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The next day, Melissa and Doug walked up the little walkway, carrying a huge bag together, "And I'm telling you, he's not gonna remember you, Doug." 

"I saw him when he was born!" 

"Which was, what, nine months ago? His entire lifespan! Hey, did you know there's a ship in your backyard?" she asked. 

Joss came running out, "Daddy! Daddy! Didja see Rick's ship?!" he asked excitedly. 

"Hey, slugger!" Doug dropped the bag and lifted his elder son up high, "Now, who's Rick?" 

Lili came out, with Marie Patrice behind her, followed by a younger woman with auburn hair, holding Doug's younger son. 

"You!" said the woman with the auburn hair to Melissa. 

"And you!" said Melissa back, hugging her, "I'll see you later," she said quietly, then took her son. 

"How you been, Norri?" Doug asked, kissing the redhead on the cheek.

"Quite well. But busy with school. I see you were successful," she said, looking at the bag on the ground.

"Yep. It's heavy. I'll get that," Doug replied, "And who's Rick?"

"That would be me," said Rick, now standing in the doorway, "Mr. Beckett," he came over and was about to extend his hand but Doug hoisted up the bag instead.

"Help me with this," Doug said.

The two men got it into the kitchen. Finally, Doug could look up, "Just a second," he said. Rick busied himself checking out the video display in the hallway.

He found Lili outside, watching Marie Patrice kick the soccer ball around some more, "Ah, there you are," Lili said.

He didn't answer, he just kissed her.

"Ewwww!" Joss complained upon seeing them, then ran back into the house. He ran into the kitchen and saw the bag. Tentatively – for he was unsure as to what, exactly, was inside, he reached in and found fur. He touched it a bit and then realized it was somehow wrong. Backing away, he started to cry and ran back out.

"Furry!" he said between a few sobs.

Doug and Lili came up for air, "What's the matter, love?" she asked, bending down.


"Doug, didn't you secure the bag?"

"I did," he said. He knelt down, "Okay, sport. I wasn't gonna explain this until you were older. Come on and we'll go into the kitchen and we're gonna talk about something. Melissa, you should be a part of this, too."

She followed them in, as did everyone else.

In the kitchen, Lili sat on a stool and put Joss on her knee, "You remember when Daddy said he was going out hunting with Melissa?"


"And that's what happens. They took phase bows – you know, the big thing that Daddy has which is heavier than you are? And they went to Lafa XII and they found a herd of perrazin and they shot their bows."

"There's linfep in there, too," Melissa said, "Well, there is."

"Okay, and they also shot at the linfep. And that is what we are having for dinner. And not just tonight. There's enough to save for lots more nights," Lili explained.

"We – it was very quick," Doug said, "We don't shoot at any animal that's a little baby, or a mother. We don't shoot at healthy animals unless they attack us. The animals we go after are the ones that wouldn't survive another season."

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