I woke up to the sound of my dad yelling at someone outside my bedroom window. “I cant believe you, you have got to be the most worthless…don’t walk away from me boy, I’ll have your ass back in jail before the end of the day with that attitude”. I heard him yelling. I looked over at the clock on my dresser, it said 10AM. I can’t remember the last time I had ever slept that late. Honestly, I don’t think I have ever slept that late. I got up throwing the covers off on the floor and gave myself a moment to stretch and take in a deep breath of air. As I was finishing off the yawn that developed from my deep breath I walked over to the window and looked out to see my dads tractor parked in the middle of the yard and Billy Tidwell walking back over to my dad with his head held down like a whipped puppy. I couldn’t see the look on my dads face but from the way he was standing I think my dad was enjoying this a little too much, he normally doesn’t get to boss anyone around like this. I watched for a few more minutes while my dad shouted orders to Billy and Billy silently nodding his head.
I decided it was time to take advantage of this situation. I ran across the hall and turned the shower on. The water came out nice and hot, I threw my PJ’s off on the floor wasting no time and jumped in the shower. “Oh man thats so nice” I said rolling my head around in the water.
“From the chemicals that are being produced in your body right now I can tell that you are enjoying this” Adam said. Instantly scaring me because I had forgot that he was there. “You know, you don’t have to shower any more. The nanobots that are now in your body will keep you clean, both inside and outside. There is no need for this archaic waste of resources” Adam said.
“You know, you kind-a take the fun out of everything” I said to Adam. I still just stood under the water letting it roll over my body. “You don’t understand, ever since I was old enough to actually shower, I have taken a cold shower. My father has always got to the shower before me and has almost immediately used up all of the hot water. I don’t know how that’s possible but I could get into my shower at the same time as he got into his and in a matter of minutes it will be gone” I was enjoying the water and wasn’t going to let Adam ruin it for me. I had my eyes closed while the water was running over my face when I saw a 3D map of my house start to emerge in my vision. The house started flipping and rotating as layers were being removed revealing where the water tank was and the lines leading to all of the spouts. Once the lines were all mapped Adam zoomed in on my Dad’s bathroom which was located right above the hot water tank and directly below my bathroom upstairs. Then he highlighted a small valve on the hot water, just above the toilet that cut off the hot water to my bathroom and directed all of the hot water to his bathroom. “That son of a bitch” I said, backing up out of the stream of water. As I opened my eyes the map of the house faded away. “The rapid decrease of hot water did not seem feasible of a dwelling this size. I was simply investigating to see if it was an issue with the mechanics” Adam said. I could feel my face getting hot and it wasn’t from the hot water. Rage was starting to build and the only thing I could think about at that moment was going outside and tearing my father apart. “You should know that in your current condition you may not be able to control your new strength. Damage to property or other persons may occur.” Adam said. I ignored his warning. I jumped out of the shower and walked across to my room and looked outside to see if my dad was still standing outside my window yelling at Billy. I noticed that him and billy were standing by the Barn and it looked like they were both trying to move the 100 year old stump that we removed last year. The thing weighed a ton and when we blew it out of the ground with a few sticks of TNT it landed next to the barn and stayed there. I quickly threw some clothes on went outside. “Hey old man!” I yelled. You’re going to hurt yourself trying to move that thing. “I know what you are thinking about doing Michael, this is not a wise course of action. “ Adam said. “Stuff it Adam, I’m busy right now.” I said back, talking out loud and not really trying to hide it. Billy and my dad looked up from the stump as I walked over to it. “You’re supposed to be resting” my dad said. Billy snorted and went to say something when my dad raised his hand and cut him off. “I’m feeling pretty good dad, real good actually, here let me show you”. I grabbed the edge of the stump and with one motion swung the entire thing out into the back field of the house. Almost exactly where it came from. My dad was staring at me and Billy was staring at the tree. They both had their jaws hanging and were totally speechless. I dusted my hands off and then took a few steps toward my dad. He took one step back, not saying anything. “Don’t ever turn my hot water off again, understand!” I said. He nodded and then I pointed my finger at Billy who was bouncing his head between me and the tree stump and making unintelligible sounds.
