John Scott pulled up his bill and reviewed it before electronically checking out of the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington. Normally, he would have exited through the lobby, but today was different. Today was special. As of today, he would no longer be known as Tom or even Tanaka II. After today, he would be just plain John Scott. Well, not exactly plain—he was still the most unique individual in the galaxy. He was part human and part Mylean. That fact had controlled his entire life until today. From this day forward, he would control his life. And he would have the power available to do so.
Today he would claim his Mylean legacy.
He carried a hooded jacket and threw his travel bag over his shoulder. After shutting the door, he walked briskly to the bank of elevators at the end of the hall. He punched the up button and waited. After a few seconds, the car arrived, and he entered.
Inside, he quickly put on the jacket and pulled the hood over his head. He fished out a sweater from his small travel bag and draped it over the bag. Now, he was satisfied that anyone monitoring the closed circuit security cameras might not pay any attention to him as he made his rather unusual exit from the building.
As he left the elevator, he dropped his shoulders and shuffled down the hall, giving the appearance of a confused old man lost in the vastness of the building. He had already had Maxxine temporarily disable the security cameras in this hall, but there just wasn’t any reason to take chances.
At the end of the hallway, he found what he was looking for: a door clearly marked, “No Admittance, Maintenance Area.” He took a key card that he had “borrowed” from a maid’s cart and unlocked the door after first making certain that there was no one else around.
It had been a careless act on the part of the maid, but he had taken advantage of it. She should have worn the key card suspended on a lanyard around her neck, but that day she had made a simple mistake, and he sincerely hoped that she wouldn’t lose her job. Then, he had a thought. He would open the door and leave the key card in the hallway. He hoped that some other employee, probably a maintenance worker, would find the card and return it to her. Perhaps, she could even come up with some plausible explanation as to why she had been near the roof. John smiled to himself. “Maybe she had planned to meet a lover.”
He opened the door revealing stairs leading up to the roof. He dropped the key card in the hall, shut the door behind him quietly, and then jogged up the stairs with a smile on his face. John could hardly contain his excitement.
He would be meeting Maxxine face to face for the very first time.
Today was to be the true beginning of his freedom. Today, he would claim his reward. Perhaps now he would find that inner peace that had always eluded him. Real happiness had always seemed just beyond his grasp, always just out of reach. His entire life had been closely monitored and controlled by an outside force, but now those days were over.
Maxxine might not be able to make his life happy, but she certainly could make it more interesting and, certainly much more comfortable. He shrugged. If he couldn’t find happiness, he could, at the very least, live in luxurious comfort. Not a replacement for happiness, but a sedative to relieve the pain to be sure.
He had ordered his spacecraft to travel in full stealth mode, meaning that it would remain invisible to all forms of detection except for the few seconds that it took him to board. During that time, the craft would be visible to anyone who might be nearby. That didn’t matter very much now, but his lifelong quest of keeping his true identity a secret remained an obsession.
John had already reconnoitered the hotel roof and determined that maintenance procedures for the air conditioning units mounted there were infrequent, so he had little concern for being caught. Also, there were no tall structures in the vicinity, thanks to Washington’s building codes. He looked around him and was fully confident that he could make his exit without detection.
He checked his watch. The craft should be landing any second now. In less than half an hour, he would arrive at his destination: his very own space station. It was more like a space island since it had living quarters, manufacturing facilities and acted as a base for his fleet of spacecraft.
John had not named his space station, he simply thought of the whole thing as ‘Maxxine,’ although Maxxine herself occupied only a small percentage of the total space in the giant facility.
Maxx, that giant Mylean computer, had carefully crafted another computer in his likeness, at least from a capabilities standpoint. That had been John’s requirement as partial payment for his unique service to Maxx.
Maxx decided that, since this version was small and sleek, it must be feminine. He named her, “Maxxine,” after himself, as he had already developed a rather fatherly affection for his creation. He equipped her with an emotional module and a soft, sexy, feminine voice. At last, he brought her to life and checked her programs. She was fantastic, absolute perfection. Or, at least that’s what he thought at the time. Even electronic parents can be nearsighted when observing their offspring.
After the Myleans had all died during their epic journey, Maxx recognized that, being a computer, he lacked the means of evaluating emotions, so he began to develop an emotional module. Now, he felt complete. He loved his emotional module so much he decided to give Maxxine one at birth.
John Scott stood quietly beside a giant air conditioning unit mounted on the roof thinking that this day was the turning point of his life. Things would never be the same again. The future was a blank page filled with wonderful possibilities and terrible fears at the same time. He now possessed powers that were truly awesome. He would have to choose his directions carefully and avoid mistakes that could cost him, and even the whole world, dearly. He had flippantly demanded a reward for his services that would seem extravagant beyond reason to any normal person. However, to Maxx, it had been almost meaningless. It had amused him that John had demanded something essentially like himself. Maxx had been very flattered by John’s request and gave him everything he had asked and more.
Now Maxx could have great fun watching what John did with his Mylean legacy. Yes, he looked forward with great anticipation to the entertainment that would be coming his way shortly.
Just then, without a sound or a whisper of wind, the craft became visible. Nothing dramatic, but it just seemed to materialize out of nothing, hovering a few inches off the roof. The hatch slid open silently, and a small set of steps slid downward allowing him to hop on board.
Mister T stood just inside. “Welcome aboard, sir. Maxxine is anxiously awaiting your first visit.”
He addressed the humanoid robot, “I want to introduce myself to you formally. You may know already, but just in case you don’t, my real name is John F. Scott. You should call me John from now on. The ‘F’ stands for Francis, but I’d rather you forget that.”
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