This is a story of friendship, commitment, love and trust. It is not a sex story. However, this story deals with love between male teenagers. If you are offended by stories involving love between two teenage boys, please do not read this story. There may be some sex scenes in this story; however, sex is not the main theme. If you are under age 18 or 21 or it is illegal to read this story where you live, don't read it. Reproducing this story for distribution without the owner's permission is a violation of that copyright.


Sam Lakes

samlakes86 at yahoo

M.a.i.n.e. Frame PC



by Sam Lakes

Copyright © 2006 All Rights Reserved

Chapter Twenty-one

Colt left the CSL on his way to the Library when he spotted Kevin talking to two men with large brief cases. He wondered why Kevin was talking to them. He stood behind a tree occasionally taking a peek. Finally, Kevin left and the two guys split up. Colt saw that one was carrying a gun in a shoulder holster under his jacket.

He followed the man at a considerable distance. The man entered the CompSci Building 2. He got to the entrance and just saw the door to the stairs close. Quietly, he opened the door and could hear the man climbing the stairs. He looked up the stair well to see that the man was at the fourth floor. Colt followed. Directly opposite the stairway door was a large room used for storage. Colt carefully tried the door. It opened and he snuck in. He slowly walked down an aisle peering through the shelving on both sides of him.

Suddenly he froze. By a window two rows over he saw the man. He was assembling a rifle. Colt went to step back, but accidentally hit some object on a shelf and it fell crashing to the floor. He turned and ran out of the room back to the stairs as he heard the man yelled "Hey, hold on a second!". He started to go down then saw someone coming up - it was Kevin!

Quickly he turned and ran up the stairs to the roof and pushed out through the door as quietly as he could and then crouched down behind a vent. He heard the roof door open and someone stepped out onto the roof. A cell phone rang and the man answered.

It was Kevin. The only words he caught were ‘Paul' and ‘screwed up last night', and ‘don't worry I'll handle it'. Then he left.

Colt waited an hour before he dared to move. He was close to hysteria. Why, did his father want him killed? He took a long route back to the CSL and sneaking in a service entrance to the CSL when he ran right into Kevin. He looked at Kevin in shear terror and turned to run out of the building.

Kevin grabbed him by the back of his shirt collar and swung him around into the room saying angrily "Where the hell have you been? Ruth is very nearly out of her mind!"

"Let me go!" screamed Colt "Take your fucking hands off me!" Then began to kick and fight to get free. Kevin released him. Colt started running, but slipped and fell diving head long into a fire extinguisher. He was out cold and had a gash on his head which began bleeding profusely.

Kevin picked him up and as he carried him he called Ruth on his cellular. "Ruth get down here fast with Arbor. There's been an accident. We've got to take Colt to the hospital, now!" He made another call saying "We're on the move St. Mary's emergency."

By the time Ruth and Arbor arrived, Colt's face was covered with blood which made things look worse.

"I'll explain in the car" he said as he ran with the boy in his arms to the car. Kevin reached in his pocket and tossed Ruth the keys saying "You drive. No reason for us both to get covered in blood." They got to the hospital within ten minutes.

"Mrs. Mitchell. I'm Dr. Irving. You son is being moved to a private room. We've sown up the cut and given him a CAT Scan. His skull is fine, he just has a minor concussion and we want to keep him over night, just as a precaution. He seemed quite traumatized, so we gave him a sedative. He should sleep peacefully through the night. There's an extra bed in the room if you want to stay, but really he'll be fine."

"I'd like to stay with him" she stated.

"Fine. Just stop by the Nurse's Station. He'll be in Room 418" said Dr. Irving. Then he left.

"Can I see him?" asked Arbor.

"Yes. I'm sure it will be all right" Ruth replied.

When they got to the fourth floor, Arbor ran ahead to the room.

Kevin said "I'm calling Paul tonight. This charade has gone far enough, and it's making the situation worse."

"I agree" Ruth said "Arbor's trying not to show it, but he's quite shook up about Colt. I think Paul should come here."

As they entered the room she saw Arbor quickly wipe away a tear, slightly embarrassed that she might have seen him cry over his friend. "Mom, he's going to be pissed. They shaved off half his hair!" he said.

"Yes. I bet he is" she agreed.