As I walked away I could hear my dad say to Billy “Now Billy, we need to talk”. I walked back into the house and grabbed a cup of coffee and started to giggle. The feeling I had, standing up to my father like that was exhilarating. I had never done anything like that. “You could have handled that differently and not exposed yourself” Adam said, finally chiming in after everything. “Really, what could I have done”. I said. Sipping my coffee and enjoying my moment. “We could have gone down to his bathroom and fused the valve so that it would not have been able to be moved. He would have had to replace the entire valve, this would have exposed that he indeed had a valve and he would have either had to explain himself or leave the valve open and not cut off the supply of hot water to you again.” Adam said. I thought about it for a moment. “My way was more fun” I said. Looking to see if there was any breakfast still sitting out.
My dad came walking through the kitchen door and stood in the corner just staring at me. “You want to tell me what that was all about” he said. I looked over and he hadn’t moved from the corner. He was standing with his back against the wall and was in the direct line of sight for the door. If I had to guess, he was more than a little scared of me at the moment and he wanted to make sure that if I turned into some freaky monster, he had a way to get out of the house. I took another sip of my coffee and smiled a little behind the cup. “I apologize dad, I was just upset that for all of these years you have been cutting my hot water off for some sick reason. When I found out, I guess I lost my temper.” I said, my tone indicated that I was not very sorry at all. He continued to stare at me, I think he was trying to find his words. “That’s not what I’m talking about. You want to explain to me how you managed to lift that stump like it was nothing and toss it across the field. I used Tommy Gunters fork lift and damned near broke it trying to move that thing and you tossed it like it was a sack of garbage!” he said. You could tell now that he was frightened. His voice was wavering and I could see his hands shaking a little. I couldn’t tell if he was afraid of me, or afraid I wasn’t his son anymore. “I told you that there was a better alternative, my scans indicate that is blood pressure is becoming dangerously high, his body is releasing fight or flight chemicals that if left unchecked, could pose a risk to his heart soon.” Adam said, he then displayed an image of my father’s body in the upper corner of my vision with a detailed readout of his vital stats. I took a deep breath and sat at the counter with my coffee. “Dad, listen, I’m sorry. I could have handled that better. You don’t need to be scared of me, it’s me. I’m still me. I just have a little extra going on inside of me at the moment. Nothing dangerous, I promise”. He was still standing against the wall. By now Adam had added a series of readouts in my vision so that I could monitor my father. Small blips kept showing up in his heart rhythm that let me know that his heart was beating irregularly due to his fear. Something that I was trying now to counteract before he had a heart attack. “Dad, Please, try to stay calm. I’m not going to hurt you, come sit and I will explain everything to you” I said in the calmest tone I could. I remember watching a TV show with my mom once and the doctor on there said that the best way to calm someone that has become irrational was to stay calm yourself and speak in a soothing and nurturing tone. I was attempting that for the first time right now.
After a few minutes of silence and me motioning to the chair in front of me my dad finally sat down. I spent the next 2 hours discussing what had happened to me, starting with the explosion in the field and ending with the discovery of the Krist coming to destroy our planet. All the time Adam was chiming in and telling me that my course of action was not advisable, or that my dad was starting to get stressed out again at something that I said, so I had to take a moment and reassure him that everything was still fine. Once we got through every detail, leaving nothing out, my dad just sat there. “Do you understand now dad” I said calmly, trying to get any reaction at this point.
My dad gave me a nod then stood up and walked to the cabinet above the fridge. To my knowledge there was only one thing up there. A bottle of Knob Creek that was given to him by Mr. Meyer the day before my mother passed away. At the time my dad was upset with him, he thought it was inappropriate and ill timed. However, he opened it on the day that my mother had died and had a single drink that day. It was the first time I had ever seen him drink and the first time I had ever seen him cry. He now held the bottle in his hands again looking it over, then opened the cabinet next to him and pulled out two glasses. He came back and sat down, setting a glass in front of each of us and pouring about 2 oz in each glass. “I’m sorry about the water. It was cruel of me to do that. It was something that was there long before you were born and I had never bothered to get it fixed.” he said, then took a small sip of his drink, as he brought the glass down he gave a small tip to my glass. Letting me know it was OK for me to drink it.
“I don’t really know what to say son, I mean it’s not every day you get told that there is a super computer that is hidden inside your child that is preparing him to halt the destruction of the human race”. He said, he let out a sigh and took another sip of his drink.
