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The Agent, Conclusion

Further adventure of an Agent

These stories are meant to be read serially

Jen and I spent the following few days visiting her relatives we had met at the party, where Jen spent most of the time talking with the teens and cuddling the younger ones while I conversed with the parents. That's what she wanted, to try to connect with the next generation, and I watched her flourish when she did.

We waited some days until Saturday to visit Harry and Lucille's family to give whatever was going to happen to work itself out. We had done what we could to try to start a solution but it was up to all of them to finish it. Lucille answered the door with a warm smile and motioned us into the kitchen for a delicious coffee cake and fresh coffee. After chatting for a few minutes I spoke up.

“ How are things working out, Lucille, if you don't mind my asking.”

“ Good Lord, Matt, of course you have every right to ask. If it wasn't for you two nothing would have happened. Harry and I didn't know what to do. We had asked Jason to go to family counseling before and he flatly refused but now he's agreed to at least try it. We all, Harry and I and Jason too, know that this is only the beginning.”

Jen said, “I'm so glad you realize it's probably going to be a long journey back, but you've certainly made some good first steps. Where is everybody?”

“ Debby took Cody over to some friends of theirs, they both have kids their own ages to play with.

Harry took Jason to look for a job and, would you believe it, it was Jason's idea, although I'm not sure he really was enthused with the idea. He has been making some effort, especially with the kids, he has been sitting and talking with them, I know that. I even saw Debby put her arms around him and hug him, sort of like wishing him welcome home.”

Jen asked, “How's he been treating you and Harry.”

“ Well, we knew there would be problems, but most have been small, and when we sat and discussed them, mostly they worked out, and sometimes in a truce. At least, most of the time, he's been polite. He does get mad sometimes, but hasn't been physical as of yet.”

“ Has he seen the police.” I asked.

“ Jason and Harry went yesterday. They saw a magistrate or something and Jason's out on bond.”

“ Lucille, it looks very hopeful, maybe even very good, and I know you and Harry won't give up when the bumps in the road do show up, as they probably will. Jen and I have to leave pretty soon and maybe we won't get a chance to stop before we go, but I'm sure Jen will keep in touch, God bless you all.”

It was a tearful goodbye at the door. I even misted a little after Lucille threw her arms around my neck and soaked my shoulder. We finally made it to the car and decided vacation was over, thank God.

We were on our way to the airport to return the rental car and catch our flight when Jen snuggled up next to me and said, “Matt, I finally figured out why I fell in love with you.”

“ I'm sure it was my incredible charm, movie star good looks, and my overwhelming modesty that did it, right?”

She punched me on the arm and announced, “No, you big ape, and if you don't want to hear, that's fine.”

“ I'll take all the compliments you can give me, as long as I don't have to reciprocate with an elderly lady I know.”

That got me another punch, only this time is wasn't all that playful. “Alright bigshot, I wanted to discuss something important with you, but forget it.”

“ Aw honey, Jen, I'm sorry, I thought you were playing around. I apologize and I'll listen to whatever you want to say. I always listen to my elders.”

I couldn't resist it, even though it got me a real good one this time, but also with a small smile. After a few minutes she snuggled in again and, as I glanced at her, saw she had a pensive look.

“ I really am sorry this time, Jen, I can see you want to say something that's important to you.”

“ Yes, I do, Matt, this trip has taught me something important. I still love the idea of being the start of so many fine people that we met, but I have to realize they're not mine anymore, they're their parents children. I'll still help them if I can, but it's no longer my responsibility. Just as Harry and Lucille have to straighten their mess out, so do they all. Does that make sense to you?”

“ I'm surprised it took you as long as it did to realize that. You may have been able to keep track of some of them now, but how about twenty years from now when another generation shows up, or a hundred years. You have a life too, and now it's with me.”

“ That's another thing I wanted to discuss. Have you ever thought about children, Matt?”

“ It's pretty hard not to, they're running all over the place, aren't they?”

“ Not those, you dolt, I meant your children.”

I looked over at her and saw she was completely serious. “Jen, I guess I always thought, in my old life, that I'd marry and have children, but are you thinking of having children now, under our circumstances?”