After Kevin and Arbor left she gave Colt a kiss then laid down on the spare bed and was soon asleep


Chapter Twenty-two

"Have you got the T3 access setup yet?" asked Arb.

Colt plugged in the cable to the patch panel saying," You got it!"

"Ooh Baby! This is hot!" exclaimed Arbor excitedly.

Arbor passed Mother to Colt. His hands flew across the keyboard in his usual style. "In a few second we will be hooked in real time! Live from the CIA! It's the Colt Smith Data Show!"

The screen flashed as data poured on to the screen as data files started downloading into Mother's data bases. "Oh mama! Look it's finished!" said Colt.

"Query or sim?" asked Arbor.

"Query." Replied Colt.

"Find authors changes to mail class programs unlimited" typed Colt.

"That's good enough guys. Now, don't do anything. Just step away for the computer." Kevin said. They both looked up to see Kevin with a silenced gun pointed at them. "Ah, ah, Colt! You start the self destruct program and the last thing you'll see is Arbor brains coming out the backside of his head!"

Colt stepped back.

"You see all we needed to do was get you to do something with that computer. We know Keith has all his research files and the chip designs on the computer. We tried to get him to give them to us, but you know he was sort of stubborn, so well, you know the rest" said Kevin.

"Who is we?" asked Arbor.

"Well, why not ask the guy who goes through his Dad's mail. I'm sure you figured it out Colt, right?" asked Kevin.

"Paul" said Colt.

"He wins the prize! You're right, Paul Smith" said Kevin.

"He's your dad, Colt!" said Arbor.

"No he's not! He's an asshole!" said Colt.

"Well, now is that anyway to speak of your Dad?" Colt looked to see Paul Smith standing there with a 9mm Glock equipped with a laser sight.

"Dad? How did you get here?" asked Colt.

"Hey, who do you think killed those two brothers in the motel and Alan?" said Paul.

"We had to scare you guys into using the computer."

"Why did you try to kill Arbor?"

"A stupid mistake, but luckily he survived a little while longer," said Kevin.

"You know if you guys had been nicer to me I might have let Ruthie live. But you know she's such a smart bitch, it was a pity…well you know… no loose ends" Kevin said moving to the right revealing Ruth's body.

Colt saw Ruth, lying in a pool of blood with her neck slit open and a horrifying look on her face.

"No!" screamed Colt "No! Ruthie!"

He heard a thump next to him and saw Arbor's body go limp his eyes rolled back and he crashed to the floor. The wall behind them was covered with blood and bits of his brain.

"Arbor! No! No! You fucking murderers!" he screamed in total horror.

Colt sat straight up in bed.
"Colt! It's okay. You just had a nightmare!" Ruthie said as she held him and tried to comfort him.

"No! No! Kevin and Dad they killed you and Arbor!" he cried.

"Colt, look at me. Look at me!" she commanded "I'm here. I'm okay. Arb is okay. You just had a bad dream."

"I saw the man with a rifle and gun. He chased me. Kevin came looking for me on the roof. He was talking to Dad! He said they screwed up last night!" Colt cried still hysterical.

"Colt calm down. Kevin is all right. He's a good man" she said calmly.

"No! No, he's going to kill us. I saw him talking to the man, with the rifle!"

She held him closer to her. "Colt you are not thinking logically. You've taken a few unrelated facts and dubbed in the wors t and are drawing the wrong conclusion. Come on, I need you to listen to me, Okay?"

"But I saw the rifle. I…"

"Colt! Listen to me!" she said turning his head so that he was directly looking at her. "I don't deny that you saw the man with the gun. Okay? But he's on our side. He is there to protect, you and Arbor. He works with Kevin and Kevin works for your Dad. Your Dad works for the government."

Colt calmed down some.

"When Keith died it wasn't an accident. Just like Arbor's accident wasn't an accident. We didn't know Keith's death was an accident, at first, but your Dad and Keith have always been best friends, and your Dad was convinced it wasn't an accident, when I told him about your dream. He had a special autopsy done. Keith was murdered. Your Dad got worried that I could be the next target, so he sent Kevin to stay with us."

"Kevin is like a body guard. We're not really married, he sleeps on the floor in my room," she said with a slight smile.
"Your not married?" he asked.