I decided that I would follow suit, I didn’t know if I would ever get this chance again, to have a drink with my dad. I picked up the glass and smelled the contents. It had a smell that reminded me of wet wood. Not exactly pleasant, but not all that unpleasant either. I took a small sip, my mouth felt like I had just sipped Listerine. There was a slight burn and I swallowed hoping that it would go away. It didn’t, actually I think it made it worse. I heard a klaxon alarm going off in my head all of a sudden followed by Adam yelling “Toxin Warning, Toxin Warning”. I didn’t even bother to hide my communication with him at this point “Adam, calm down. I was just having a drink with my dad” I said, holding my hands up to my ears like I could actually muffle the alarm that was blaring in my head. My dad was sitting there just staring at me. “That him, the computer?” he asked. “Yes, he thought your booze was a toxin.” I said, somewhat annoyed. I looked at the glass and handed it over to him, “I think I’ll pass. I don’t know if my head can handle another alarm going off in it.” He looked at me and let out a laugh I had not heard from him in awhile. It took him almost 2 full minutes to bring himself down. “Man, that stuff goes right to your head doesn’t it” I said, chuckling a little at my dads reactions.
“I had this picture of a little man inside your head with one of those hand crank sirens yelling TOXIN, TOXIN and running around. Like in a cartoon.” he said, starting to laugh again. This made me laugh as well. He put his hand on my shoulder as we both laughed then pulled me close to him and gave me one of the strongest hugs he has ever given. For a moment, I thought he was going to crush me against him. “I don’t know what to do son, I’m scared for you. I don’t know if I can help you in any way. All I can do is give you advice if you ask it of me. But even then, I don’t know if my advice will be good enough. I mean, I have never had to deal with an alien invasion, who has.” he finally stopped and I gave him another hug. I didn’t know what to do or say. He let go of me and knocked back both of the glasses that were on the counter. He gave a little shudder after the last one, put the glasses in the sink and the bottle back in the cabinet. As he walked over to the hallway he stopped and looked back at me. “You’ll do OK son. We will get through this together.” he said. Then gave me a wink and walked back to his room. I sat back at the counter and saw that my Popular Science with the article about nanorobotics was sitting on the edge. I flipped through a few of the pages and realized that with all of the knowledge available to me all of this seemed very simple. “We should talk about your mom” I heard from behind me. It scared me so much that I jumped out of the chair and almost knocked it over. My Aunt Rita was standing right behind me. Dressed in one of her flowery dresses covered with an apron. Her fire red hair was pulled up in a perfect bun on top of her head. “She has no reading, like she does not exist” Adam said.
“How…wha” I was having trouble finding the words.
“Tell that little prick in your head to stop scanning me, he’s not going to find anything” my Aunt Rita was pointing at my skull with her index finger waving it back and forth. “And tell him that you and I need some alone time for a while. I don’t want him trying to interject” she said then motioned to the chairs at the counter.
I walked over and sat down without taking my eyes off of my Aunt Rita, I was afraid that if I looked away she was going to vanish, I was even trying really hard not to blink but that was proving very difficult.
“It’s OK Michael, I’m not a ghost. Quite the contrary, I am very real. Go ahead and see for yourself” she said, holding out her left arm for me to touch. I slowly reached out and put my hand on her arm and could feel her skin. It felt very normal and very real. I slowly started to relax and let out a deep sigh of relief. “Man, I was worried for a moment. I mean I always wondered if you were like some alien or superhuman or something. I mean you come in and out of the house and we never see you.” I said with a slight giggle. She smiled big and patted my hand. I was still holding on to her arm and the soothing caress of her touch was causing me to relax even more. I felt more at ease than I had in a long time, calm, relaxed, almost like I could fall asleep. “You know she has no pulse” Adam chimed in. I instantly snapped out of my relaxed daze and realized that he was right, My hand was on her left wrist and I should be able to feel a pulse. I quickly pulled my hand back and the fear and tension started to build back up. “What’s wrong dear” my aunt said with a little shock in her tone. “You don’t have a pulse” I said, pointing at her wrist. “I had my hand on your wrist, I should have been able to feel a pulse”. My Aunt Rita sat back in her chair and gave a big smile. “Oh, that’s nothing. You won’t find a pulse in me because I’m a synthetic being.” she said, very calmly, like I should have know this already. “That’s why the little prick in your head couldn’t find anything when he scanned me. I’m made up of Nanotechnology. Trillions and trillions of tiny machines working together to create this form. A gift from your mother, to you and your father. She knew that when she had passed, you two would be lost without someone here to eliminate some of the menial tasks that need to be done day to day. That and to provide protection, should the people that she was hiding from, ever come looking for her.” she said. Sitting perfectly in her chair, like one of those images I had seen in my history book of 1950’s era women.
