Sentenced to Life

Chapter 4 - A New World Within

Special thanks To ACfan for his advice and contributions in this chapter!

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"I'm still here, Danny," Marc's voice echoed from somewhere in the room. "Subconsciously, you must have thought that you wanted to bring him somewhere else."

"Where are you?" I asked, standing up from the couch and looking around while wiping the tears from my eyes.

"You haven't brought me in yet," He answered with a giggle in his voice. "Just think about wanting me in your presence, and your programming will let me in."

Suddenly, Marc appeared sitting on the couch with an ear to ear grin. "You can use the same process if you want time alone and wish me to leave," He said as he stood up and looked around. "Your programming is adapting quickly," He said as he picked up the pillow we were both lying on when we established our connection. "Everything looks just as it did the last time we were in the room. I wonder if your human attributes make you process your thoughts more quickly than I can."

Looking at him completely puzzled I asked "Really? Why?"

"Because to do what you just did, recreating this house and everything just as we left it, I have to purposely do on a conscious level," He replied shaking his head in what looked like astonishment. "You did this by accident. It's just awesome."

I looked around and realized that he was right, everything looked exactly as it did when we first set out to create my first interactive memory. After walking around the room I looked at the glass doors leading out to the deck and decided to see just what my brain had actually accomplished. I slid the door open and stepped out on the deck with Marc right on my heel.

"Oh my god," I said out loud as the entire area was absolutely perfect. "I created this?"

"Yup," Marc replied while tapping on my shoulder. "Just like you created him," He added while pointing out to the Sand Castle we built earlier where; Kevin appeared to be admiring our handiwork. "Wanna introduce us?"

I watched for a few minutes before deciding to finally break the silence. I cleared my throat and raised my voice so he could here me; "Where's My Shadow!?!"

Marc giggled while watching Kevin's gaze shoot up to the deck and instantly he started running in our direction.

"Uncle Dan!" He shouted as he bounded up the stairs, almost knocking me over with his tackle. "This place is so cool, where are we?"

"Well…" I said looking at Marc for the answer.

"We're at my house," He said as he held his hand out to Kevin. "I'm Marc."

Kevin accepted his hand and replied "Cool, I'm Kevin. I'm Dan's nephew," He said as he looked at me with a little confusion showing. "Uncle Dan, how did I get here?"

"Have a seat kiddo, this explanation is going to take a while." I said as I pointed toward a chair and sat down.

"I'll give you two some time alone," Marc said as he headed back inside the house. "Danny, I'm going to disconnect to give you some privacy, I'll get dinner ready and come get you." He replied as I nodded my head and his image faded from existence.

"Whoa!" Kevin exclaimed as he stood up and waved his hands in the air where Marc had been standing. "How did he do that?"

"Well…" I started, patting the seat to get Kevin to sit down again. "I guess you could say we really aren't here." 'I should have just implanted the explanation into his memory' I thought to myself realizing this wasn't going to be easy.

Kevin sat back down and stared at me with the most confused look I had ever seen come from him. "What do you mean? Of course we're here."

"What is the last thing you remember clearly before coming here?" I asked him hoping to steer him into realizing just what he was.

"Giving you a hug in that big black room."

"Okay, how 'bout before that?"

"Um, well I remember being sick and in the hospital, then I remember talking to you and falling asleep at home. Uncle Dan?" He asked, not waiting for a response. "Did I die?"

I almost choked with the way he came right out and asked. "Yeah, after you fell asleep your heart just stopped," I said wiping a stray tear off of my cheek. "That was such a long time ago."

"So, is this um… is this heaven?" he asked with an expressionless look on his face as he glanced around at his surroundings.

"Not exactly. This is as close to heaven as I'm afraid I can get." I said trying to come up with a way to explain what I did.

Kevin sat in the chair and looked at his hands. "Wait a minute," He said as he stood up and walked over to the sliding glass door. "You had me implanted in an android too." He said to his reflection as he turned his head trying to see more of himself.

"That's kinda right I guess," I said once again at a loss for words. 'Should I just tell him what I did, or let him believe that I did for him what he did for me?' "You see, you are created from every loving thought I have in my memory."

"I don't get it," Kevin said as he looked at his hands again. "I'm young again?"

After fighting with the words that would explain what I had done without upsetting him, I finally decided it would just be easier to give him knowledge of just what had taken place. I closed my eyes and thought to myself that I needed to edit his personality. As I opened my eyes, Kevin sat lifeless in front of me once again as he was earlier.

"Now, what would be the best way for you to know what happened?" I said as I patted him on his head and stood to pace on the deck. "What if you remembered being created?" I thought out loud. "Kevin, your active memories now begin at the conception of the idea to bring your image to life. You heard my thoughts, you felt my feelings all the way along," I said as I felt my brain process the new information, then go idle once more. "Now, wake up and talk to me." I said and stared as Kevin merely seemed to snap back to reality, as if lost in a day dream.

"Wow," Kevin said in astonishment. "I can't believe you did all this from memory," He said with a sudden somber look creeping over his face. "I'm not real.."

I sat back down facing him and took his hands in my own. "You are very real to me," I said as I wiped the tear that was working it's way down Kevin's cheek. "You will always be a part of me, I just found a way to bring that part to life," I said as I leaned in and kissed him on the forehead. "You gave me eternal life, but I couldn't do the same for you so, I learned a way to keep the part of you that will always be with me alive."

"I feel so real." He stated as he stood up and walked to the railing to gaze out over the ocean.

"In lots of ways, you are real," I said as I stood and joined him. "Your image is born of real memories and real love. The only thing that makes it real enough to touch is the brain you gave me. Are you mad at me for doing this?"

"God no!" He almost shouted as his gaze snapped in my direction. "I just don't understand why I really feel like I'm here, not just physically, but…" He trailed off obviously searching for the right words. "I remember everything, like the day we met, the day you died, the day your body was activated and everything that happened afterward, like they are all my own memories," He said looking at me once again as if he was going to cry. "I also understand how I was created and why."

Something in his tone made me really feel that something was wrong. "What do you mean kiddo? You aren't upset with me, are you?"

"No, but now that you made me remember how I was brought here, I know this is going to make you mad." He said as he turned and walked back to his seat with me following.

"You think I could get mad at you?" I asked sitting back down and facing him again with a confused look on my face.

"Not mad at me, but mad at what I feel," He stated taking a deep breath. "I'm not supposed to feel anymore," He cried. "You're not supposed to feel anymore. It's my fault you are stuck here," He almost yelled between sobs. "I'm sorry I left you… I… I'm so sorry…" He got out before I leaned into him and wrapped my arms around him.