"No, but before you get me side tracked, let me continue, okay?" she asked, and he nodded yes.

"I don't know how your Dad did it, but he made it possible for me to access two of the largest super computers in the country, and I was able to run the simulations which helped us find Arbor. Jessie Creamer used to work with your Dad long ago, they were good friends. Since that time Arbor has been under surveillance, and so have you. When you stopped sleeping over, your Dad had Kevin put all the bugs in your house. Kevin watched you by day, and I watched you by night.

"I listened to you, cry yourself to sleep every night. It nearly broke my heart, not to tell you that Arbor was alive, but I was afraid that the second I turned my back, you'd be on your way to Smithfield, and that could have spelled disaster for both of you. Anyway, after you were asleep, I would come over, and stay with you, until you started waking up. That's why I was always groggy - I don't take drugs."

"But why did Paul lie to me? Why did he say he was in Japan?" asked Colt.
"Force of habit. Look, we all make mistakes. None of us are perfect" she replied, in Paul's defense, but she knew that there was really nothing she could say.

"Keith never lied to me." he said "I always wanted him to be my father. I don't hate Paul. I used to after my mom died, and he was away all the time. Now, well he's more of an acquaintance - not even a friend, just an acquaintance."

She had no comeback, so she said nothing.

Colt looked at her, not sure if he should say, what he wanted to say.

"What?" she asked as she could see his eyes beginning to water up.

"I still miss him so much. I've tried to just think about the happy times, but it doesn't work. I just miss talking to him. Arbor tries so hard. I know he's doing his best, but it just doesn't work as well. Keith just had this knack of getting me to look at things, from different viewpoints, and to analyze things. Sometimes, I go to the roof and well, you know why I go there, and I think about Keith and it still hurts that he's not here. It's my fault, it's all my fault."
"Oh, Sweetheart, it's not."

"No. I know I am… I can't tell you why, because I just can't." he sighed "How's Kevin? I guess I've been a real pain in the ass to him."

"Oh, he's fine. He was a little distraught over what happened, but he's pretty thick skinned." she replied. "He really likes you boys a lot, and his duty is to protect you, even if it means his life. He knows you two don't like him, because you think he's my husband, but he's very observant, and he has the highest regard for you. And not just because you're his boss's son. He told me once that he's never seen a kid so sharp, so smart. When we knew Arbor was safe, he argued with your dad saying that you should be told. I initially said no, because I was afraid they might follow you, and then, I could loose both my boys. We don't know if it was them, that killed the two men in the motel."

"Can I call Kev?"



She got her cell phone, dialed and handed the phone to Colt.

"Hello" said Kevin.

"Hi, Kevin. It's Colt," said Colt.

"Well, how are you doing, Hotshot?" Kevin said sleepily.

"Okay , I just wanted to call and tell you I'm sorry, for acting like an ass."

"Hey, I would have done the same, I'm sure. Well, probably not taken a dive into a fire extinguisher. Are you sure your okay now ? I didn't mean to scare you."

"I'm fine. Hope you don't mind that I called at th is hour and thanks for watching over us. Especially since I've been a real pain in the butt to you. I really owe you big time. I promise, I'll make it up to you."
"You can call me anytime you want, and you really don't owe me a thing. Just knowing you're okay is enough. You're a good kid, Colt and you have your Dad's best qualities. And ‘yes' your Dad can be a pain in the butt too!" Kevin laughed.

Colt yawned saying, "Thanks, bye and night."

"Good night, Hotshot. See ya later." Kevin said, and then hung up.

"I guess he's not so bad. He says I have Dad's best qualities and Dad can be a pain in the butt, too" Colt smiled and thought, "Maybe my Dad isn't so bad." He said to Ruthie "I'm glad your not married to Kev…it's not a good match," then he yawned again. "I'm sleepy" he mumbled "Do you think you could adopt me?"

He was instantly asleep.

Ruth kissed him on the cheek and whispered "Maybe".
In the morning a nurse came in, and took his temperature and pulse, and then asked him if he was hungry. He was starved. After she left he got up and went to the bathroom to pee and looked in the mirror. Colt nearly peed all over everything including himself when he saw that they'd shaved nearly a quarter of his head. He went back to bed and pulled the sheet up over his head.