As I sat there it started to soak in what my Aunt Rita said. “My Mom was an Alien!” I shouted, almost falling out of my chair. I quickly looked around realizing that my dad was down the hall in bed. “Oh, don’t worry about him” she said. Waving her hand as to dismiss he was even there. “I used a neural wave transmitter on him earlier, he will sleep better than he ever has and wake up tomorrow in the best mood he has ever been in.” she was still smiling. It was kind of freaky how calm she was and how she said everything with a smile.
“So, I take it that the little prick”, “His name is Adam” I interjected quickly. “Excuse me. So I take it Adam is not going to but his nose out of this conversation?” she said, looking at my head like she was talking to Adam directly. “I doubt it” I quickly replied. “So be it, he can provide validity to this then”. She adjusted her self and brushed her clothes down, like she was getting ready to tell me something monumental. My mom used to do the same thing and the action brought back some fond memories.
“About 75 years ago your mother crashed on this planet. She was a refugee that had escaped with 10 others. Each of them had a synthetic companion with them, beings like me. We are protectors, laborers, spy’s and educators. We have the ability to tap into the technological webs of advanced civilizations and essentially download the information that would allow us to blend into society. Unfortunately, at that point in time your society was not that civilized. So, a few members of the group decided to break off and find the leaders of the planet to help them advance their technology. Our races main laws forbid this as it has not proved beneficial for the races we had encountered in the past. We found that many races were not mentally prepared for the technology and ended up destroying each other over the long term. Just turn on the news and you will see that humans are doing the same. But the two members that broke off did indeed find a governmental faction and offered technology. They were never seen from again, but their work has been slowly trickled out to your planet over the years. This has allowed the rest of our group to blend in with your society and live our lives in peace.” She stopped for a moment to let me absorb the information. “It would explain the jump in technological aptitude that your species has seen. It would also explain the decline in technological advancement. A sound plan would be to raise the society up to a level that would give the other members of the group a chance to escape, then as time progressed, slow the flow of new technology that was freely given.” Adam said. “Is he done?” my Aunt said. I gave a nod and realized now that she stopped not for me, but for Adam to provide his commentary.
The remaining members of the group split off and created identities for themselves that would allow them free access to the rest of your world. With their synthetic units being able to control and manipulate the technology that was being produced it was easy for us to create a new life for each of the members, including credit history, birth certificates and everything else that was needed to integrate them into society. Your mom moved to Kansas because she was a scientist and thought that this small town would be the last place they would look if they ever searched this planet” she said. “Who is ‘they’?” Adam and I both said. “We’ll get to that in a minute” she said, smiling again.
“Several years ago your mother met your father and they fell in love. To facilitate the lie I changed my appearance and waited for an opportunity to present myself. Once you were born, your father hired Richard, the farmhand”, I smiled at this “I remember Richard, he was very nice”, I said. Instantly realizing that Richard was my Aunt Rita. “That’s right, I was very nice to you. Since you were your mothers offspring, it was my duty to protect you as well. When she got sick, Richard needed to leave and Aunt Rita needed to be around. So we facilitated the switch of characters in your life and here I am”. She stopped again but Adam didn’t say anything this time. Aunt Rita made a noise like she was surprised and continued. “The beings that your mother was running from are known as the Krist.” The instant she said the name I turned stark white and stood up from my chair. “Honey, are you OK” she said, looking at me. “Thats who is on their way here” I said. She looked at me for a few moments then grabbed my arm, she squeezed so tight that I thought she was going to break it off. I felt a surge of electricity go through my arm and then for a few moments my vision went white and all I heard was a series of tones and squeals. I could feel my eyes fluttering like I was having a seizure or something and then just as fast, it was over. “Unbelievable!” she said. Standing a few feet away from me now. “Adam, are you alright?” I used my thoughts to speak to him this time. I was afraid that if I said it outloud my Aunt would talk over him. “I am fine, your synthetic unit and I just had a lovely conversation. She infiltrated my systems and downloaded the whole of my knowledge. Everything you know she now knows. If I was capable of feelings, I would feel violated I’m sure” he said. His last comment made me smile a little. “Why did you do that” I said. Looking at her trying to decide if I was going to need to use any of the new tech inside me to take her down. Maybe she has been on this planet too long and her systems have become corrupt. I just wasn’t sure.
