticed circuitry in the base wall of his bubble.  It had been in the dark during his trip.  Now there was illumination.  How ingeniously compact.  Since childhood he had always been delighted by creative breakthroughs of every kind.  The thrill of helping people to realize creative potential to make their greatest breakthroughs for humanity had always been what had driven his lifework.

His bubble suddenly decelerated for a third time.  His stomach did the usual roller-coaster flip-flop.  The rushing walls of the tunnel slowed to a snail’s pace.  The light of the station was getting brighter making it difficult to see through his unaccustomed eyes.  He could discern beings on the disembarkation platform but could not identify them as human.

Before he had time to contemplate his pending meeting, Connor found himself floating to the bottom of his bubble as it came to a complete stop.  He was now standing on very wobbly legs.  No more.  He reached to grab the side of the bubble to steady himself.  Unsuccessful, he crumpled to the floor in a heap.  He was surprised to discover he had no muscles.

The deceleration must’ve made his fall to the bottom of the bubble possible.  No.  It must be that he had arrived at a planet with gravitational pull.  He wondered where he could be.  He wondered whether he would be greeted by friend or foe.  He wondered what form they might take.  Would they be human?  Connor was once more overcome with fear and trepidation.


Connor was still blinded by the bright lights of the station after spending hours in darkness.  He couldn’t make out his surroundings or their inhabitants.  He put up his arm to shield his eyes to give them time to become accustomed.  The silence was welcome after hours of the rush of air from accelerated travel.

Before he could regain his senses, a narrow slit opened in the wall of the bubble.  Someone or something much larger than himself lifted him off the floor and carried him through this opening.  He was placed on a gurney like those used in ambulances.  A being in a white coat with the air of a doctor began checking his vitals.

As soon as the doctor was done, the bed was raised under his head so that Connor was sitting up.  He found himself staring at a dozen faces.  The most benevolent and wise of the beings spoke first.

“Welcome to Annutia, Commander-in-Chief Connor Kane, Global Human Resources Maximization.  I’m Minister Plenipotentiary Axl Dahl.  I have just been retired from my role as Supreme Commander for the same reasons you were retired.  Term.  It was I who wished for your presence here.  You may address me as Minister for the present.”

Minister Plenipotentiary.  Strange to have this familiar but remote title.  Connor hadn’t heard that title since grade school history.  In the 1783 Peace Treaty of Versailles which terminated the American Revolution, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Jay were named Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to the Netherlands, France and Spain, respectively.

Connor analyzed the Minister as he contemplated a response.  He was gracious, friendly, and immediately likeable as befits a diplomatic role.  However, Connor was not deceived.  The power of the Supreme Commander’s past authority and leadership was bristling just below the surface.  This was a strong achievement-driven man of great depth.

He seemed to sincerely value Connor and treated him almost familially.  This was interesting because Axl Dahl was so similar in appearance to Connor that he could’ve been a relative.  Both men had Nordic features.  Blue eyes.  Light skin and hair.  Angular features.  They were both tall with wiry athletic builds.  The Minister was perhaps 15 years older.

“May I know the purpose of my abduction, Minister?” Connor came directly to the point.

“We need your assistance, Commander.”

“I’ve retired from my post, Minister.  Please call me Connor.”  This is a planned familiarity in contrast to Axl’s formality.  “How may I help?”

Axl smiled at Connor’s bonding maneuver but did not reciprocate.  “You’re tired now, Connor.  Sleep.  We’ll talk when you awake.”

“Annalise!  A lithe black-skinned beauty with arresting azure eyes stepped into the spotlight surrounding Connor’s gurney.  “Could you please deliver Commander Kane to his residence and bring him to me when he’s refreshed?”

“Yes, Minister” said Annalise.

With a take-charge manner, she motioned to two guards to push Connor’s bed into the awaiting ambulance.  Annalise appeared aristocratic, intelligent, capable, and physically and emotionally powerful beneath a diplomatic demeanor.  Her large expressive eyes were electric.  Even otherworldly.  Yet they revealed a depth that made her worthy of a former Supreme Commander’s trust.  Consequently, Connor felt he could trust her as well.

It was unusual to see such a muscular physique on such a lean female frame.  She was tall.  Perhaps equal to his own 6 feet.  Maybe a few inches less.  Annalise made efficient use of the time as he was transported to the residence.

“Welcome, Commander Kane.  We’re delighted to have you with us.  I’m one of many who have admired the unprecedented revolution you inspired and implemented on planet Earth over the last 10 years.

“It will be my job to provide you with all of the resources that you’ll need to accomplish the same goals here in a much shorter timeframe.  I’m charged with educating you about our world.  I am also responsible for your safety and your interface with the members of the Annutia Planetary Steering Council.  I hope I’ll become a trusted advisor and confidant for your mission, Commander.

“My talents, training, education, and passions all favor such a role.  I too am committed to each person achieving their greatest lifetime legacy in the service of Annutia’s civilization.”  She talked on enthusiastically in this vein for some time about their common interests and goals.  Connor recognized that this was an attempt to distract him from his plight.  He knew in that moment that Annalise had a good heart.

Within about ten minutes they’d arrived at a luxury apartment on a very high floor.  Annalise opened the door.  “This will be your residence, Commander.  These guards will carry you in as your ability to walk will likely still be compromised.  One of them will always remain outside your door to ensure you are safe and in case you need anything.  This is Brik.  And this is Jon.  Gentlemen, if you will.”

She stepped into the lavish suite and held open the door.  Brik and Jon carried Connor to the master bedroom and placed him on the king-sized bed.  A lush royal blue robe had been laid out for him on the turned-down bed.  There were also silk pajamas in the same blue and a high-end black hoodie with matching sweatpants from which to choose.

“If you’ll change, Commander, we’ll see to the cleaning of your tuxedo and other garments and shoes, so they’re ready when you want them.  Additional clothes, shoes, and accessories have been placed in the closets and drawers for your use.

“Please let us know whatever else you need, Commander Kane.  Just press the intercom button and Service will answer.  Press 8 if you need to talk to me directly.  If there’s an emergency, key 911.  They’ll know who and where you are.  We created it just for you based on its familiar usage on Earth.

“Do you know what kind of food you’d like to eat right now, Commander?  What kind of food and drink you’d like in your fridge?  What you’d want to eat when you wake up?  I’ve taken the liberty of keeping warm our version of a hamburger and fries in the oven and a strawberry milkshake in the fridge.  Would they do for now?”

“Very much, thank you,” replied Connor.  I hadn’t realized how hungry I am.”

“Jon, if you wouldn’t mind.”  She motioned him to the kitchen.  “I have bacon, eggs, rolls, and fruit in the fridge for breakfast or you may order from room service over the intercom.  There are checklists for prepared foods and grocery items on the nightstand, so you can select what will keep you fueled for your mission.  There’s also a third checklist for any nonfood items you might need.  Just leave the lists on the kitchen counter.  Housekeeping will collect them daily.

“We’ve already provided a computer, printer, and other technology you may require.  The remote for this television is in your night stand.  I’ve stocked the bookshelves with books about Annutia and Annutians, so please feel free to browse to learn more about the people you’re here to help.  There is gym equipment in a room off the living room in case you need to work out.

“Press 8 when you’re ready for me to return to escort you to meet with the Minister Plenipotentiary.  Is there anything else you require, Commander?”

“When will I be going home, Annalise?”  When she did not respond, Connor asked, “Can I contact my wife to let her know that I’m alright?  We’ve never been separated.  She must be terrified.”  Again, Annalise seemed to have difficulty finding the words to respond.