When the orderly came in with his breakfast, he said "Go away! I don't want it. Go away!"

Five minutes later the nurse came in with the tray of food. "Hey, young man you said you were starved. Now come on, sit up and have some breakfast." she said.

"Go away! Leave me alone!" Colt cried from under the sheet "I'm not hungry I want to sleep."

"Now come on, you have to eat" she said.

"Get the Fuck away from me. Don't you understand plain English! Go away!" yelled Colt from under the cover.

"Colt, what's wrong?" asked Ruth sleepily.
"I'll tell you what's wrong! This imbecilic nurse doesn't understand English. I said go away, that means scat, shoo, scram, leave, go elsewhere, disappear. All this moronic nurse can do is say "Aren't you hungry?" I do not want to eat!"

"Just leave the tray. If he doesn't eat it, I will" said Ruth.

"Colt she's gone now. You can come out" said Ruth.

"No. I look ugly, horrible. I'm never coming out! Not until my hair grows back!"

"You're being ridiculous."

"I don't care. I'm grotesque! I look like Frankenstein gone wrong!"

Ruth went to the bathroom and grabbed a bath towel. Returning with the towel she said "Here come on out, I've already seen what you look like. Arb said you'd be upset."

"Arb! I bet he laughed his head off."

"No. He was quite upset actually. I think he was crying, but as soon as we walked in he did like every man does, pretended that grief is not an emotion men ever feel, and merely said that he bet you would be upset."

"He's right!" said Colt.

"Come on, sit up" she ordered and then took the towel and wrapped it around his head like a turban. "I'll go see if they sell caps anywhere close by. I'll see you in a while. Now eat your breakfast." She kissed him on the cheek then left the room.
After he finished his breakfast, a doctor came in and checked him over.

Ruth returned with a cap, and the doctor told both of them that they could leave any time.

When they arrived at the lab, Colt went over the workbench where Arbor was working. There were four computers which apparently looked the same.

"Okay which is the real Mother?" asked Arbor.
Colt pointed to Mother.

"Lucky guess."

"No. Mix them up and ask me again." Colt turned his back.

"Okay, which one."

Colt pointed again to Mother.

They did the same routine again, five times, and each time Colt pointed to Mother.

"Look Arb, we could do this all day and I would get it right. I know what Mother looks like. Attention to detail. For example, the J key is observably worn on Mother, there's a small scratch on the space bar and there are three little nicks on the lid where you open the lid."

"Arb we'd better drill this with you. I don't want you giving Mother to the wrong person." Colt said.

So they spent nearly an hour drilling it. The end result was, not only could they recognize Mother, but could tell the difference in the clones of Mother. Colt then loaded a modified security program on each clone. Then added a bunch of junk files. Next he checked out Mother and made sure every part of its system was operational and functioning.

"Shit!" ejaculated Colt. "Arb, did Alan send the message from home?"

"Yeah, I think so."

"Fucking hell! I'm a fucking moron!" Colt said, as he ran to Ruth's office. "Ruth! Alan's PC was it his or the departments?"

"The departments. Why?"

"Where is it?"

"Returned to stock. In the storeroom. Why?"
"Because!" Colt yelled, as he ran to the storeroom, "I'm a fucking moron!"

Arb followed. He knew exactly why! "God, if your a fucking moron then I have an IQ of -500! God! It fucking zoomed right over my head the other night!"

"Grab a monitor" Colt said as he picked up a keyboard and the system unit and walked out and over to where Mother was.

As they were setting up the PC, Ruth joined them. "So, what's all this cussing about?" she asked.

"Alan sent the message from his PC the PC should have a copy of the message and the address of the receiver. Which means we can do a super trace route using Mother. Which means we can see where the intercept takes place. These guys that killed Alan are thugs, real dickheads! They don't have a clue, what they are looking for, or about PCs. When whoever sent them found out that Arb didn't have Mother, they wiped the laptops drive hoping to destroy the evidence or something." said Colt as he hooked up the power cable.

"Mom, the laptop, was garbage! The evidence was on Alan's PC, which they didn't wipe because…" Arb said waiting for her to answer.

"Because they had to leave a suicide note"

"Right!" said Colt. "Great! He's got the Linux Operating System! Root password. Try root - bingo. I love programmers who are predictable! Thank you Alan!" Colt's hands were a blur, as they raced around the keyboard.