"Kevin, listen to me," I said once he began to quiet down a little. "You gave me one hell of a life, and when that life was supposed to have ended, you found a way to give more," I wiped the tears from his eyes and smiled at him. "Don't ever blame yourself for trapping me here, nothing is forever, including this body."

"But you're stuck here and I'm gone." He cried.

I sat back and looked at him seriously. "And you are with me until I figure out what to do next. I can't ask for anymore than that."

Kevin appeared to be deep in thought as I stood and walked over to the railing and gazed out over the ocean. "Kev, this place is beautiful, but I want you to put some thought into a place we can spend time together. A place we can call our own."

"Okay, Uncle Dan," He simply replied as he appeared at the railing next to me. "When you leave here to go eat and stuff, will I just go to sleep or something?"

"I don't know, we may need to ask Marc how that works. He's the one who taught me how to do this, all of this," I replied as I began to realize some flaws in the area. "It all looks perfect, but it isn't," I muttered to myself as I picked up the table cloth knowing I had never really seen the table only to find that the visible part of the legs existed, but any parts hidden from view were merely basic gray structures to make up for what 'should' be there. It was as if my mind assumed what should be there and created an image to take its place.

"Okay, if I don't go to sleep or whatever, I'll give a place for us some thought," Kevin said watching me as if he didn't understand what I was doing but, wasn't about to ask either.

We moved to sit on the steps and watched as the artificial sunset began to fill the sky with orange and red. It was a perfect sunset and the best way to end such a perfect day. Kevin sat in silence just as I did, resting his head on my right arm as he gripped onto my hand. I didn't dare move or even think of any of the issues with the replicated surroundings as I feared it would spoil the moment for us both. I looked down at my long lost friend to find that he had dozed off and realized if I were to make a painless exit, now would be the time.

I leaned my head to bring a small kiss to his forehead. 'Sleep well, I'll be back.' I thought as I willed my mind to bring me back to reality, leaving Kevin to his nap.

"I was just coming to get you," Marc said as I opened my eyes, finding him just picking up the other end of the communication cable.

"We watched the sun set and Kevin fell asleep, so I kinda said good night and left," I said as I disconnected and sat back on the couch. "What a day…" I mumbled as I let my arms fall to my side with a sigh.

Marc plopped down on the couch next to me and patted my shoulder. "You gonna be okay?"

"Oh yeah, that was just much more than I expected."

"Well, dinner is ready," He said as he playfully punched my arm and stood back up. "Hope you like shepherd's pie," he added with a smile.

"You been reading my mind bro?" I said as I stood up. "That's one of my favorites."

"Well, you went over a memory while making Kevin. It was of the two of you completely trashing your kitchen making whipped potatoes to make a shepherd's pie," He said with a grin. "So I stored it away and decided to make it for you. I hope you don't mind, I just wasn't sure what you wanted."

We made our way to the kitchen and I was directed toward the table without a word said. Marc opened the oven and pulled out a huge pan filled with something I haven't had in years. The smell brought me back to that day, and of others when my mother or even I had made this same meal for the family.

"It was really simple, and I think I made it exactly the way you normally do, but that's your call." He said with a smile as he dished up two plates and poured two glasses of milk.

"Looks like you thought of everything," I said as I lifted the glass of milk to my lips. "I'm not a huge milk fan, but there are meals that you just gotta have a glass with."

"Well, I'll have to do some more digging and find out what those other meals are. Milk is good for you, just as it is good for a human," Marc said as he dug into his plate. "Who would have thought something so simple to make could be so good." He said over a mouthful.

After an awesome meal, Marc and I went back into the living room and plopped down on the couch patting extremely full stomachs.

"Marc?"

"Yeah, Bro?"

"When I leave an interactive memory, what happens to Kevin?" I asked with my head rested against the back of the couch and my eyes closed.

"Well, if you didn't establish an actual protocol, he will simply think he had taken a nap, and the next time you visit him it will be like you are there when he wakes up." He answered putting his feet up on the coffee table.

"He got upset," I said, gaining a questioning gaze from my brother. "Upset for having trapped me here for what seems like eternity."

Marc sat up a bit, not losing his confused look. "What made him realize that?"

"I didn't know how to explain his creation to him, so I gave him my memories of how and why he was created. After I integrated my thoughts and feelings throughout the process, he was more upset with what he had done than for me bringing him back, or the fact that he wasn't completely real," I said shaking my head. "I never expected that from him. His reaction literally tore my heart out."

Marc tilted his head in thought. "Odd, unless you specify that is the response you want from him on that subject, he shouldn't have even brought it up," He said as he sat back, obviously deep in thought. "The human aspect of you is proving to be more unpredictable than I thought."

"You think that had something to do with it?" I asked knowing he was looking at the technical aspect of Kevin's reaction.

"It's possible. The way I figured it, Kevin would respond to certain subjects the way you would want or expect him to. No extra detail has to be defined, it just happens automatically," He stated as if he was running the process through his head as he went. "I'm sure you didn't want him to get upset, or even feel as if he trapped you here, so it doesn't make sense that he would reason it out that way under just your programming."

"I was just shocked that he brought it up," I said beginning to feel that we may be overreacting to something that just took me by surprise. "It's really not a big deal, I don't think it will happen again. We talked it out."

Marc put his feet on the floor and sat up from his reclining position to look me in the eyes. "It is a big deal if you reason it out," He said gaining my full attention. "He responded in a way that you didn't want him to. There are only two ways that can happen," He thought for a second and then continued; "The first would involve you defining a definite guilt for having you implanted into an android form. I was there when you defined his personality, that was never even a thought."

"But I did want him to react naturally, and in the way Kevin would in any circumstance." I said in defense of his comment.

"Did Kevin ever think that way while he was alive?" Marc asked.

"Not that I know of. Could it be possible that he may have thought that as he was losing his life? Maybe realizing that he was leaving and I was stuck here?"

"You would have no way of knowing that, so you couldn't incorporate it," Marc replied. "The second way I can think of is that somehow, we have captured more of the real Kevin than we expected to. His response was a real human, emotional response. One conflicting with the ones you designed him to be equipped with on his own. It may not be a bad idea to go back and inventory all the files that were added to your own memories. Maybe even upload the interactive session now logged in your memory and see if we can pinpoint the source of his reaction." He said making me wonder if I should never have brought up the fact that it shocked me in the first place.

