Chapter I

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Cenerea, 3rd planet from the star Letria. Regalius, The Homeland,

Central Region, The Capitol City,

114 Darvon Street, Current Day

"Daddy!" the scarlet-headed boy yelled as he heard the front door slide open. He bolted from his bedroom, streaked down the hall, and giggling, flew into the outstretched arms of his kneeling father. "You're home! Can we go now? Puuullleeezzze?" he asked eagerly, his emerald green eyes glimmering with excitement.

"Absolutely, Josh. Go get your coat," the twenty-eight year old Jay Levant said as he hugged the squirming little bundle of energy. He released the perpetual motion machine disguised as a child and watched him scamper toward his messy room once more.

Jay stood in his living room all alone. "I'm home!" he called out. No one replied. "Gertie can you turn up the music?"

"I already have," said the feminine A.I.

            "Sorry, it's a habit."

"I know."

"Hey, where is that lovely wife of mine?"

             "She's down in the basement, Jay," the security system replied. "I'm keeping an eye on Josh. He's not going anywhere or getting into anything but his room or the lab."

            "Thanks, Gert," Jay said with a laugh.

            "You're welcome. If it would help, do you want me to reserve the tickets for you and Josh?"

            "Make it for all three of us. The missus is coming with us, tonight. She needs to take a break," Jay said as he proceeded down the ramp, loosening the front of his Homeland Military R&D uniform jacket.

            "Very well," Gertie replied.

            "Hey! Gert said you were down here."

            "She has her headphones on, Jay," the booming voice of Geneticus echoed through the room. "Were you able to get what we needed?"

            "Yeah, G, I'll upload it to you later tonight, if that's okay with you?"

"No problem, man."

Jay shook his head. "Not you, too..."

The scientist slowly crept up behind a very attractive redhead sitting at a workbench holding a soldering iron. It reminded him of Harold for a moment, only much more gorgeous. As he approached, he could smell the acrid odor of the device melting the solder as she touched it to several places on the surface of a thin graphene circuit board. He gently lifted her flame-colored hair from her neck and kissed his wife on her soft porcelain skin. It smelled lovely in stark contrast to the hot iron in her hand. He noted she had once again placed a flower in her hair and was humming to a peculiar, unfamiliar song.

            The woman turned to look at Jay, smiled softly, and then yelled very loudly, "HEY! HOW WAS WORK?"

            Jay laughed and removed the headphones from his wife's ears. He could hear her favorite new music coming from the tiny speakers. The sound it generated was very thin and high pitched he noticed as he placed the antique black market device down on the bench. Jay knew, however, that the tone was much better with the thing attached to one's head.

            The woman grinned. "Oh, sorry. I just cannot get enough of that, ummm, album, yeah, album. It's the one thing that has annoyed me since I got back...the damn Homeland banning Cenerean music like that?"

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