"Whoa! JACKPOT!" exclaimed Arb. "Cool!"

Colt's hand's moved over to Mother's keyboard and with in seconds he exclaimed, "She's off to the races folks!" and sat back watching the screen.

"I hope the U doesn't mind we just grabbed all the bandwidth for all T1's and T3's. Ops is probably going ape shit." Arb said laughing.

"I can' just see Fatman Spiney!" laughed Colt.

"What are you guys talking about?" asked Ruth.

"Nothing. Anyway, it's done" said Colt "Now, Mr. Starr" smiled Colt "The fun part begins. Hold on. Check this out" Colt walked over to a cabinet, took out two pair of gloves and two pair of funny looking frames for glasses and returned. "Retinal displays and awesome gloves. They've all got proximity transceivers in them. Here put them on."

"Sorry, Ruthie I only have two pair."

"That's fine. Just come tell me the results." she said, and returned to her office.

"Whoa this is weird like VR almost. This is awesome!" said Arbor.

"You see the red bar on your glove ? Slide your finger on it, up or down for intensity. The image is being projected directly on the retina of you eyes. The higher the intensity the more of the real environment is blocked out. I have mine on high. If you look down though the image will disappear because the tracking is set up that way, in case you get disoriented. I want to put in a control to increase tracking, and voice controls, in addition to the gloves." Colt said.

What he saw was the what you'd see if you were totally focused on just the screen. He had a virtual keyboard which was not visible. To move the cursor, he just pointed to where he wanted it, with his left or right index finger, then to select something he'd flick his thumb. Instead of drag and drop it was pick up and drop. To pick up you'd point to the object then move you thumb to the index finger tip, just as you normally would pick up a small object in real life.

"It takes a little getting use to, but once you get the hang of it, it's fast! Now I'm going to key it so you see the same as I do . Hang on for the ride."

To an onlooker, Colt looked like he was wiggling his fingers in the air and pointing into thin air.

"Yewow! I can't keep up with you, Colt!" Colt slowed down.

"Find mail logs since 4 weeks." Colt typed in midair.

A message appeared "Mail logs found for current and 1 previous wks"

"Damn!" they both said. Arbor took off his gear "Well, that's it we'll have to get Paul to get us access. it's been archived."

Colt shutdown the connection, and put Mother in a ‘Sleep' state. "I'll pack her up. You take two clones and I'll take Mother and a clone. And right now, trust no one, not even Paul."

"He's your dad, Colt!"

"Like he's really been honest and truthful with me. As I said, trust no one."

Ten minutes later Paul Smith entered the lab. Ruth saw him come in and came out of her office.

"Well, hi Paul!" said Colt, "I'm really surprised, no jet lag. How was Japan? I'd really love to hear."

"How are you doing?" Paul asked.

"Like you really care." Colt said, and turned away to fiddle with something.

"Colt, this attitude is really not needed right now." said Ruth as she stood right behind him.

Colt turned, and in anger, said, in ever increasing volume, "Well excuse me! Let's see this is visit number 168 or maybe I should say the fourth visit this year. Oh, yes, well I guess your right, I should be happy. This time last year oh, only 2 visits. I'm indeed honored, by such an increase in all the attention I'm getting!"

"But then the last one was for Arbor. Unless you were just applying your policy of how can I ruin Colt's life even more - like ‘Oh, I know. I'll let him continue to believe his best friend is dead! Because after all, you really can't trust the little asshole.' So, Ruth don't tell me he cares about me, otherwise you are just as big a liar, as he is!"

Ruth slapped Colt hard across the face. "Don't you ever talk to your father, or me like that again!"

Colt's face was red. Not so much from the slap, but more from his effort not to start crying. He stood and looked at Ruth for a moment then headed for the door.
Paul called his guys and alerted them to be on the lookout for Colt. No one had seen him leave the building.

"So, Arbor, tell me what's so special about this PC. Your Dad had mentioned you guys had an awesome computer, but he never gave any details. I totally forgot about it until Ruth mentioned it to me, when you got back here." inquired Paul.