"Is all that really needed? I mean it just surprised me, that's all. Honestly."

"Danny, it makes sense for you to question how these memories work, cause you don't have all the technical information yet to fully understand it, but in an instance when you begin to question why something happens, your programming should give you the answer. You would realize that a certain command you made during the programming stage was directly at fault, giving you the opportunity to correct it or make adjustments."

"So, I should just know the answer because my programming will give it to me when I question it?" I asked trying to make sense of his reasoning.

"Did you notice anything that needed correcting while you were in there?" He asked. "It's normal to do so throughout the beginning stages of a new interactive memory."

"Well, I did realize I haven't seen everything there is to see here, and in my interactive version of this house, there are some gaps," I said thinking of the table on the deck. "I lifted the tablecloth on the table outside and realized that I had never seen it before, so my brain assumed what it should look like, I think."

"Yup, and that is exactly what I am talking about. That wasn't just an assumption, that was fact. And the way you reasoned it out was your programming's way of feeding you the answers. You will assume, think of, or even just realize the answers you are looking for. It makes it easier to handle information if it comes to you in a realistic manner, such as thought. You shouldn't be baffled, or have no clue about any aspect of your own creation within your own brain," Marc stated as he sat back once again, still appearing to be deep in thought. "Tonight, we need to physically upload the entire session into the terminal so I can analyze it. I want to pinpoint the source of his reaction, just to be sure you won't lose control in any situation," He said with a smile. "If it becomes too real in there, you may begin to question which is the real world, or come out more depressed and regretful than when you went in. That's not what these sessions are meant for."

"So we need to make it less real?"

"No, we may need to set up some parameters that will give you more logical control instead of emotional control. It's probably something simple like that anyway. I don't have the emotions of a human, so I'm not completely sure," He said with a smile. "I'll find the answers if you give me the logged session to de-compile."

"Sounds like a ton of fun when you put it that way." I replied with a grin.

"Oh it will be," Marc replied on the mock sarcastic side. "Just to be on the safe side, until we know exactly what happened in there, no interactive memories unless I'm with you."

"Marc, I was just a little surprised at his reaction. Don't you think you are over reacting a little?" I asked thinking this is all a little strange but not dangerous or anything.

Marc suddenly got a very serious look on his face and replied, "Have you ever had a dream you didn't want to wake up from?"

"Oh sure, plenty of times. Why?"

"This is a dream you never have to wake up from, you have that choice," Marc replied with a rather deflated look on his face. "There are some who have created an entire new world within their mind. Some of them never allowed themselves to return to consciousness and pretty much ended their lives in there. I don't want to see that happen."

"I wouldn't let it get that far." I replied trying to sound sure of myself.

"You don't know that for sure," He said settling back into the couch. "It may feel like you have control right now, but your brain could be fooled into thinking that world is just as real. Trust me on that one."

Just as I was about to nod my head, we both snapped our attention to the door as a light tapping surprised us.

"Expecting company?" I asked with a grin.

"Oh yeah..." He answered as he stood to answer the door. "The men in the white coats are supposed to pick you up today." He giggled as he ducked to avoid the pillow I threw at him.

"Clown," I said as he reached the door and opened it.

"Oh, hi Jerry," Marc exclaimed. "Come on in, dude." He said as I stood up.

"Hey," I said, getting a smile from Jerry. "I thought you were leaving with your parents to see your grandmother today. Plans change?"

"Yeah," Jerry said while Marc closed the door and then both plopped down on the couch. "We're not goin' to my grandma's house now. My dad just called from work and told my mother that he got tickets to go to Hawaii instead." He said with obvious disappointment.

"Wow, you'll have a great time there!" Marc said with excitement. "I've been there once, it's totally cool!"

"I can't go," He said as a tear began to trickle down his face. "He only got two tickets so I gotta stay at my uncle's house now for the whole week instead."

"Does your uncle live near here? Maybe we can hang out after all." I said trying to get a smile out of him.

"No, they want to put me on a bus to Murfreesboro, so they can catch their flight." He said looking as if his world was ending.

"Murfreesboro? Tennessee?" Marc asked as he got a weak nod from Jerry. "Is there anything out there to do?"

"Oh sure," Jerry said while rolling his eyes. "Watch the cows all day and get dragged to Nashville once in a while to listen to hillbilly music."

"Your uncle likes country music?" I asked, knowing this was not going well.

"Yeah," Jerry grunted out. "That's all he likes. Country music, bars and avoiding having to do anything with me while I'm there except to drag me along and make me wait in the truck for hours cause I'm nothing but a little pain in the ass." He said with a sniffle.

"Do your parents know he does that?" Marc asked putting his hand on Jerry's shoulder.

"Oh yeah, Dad says he's never liked kids, but isn't mean or anything. He just ignores me most of the time I'm there, unless he has to take me along somewhere."

I looked at Jerry and then Marc before asking, "So why do your parents send you there if they know that then?"

"Cause he's the only one who can take me for the whole week," Jerry replied as he stood back up. "I just wanted to come over and tell you guys I wasn't going to be home in a couple of days like I thought." He stated as he started toward the door.

"Why not stay here?" Marc asked stopping Jerry in his tracks and gaining my attention as well. "This way they won't have to bother your uncle, or even pay for a bus ride."

"I don't think my mom will want me staying with two kids and no adults." He said still looking dejected.

"Jerry," I said. "We aren't kids, remember?"

"Give me your phone number, I'll call her and ask." Marc said as he reached for the phone.

Jerry gave Marc his phone number and sat in the chair facing the couch as Marc finished dialing and smiled up at Jerry.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

[Hello?]

"Hi Mrs Owens, this is Marc from next door."

[Oh Hi Marc, is Jerry over there by any chance?]

"Yeah, he came over looking a little depressed. He says your plans have changed and he's going to his uncle's house for a whole week now instead of his grandmother's for just the weekend."

[Oh yes, His father was able to arrange for the two of us to have a second honeymoon in Hawaii. It was unexpected and I figured he wouldn't be too happy about having to go to his uncle's house. He's good with kids, but isn't a real kid person.]

"So I hear. Actually Mrs Owens, that's why I was calling. I knew all this was unexpected and I just wanted to let you know that Jerry is more than welcome to stay here with us if it makes it easier for you. There's plenty of room, food and we would really enjoy the company."

[Oh no, dear. That would be too much to ask and we wouldn't want to impose like that.]

"Impose? My brother and I have been bored out of our minds, and we really had fun today. It wouldn't be an imposition in any way, I promise."