“Do I have any choice in whether I take on this mission?”

“Hm,” responded Annalise with immediate understanding and empathy.  “Perhaps these are questions best put to the Minister.  Unfortunately, there are matters for which I haven’t been authorized to speak, Commander.  I’ll be as open as I can throughout our partnership.

“However, if I can’t provide you with the information you request, I’ll refrain from saying anything rather than lie to you.  I want you to feel you can trust what I do say.  Good night, sir,” she said as she moved swiftly towards the door of the bedroom.  She obviously wanted no part in contributing to his pain.

“Good night, Annalise.  Thank you,” he called after her to let her know he understood and did not hold her responsible.

Connor dove into his food wholeheartedly, appreciative of the Annutians’ attempt to provide him with a favorite American meal.  I wonder if they have a MacDonald’s here yet?  He smiled as he envisaged himself negotiating that lucrative trade deal if they didn’t.  And Jeff Bezos would certainly want to launch Amazon here – likely in person given his love of space travel and science fiction.  And that is exactly what this was thought Connor.  Science fiction.



Connor pressed 8 on his intercom to summon Annalise for his rendezvous with Minister Plenipotentiary Axl Dahl.  He was rested, showered, dressed, and nourished.  He was ready to negotiate with the Minister for a few things, especially the terms of his return home.  Annalise arrived to collect him.  She nodded towards the elevator when she caught Brik’s eye as they passed him seated at the guard table outside of Connor’s door.  He followed behind.

As the trio descended in the elevator of the residential tower, Annalise explained that six planetary government towers were connected at ground level and one floor below via shopping and restaurant concourses.  When they reached the ground level, Connor was impressed with the massiveness of the complex and the elegance of the stores and restaurants.

In places, ceilings were several floors high to create an impressive spaciousness.  Several floors of people-filled glassed-in offices overlooked the concourse.  The complex was stone, glass, and steel in an uplifting blue and white theme.  It looked like a mixture of blue marble, blue granite, white marble and white granite with the granite being used for the floors.

Rather than a cold impersonal isolating structure, this hub was alive with people of purpose from many races.  We have no such planetary capital on Earth he thought.  But if we did, I imagine it would look like this.

The trio walked over to the elevator for Tower West and sped up to floor 68 at the top of the tower.  The elevators had glass walls as well.  Even though he didn’t think he had a fear of heights, Connor found it unnerving to be exposed to the view from such a height.  He’d had a visceral reaction to the speed of the elevator rise.  He suspected that he was still sensitive from the trauma of his recent wormhole voyage.

As he and Annalise entered the Minister’s spacious office foyer, it was obvious that there was some pressing crisis afoot.  Axl’s Aides were white with fear as they stood around the Minister’s desk in his inner office.  They were intent on expressing their concerns, demanding solutions, and asking questions as he listened paternally.  He eventually stopped them by suddenly standing up to begin issuing orders to each.  The Aides quickly dispersed, somewhat relieved to have assignments to address their issues.

“Would you like to reschedule your meeting with Commander Kane, Minister?”  asked a respectful Annalise.

“No.  No.  Good morning, Annalise, Commander,” he said with a nod to each.  “Commander, please come in,” he welcomed.  “Make yourself comfortable,” he said as he waved Connor to a large grouping of rounded deep tufted leather couches and stately wing-back chairs.  “Coffee, expresso, latte, macchiato, iced latte, juice,” Axl offered from an elaborate built-in bar laden with refreshments and associated machines and carafes.  He opened a full-sized fridge hidden behind the wall of wood paneling to reveal a large assortment of cold beverages and snacks.

“A Latte, please.”

“Allow me, Minister.”

“Thank you, Annalise.”

The Minister took a large chair across from Connor and scrutinized him for a moment.  Connor, for his part was engrossed with the massiveness of the office.  He’d been in the offices of many national leaders across Earth.  Yet he’d never been in one so large or lavish.

One end of the office was completely windows.  The view was spectacular from the 68th floor.  The windows extended inwards along the ceiling for about five feet making it appear from his seat that the office was suspended in the sky.  It functioned much like an upside-down infinity pool with no boundary to the sky.  This was architecturally foreign to anything Connor had encountered on Earth.

As Annalise presented the latte to Connor, she went to sit down adjacent to him.  “Thank you, Annalise.  I need to speak to the Commander alone.  Please let Birgitte know where we might contact you when Commander Kane is ready to return to his residence.”

“Of course, Minister,” she said good-naturedly as she glided gracefully across the office towards the door.  If she was disappointed at being excluded, her face did not divulge it.  He admired Annalise as a natural diplomat.  She had such a pleasant uplifting energy.  Conner’s mind immediately switched back to business.  He took charge of the meeting.

“I’ll need to speak to my wife before we continue.  I need to tell her that I’m alright and how long it’ll be before I come home.”

The Minister darted a glance at the departing Annalise.

“Annalise, please arrange a call for Connor so he may calm his wife.”

For a second, a quizzical look passed across her face before she composed herself.

Connor worried what that was about.  Given Annalise’s normal state of composure her momentary lapse was even more significant.

“Will two hours from now be enough time, Minister?”

“Very good, Annalise.”

She closed the door.

The Minister adroitly snatched the agenda back from Connor.  He was obviously a man accustomed to running things.

“Connor, our circumstances are dire.”

Connor noted that now that they were behind closed doors without an audience, Axl had dropped the decorum and deference of addressing him by his title.  The Minister had accepted his previous invitation for a less formal relationship.

“If creative solutions are not found, an alien transmutation of this planet will make it uninhabitable by human beings.  We have perhaps only six months to live.  What I will tell you now is known only by those who have signed confidentiality agreements.  You’ll be addressing twelve of these tomorrow morning at a meeting of the Annutia Planetary Steering Council.

“I will respect your wishes for confidentiality, Axl,” assured Connor.  Am I going to like this cultural transformation project for which you’ve volunteered me?” he asked facetiously with a teasing grin.

In reality, Connor was seething inside now that he knew he had not just been kidnapped but was also facing imminent death on a dying planet.  With the practiced discipline of decades, there was not a ripple of his anger, fear, or weakness anywhere on his face.  Provocation while powerlessly imprisoned on a foreign planet would not be the smartest strategy.  His platform for negotiation would dissipate.

“We are requesting an encore, Connor, of your greatest work.  If I’ve read you correctly, I’m confident that there’s nothing you’d rather do.  Do you understand the term ‘terraforming’?”

“Yes,” grinned Connor.  I confess that I enjoy the worldbuilding dilemmas of many science fiction novels.  Terraforming or literally, ‘Earth-shaping’, is a process for modifying planets, moons, asteroids and such to make them habitable by Earth-like life, especially humans.

“Good.  Our scientists have found evidence that Annutia was originally terraformed – probably by people traveling from Earth through the wormhole long before vehicles for space travel were developed.  Now some alien species is trying to change the planet back.  Or at least trying to customize it to their needs.  We’re not sure yet.”

“We don’t yet have a word for this planetary engineering to a non-Earth-friendly ecology.  So, for convenience I borrowed the term ‘xenoforming’ from H.G. Wells in his 1898 novel, The War of the Worlds – the re-engineering of Earth or an Earth-like planet to benefit some alien population.  ‘Xeno’ pertains to foreign or foreigner.”

Axl abruptly stood up in the middle of the discussion and walked to the coffee bar.  While he presented a calm and in-control exterior, it was obviously a façade constructed with a discipline similar to Connor’s.  He asked Connor if he too would like another.  Connor asked for sparkling mineral water.  Ice.  Lemon.  The Minister returned and continued with some urgency.