“I needed to know everything and I knew that…Adam, wouldn’t give it willingly. And for the record, I am far more advanced that that little prick” she said. Pointing an angry finger at my head.
She started walking around the kitchen somewhat mumbling to herself and biting her thumbnail.
“You know, for a synthetic being, you sure do have a lot of human like traits” I said, trying to get her attention. She looked up at me in surprise with the tip of her thumb still in her mouth and smiled a kind of shy like smile, something I saw my mother do from time to time. “Since I have access to all of the data on the planet I have been able to better myself in the ways of human behavior. I have been doing it for so long and have absorbed so much information it’s become apart of my basic personality subroutines. It essentially makes me a better infiltrator of your species.” she said, brushing her hand off on her apron, like it was covered in saliva. Something I had a feeling she did not produce.
“Listen, since you know everything now you know the danger the planet is in. The rest of your people, where are they, can they help?” I was hoping that there were a few left that had some advanced technological knowledge that I could use to defeat the Krist. I watched as my Aunt saddened, she sat down on the stool at the counter again with her hands in her lap and took a deep breath. “No, I am all that is left. Your mother removed my self destruct module shortly after she married your father. I was never designed to run this long. All of the members of our team and their synthetics are dead. The members of the team all died of the same condition as your mother. There is a toxin in the air that builds up in their bodies and metastasizes, to your doctors with their limited technology it looks like cancer, but in reality she was simply poisoned by the air you are breathing and it destroyed her internal organs slowly and painfully. They all knew the risks before they landed on your planet and had calculated their length of time on this planet before the toxin took its toll. They were all supposed to spawn with a member of the species to protect their genetic lineage and hopefully provide something long term that would benefit your race. You are the only one that was born successfully. The others all died of complications.” she said and lowered her head.
We sat at the counter in silence for a moment. “Your mother was a special woman. She was the only one of the team that was able to produce a successful offspring. My scans show that you have bonded with her DNA successfully and as you mature, the genetic knowledge that is built into our race should start to come through even more. As long as Adam does not interfere with your development. The studies we did after you were born determined that our races knowledge would make you superior to the other humans on this planet. You could potentially change the course of history with the knowledge you possess. But those studies were done under ideal conditions and did not calculate the intrusion of the parasite that is currently residing within you.” She smiled slightly knowing that at some point Adam would comment, he never did.
“Does my dad know about my mom?”, I asked. “No, she didn’t want anyone but you to know. My instructions were to set you on a path that would assist in your growth and development. Once that’s accomplished and I can see that you are going to be successful, I will simply shut down and my bonds will break and I will cease to exist.” she said. I looked down and noticed that she was holding my hand now. I didn’t even realize it. I didn’t know what to say. It sounded like my mom had all of these grand plans for me that now won’t happen. I couldn’t think right now. I had so much going through my head. The end of the world, my mom was an alien that gave her life so that I could live, my dad was clueless about all of this. I didn’t know what to do. I decided that the best thing for me at the moment was to be alone, think things through and try to determine the best course of action. “I think I need some air. Can you wait for me here for a bit” I asked my aunt. She gave me a nod and I walked out the back door and across the gravel drive to the adjoining field. I looked up in the sky just thinking about all that has happened over the last few days. Trying to wrap my brain around it all. “Would you like some advise” Adam finally said. He had been so quiet all this time that when he finally spoke up I was shocked. “Sure, buddy. Hit me with whatever you got.” I said. “I could tell you that you need to put the needs of the many before the needs of the few. But I don’t think that would help you. So instead, I will just ask you a question. Knowing that your mother is a refugee from the Krist. If she was here right now and knew everything that your Aunt did. What do you think she would say”. Adam said. I didn’t respond. I didn’t know. I could answer and say that she would tell me to do my best and do what was right, but I just didn’t know. I sat down and looked up at the sky trying to put everything together.