[Oh my, he didn't just go over and ask you if he could stay, did he?]

"No, he just sounded a little depressed when he told us about going to his uncle's house. I'm the one who thought it may be easier, and cheaper too since you won't have to pay for bus fair to get him here."

[That is awfully nice of you. You sure it wouldn't be an imposition?]

"Absolutely not. Danny and I have been trying to come up with things to do until my dad gets home anyway. Building the sand castle was the highlight of the day. We'd love to have him over."

[Three kids alone for a whole week. I'm not so sure that would go over well with Jerry's father.]

"Mrs Owens, Danny and I aren't kids. Besides, our programming would be similar to any androids. We can care for Jerry as would any adult human. Actually, better trained than any babysitter you would ever find since even in extreme cases, we both are qualified to do surgery should the need arise."

[Hehehe, I didn't think of that. Our android used to watch me when my parents went away as well. You are absolutely right.]

"Anyway, Jerry is a great kid. We would love to have his company for the week and should any situation arise like this, you are always welcomed to have him stay here. We have plenty of room and would always enjoy the company."

[Well, thank you very much, Marc. Could you send Jerry home so we can speak with his father about this. I'll have him call you if he is agreeable and see what he will need to bring over, including the phone number we can be reached at and keys to this house should you need anything.]

"Sure, I'll send him right home. If you need our help getting ready to leave, Danny and I can come over to help make it easier."

[Thank you, sweetie, but we should be all set. Would you mind keeping an eye on the house while we're gone though?]

"No problem. Jerry will be on his way in a minute."

[Thank you Marc. I'm sure Jerry will have much more fun there than at his uncle's. I'll bet his father will agree.]

"I'll keep my fingers crossed that he does. Talk to you soon Mrs. Owens."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Marc hung up the phone and smiled at Jerry. "Go talk to your parents, I think everything is set now. You just need to sit down with your dad."

Jerry literally leapt from his chair and hugged Marc tight. "Thanks Marc! Thanks Danny! I'll be right back!" He shouted as he released his bear hug and bolted for the door shouting, "This is gonna be sooooo cool!" as he almost fell out the door just barely closing it behind himself.

"You don't think he's excited, do you?" I grinned as I asked Marc.

"Oh no, he definitely hates the idea," He replied with a giggle. "Wanna help me set up the guest bedroom so he doesn't have to sleep on the floor?"

"Sure. Although judging from his reaction, I bet he'd even be happy with the floor as long as he didn't have to leave." I said as we both stood to get Jerry's room ready.

After putting fresh sheets on the bed and checking that the adjoining bathroom was stocked with clean towels and extra toiletries, we went to the kitchen to grab a drink while waiting for word from our possible border.

"Well," I said putting my glass down on the table and sitting back in my chair. "Looks like we need to make plans out here in the real world for the week."

"Yup, wouldn't be much fun for him to be stuck in the house with two catatonic androids," Marc replied with a grin. "We can always work on Kevin at night while Jerry is asleep." He added as the doorbell rang.

"He rang the bell?" Marc said as I stood to answer the door. "I half expected him to just rip the door off the hinges." He added with a chuckle.

I opened the door to see both Jerry and Mrs. Owens carrying bags and boxes, Jerry with a huge smile on his face.

"Whoa, let me help you," I said grabbing half of the load Jerry's mom was carrying. "It's only a week little buddy. You got enough stuff here for a month." I said with a grin as I motioned all to the kitchen.

"Hi, Mrs. Owens. Hi Jerry!" Marc said standing to help with the bags and boxes. "What's all this?"

"Well, since we weren't planning to be gone for a whole week. We had just done our grocery shopping and decided it would be put to better use where the bottomless pit went," Jerry's mom said with a smile. "No need to have him eat you out of house and home," She added with an almost evil grin. "Besides, I don't want it all to go to waste."

"Ahhh..." Marc said as he began to put the groceries away. "Would you like a coffee or something, Mrs. Owens?"

"Oh no, dear, thank you. I need to be heading back. Jerry's dad and I have a lot to take care of still. We will be leaving first thing in the morning," She added grabbing Jerry's chin and raising his face to meet her gaze. "You promise me you will behave for Marc and Danny while we are gone."

"I will, Mum," Jerry said with a big smile as he plowed into her for a hug. "You'll call when you get there, right?"

"Yup, and we will check in now and then to make sure you haven't driven the boys up the wall," She said as she broke the hug and kissed Jerry on the top of the head. "Boys, you have no idea how much we appreciate this. If you need anything at all, use the phone at our house and call us. Jerry has the hotel number where we will be staying," She said as she put her house keys on the table along with some money. "Just in case." She added with a smile as I was about to tell her to keep the money on her.

One at a time we all gave Jerry's mom a hug, and wished her a great honeymoon. Jerry also got one more lecture about behaving before she finally retreated to her house, leaving us to put the rest of the groceries away. That task out of the way, we picked up the bags that contained Jerry's things and showed him upstairs to his room.

"Wow, I got my own bathroom?" Jerry said as we both dropped his bags on the bed.

"Yup, you can put your clothes and stuff in the dresser, and your toothbrush and things in the bathroom. Make yourself comfortable cause this is your space for the week," Marc said as he paused as if in thought. "Actually, the whole time we've owned this house it's never been used so if you decide to stay over in the future, you are welcomed to it."

"Cool!" Jerry exclaimed as he began to unpack his clothes. "Is it okay if I hook my PlayStation up to the TV?"

"Sure, you need a hand?" Marc asked.

"Nah, I can do it," he replied as we both silently laughed watching as he excitedly went to work. "Thanks, guys, this is awesome!"

"No problem," Marc said, roughing up Jerry's hair. "Why don't you get settled in and then jump in the shower and get dressed for bed? We'll see if we can find a movie or something to watch."

"Jerry, have you eaten?" I asked as Marc turned to leave the room.

"Yup, just before I came over earlier." He said.

"Great, we'll be downstairs if you need anything." I said getting an ear to ear smile as a reply before I followed Marc's lead and left him to get settled in and ready for bed.

Back in the kitchen, Marc started a pot of coffee and we both sat down at the table with smiles on our faces.

"It's going to be great having a real kid here to keep you in line," I said with an evil grin as I took a sip from my cup. "That's an awesome bedroom, why didn't you take it for yourself instead of the one down here? It has an awesome view and is larger."