“There are other wormholes near Annutia from which the aliens must have arrived.  We have no flying machines.  They were banned when the factions kept bombing each other or hijacking planes for ransom or using them for kamikaze missions.  Therefore, we’d have noticed any encroachment by air.  With the kind of stealth used, there was no way for us to know to protect ourselves.  We have weapons against invaders, of course, but this attack was too low key to be detected.

Rather, the aliens, whomever they are, patiently infected the planet with a deadly cocktail of algae which our scientists predict will gradually convert our atmosphere to their preference.  Oxygen will be eliminated.  An ample supply of ammonia, nitrates, and phosphates were apparently included in the cocktail to ensure that the algae flourished and spread rapidly.  Before this, algae were unknown on this planet.”

Axl abruptly stood up again to address a mounted super-sized map of the planet on Connor’s behalf.  It covered most of the wall opposite the window.  Lighting of various areas or categories was controlled by a board of buttons at the bottom.  Axl hit a button and some bodies of water were highlighted in red.

“The fatal effects of the xenoforming cocktail are spreading rapidly.  The algae emit gases and neurotoxins that are deadly to human beings and indeed all living things plant and animal.  These areas in red here, here, here, here, and here are particularly noxious.  The old and sick in these red zones are beginning to register respiratory distress.

“Apparently, algal toxins can be aerosolized by water waves.  Airborne algal toxins trigger allergy- and asthma-like symptoms such as airway constriction, shortness of breath, sneezing, and so on.  Persons with preexisting airway disease are most affected.  The toxins are released as the algae die and begin to decompose.

“The algae grow wherever there is moisture and particularly where they’ve been supplied with significant sources of phosphorus, nitrogen, and carbon.  Accordingly, the algae gravitate to our lakes and rivers and are contaminating our water with neurotoxins and such,” he said as he returned to his seat with a laser pointer and a remote.  “Even water intrusion into buildings that are not immediately addressed tend to support the growth of the poisonous algae making our buildings unsafe or uninhabitable.

“We’re already facing water shortages.  Our existing water filtration systems are ill-equipped to handle the current levels of contamination.  Our water treatment systems can no longer screen out the concentrations of deadly neurotoxins in the water.

“In addition, the whole food chain has been affected.  The neurotoxins have accumulated in the bodies of shellfish, sardines, and anchovies, which, if then eaten by sea lions, otters, cetaceans, birds or people, can cause death.  The algae cover the water and prevent the sunlight required by plants living below from reaching them.  Animals dependent on those plants are then starved out.

“We assume these algae are food for the aliens.  Our think tanks have explored the idea that the invaders will allow our population to suffocate due to respiratory challenges and/or to die from dehydration or starvation.  They can then simply assume possession of Annutia when we’re all dead.  By then, they’ll have the sustainable food supply and atmosphere that they need.

“Our brainstorming groups have also contemplated the scenario in which Annutians could be enslaved by the aliens based on our need for oxygen, water, and food.  Therefore, they might invade when some of us are still living.

“The crisis you observed upon your arrival today, Connor, was the outbreak of a fire.  Some of the farmers along our main waterway here” as he pointed the laser light to the largest river, “tried to kill the algae by burning them.

“There were unexpected flammable gases that didn’t burn the algae at all.  The fire simply existed above the algae blooms.  Much like the effect of fire eaters and fire tracers who protect themselves with 70% isopropyl alcohol, white gas, naphtha fuel, or stunt fire gel on their skin as insulation.  The invaders must have planned for our use of fire as a defense as well.

“Our food chains have been affected.  Our fish industry is dead.  Our meat industry is quickly disappearing as the animal sources are dying from the toxicity from infected water, feed, and the food chain.  Our water is gone.  The laser light darted back to the map to follow the outline of the same largest and longest river.  We also get hydropower from the flow of the Kalix River which has been blocked by the algae.

“The farms that have grown up along our Kalix River because of the need for fresh water, no longer have access to it.  Toxic water has killed both cattle and crops.  We’re facing a severe food shortage as a result.

“The factions, tribes, and castes with water are demanding payment for what was previously shared.  They have been stockpiling resources for the starving, thirsty populations in their own jurisdictions.

“We’re having to increase our use of fossil fuels such as coal and oil for power.  There’s a corresponding increase in carbon dioxide emissions which are affecting the ozone layer to make our environmental problems worse.

“Coal-fired power plants spew billions of tons of climate-changing CO2 into the atmosphere which causes a greenhouse effect.  Greenhouse gases trap the heat from the sun causing global warming.  The most common heat-trapping gases are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and ozone.  The resulting global warming causes . . . .”

The intensity of the discussion was suddenly interrupted by a sharp knock at the door.  A well-dressed gentleman burst into the office at a speed which prevented Axl from diplomatically rebuffing him.  He immediately headed to Connor with an outstretched hand.

“Welcome.  I’m Supreme Commander Rikard Riis,” he said bombastically.

With a respondent handshake, Connor replied at normal conversational decibels, “Connor Kane, former Commander-in-Chief, Global Human Resources Maximization, Earth.  A pleasure to meet you, Supreme Commander.”

“Please call me Rikard, Connor.  You are a most welcome addition to our life-and-death fight.  Thank you for agreeing to help us.  I look forward to hearing you introduce your process tomorrow at the Council meeting.  My wife Ingrid and I would be delighted if you’d join us for dinner in the next few days as your schedule permits.”

“Thank you, Rikard.  I’d be delighted,” responded Connor perfunctorily.

“Pardon my intrusion, Axl,” he said finally acknowledging the Minister’s presence with a nod in his direction.  “I’ll leave you gentlemen to your important work.”  With that, Rikard turned and abruptly exited the office with the same speed at which he had burst into it.

Supreme Commander Riis has the charm, charisma and sociability of successful politicians.  However, he has very little of the substance that Axl possesses.  It was obvious to Connor that someone had bought this man’s way into his current position.  Riis was a front.  A puppet.  And by the strain he sensed between the two men, Connor suspected that Axl was not the puppet master but the enemy.

Riis also lacked Axl’s benevolence.  In fact, there was a foreboding in his manner which made Connor fearful.  He realized that he would be even more uneasy if Axl was no longer there to protect him.  In an instant, he realized his dependence on the Minister.  He accepted that Axl was friend not foe.

Alone again, Connor restarted the discussion, “So have you brought me here to die, Axl?  I fear our friendship is going to be short-lived,” he quipped.

Axl laughed.  “I must have more faith in you than you do, Connor.”

Connor continued to jest to break Axl’s tension.  He motioned to the large picture on the wall of Vaudeville comedy duo and silent film comedians, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.  Their famous catch phrase was printed boldly on the top, “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!”

“I relate, Axl.  I suspect I’m not the first,” he joked.

Axl laughed again succumbing to the distraction.  “Would you believe this is the oldest known relic from Earth?  I ‘ve often wondered if it suggests the time when Annutia was terraformed.  Laurel and Hardy were famous from the late 1920s to the 1940s.  Annutians tend not to concentrate on history as much as they do on Earth because our religion has us focusing on the ‘now.’  We’re taught mindfulness and contemplative techniques and practices in school from the first grade to help us to do that.

“Obviously, we need creative solutions now, Connor.  We need you to repeat with acceleration your conversion of humanity to a talent- and creativity-worshipping power structure.  We need our world’s talents working at the maximum to save our planet and ourselves.  There is no one better than you to do that.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“Unfortunately, we’re a population devoid of creativity.  We have so many rules, and so many castes and so much prejudice and judgement that we’ve all but eliminated the courage to be creative.  We’ve become a left-brain society where logic reigns supreme.  Our creative right brains have atrophied.

