Chapter 1

I suppose inside I’ll always be that little nerdy girl in glasses and braces that will know more than the boys in the room.

It seems I have been in school for lifetime, my lifetime. During all of that education I remember one thing distinctly, inertia. To understand inertia, one must understand mass, velocity and momentum.

Inertia is shorthand for “the principle of inertia as described by Newton in Newton’s First Law of Motion.” More commonly you may have heard that a body in motion tends to stay in motion while a body at rest tends to stay at rest.

Mass explains how much matter there is in an object. Velocity is the rate of position. Momentum is the product of mass and velocity. The external acts that impact these bodies are often friction or gravity.

After high school my path through nursing school was mostly on inertia. My petite and shapely mass moved from class to class with little or no resistance at a steady rate. Undergrad at Albion was not so much easy as it took less effort than expected to stay at the top of my class. It gave me time for some fun, but how much fun can an Organic Chemistry major have?

With graduation six months away and little direction I applied to the University of Michigan for a Masters in Nursing. Becoming an RN seemed like an equally rewarding and challenging program.

While waiting the summer to hear if my application in the seasonal vacation respite of Traverse City. That may have been the best of any summer. During the day you could find me learning the basics of being a good sailor at the yacht club. At night I would wait tables at the local microbrew.

My momentum was constant, velocity increasing as I was be accepted for the fall semester. Memorization came easy, practical work was fun. It wasn’t until my last year in the nursing program that I ran into friction.

I wasn’t prepared for friction. I had not developed any skills to deal with it. Friction creates heat. It can slow the velocity of an object.

The gravity of the situation I now found myself in was what brought me to this point, a stop. As the case with many stop signs you must choose a direction.

Moving forward will be a tough and bumpy road to a place of struggle and uncertainty. Nursing was never a passion, just a choice that made sense a few years ago.

But sitting here, pen in hand, signing this waiver before me I can change course.
Three weeks ago a man died at my hand. I thought it was quick and merciful. It would have been had I remembered to disconnect the monitor to the nursing station. Instead the alarm sounded and they were able to bring him back. He had told me, no, begged me to help him. So I did.

Kicked out of the University program, charges from the family dropped after several conversations from the hospital and a review by the senior staff, I find myself here. The document for the next two years sits in front of me with a pen in my hand.

Mr. Robertson, the lawyer across from me, is well dressed in a continental fashion. He has a slight accent I cannot place, not British or South African, but perhaps Tasmanian.

The party to which he represents would like to contract my services as a scientific advisor for the next two years. A location is not detailed nor the subject of which I will be advising. He assures me that I am “uniquely qualified for this expedition.”
My choices are few at this stop. I need to pick a direction and build momentum before I get stuck at this point.

“Lori” Mr. Roberts says “I don’t mean to rush you, but we will only have two hours to settle your matters before your plane leaves.”

“I just want to be clear. If I sign this two-year contract all of my student loans are paid off. At the end of this term I will have one million US dollars in the account of my choosing. This contract may end early, at the determination of your client, but I will still get all of the money.” With each statement I outline he nods his head yes. Then I ask, “Will I need to worry about rent, food, or supplies?”

“No.” He says, “All of your needs, clothing, lodging whims will be met. All of your outstanding debts and bills will be settled. My client wants you.”

“What if I asked for more money?” I ask.

“Which number other than one million would make you say yes Lori?”
He has me stumped. If I ask for too much he may walk away, but asking too little for two unconditional years of my life I may regret the rest of my life. I take a chance “Five million.”

“Very well. Five million. Let me make the alterations to the contract” He takes the document and initials some spots, drawing lines through others.

Five million dollars, I should have asked for more.

He returns the document to my side of the table and hands me the pen. It feels heavy as I take it. But I close my eyes and take a deep breath. That little nerdy girl inside me does not know more than the boy in this room. But she winks and tells me, “Take the chance.” A sign my name with long and fancy strokes dotting the “I” in Lori with a heart.
p21 Comment