"I like my room," Marc said with a smile. "It's close to the lab and easier to roll equipment in and out of," He said sipping his coffee. "There are three rooms up there. Jim's, the one Jerry is taking and yours if you want it." He said with a smile.

"I never thought of where I would be staying permanently," I said, realizing I just figured Marc and I would just share his room. "Why didn't you send me up there last night?"

"Well, first of all I was worried about all your new programming and how you were going to respond to it," He said with a smile. "Secondly, I'm not done with that room yet. I decided since it wasn't used either, that I would plan to let you have it, but now that you are really here, I need to make some modifications. Ones I never thought to make before."

"Modifications?" I asked tilting my head. "A room is fine, you don't need to do anything extra."

Marc grinned as he stood and motioned me to the lab. "Come here, I'll show you some of it." He said leading the way.

Inside the lab, leaving the door open in case Jerry came looking for us, Marc pulled open the doors to a large metal cabinet which was filled with wires and other computer components that I didn't recognize.

"What's all this?" I asked noting once again Marc's wide smile.

"Our network." He said flatly as he took a seat looking as if he had just won some prize.

"Network? I've never seen a network that needed this much stuff," I said as I recognized one of the connectors. "That's an uplink connector. What are you up to? This isn't computer network stuff."

"He's quick," Marc said to the ceiling with a laugh. "No, it's not a computer network. There will be one of those too but this is our network," He said emphasizing the word our. "Having your own space is important sometimes. So I planned to set that room up for you when we moved here. About a year ago, I thought it would be cool if I set up our rooms so we could network at night if we wanted to. This way we can share dreams or work on issues, and still have our own space," He sat forward in his seat and continued, "Your room will have a networked connection directly to me, as well as a computer terminal that is networked to the mainframe system in the house for self maintenance or experimentation should you need it as well as a normal computer with access to the internet and stuff too."

"Damn, bro, you thought of everything," I said as I closed the cabinet shaking my head. "It is a neat idea though. Is that kind of a network hard to set up?"

"Nah, the lines are already run. Like I said I planned this out about a year ago. I just never got around to setting up the equipment. I'll show you the room in the morning, I think you'll like it." Marc replied as a form appeared in the doorway.

"Hey guys, wat'cha doin'?" A freshly clean, pajama clad Jerry said as he walked into the room. "Wow, this place looks like something you would find on a federation starship or something." He said as he stood close to the door, probably afraid to look around.

"Nah," Marc said with a smile. "Starships don't have body parts lying all over the place." He said with a giggle as he picked up an android forearm and hand and scratched his head with it.

"Clown., I stated as Jerry broke out in laughter.

"Do you build androids in here?" Jerry asked taking a careful step forward.

"Dude, you won't break anything in here, go ahead and look around," Marc said as Jerry obviously wanted to explore but was apparently afraid to. "I could build them in here, but I just repair them and myself when needed."

"Hey, Danny, these old pictures look just like you." Jerry said pointing at the pictures and news clippings I had discovered on the wall just before my forced upgrade.

"That's 'cause they are me." I said now standing next to him as he looked in awe.

"But they look like they are like a hundred years old," he said with a giggle.

"Close, about 30 years less than that really." I said as I looked at the picture I had found after my initial activation.

'I remember when that was taken, you were so scared.'

"Yeah I was, I had no idea wha..." I froze in mid sentence and looked first at Jerry, then at Marc. "You say something, bro?" I asked Marc getting a quizzical look from him.

"No," He replied. "No one did, you were the only one talking just now."

I looked at Jerry who just shrugged his shoulders and returned to looking at the pictures.

'Where am I?'

"What do you mean? You're right here. Stop clowning around." I said as I looked at Marc who stood up and rushed toward me.

"Okay, what's wrong?" He asked causing Jerry to step back and look on with concern.

"You didn't say that?" I asked now beginning to get worried.

'I did. You can hear me?' The voice rang out clear as a bell yet, neither Marc or Jerry's mouth moved.

"Yeah, I can hear you... Kevin? Is that you Kevin?" I asked as Marc's eyes opened wide.

'Uncle Dan, where am I?' Kevin's voice asked.

"I'm not sure kiddo," I answered as I looked back at Marc. "Marc, somethings wrong."

"What's going on, talk to me bro." Marc asked as he pushed me back into a chair forcing me to sit down.

"I can hear Kevin. He's talking to me." I answered looking at Jerry.

'Hey, who's he?' Kevin's voice asked causing my vision to blur as panic was beginning to set in and I felt as if I was going to cry out of fear.

"That's Jerry, he lives next door," I said with a sniffle and wiping at my eyes. "Marc, how can this be happening?"

"Marc, what's going on? Is Danny okay?" Jerry asked as he reached out and grabbed my hand, giving it a squeeze.

"I'm not sure, buddy. Danny was broken when I found him and I guess he still has a couple of things that need fixing." Marc said to him patting him on the head.

'Uncle Dan, I'm scared. What's going on?'

"Can I help?" Jerry asked Marc.

"Yeah, could you roll that computer stand over here?" Marc asked as he opened the port on the back of my head.

'What's he doing, Uncle Dan?'

"Okay!" Jerry said as he almost ran to the computer to roll closer.

'Uncle Dan? Talk to me please. I'm scared.'

"Danny, talk to me. Are you okay?" Marc said as he came into view and grabbed my face.

I was frozen in fear. Fear. Real fear. 'What the hell is wrong with me?' I thought as I felt as if I was beginning to gasp for air.

"Oh no, Danny breathe!" Marc yelled as he disappeared behind me and I could feel a hand take mine once again.

'Uncle! What's wrong with me? I can see and I can hear everyone but I... I... I can't find myself. Where am I?' A now panicked sounding voice yelled out.

Finally forcing my brain to refocus on breathing and regaining my composure, I looked at Jerry. Tears running down both cheeks as he squeezed my hand.

"I'm okay, I think." I said gaining a weak smile from him.

"Danny, I'm having a hard time getting the terminal to connect to you, can you feel the connection?" Marc asked as I realized I had felt the computer's request, but was too panicked to acknowledge it.

"Yeah I did, it's my fault it couldn't connect. Try again." I said once again feeling the computer's request. This time allowing it access.

'Uncle Dan? Are we gonna be okay?' I heard Kevin ask in a tone that sounded more terrified than concerned.

"Yeah, kiddo, we just need to find out what's going wrong," I said gaining instant glares from both Marc and Jerry. "Kevin's scared, he just asked if we were going to be all right." I added getting a knowing nod from Marc but a confused look from Jerry.

"Who's Kevin?" Jerry asked Marc.

