Chapter XXXV

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

Central Region, The Capitol City, 114 Darvon Street,

Current Day

Jay's smile was practically tattooed across his face. The first Hive Mind soldier passed its mechanical field tests with flying colors and the order was made to begin immediate production. There was only one thing left to do, prepare Geneticus for transfer into its original, repaired mainframe at Mount Smith. He had decided he was going to have to use the CPC to do it, since Wendy had not had time to finish her other project.

Letria was slowly setting when Jay arrived at the little house on Darvon Street. A pretty, orange glow blanketed the thin layers of clouds smeared across the violet sky. He smiled as he turned the steering control and pointed the transport toward its parking slot. He let the auto control navigate the machine up to the house as he stowed the vehicle's activator in his uniform's left breast pocket. He reached over the grey plastileather armrest and grabbed Josh's birthday surprise from the passenger seat. He needed to hide it before he brought the child home so Josh could hunt for it. Jay laughed, remembering how his mother used to find interesting places to hide his surprises. Although the gifts were typically never more than a food ration wrapped in some odd scrap of paper, she made every birthday so memorable, even the last one, right before...

"Good evening, General!" An elderly neighbor shouted from the yard next door. She waved at the young man exiting his vehicle. The old woman was standing in the middle of her manicured lawn watering the pretty flowerbeds she managed so religiously.

"Hello, First Sargeant Trestavo," he responded with a corresponding wave. "I hope you know I think you are wasting your time."

"Why is that, Jay?"

"Well, you can keep trying, but you'll never get those flowers as pretty as you!" Jay said as he lowered the door of his transport. He leaned up against the black vehicle holding Josh's present.

"Ha, you're silly, young man," she said, waving him off with a smile to continue caring for her plants.

Jay snickered as he watched the old woman blush.

"How is Elle?" she asked.

"Fine...staying busy."

"I imagine. And Josh?"

Jay held up the colorful box. "He's turning six. I'm going to hide his present here at the house."

The woman laughed. "I can understand why. That is one big building, that Arcturan mansion. Your little fella might never find it in there. Speaking of that place, why are you still living here and Elle over there?"

Jay stifled a chuckle. He knew the old woman was a sucker for gossip. "I can't sleep over there."

The old woman laughed as a dirty smile crawled over her face. "That's what my husband said. I'll have to go tell Carmos he was right."

"Oh no! It's not like that...I mean I really can't sleep over there. Too much going on. I don't know how my wife puts up with it." Jay grinned as a thought hit him. "Hey, tell Mr. Trestavo he can come by anytime and I'll..."

The old woman scowled. "Right, well you enjoy your time with your son, Jay. It goes by fast," she replied, quickly changing the obviously sore subject. She forcefully tugged at the hydration hose, shaking it over the bright, multi-colored plants.

"I will First Sargeant," Jay said with a laugh and turned to walk to the front door.

"You have a good night, Scientist General."

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