“What makes you think there is enough time, Axl?”

“I’ve studied your career, Connor.  You’ve worked on the liberation of individuals to their full creative expression for 30 years.  When you assumed the role of Commander-in-Chief for Global Human Resources Maximization, you had your strategic plan completed and being actioned in your first month.  You established most of the structures for global conversion in your first two months.  What is it you call yourself?  Oh yes.  An execution creative.

“This is your encore, Connor.  Faster.  Smarter.  With higher stakes.  And with more fulfillment than the first time around.  There is no project more meaningful for you to undertake.

“If you went back to your retirement on Earth without at least trying, you’d regret it for the rest of your life.  Facing death is not the anathema for you, Commander Kane.  Facing a life without meaning, purpose, and mission is far worse for someone of your talents and passions.

“You’ll see, Connor.  We’ve already started.  We’ve released your speeches and writings into our corporations and upper educational streams to get people thinking about the conversion.

“I’m going to have Annalise arrange for you to access to the Planetary Government Library today.  You’ll get an idea of how much we know already so you can formulate what you want to say to the Council tomorrow about your plan.”

Connor refrained from comment while he began to formulate possible strategies.  He was indeed an execution creative by passion.  He believed he could implement anything even if it had never been done before.  He found new implementation challenges irresistible.

“I’ve studied your methods for achieving the restructuring to release the greatest creative solutions to global crises.  However, what I haven’t been able to figure out yet is what levers you pushed to cause the break in the money-and-political power grid in the first place.  A discussion for another day.”

Connor suspected Axl was referencing the forces behind Rikard Riis.  The Minister jumped up without warning for a third time and stepped quickly to his desk to flick on the intercom.  “Birgitte, has Annalise returned yet for Commander Kane?”

“Yes, sir.  She’s been here for some time.”

Axl moved to the door and opened it.

“So sorry to have kept you, Annalise.  Please come in for a moment.  Commander Kane needs library access to Earth information to find common ground for his speech to the Council tomorrow.  He’s also going to need information about the Council Ministers, so he can shape his speech to his audience.

“I think it’s also advisable that you make him aware of the conflicts among them so that he’s not blindsided.  In fact, why don’t you bring him at the beginning of the Council meeting so that he can observe the conflicts and players in action.

“Thank you, Annalise.  And thank you Commander Kane for undertaking this critical mission for us,” Axl said while shaking Connor’s hand.  “I look forward to hearing you speak.  Please use Annalise to let me know how I may help.”

And without even a moment to consider or to ask a question, Connor suddenly found himself outside of the Minister’s inner office next to its closed door.  Connor was impressed by how smooth Axl was.  He felt out-finessed.

“This way, Commander,” directed Annalise.  The tall and muscled Brik again trailed them.  Obviously, Axl considered him a VIP needing a bodyguard.

“Were you able to arrange the call with my wife?”

“I was indeed.  We have thirty minutes to arrive back at the appointed time.”

As they stepped out of the elevator on his floor of the residential tower, Connor could see at the other end of the hall Jon sitting at the table guarding his suite.  Perhaps Axl was right.  Maybe he’d underestimated his talents somewhat despite the celebratory gala.

As they arrived at the suite, Annalise walked to the office where an external telephone resided.  Connor took the covers off his lunch while he pondered how he was going to tell Lenore that there was a good chance that he would be dead within the year.

Your Genius Formula

Your Savant Formula

Excerpt from The Encore: A Transformational Thriller from Chapter 11, Heroes in the Making by Lauren Holmes (2018)

Connor addressed the class. “Good morning, everyone!”  Audience members responded in kind.  “Over the last few days,  you’ve all been working hard to assimilate a new modus operandi for breakthroughs and creativity that we want you to use to solve the planet’s crises. 

“School is ending.  Our time to begin implementation is at hand.  We need to finalize a savant formula for each of you and identify the projects to which you will apply it.  Think carefully about your selections as we step through a final review this morning.  Let’s begin. 

“What is a savant formula?”

 Sibylla Lund called out, “It’s your maximum operation around the application of your strongest most rewarding talents.  Your own maximization allows you to merge with the bioflow’s maximization process.  This enables your capabilities to be extended by those of the bioflow – its evolutionary direction, forces, information, and the capabilities of the living systems it orchestrates.  This gives you the means to operate beyond your internal potential.” 

Sibylla was an unemployed electrical engineer from the shutdown of power plants due to the xenoforming and the switch to fossil fuels.  She was referred to his Breakthru Mission by Axl Dahl’s wife, Freya.  She’s a Varunian Freya met through her charity work. 

“What else does bioflow integration give you, Sibylla?”

“It’s also the means to access spontaneous knowledge as coincidences externally or as breakthroughs and epiphanies internally,” continued Sibylla.  “The more information fuel you have, the more easily, quickly, and frequently you can re-combine existing information systems to create a novel system or breakthrough that will get you to your goal more quickly. 

“One breakthrough could bypass hundreds of steps requisite to achieving a goal.  Our goal is to have serial breakthroughs driving our projects.  Speed plus invention breakthroughs are of the essence.  They are the key thrust of this Breakthru Mission since the normal modi operandi have failed to yield the necessary solutions to our crises.  We’re a world weak in creativity.”

“Sibylla, I like how you’ve synthesized multiple lectures in a very net way,” Connor responded, obviously impressed.  “Well done. 

“Why did I name your bioflow integration prescription your ‘savant formula’ and the new modus operandi ‘savanting?’”

“It’s the best explanation for how savants with no working left brains and thus no ability to access, retain, and process large quantities of data, nevertheless demonstrate that ability,” explained Sibylla.  “Their access must be external from information databases underlying the bioflow and all of its living information systems including the human species.”  Connor nodded.

“What is the generic formula for immersing oneself into the bioflow, Dania?  Dania Lind suddenly became a deer in headlights.  He hadn’t meant to catch her off-guard.  She had a Ph.D. in astrobiology after all and Sibylla had already given the high-level answer. 

Oh.  Connor suddenly realized that she was sitting next to Mikael Matsen again, the microbiologist.  There was a romance forming between them, so she’d undoubtedly not heard his question. 

“Anyone?” asked Connor as he tried to quickly take the spotlight off Dania.  “What is the generic formula for immersing oneself into the bioflow?”

Gregor Stinar stood up.  He was a lucky find assessed Connor.  He’d just graduated top of his class with a master’s degree in bioscience engineering and was an expert in environmental technology, rare for his and Annalise’s tribe, the Azurites.  Gregor had planned to take a year off to travel before settling into a career job.  I suspect we wouldn’t have acquired him otherwise Connor speculated. 

Connor had had to ask Axl to get Azurite Chief of State Einar Nyhus to wine and dine Gregor to impress upon him that his planet needed him.  Connor had heard something about a promise of first-class global travel that apparently sealed the deal.

“In its simplest form,” began Gregor, “the bioflow is a machinery or set of mechanisms for maximizing living systems for survival.  It promotes synergy among living systems.  It orchestrates all living systems synchronously into the ideal evolutionary direction for all.  Therefore, to integrate into it, one must be moving in the same direction or complying with its goals.  One must be operating at one’s maximum.  Or at least doing activities which will eventually maximize you,” Gregor added as an afterthought. 

“Maximizing inside means you’ll relink with the maximizing machinery outside since they are a single system.  When you’re complying with the direction and intent of the bioflow, you’re letting nature maneuver you into your most advantageous position vis-à-vis other living systems, information, and resources.”