"You see the kid in the picture standing next to the table?" He asked pointing at the same picture we were looking at earlier.

"Yeah." He answered, not looking any less confused.

"That's Kevin, I'll explain more later, but he is the one Danny is talking to." He said patting Jerry's head and disappearing once again behind me.

"He can see and hear us too?" Jerry asked tilting his head at me as I just nodded my answer to him.

"If this works the way I think it will, he'll be able to talk to us in a minute." Marc stated as I heard him tapping away on the computer's keyboard.

"How?" I asked not knowing what he had planned.

"Simple. Well, simple if it works. We can redirect our thoughts through this terminal and actually speak through it. I guess it acts as a temporary platform for us to communicate through," He said as I heard the pop of amplified speakers being plugged in. "Kevin, can you do me a favor?" Marc asked.

'Yeah.'

"He said yes." I answered for him.

"I know this is going to be hard for you to understand, but I need you to think about the connection I made to your uncle. I know you feel it just like he does."

'Yeah, I understand and I can feel it. What do you need me to do?' Kevin replied and I repeated it to Marc.

"This is gonna sound weird, but I need you to talk to it, or through it instead of talking to us. Does that make any sense?" Marc asked, even confusing me.

'I think so.' He replied sounding deep in thought. "Like this?" We all heard from the computer speakers.

"Awesome, buddy!" Marc exclaimed. "I wasn't sure you would understand what I meant."

"You can all hear me this way?" Kevin asked as Jerry looked at the computer than at me.

"Do I talk to the computer or to Danny?" Jerry asked, obviously totally confused as he looked at the speakers and replied, "Yup, we can hear you."

"Kevin is only speaking through the computer, he can still hear and see through Danny, so I guess talking to Danny would be better for him," Marc replied walking back into my line of view. "Danny, the computer is also running a full diagnostic on your brain. We will have answers soon I hope."

Jerry walked up to me and started staring into my eyes, causing me to laugh. "What are you staring at?" I finally asked.

"How did he get in there?" He asked, like only a kid can.

"Well, big guy, we're gonna have to explain this one a little, and I'm not sure even once we do that you are gonna really understand but, we put him in there." Marc said pulling up a seat in front of me for Jerry and then one for himself.

"I don't get one?" Kevin asked through the speakers causing a round of laughter that broke the tension.

"Glad to see this hasn't ruined your sense of humor." I said as a warm feeling rushed through me and everything somehow felt right for the moment.

We sat in the lab for over an hour explaining to Jerry the events of the last couple of days. He was surprised to hear that Kevin was somehow able to communicate with us and even asked questions that surprised myself and Marc as well.

"Where did you learn so much about androids?" Kevin asked Jerry.

"I took a robotics course in summer camp. They teach you all about the history and theories about androids when you learn anything that has to do with A. I." He replied.

"Well, looks like you may become one heck of an assistant," Marc said while patting Jerry on the head as he returned to the keyboard. "This is almost finished." He added as I noticed Jerry craning his neck to see what Marc was doing.

"You can go and look if you want to. I don't think Marc will mind." I said earning an ear to ear grin from him as he bolted to Marc's side.

"Uncle Dan, you aren't gonna delete me or anything, are you?" Kevin asked making me realize he was really beginning to worry about what would happen.

"No way, not everyone has a shadow that is with you, even in the dark." I replied hoping that nothing would force me to have to wipe him out.

"Well, I have good news," Marc stated sitting back down in his seat, rolling the computer along with him. "Physically, everything checks out. There are no problems that I can see with your neural net or core programming."

"So, why is this happening?" I asked looking at the monitor.

"It seems our little friend in there somehow got tied into your dormant tech. mode, somehow reactivating its personality and communication functions." Marc replied still looking very confused.

"Did I somehow cause that?" I asked.

"No, actually I don't even see how it's possible. But that's what happened. I'll look over all the information later on tonight. For now you are fine," He said, adding, "and so is Kevin."

We all paused noticing Jerry visibly trying to force himself to stay awake. "Hey sport, you should probably get some sleep." I said with a smile.

"Are you guys going to bed?" Jerry asked standing up and rubbing his eyes.

"Not for a while yet," Marc answered. "I have a ton of information to comb through and Danny may need to be brought offline if I need to make any programming changes."

"Can I just sleep down here?" He asked motioning toward the couch in the lab. "I don't snore or nuthin'," He said as a giggle came over the speakers causing us all to laugh.

"You wanna run up and get a blanket and pillow off of your bed then?" Marc asked getting a huge smile from Jerry as he almost knocked him over with a running hug.

"Okay." Jerry beamed as he rushed for the door, probably not wanting to miss anything.

"Was I that bad?" Kevin asked through the speakers.

"No," I answered with a giggle in my voice. "You were worse."

"Marc, do you think that coffee is still drinkable out there?" I asked realizing it was probably going to be a long night.

"Sure, you want one?" He asked standing up and placing one hand on my shoulder.

"Please, may as well grab one for yourself too since I ruined any plans of getting sleep tonight." I said as he started for the door.

"What are brother's for?" He asked with a smile as he left the room almost being run over by Jerry who was fumbling with his blanket and pillow. "Hey, you want some hot chocolate or something before you pass out?"

"Yeah please, that would be cool." Jerry said as he began to lay out the blanket on the couch and sat down.

"Be right back." Marc said as he turned for the kitchen once more.

"Danny? Is Kevin part of you now, or is he like a separate person, you know, separate even though he's inside you?" Jerry asked while sitting back into the couch and folding his legs up to sit indian style.

"I'm not sure now," I answered honestly. "I mean he is acting totally independent of me now, so I guess he's a separate person."

"I don't get it either," Kevin added. "But it's kinda cool. I mean I got to meet Marc and you and see my uncle again," He paused with a snicker. "Even if I have to see him from the inside."

Jerry leaned back and smiled. "I wish I could see you though. That'd be cool."

"Yeah," Kevin replied. "Maybe Uncle Dan would let me borrow his body for a while so we can go play and stuff. That'd be fun."

"Um, borrow the body?" I said raising my eyebrows. "You say that as if you were asking to borrow the car or something." I said getting a giggle both from the couch and computer speakers.

"What's so funny?" Marc asked as he returned to the room with three cups and began handing them out.

"Uncle Marc, Uncle Dan won't let me borrow his body to go out and play with Jerry." Kevin whined, causing me to almost drop my coffee in laughter and freezing Marc in mid step on his way to his seat.

