Chapter Ten:

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Callisto took her seat on the sofa closest to me. Followed by Vesta and Todd. All three were there, looking at me with full intent. Much to my surprise.

"Uncle Frank and Estella weren't able to make it tonight," Vesta began, "but they'll get to you later on this."

"On what?" I asked. "What's going on?"

"New Generia," Vesta replied, the pupils of her eyes turning pink. "Ring a bell?"

Eyes moving over to Callisto, I shot her an odd look. "I've told you several times. There was nothing crazy going on over there. Absolutely nothing. Not even a single kiss or form of cheating in any way shape or form whatsoever!"

"That's not what the press thinks," Todd angrily contradicted. "Ash, I may barely know or even understand any of what is going on, but to us, the media stings like ice! Yes, I can see you're holed up in your penthouse, but for the rest of us who have to brave the public each and every day, we come into contact with the media wherever we go! Whether to work or to the grocery store. Hell, it's bad enough coming over here to visit!"

"It's gotten to the point where you need to get back out there yourself!" Vesta warned. "Ash, this isn't the first time I've seen you like this. We go way back to the day you first arrived at Fort Sunder. All the papers and finger-printing when you first entered post for the first time. I was there with you that entire hour, waiting with you and refusing to go anywhere! You were still upset and crying over what went down in Ohio."

At this point, the anger apparent on Todd's face lightened up. Sadly enough, I knew why. He had no idea what happened to me let alone himself. Hades would not even talk about whatever he did to him. Despite Nerida taking out most of his limbs and preventing him from ever using his cyber powers again.

"I'm sorry," he apologized. "I still don't remember anything."

Callisto on the other hand, reached out and placed a hand on my knee. "Ash. Dear, you may know me a lot less longer than these two, but you must understand, the world is dying to know what happened up there. Your comrades who stayed under the same roof with you throughout those days have been seen facing the wrath of the skeptics and critics in the paparazzi."

"One of your subordinates punched a paparazzi in the face after they trespassed onto their property!" Vesta hastily blurted. "Uncle Frank has been in contact with the family of the person, but you might want to reach out. He has the contact information and insists he'll push you to speak! And if you don't, I swear I'll transform into Inferno right now and teleport you to a news studio if you do not schedule your first talk by tomorrow night!"

If only Callisto weren't here, I would read her mind. See exactly who was on TV punching the damn pap. First thing I wanted to do was give them a high-five and congratulate them on a job well done. Second thing to do would be to lawyer them up and legally save them from whatever repercussions they may now face- including UCMJ for assault if they opted to stay in.

Thinking about the possible consequences my former subordinate could be facing, I firmly skimmed the room of my audience before complying with their wishes. "I'll do it."

High noon on a Tuesday, May 3, 2044.

There I was, making sure things were and would be put into place. Geo Da Vichi was still my manager despite my ownership and control of Ashear Records, so he was the one to set everything up for me. However, I chose not to do the whole conference thing near Ashear.

No one else was allowed to join me in this party, which I chose to make on my own. My old comrades were notified behind the scenes, and I was able to get the information from my reintegration liaison on how to get them there or behind a TV screen for the big announcement.

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