“Extremely comprehensive answer, Greg.  You’re seeing the big picture – how all of the pieces fit together.  You’re understanding nature’s goals and how to exploit them to accelerate your own goals.  Thank you for an excellent overview. 

“Greg tells us we need to be compliant with our internal maximizing mechanisms to merge with the external maximizing machinery.  What then is our maximum?

Dania decided to respond.  Connor was pleased that her head was back in the game.  She was extremely talented and well-educated.  Connor expected great things from her.  He wanted to ensure she didn’t waste her talents and opportunity for greatness on the distractions of a romance.

“Savantflow.  And, before you ask,” laughed Dania, “that’s the flow state that arises when we’re applying our strongest most rewarding talents to the most meaningful and gratifying tasks for an audience that values that work.  The biochemistry and electromagnetics of our most desirable emotions, the constellation of our drives for achievement and creation, our maximization instincts and genes have all evolved to pull us to this maximum to ensure the survival of the individual and the species.  Savantflow is our automatic mechanism for flicking us into our maximum.”

“A very complete answer, Dania.  Thank you.  So how does one get into savantflow within the bioflow, Dania?”

“This is because your maximum is a constant and how the bioflow maximizes your system and indeed all living systems is also a constant.  Suddenly you can seem to operate as if you have psychic abilities because you know which projects the bioflow will and will not support.  Which projects will and will not succeed.  Yet it’s simply a matter of knowing nature’s historical logic, goals, and directions.”

“Yes, thank you, Dania,” exclaimed Connor enthusiastically.  He nodded at her with a proud grin to tell her that she had redeemed herself.  “How does one discover one’s savant formula?”

Olivia Ohlson stood up.  She and Kellin’s son Rolland were the youngest of the creatives at age 20.  “To identify one’s savant formula, we simply need to look at our past pattern of events and activities that launched our savantflows. 

“Whatever the theme of the activities causing our savantflows was in the past – our savantflows theme – will predict how you can move into savantflow in the future.  Your savantflows theme will be your savant formula for moving into future savantflows.

“Or, uh, I guess you could call it your savantflow-bioflow theme.  It’s this theme which will tell each of us precisely which projects to choose for success with Annutia’s Breakthru Mission. 

“Right you are, Olivia,” confirmed Connor to validate both to Liv and the group that he respected how talented she was.  She was another KahlDahr like Kellin and Rolland who was brilliant and inventive despite having been deprived of a formal education. 

Savantflow-bioflow theme captures our goal perfectly, doesn’t it?  Thank you, Olivia.”  Connor was pleased that he’d been right about Liv.  Despite being so young she was excelling at savanting. 

He had recruited her from the Programming Department after recruiting Kellin.  Like Kellin, Liv had been overlooked as all KahlDahr are.  Their protruding brows make them appear both menacing and primitive.  Also, she was female, beautiful, poor, confident, creative, and self-educated, all of which increased the discrimination she had endured over her short life. 

The ruling castes had missed that, with Liv’s unity consciousness, she could see how massive computer systems fit together.  She had an executive perspective.  Yet she could also work brilliantly on all the tiny details composing that larger picture. 

He and Annalise had been waiting for the elevator for the Council Chamber when he watched her flowchart all of the systems for a bullying, condescending executive.  He was obviously very much her senior, yet he was having great difficulty grasping the breadth of her thinking. 

“What if you can’t identify the pattern in your past savantflow events.  How else might you determine your savant formula?”

 “Your spontaneous-knowledge theme,” called someone from the audience but Connor couldn’t see whom it was.  “Determine the theme of the activities you were doing when you experienced breakthroughs, epiphanies, coincidences and other spontaneous knowledge events. 

“Exactly,” said Connor.  Other ways of determining your savant formula?

Kellin stood up, “Your unpaid-work theme.  This entails an examination of the events in your past when you’ve done work that you crave so much that you’d do it for free.  You love it that much.  Whereas, others would charge for it because they consider it work.  You should be able to trace this theme in patterns of events in your past. 

“You’ll have emotional highs when you’re doing this kind of work so the positive-emotions theme will also apply.  When you do it, there’ll also be the expected occurrences of spontaneous knowledge, flashes of genius, breakthroughs, and clusters of coincidences. 

“This is exactly right, Kellin.  You’ve lived your savant formula, haven’t you – since you made the car that died on your front lawn operational in your pre-teen years.”  Kellin nodded.

“What’s the difference between breakthroughs, coincidences, spontaneous knowledge and epiphanies,” Connor continued.

Kellin, still standing, responded.  “Nothing.  They’re all re-combinations of information systems inside of you or outside of you to invent a new information system.  They’re all part of the larger scheme of the creative evolutionary advance of the bioflow.  Nature can’t always solve evolutionary challenges in a gradual incremental way.  It must use quantum leaps to create a human eye for example.  We want to harness the bioflow’s creativity production line to solve the crises of our world.”

“Excellent, Kellin,” Connor beamed.  I never specifically stated that they were all part of the same continuum that connects our inner systems and brain to the bioflow or that they are simply an extension of nature’s own universal creative, adaptive, evolutionary process, but you figured it out.

“You’re obviously going to excel at exploiting the bioflow for your projects, Kellin.  Just as you see how the systems of this huge Government Complex run, you have the expanded consciousness to grasp how the systems of the universe interconnect and operate.” 

Connor wanted to ensure that KahlDahr Kellin, Rolland, Olivia and others were not intimidated by those with multiple degrees or from more elevated castes.  He wanted them free to create and achieve at the maximum of their significant talents. 

Connor was a big Kellin fan.  The KahlDahr was so incredibly talented.  He was also good people.  The two had a special bond.  They both shared a wisdom that comes from living from unity consciousness and seeing how everything is connected, even the two of them.  He had a warm spot in his heart for Olivia and Kellin’s son, Rolland, for the same reason.  

Rolland was still working on his biology degree, yet his expansive brilliance was more insightful than mature professionals in that field.  He could see biological systems as ingeniously as his father could see mechanical systems or Liv could see programming systems.  All three had effortlessly absorbed the systems thinking underlying savanting. 

 “You’ve created a quantum leap for everyone, Kellin.  In savantflow, your concentration is simply on the creative act you are doing.  You become pure creation.  This is our natural state.  This is nature’s natural state.  This is my process of savanting in a nutshell. 

“Let’s say you’ve never been free during your life to discover your unpaid work theme.  What other patterns of events in your past could you track to determine your savant formula?”  No one responded.  “How else could you get into savantflow within the bioflow?”  No one responded.  “What other themes could you follow?”  No one responded. 

He had told them that all of the themes point to the same savant formula, so perhaps they thought learning only one or two would be enough.  However, being fluent in them all means that you’ll be able to action incoming events in your life more quickly.  You’ll make directional decisions faster. 

“We’ve identified the savantflows theme or savantflow-bioflow theme, the spontaneous-knowledge theme, the unpaid-work theme, and the positive-emotions theme.  What else?”

Finally, Henerik Halderson posited an answer. “You can look at the events of new knowledge that you naturally pursued since childhood.” 

When they recruited him, Henerik was a biochemistry degree dropout seeking to find himself and his purpose.  Henerik had blossomed with the Breakthru Mission and School.  He had found his purpose. 

“Yes, good,” reinforced Connor.  “You want to assess the common thread of any new learning that you voluntarily sought.  Your learning-pursuit theme or knowledge-pursuit theme

Henerik nodded before continuing, “What growth have you sought historically?  Your growth theme or growth-pursuit theme.  What is the theme that runs through the times in your past when you were creative or inventive?  And what is the common territory of new creations that you’ve historically sought?  Your creativity theme or creation theme?  Also, in what fields did you choose to be creative?  What is your creativity-pursuit theme?