“ Yes, and I want you to think about it too. Maybe, after Simon trains more agents, we could slow down on the dangerous situations, maybe even semi-retire.”

“ But, honey, if we have kids, what about when they get to be forty or fifty and daddy and mommy are younger than they are?”

She frowned at me, “I didn't say we were going to act on it, just think on it.”

I did a lot of thinking in the next few days while we traveled back to headquarters. I knew whatever we did, we had to talk to Simon.

After returning we settled back into the routine of mostly very small actions and reports. The aliens, being civilized people, didn't have any use for endless copies of written reports They had facilities that could retrieve them directly from our thoughts, and at an astonishing speed. It was, come in, sit down for a few moments, a bell sounded, get up and leave, you're done. Wonderful!

Jen and I had been talking over what we had discussed in the car for more than two weeks and now it was time to confront Simon. We called and told him we wanted to see him and he invited us to come to his office immediately. We entered and sat.

“ You two look pretty serious, Is something wrong?”

“ No, Simon, nothings wrong, we just want to discuss things with you. Do you mind if we ask you some questions first?”

“ Of course not, if it will help you.”

“ Thank you. How long does it take you to find a good prospect for an agent, and then how long does it take you to train them?”

“ Well, it varies tremendously, it took, if I remember correctly, thirty five years to find you and train you, but you have to remember your condition when we found you, and not everyone is trained to your level. To find someone, and train them to your level would take a minimum of, say, twenty years, and that's if we find someone suitable, it could take take less, or it could take a hundred years or more.

I believe that's really what you're asking, Isn't it?”

“ Yes it is, and thank you for your being candid,” I said a little glumly.

Simon considered us for a few moments and asked, “Am I correct in assuming that you two are considering leaving us?”

“ No, Simon, no, we wouldn't do that to you, this work is too important. We don't plan on leaving completely ever. It's just that we've decided we want to start a family, and that would mean not being available full time, and we wondered how soon we could figure on being replaced and doing that.”

He again studied us for a while and then responded, “ I'm sure you've discussed this thoroughly and what have you decided about the aging process interfering with raising children?”

I winced and replied, “We have some ideas, Simon, but thats another reason we asked to speak with you. To see if you knew any other way out of our dilemma than ours.”

“ Of course, through the centuries we've had other agents fall in love and marry. And yes, there is a solution, actually more than one, but you may not like them. Would you like to hear them?”

“ Yes, please.”

“ The children are raised normally until they are old enough to be evaluated as agents. Your children would most probably qualify, but maybe not to the level you are. Second option, if they don't qualify they will be raised to maturity and then they would become one of the amnesiacs, with all the benefits we told you of, and relocated, there to live a full and happy life. Third option, if that didn't meet your approval, then you would be stripped of your enhancements and your memories and you would all become an amnesiac family. It would be your choice.”

We sat there a few moments, Jen and I holding hands, thinking over what Simon had told us, and then I said, “Simon, we had already thought of the first two, as for the third, we already said we wouldn't leave here and our work, we plan on staying until we get hit by a car or someone drops a safe on us, so we wait until you can relieve us of some of our dutys so we can proceed with a family.”

Again, he studied us and said, “You're sure, you don't want to think it over, take a couple of days, a month, a century, and really think about it?

Jen said, “Simon, what have you got up your sleeve? You're acting very strange, we've told you we're committed to this work, do you want us to write it in blood somewhere?”

Simon broke out in the widest smile I had ever seen on him, “I've some good news for you, and me, too. We are now almost done training two agents that, although they don't have your experience yet, could relieve you of a lot of your chores in, say, five to seven years. How would that suit you.”

Jen and I looked at each other, stunned, then jumped to our feet and hugged. After a while we turned and faced Simon again to find him with an even wider smile.

Again Jen asked, “What else are you hiding, Simon?”

Simon laughed and answered, “As of this minute, you two are relieved of all normal duties, unless something comes up that only one of you, or both, could handle, stand down. For the next years you're back in training. You're going to be replacing me and I am going home. I've been waiting almost seventy years to say that, I'm going home ! Until now, there has been no one that could handle this job, but you two are perfect.”

And he actually danced around his desk.

And that's how we ended up Chief Agents.

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