"Actually," Marc said looking as if he was pondering something. "If he really is tied into your old tech mode, he probably could take over your motor functions and control your body," He said taking his seat and looking back toward the computer's display. "You would actually have to release control to him, but it could work in theory."

"Marc, we're not even sure why this is happening yet. Let's take this one step at a time before I just go handing over control." I said as I finally got to take a sip from my coffee.

"I was really only kidding, Uncle Dan, but that could be possible Uncle Marc?" Kevin asked breaking Marc's stare at the screen.

"What's with the Uncle Marc bit?" he asked with a smile.

"Well, you are Uncle Dan's brother, so that makes you my uncle too." Kevin answered getting a smile from Marc.

"I guess it does, never thought of that," Marc replied. "As for controlling an android body, since you are partially linked into tech mode, you have the ability since tech mode was originally designed as a totally separate individual from the recreational based personality an android normally uses."

"Every android has two personalities?" Jerry asked after taking a sip from his mug.

"Originally, yes. But the need for them was eliminated back when I was pretty new. It was used more for a direct link to the consortium to file operating reports, status reports and even perform upgrades and stuff without my ever knowing. It turned out that having two personalities active inside one brain was bad, since I could still somewhat hear everything that was going on anyway." Marc said remembering the day he finally told John that he could hear voices and that they scared him.

"Why wouldn't they just have you do your own reports and stuff?" Jerry asked innocently.

"Because the scientist who designed me, wanted me to believe I was human," He answered. "When that didn't work, my owner had to tell me that I wasn't. That was a horrible day."

"Why? What happened?" Jerry asked putting his mug down and wrapping himself in his blanket.

"Well, they began to implant clues in my programming. Hints that were supposed to make being told that I wasn't human a little less traumatic. Poor Uncle John had to be the one to tell me the truth. I remember how hard it was for him and just thinking back reminds me how much he loved me, android or not..."

Marc's voice seemed to trail off, as he was obviously remembering the events of that day.

"I remember how scared and confused I was when we finally sat down and I got the truth about myself from him..."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Once we were comfortably seated on the deck with tuna salad plates and iced tea, I began talking and sounding as serious and mature as I could; "Uncle John, there is something different about me."

"How do you mean sweetie?" He obviously tried to sound calm.

"Well, first, I only have a few memories of my parents. Second, I feel funny because I'm not sadder. I mean, it's been too easy to forget that they died. Third, in these dreams, it's not me... well, it is but it's not the me I know or you love. I know you are talking with me, but it's not me. Four, I sometimes... when I'm alone and just thinking, I feel like... I don't know... well, like I'm really someone else or maybe I have multiple personalities."

For the first time since I started talking I began to lose it. My voice trembled. "I'm afraid you're going to tell me I'm crazy or something."

"Marc, I want you to know that, no matter what happens, I care very much about you. Your happiness is more important to me than anything. I love you completely and unconditionally. And I will support whatever you decide to do no matter how much it might hurt me for you to do it."

"Uncle John, you're... you're scaring me." I said with wide eyes.

"Oh God. I'm messing this up. Marc, I don't mean to scare you. I am trying to reassure you that, well, that I'll always be here for you anytime you need me."

"I know that. Would you please tell me what's wrong with me?!" My voice was stronger now because I was getting more than just a little agitated as well as frightened.

"Nothing's wrong with you sweetie."

"Well," I demanded, now irritated. "What's going on with me then?"

"Okay, ah, well I haven't been honest with you about something very important."

"Huh? What... what are you talking about?"

"You... ah, you aren't who you think you are... or... ah, ah... Oh God... what you, ah... you aren't what you think you are."

"I knew it. Who am I? ... wait, you said what. What... what am I? ... Oh shit!" My voice grew to a shout. "WILL YOU FUCKING JUST TELL ME? GOD DAMN IT!"

My shouting startled him into clarity and it all came spilling out. "Marc, they thought it was better this way. But, you proved it wasn't. We should have been honest from the start. You've proved that you are strong enough emotionally, built and programmed well enough. I'm so sorry Marc. I was wrong to go along with them, but it seemed so logical at the time. I mean... Oh God forgive me." He pleaded. "Oh Marc, can YOU forgive me?"

"What? Who are THEY? Forgive you for what?"

"Oh shit." He paused and took a deep breath. Then just blurted out. "Marc, you make other androids look like toys."

"Other Androids? Toys?" Disbelief, then shock and finally denial ran through my mind. "Oh Puhleeesse!"

He looked me straight in the eye. His voice was filled with all of his love for me. "Listen to that inner voice, Marc. I know you have been hearing it. So listen. Now. And please believe me. No matter what, I do love you ..." Then he added those special words that made me melt inside. "...with all my heart."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

...I never really knew what love felt like, I mean other than the programmed meaning I had implanted in my brain until after that day," He finished with a sigh. "It was difficult, but after I was made to realize just what I was and accepted it, I had to integrate my "Tech" and "Recreation" mode personalities myself creating one mode of operation."

"So there is still two personalities inside you but they are one now?" Jerry asked looking more confused than before.

"Pretty much. Danny and I are the only ones who have had to integrate the two modes. All others built after us were designed with only one personality and never had to deal with changing programming modes." Marc said.

"So there is three personalities inside Danny now?" Jerry asked as he half lay back and stretched his legs out.

"How do you get three?" Kevin asked through the speakers.

"Well, There's him, His tech mode guy and you." He said with a smile as if he had just finally gotten it.

"Hmmm..." Marc hummed as he began tapping away on the keyboard. "That's weird."

"What is it, bro?" I asked wondering what he may have discovered.

"Well, in the status report this is generating..." He said as he punched a few more keys. "Well, look for yourself," He said turning the monitor back so I could see it once again. "I am getting reports from your rec mode and tech mode. I should see Kevin since he is active, but there's nothing."

"Could it be because he's a program I executed or something?" I asked trying to make some sense from all of this.

"No, I mean any mode is simply programming that is executed realistically." He replied, obviously trying to reason it all out. "It's almost as if Kevin replaced your tech mode instead of just accessing it..." He said as he read further into the information on the screen. "...that's not possible."

There was dead silence in the room as Marc tapped on the keyboard, paused and hummed, tapped some more and then just stood up as if he was disgusted with the answers he was coming up with. He paced the room mumbling to himself, Jerry, Kevin and myself remaining silent before the computer speakers came to life.

"Uncle Marc, I hope you don't get mad at me, but I just found something that may help you." Kevin's voice said, sounding as if he had bad news or something.