“And what is the commonality of the new territories of knowledge or new frontiers that you’ve historically penetrated?  Your frontier-pursuit theme.  These are all likely to also generate emotional highs so, as Kellin indicated, you could also track what work or activities generated passion, excitement, and enthusiasm.  Your positive-emotions theme.”

“Good work, Henerik!  You’ve added a number of categories of past events to our list for assessment.  There are a couple more that offer alternative means to identify your savant formula.  Anyone?  Yes, Marta.”

Marta Kaase was a Varunian electrical engineer also laid off from the power plants like fellow-Varunian Sibylla.  Connor had learned that in the Annutia caste system, Varunians were one step above the KahlDahr and one rung below the Azurites.

“Your successful-projects theme,” suggested Marta.  “I think we could pick our future projects based on our past successful projects – ones with the tell-tale arrows that everyone has been identifying.” 

“You’re exactly right, Marta.  When you’re choosing your projects for the Breakthru Mission, you’ll want to ensure you capitalize on the formula that has created successful projects in your past.  Now that you know about the bioflow, you don’t want to see those projects as isolated events.  There is a pattern.  If you can dig for it, there is no need to ever pursue a project that will not succeed again.  Never again will you swim upstream against the bioflow to try to make a project work. 

“We know if it’s a right project for us that we will see clusters of coincidences, breakthroughs and other spontaneous knowledge events, facilitating events and gates, emotional highs, and serial savantflows.  Marta, what will we see if we choose projects not on the yellow-brick road, so to speak?” 

“Blocks,” said Marta.  “Setbacks.  Negative emotions.  The absence of any arrows or signposts.  Hard work step-by-step instead of coincidences and facilitating events catapulting you forward hundreds of steps at a time. 

“You’ll have to use discipline to push yourself to keep going instead of being pulled forward by compelling drives.  The formula of past failed projects will continue in the future.  There is now a predictability that never existed for me before.  There appears to be an incredible order to reality where we assumed chaos.”

“Precisely,” said Connor.  “Well done, Marta.  I’ve asked you all to start developing hypotheses as to what projects you want to pursue to solve the planet’s crises.  When you test them out, if they’re wrong for you or the planet or the evolutionary bioflow of the planet, Marta has described precisely what you’ll experience.  You’ll then need to quickly replace those projects. 

“We can do your first test right now.  When you think of doing the project you have selected, are you excited or does your energy nosedive?  That is your first indication.  Are you going to have to push yourself to do the wrong project rather than being joyfully excited by the right project?  Excellent work, Marta.”

“Who has remembered the last two themes or patterns of past events that you can evaluate?” probed Connor further. 

Sven Steensen called out, “Your historical meaning theme or meaning-pursuit theme.  What projects, work, or contributions have historically given your life meaning.  What contributions do you crave to make?” 

Sven was a mechanical engineer.  Like Sibylla Lund and Marta Kaase, he was also laid off from a hydropower company as they had to return to burning fossil fuels. 

“Thank you, Sven.  Obviously, we need everyone doing work that is meaningful to them.  This is part of the positive-emotions theme when you’re on the right path to maximization and immersion into the bioflow. 

What is the last theme to identify one’s savant formula?  Jordaan, what is the one we’re missing?  The most elusive one until you develop this skill?”

“Resonance.  Your pattern or theme of resonance events,” exclaimed Jordaan Jostad after a moment of pensive reflection.  An astrophysicist, Jordaan is adept at applying the laws of physics and chemistry to explain the birth, life and death of stars, planets, galaxies, nebulae and other objects in the universe.

This was the perfect direction for someone who’d been addicted to the pursuit of astronomy and cosmology since his childhood years with his Dad, a world-renowned astronomer.  Much to his surprise, his Dad was all in favor of Jordaan participating in the Breakthru Mission.  Connor learned why at a social event at Axl’s home. 

Apparently, Dad attributes his own success to an incredible memory and the logic to apply that knowledge.  While they were both passionate about the same fields, these were not Jordaan’s strengths.  He showed signs of being much more inventive, imaginative, and creative.  Jordaan had a gift for inventing new scientific equipment and designing unprecedented computer software to analyze data and such.  Dad’s strengths were left-brain; his son’s were right-brain. 

Dad had realized when Connor selected his son that he’d recruited the right strengths for the Annutia Breakthru Mission.  He felt Commander Kane could teach Jordaan things that he could not.  That Kane could cultivate in his son strengths that he himself did not possess. 

Because Jostad Sr, believed so much in Connor, he had secured additional funding for the program to ensure its success.  Connor was pleased to have a creative as talented as Jordaan in the group. 

“You are exactly right,” confirmed Connor.  “Tell us about resonance and how to use it, Jordaan.” 

 “This is our frequency-sensing ability.  You are one tuning fork.  When you concentrate on a direction option which is the right one to take towards maximization within the maximization direction of the bioflow, it’s like a second tuning fork starts to tone in resonance with you, the first tuning fork.  This is how you can proceed quickly and safely into unknown territory. 

“You look at your list of possible directions and choose the one where you feel the surge of a second tuning fork beginning to cause vibration within you in resonance.”

“Is resonance the same as gut feel or intuition, Jordaan? 

“No, sir.  It has no additional information other than two things having the same frequency.”

“Precisely.  Well done.  Thank you, Jordaan.”  Connor went to turn away and then turned back to ask as an afterthought, “Have you ever used your resonance, Jordaan?”

“No, sir.” 

“Raise your hands.  Who has used resonance or thinks they have?  About 20%.  I suspect that within a couple of months, most of you will raise your hands.  Resonance or frequency-sensing is faster in determining direction.  It means you won’t have to test various direction hypotheses to look for other indicator events in your reality before you can determine your best direction in which to proceed. 

 “Now, what if you don’t have the patterns of events of any of these themes in your past.  A no-themes situation.  What does that mean?  What should you do?  Yes, Mikael?”

 “This means you’ve lived your life directed by external elements – you’ve been externally referenced – rather than complying with your natural addictive drives internally – or been internally referenced.  Consequently, you haven’t maximized.  Therefore, you haven’t merged with the bioflow.  As a result, you’ll have less consistent patterns or fewer of them to help you to determine direction to achieve your goals.  You won’t be able to recruit the power of the bioflow.” 

Connor was pleased that Mikael had taken his attention off Dania long enough to participate.  Mikael was brilliantly creative, perhaps the best after Kellin.  Connor knew when he recruited him that he was going to excel at using savanting to solve the crises.  Since then he’d proven even better than expected. 

Mikael was another brilliant Varunian bench-pressing out of his caste.  That he should have had difficulty finding work was such a waste of extraordinary talent.  Connor was grateful for his availability to contribute to the Breakthru Mission. 

“So, what do you need to do, Mikael?”

“Start savanting with serial savantflows so that the indicators will emerge.  Then you can use them to predict your future and your ideal direction.” 

“Exactly, Mikael.  However, I’ll give you all a hint.  None of you are in this ‘no-themes’ category.  You were recruited based on your themes of past events in your life and their match to the planetary crises.

 “Good work, everyone!” Connor praised.  I’m going to give you the rest of today to analyze your past patterns of events to help you to pick out at least one project that has the greatest chance of success.  Know your savant formula.  Then use that formula to select the projects that you would be most excited to pursue to save Annutia.”

