The drive back to the airport was a short distance, but Tom and Joan didn’t notice anything along the way. Alpha was acutely aware of what had happened. Tom and Joan had shared their most personal moments with him. But this time was different, in his short life he had never encountered a child. He saw their remains during the ceremony and he helped to gather them and prepare them for the burial, but this was different. Seeing their home, their toys, their parents and knowing the pain that Tom felt for their loss affected him. Pain and loss were cruel and each day of his life it was becoming more real. He did the best he could to transmit the images and his thoughts to SIMPOC.
When they were back on Sepulveda, Tom looked at Joan and said, “I just thought of something; something I think we could both use.” She smiled suspecting that it would be something good.
It took a while to put it together but within an hour they were sitting on Manhattan Beach with a giant bond fire, a couple of steaks thawing and a case of good wine. The fire was roaring and the wine was disappearing as the sun set over the pacific. After the dinner was complete, Tom looked at Alpha and said, “Go take a walk for an hour and don’t comeback.”
Alpha was a little shocked and didn’t understand why they wanted him to leave, so he stood there.
“Alpha,” Joan said, “we want to be alone for a while, please take a long walk.”
“Alpha was confused but elected to do as he was asked, making note of this other strange human behavior. As he walked, his electronic hearing picked up the strange sounds of being human.
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