"Why would I get mad?" Marc asked returning to his seat. "I could use all the help I can get at this point."

"Well, since I have a detailed listing of what was used to program me, I kinda just asked what affect each file had on my existence and how it would affect how my program was executed." He said, really impressing me until I remembered we were sharing the same positronic brain.

"What did you find?" Marc asked as he began to attempt to see the information Kevin looked into.

"This is all my fault." He said in a whimper.

I stopped for a minute and mentally took an inventory of all the uploaded information that I used to create his likeness when suddenly a cold chill ran right up my spine. "THAT SON OF A BITCH!" I shouted as I clenched my teeth and slammed my fists down on the arms of the chair. "I can't believe I didn't see that," I said as I looked over at Marc who still obviously had no clue what was wrong. "Where did he get permission to do that!?!" I shouted again finally being interrupted by Kevin.

"Because I gave him permission," Kevin stated and continued, "When they did the neuro-image of you, Dr. Strafford did one on me as well. I wanted part of me to be able to be with you forever so you wouldn't be alone if anything happened to me," He stated as I looked down toward the floor. "I didn't realize it until you made me understand what you did. I felt too real, and noticed it even before then. The way you programmed me should have allowed me to just realize that I was here, not question why, just accept."

"But how could he have done this while you were still alive?" I questioned. "Your neuro-image couldn't have been complete if it was only the scan while you were alive. He needed access to your brain to complete that." I said trying to fish for the answer, or think of a way I may have failed in my programming him. 'That's it, I said make him as real as possible. Maybe that programming is making him tell me all this to make him more real to me' I thought to myself as I suddenly felt Marc's hand on my shoulder.

"No, Uncle Dan, your programming didn't do this," Kevin replied proving that he truly was tied into my thoughts. "Think, what part of the imaging process needs to happen directly with the human brain to make it complete." Kevin stated and losing me a bit.

"The chemical balance," Marc stated. "It makes the positronic brain replicate the environment in which the incorporated information from a neuro-scan can continue to function as it did before implanting."

"Marc, have you ever gone through all the information you uploaded into my brain?" I asked as he suddenly looked deep in thought.

"No. Anything involving you I inventoried and studied, but Kevin's files were personal. I never went through them," He said as he looked at me making it obvious he had no clue the image was included in the upload. "Oh no..." Marc gasped as he continued, "Once that Image was incorporated with the environment created by your own physical attribute imaging..." Marc trailed off.

"We didn't make an image of Kevin, we awakened him," I said looking over at Marc who looked like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. "What have we done?" I asked no one in particular as tears began to well up in my eyes.

"So what happened to the tech mode guy?" Jerry innocently asked.

"Good question, buddy," Marc answered. "How did tech mode get tied up in all this?" He asked as he sat back in front of the monitor.

"I think that's my fault too." Kevin answered.

"How is that your fault? You couldn't have forced an integration with a foreign personality. Especially since you were never instructed to do so," Marc asked, and the speakers remained quiet. Marc continued, "Integrating two foreign personalities is very complicated as conflicts need to be worked out as they occur and adjustments need to be made. It's not possible to do that in the background without knowing it was happening."

"But it did happen, and I had no clue." I added trying to make some sense out of this. Kevin seeming to remain one full step ahead of me all the way.

"Uncle, you weren't aware of it because there was no integration." Kevin said with hesitation.

"Kevin, I'm lost. How could there be no integration yet you clearly have replaced and reactivated Danny's tech mode. It doesn't make sense." Marc said as he pushed the keyboard away in disgust.

"Uncle Marc, do you know who the model for tech mode was? In the beginning I mean." Kevin asked.

"I never questioned it honestly," He answered flatly and sat forward placing his elbows on his knees and resting his chin in his hands. "What difference would the personality model for tech mode make? It was just a model."

Jerry sat up and looked first at me, then at Marc. "Kevin, was it you?"

Marc looked at me and then at Jerry with a smile. "Nah, they did a neuro-scan of Kevin. Something as basic as tech mode didn't need a full scan to create."

"That's true, it would only need the basic attributes of a personality," Kevin replied. "The rest would be replaced with the core programming from the system."

"Where did you learn so much about tech mode?" I asked adding, "I didn't even know that."

"Um..." Kevin began with a hesitation apparent in his voice. "Dr. Strafford taught me all about it when... Well, when I asked if I could be your tech mode, the personality I mean."

Just then a loud crash echoed through the room causing Jerry to sit bolt upright on the couch. "Marc? Are you okay?" he asked as he sprung to his feet and ran to his side.

 

To Be Continued…

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Notes from the Author:

Well, looks like our beloved Dr. Strafford was quite busy in his day. Who knows what else he had done before the authorities finally put an end to his experimentations on humanity. I'm sure there were quite a few things that Kevin witnessed, or was even coaxed into taking part in that neither Marc or Danny were even aware of. The road appears to be getting a little rocky but, their new guide is bound to shed some light on some of the confusion. Time will tell...

Portions of this chapter would not have been possible without the creative input from ACfan of "The Annex" which was the direct cause of my finally getting it in gear and completing a half finished chapter that I could not for the life of me direct. Too many ideas, too many possibilities.. I guess I went into a bit of overload and needed the help from a real "Sci-Fi" guy. Let's call him my tech mode... LOL!.

And as always, This story is directly dedicated to my three "Nephews" (They know who they are). The driving force behind who Danny was in his human years is a direct result of who I am because of them and because of other extended family members who have in some way influenced me as my warped brain coughed and sputtered until STL was a reality.

Thanks to you all for reading!!! .

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Notes from the Editing Team :

Boy, I gotta complain .... We just get out for summer vacation and what does Uncle Jeff do? He gives us HOMEWORK (&%#$)

Oh well, gotta keep the grape from getting too squishy!

This chapter really rocks, and hey, we didn't have to really do that much editing. It seems someone has mastered the use of the coma (gotcha!)

If you all are anything like us, you want to see more of this story, and we understand you are about to get your wish. And even though it seems like we have taken a left turn with regards to the direction we were heading in, too bad ... Writers prerogative!

It is soooo cool to think that you know where a story is going only to find out you were wrong ... Wouldn't it really suck if you always knew what was happening? Where is the fun in that?

Stay tuned for more exciting adventures as our beloved android keeps us on our toes. Or is it Jeff keeping us on our toes? Is Jeff an android? Are we? *** Looks down front of pants *** Whew! I don't think androids have "those" kind of parts."

Until next time ...

The Pups!