Accessing True Potential

An Overview of Savanting

Excerpt from The Encore: A Transformational Thriller, from Chapter 3, Connor’s Council Speech by Lauren Holmes (2018)

Connor stood at the head of the table collecting his thoughts on what he wanted to say.  Suddenly his thoughts were arrested by the sheer beauty of the high-gloss, deeply burled wood of the long thick tabletop.  He had never seen anything like it on Earth.  The three-dimensional complexity and convolutions of the pronounced grain patterns pulled him into their depths, grounding him.

It incited within him a resonance upon which he had come to rely to signal that he was taking the right path.  In an instant, everything he was about to say was recolored with new meaning and purpose.  It was infused with new energy and inspiration.  He was transformed from coerced to committed.  He began his speech from a new depth.

“The simultaneous occurrence of a number of crises which threatened the survival of Earth and humanity fueled a dramatic change in the power structure which had dominated our planet.  Those with the greatest power and/or money came to realize that all the power and money in the world were not going to save them.  They had no choice but to relinquish the reins to ‘lesser beings’ more creative and talented than they were who could solve the problems.

“The creativity and inventiveness of the world’s human resources were unleashed to find solutions.  Brilliant breakthroughs defeated the crises.  Humanity survived.  Civilization evolved into a more advanced level of existence.

“I’d been recruited as Commander-in-Chief, Global Human Resources Maximization because I’d had unusual success over a few decades in creating worldchangers.  Worldbuilders, may be more precise.  The key to my methods was a dedication to the daily use and improvement of one’s strongest most rewarding talents.  This was our maximum.  Our peak performance.

“I discovered that, once engaged, we had evolved mechanisms to addict us to operating at this maximum as you would expect of any successful species.  My formula triggered these addictive survival mechanisms for maximization.  Magic happened as a result of living this maximum day after day.

“An overdrive state emerged which exceeded known human potential.  It was a state of genius which we routinely observe in savants who do not have the brain capacity to express such genius.  It was the state of spontaneous knowledge which those who’ve had near death events universally describe.

“What emerged from my formula was serial breakthroughs, flashes of genius, creative inspirations, and other forms of spontaneous knowledge.  Whole systems or ‘books’ of relevant information seem to download into their heads to help them complete the task at hand.  One breakthrough could bypass hundreds of steps necessary to achieving a goal.

“The internal mechanisms humans had evolved to pressure peak performance to improve our chances of survival include addictive drives, biochemistry, positive emotions and passions, to name a few.

“These mechanisms are part of the same system we have evolved to maximize the health of our bodies.  But our pressure to maximize appears to be larger than an internal maximizing process.

“It became evident that human beings are linked to a larger external maximization process with which they have co-evolved.  This external maximizing machinery seeks to maximize all living things synergistically, symbiotically, and synchronously.

“This extension of our internal resources with external resources was the source of the overdrive state I discovered.  It was a new level of peak performance and human potential.  The formula I invented was the means to invoke this overdrive state.

“Recruiting this external maximization machinery occurs automatically when one is operating at one’s maximum.  This is because maximization internally and externally is a single system.  We have not evolved to operate as separate entities.  When one is complying with the direction of one’s maximizing machinery internally, one will automatically merge with the external maximizing machinery.

“Because this machinery is advancing all living systems, I call it the bioflow.  It is the direction of the co-evolution of all living species.  When we comply with the bioflow, our capabilities are suddenly extended by the power, information, direction, synergy, and evolution of all living systems.  We can achieve beyond our internal potential.

“To complete my overdrive formula, I discovered a fast route to maximization.  A built-in mechanism that humanity has evolved.  I discovered savantflow.  We’ve all experienced ordinary flow states.  They are periods of altered consciousness that arise from hyperfocus on an activity.

“They are sessions of complete absorption in an activity such that time, place, and sense of self disappear.  They invoke activity fusion, if you will.  Normally, our brains fire chaotically.  However, in flow, one’s entire brain unifies to a cohesive focus on the activity at hand.  Peak performance results.”

“Are you talking about that 1990 book called Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by a name I can’t pronounce?” asked Nyhus as he looked up from his tablet.

“Csikszentmihalyi (cheek-sent-me-high-ee),” responded Connor.  “And yes, this is the generic peak performance flow state to which I’m referring.

Savantflow is a specialized subset which I identified.  It occurs when the flow state experienced arises specifically from applying one’s strongest most rewarding talents and strengths in the most meaningful way for the most appreciative or valuing audience.

“This is the formula for the true maximum performance of anyone’s system.  Savantflow is the way for us to automatically flick into maximized state.”

Grand General Haugstad, the head of armed forces, interjected, “Did physicist David Bohm not talk about a ‘holomovement.’  How does this fit with the bioflow you’re describing?”

“For simplicity, you can assume they are one and the same, Grand General Haugstad.  You can assume a singular integrated, synergistic, and synchronous flow or pulsation for all successful living systems.  Every successful living system is co-evolving dynamically.”  Haugstad nodded.

“This organizing bioflow continuously puts each living system into proximity with the information they need to advance and maximize,” continued Connor.  “Think of every living system as simply an information system.

“Think of nature as a librarian who organizes these living information systems to the advantage of the majority and priority.  When one merges with the larger maximization machinery, the librarian will position you advantageously in the database to source the information you need next for the task you’re focused on in your savantflow.  The information you need for your continued or sustained maximization.”

“You said ‘goals which will maximize them,’” interrupted KahlDahr Chief of State Lennart Lorenson.  “So then not every goal will be supported by the bioflow?”

“Correct, Minister Lorenson.  And an astute observation.  One must frame one’s goal in the direction of the internal-external maximizing process if one wants the bioflow to accelerate and enhance its achievement.  Each of us can know what future goals will be supported based on what goals were supported in our past.

“One’s maximum is a constant.  The way the bioflow pressures your system to maximize is a constant.  Therefore, what was supported in your past will be supported in your future.  You will know which projects will succeed or fail based on your history.  You’ll have predictability.

“If you’re trying to obtain money to perpetuate a state of sub-maximization, or worse, a detrimental state, you’ll have to fight upstream against a bioflow intent on maximizing you,” explained Connor.

“Would the corollary be supported?” asked Rikard Riis.  Connor had to smile to himself at Riis’ interest in money.  He’d already suspected that Riis was a puppet who could be bought.

“It’s not as straightforward as that, Supreme Commander.  Money for something on one’s maximization path would be provided only if it is the fastest and easiest route to your maximization.

“We think we need money for every goal we want.  Nature, however, is infinitely more creative.  For example, one information coincidence might catapult you past hundreds of steps to your goal without the need for money.  Accordingly, you’ll want to be open to being orchestrated by the bioflow to achieving your goal through any channel rather than insisting it come through a specific channel such as money.

The goal of the internal-external maximizing machinery is to keep you in savantflow, your maximum state.  Period.  You’ll have to build your money goal in the direction that the bioflow is heading in order to benefit from it.

“I’ve already identified each living being as an information system,” continued Connor.  “Now I want you to think of creativity in information terms as well.  Creativity, creation, innovation, inventiveness, and creative breakthroughs are the result of combining existing information systems to create a new novel information system.

“Think of the merging of a system of DNA information from each parent to create a new novel information system, a child.  This recombining of information systems is how breakthroughs and epiphanies occur.

“This means that one will need easy access to the right information fuel to generate the breakthroughs necessary to solve Annutia’s crises quickly.  If you’ll allow the bioflow to orchestrate your direction, you’ll find yourself colliding with the exact information you need at the time you need it to re-combine for creative breakthroughs, flashes of genius, and Eureka events.  This happens automatically with savantflow-bioflow integration.

“Over time, the magnitude, speed, quantity, quality, and impact of your breakthroughs will increase.  Again, one breakthrough could eliminate hundreds of steps to achieve needed solutions faster.  One breakthrough can change the world.  One breakthrough can save a world in crisis.  This means that even the ordinary can achieve the extraordinary.

“Obviously, the access to information fuel is key to the kind of serial breakthroughs we need to address Annutia’s crises.  Let me explain how I discovered how to increase the fuel to increase the breakthroughs.

“Mysteriously, savants usually display genius in one of five general fields — music, art, calendar recall or computation, mathematics, or mechanical/visual-spatial skills.  A music savant may be able to perform an entire piece of music flawlessly after hearing it only once.  Or, they may be able to play an instrument perfectly with no instruction or practice.  Or, they may be able to demonstrate having an extensive repertoire of songs or pieces many of which they may never have heard before.

Calendar savants can quickly identify the day of the week, the weather, and events for any calendar date past or present.  Mathematical savants may be able to do rapid, complex calculations and equations in their heads in seconds.  They can suddenly know the right mathematical answer even though most have brains incapable of even simple arithmetic.

“It gradually became obvious to me that most savants share a common skill – access to massive amounts of field-specific information which include procedural instructions.  Savant superskills are information-based.  Information and savantism are intimately linked.  In some cases, the information base is itself the savant superskill as in mnemonist savants.  Mnemonists have the ability to provide long lists of data such as names, numbers, entries in books, and so on.”

“Do you mean a savant like Dustin Hoffman played in the movie Rain Man?” asked Axl.

“Precisely, Minister Plenipotentiary.”  Connor was delighted to discover another movie lover and another commonality with Axl.  “Though fictional, he’s the most famous savant.  He’s a composite of a few true savants.

“Through Raymond Babbitt, many of us were introduced to savants and learned what the human mind is capable of doing.  You could see how Raymond was dysfunctional for so many things, but for capabilities based on access to a large database of information, he was a genius.”

“Well, he must have been smart in some way to do the mathematical calculations he did,” conjectured Rikard Riis.

“Or did he simply access calculations already in existence in a database of all potential calculations, Supreme Commander?” speculated Connor.  His brain was too damaged to do the calculations or to retain the massive amounts of information which he demonstrated.

“I puzzled over why so many savants had precisely the same capabilities despite the variations in the damage to their left brains.  Why did they access the same five or so databases of information?  And why did those who acquired savantism later in life due to left-brain injury, suddenly know the same information about one of the savant field as other savants when they didn’t know it before their injury?

“And why did so many savants access this information even though neuroscientists were able to prove that, like Raymond Babbitt, their brains should not be able to retain such information even if they could acquire it?  This was all too coincidental to be simply an individual capability.  Something larger and more universal was going on.

“It suddenly occurred to me that every savant was downloading a single book or system of information from an external library specific to the field of their genius or talent.  Suddenly, everything fit.  Savants in each of the five fields of genius were downloading precisely the same book.  If the book didn’t exist how could they all have access to that same book?  The information had to be externally sourced.  This is why I now call my overdrive achievement methodology savanting.

“In savantflow, we automatically connect to the information database relevant to the activity which has generated the flow state.  Therefore, we have many more breakthroughs when we’re in savantflow.  We have access to more information fuel relevant to our task at hand which can be re-combined to generate breakthroughs.”

Azurite Chief of State Einar Nyhus looked up from researching on his tablet.  “Savant genius could indeed be externally sourced.  There is nothing in the Annutia or Earth databases which demonstrates that scientists have discovered mechanisms internal to savant brains which proves how their genius occurs.

“In fact, the study of savant brains has demonstrated the opposite – that savants should not be able to do the amazing things that they do.  Commander Kane’s explanation may indeed be the more plausible one.”

“Thank you, Minister Nyhus.  Creativity from non-creatives becomes possible with this new modus operandi,” continued Kane.  “As with savants, the quantity and quality of the breakthroughs is not limited by one’s intelligence, experience, or creativity.

“Rather it has to do with the access to information that results from integrating into the bioflow of nature’s larger maximizing process.  This automatically occurs in savantflow which is built into everyone.  It is everyone’s maximum state.  Therefore, we could recruit an army of both creatives and non-creatives alike to help solve the Annutia crises.

“In addition, integration into the bioflow enables one’s creativity to be guided in the direction of humanity’s evolutionary flow.  This means that the breakthroughs one will have will be important to the evolving human race.  This integration is why a Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Jeff Bezos could invent at the front end of the evolution of civilization thus ensuring their products and services would be popular.  They lived in savantflow.

“Therefore, connecting to the bioflow is how we’ll ensure that we’ll have the specific breakthroughs necessary to save Annutia.  The bioflow is already trying to correct the damaged living systems of the planet.  If we tap into that, our efforts will be synergistic with nature’s efforts.

“To enter flow or savantflow, one must be stretched beyond one’s previous capabilities.  Consequently, growth is built in.  The more time you spend in savantflow, the faster your functionality and strengths will increase.  Therefore, over time, your system’s maximum will increase.

“Because flow is an altered state of consciousness, one’s consciousness will also develop over time.  Specifically, serial savantflow sessions will cause your consciousness or breadth of perspective to expand.

“What does this mean for you?  If you’re sitting in a rowboat on a river, your view of the events in your life might be like seeing boxes float past you.  However, if you’re in a hot air balloon above the river, you might see a pattern in those boxes or that they’re connected into a system.  From a plane you might be able to see that that system of boxes was connected to four other systems upon which you might capitalize to meet your goals.

“Eventually continuous expansion will lead each individual to experience unity consciousness.  This means you can see and capitalize on the interconnectedness of all things for each territory upon which you choose to focus.

The solutions you can contribute to the world from this state will increase exponentially.  With unity consciousness and immersion into the bioflow, you’ll have more information upon which to make decisions.  You’ll also have more information to combine into new information systems.

“In addition, expanded consciousness will also trigger a cascading increase in your baseline functionality.  Especially your meta-competencies.  Cognitive skills, for example, will improve.  There’ll be upgrades in abstract thinking, conceptual thinking, big-picture thinking, systems thinking, strategic thinking, mental agility, adaptivity, pattern recognition, trend perception, environmental scanning, problem re-framing, and ambiguity resolution.

“Now imagine this kind of accelerated growth across Annutia’s entire pool of human resources.  You’ll have raised the bar on the potential, the quality of life, and the operation of your entire civilization.  You’ll have made everyone’s life more meaningful and contributory.  You’ll have linked everyone to the bioflow guidance system, so they’re being orchestrated to the advantage of humanity.”

“At this point, a global transformation will occur,” continued Connor.  He felt his frequency rising and those in the room coming with him as he continued to reveal compelling logic while bringing them to an emotional home innate in everyone.

“What will have emerged is a singular creative, inventive force directed by nature’s evolutionary flow.  The need for government control and direction will dissipate into distributed power and leadership.  With every human being maximized in savantflow and moving with the bioflow, you’ll have created unified direction and unified consciousness.  You’ll have a civilization based upon a single shared consciousness and purpose.

“Flow is an egoless state in which all that exists is the activity at hand.  It is characterized by only positive emotions.  Identity and separation cease to exist.  Discrimination and conflict can therefore no longer exist.  War will disappear.  The fractionalization and segmentation of your society will fall away in this nature-run, talent-maximized world.

“Your society will have achieved spontaneous unification.  All will become one.  A single synergistic and synchronized oneness will emerge for the advance of humanity.  Universal peace and love would now be achievable as a byproduct of individual self-actualization and fulfillment.”