"It's is an awesome computer. Probably the most powerful PC in the world. Well, not probably, it is the most powerful computer. Its security system alone goes far beyond anything today, because it's tuned to the user's DNA structure. If the user's DNA structure is not part of the system, then it operates like a normal common garden variety laptop. But if it is part of the system, then it operates in ‘Mother Mode'. Dad wanted it that way. And you can't hack into it. Certain things will cause it to go into automatic self-destruct mode, and once in that mode it will destroy itself completely. You end up with a pile of useless computer parts. Nothing is recoverable. We know that works because the first model was destroyed when I asked Alan to try and break-in. Mother II is light-years ahead of the first model."

"So, who can use it in ‘Mother Mode'?"

"Only two people can use it, Colt and me."

"Colt uses it? I thought you were the only one who used the system. I thought Colt was just a buddy" Paul said.

"Oh, I can hack with it and to some degree, I can program it. It just takes me forever. Colt's the programmer! He's phenomenal! Just today he showed me an improvement in Mother. He's always saying Mother is light years ahead of other computers."

"Maybe we should just keep quiet about Colt knowing how to use Mother. There's a leak in my organization."
"Oh duh! I think that's why Colt is so edgy. He was telling me the very same thing earlier today, when we were on a fantastic trip into your system, but we couldn't get to the data he wanted without showing ourselves, or alerting your system that there was an intruder. We need authorized access."

"Well, anyway I brought you this." Paul withdrew a gray vest that sort of looked like a T-shirt from his case and handed it to Arbor. "I want you to w ear this at all times. It's a special bullet proof vest. Put it on now."

"Did you bring one for Colt?" asked Arbor, as he took off his shirt, to put on the vest.

"Now look, I'll be the first to admit that I've been a damn poor father, but I do love my son, and I am concerned about his well being. I never realized he felt the way he does."

"Did you ever bother to ask? Don't worry he's only really hated you, since Kevin entered the picture."

"He hates me?" Paul asked sadly.

"He says he does, but I think he just wants you to really be a dad. He was a little wrong in his figures, you've only visited him 158 times in the last ten years."

"Mom, why do you suppose he wanted you to marry Paul?"

Ruth looked at Arbor "Because he was hoping Paul would stay home."

"No ! Because he wants to feel like somebody really cares for him. He loves you and just wants to be your son."

"Where do you think he got his programming and logical skills from? From you, Mom. He adores you. You're his secret idol, his mentor. He has studied and practically memorized every program you ever wrote. He studied your doctorate thesis and that was all by the age of eight. By ten he was ‘improving' as he called it your programs. Dad told me once that he wasn't just correcting your logic, and errors, he was significantly enhancing the programs, and you thought it was the new hardware. I heard him discussing your thesis with Dad once and he showed dad, an ‘improved' version and wanted dad's opinion."
Ruth got up and said "I'm going to find him. I should not have slapped him, Paul."

"He's probably on the roof, Mom, but, wait. Colt's going to kill me for telling you this, because I'm sort of breaking a promise, I made to Dad," Arbor paused, hoping Paul would tell him not to go on.

He sighed. "When we completed Mother, One, Dad asked us to promise not to tell anyone unless it was a life or death situation. He said not to tell anyone who the real creator of MaineFrame PC was, and if anyone ever asked we're to say that it was Dad. The truth is neither dad or myself, designed any part of Mother. We just followed instructions. I once asked Dad, if he knew how it works, and he said he hadn't a clue, all he knew was that it did work."

"Well, so who invented Mother?" asked Paul.

"Mother is all Colt's creation. The only thing I did was give it the name Mother, because of the initials MF PC. Get it Mother F'n PC."

"Mom, you remember when Colt spent three days working after Alan destroyed Mother I ? The day he finished he gave the designs for some new chips to Dad which Dad took and had manufactured. After Dad died, Colt worked even harder on Mother II. I helped a bit, but not much, mainly moral support, and acting as a sounding board. I've learn ed a lot and I understand a lot of how Mother works, but that's only because Colt has spent hours and hours pains takingly explaining things to me. He said he owed it to Keith, to make Mother II the best. I think it was his way of getting over the loss. Anyway, what you know about Mother barely scratches the surface of what it can do. For example, mom, when we were laughing. I know you didn't grasp what Colt did, but to put it in plain computer words we took control of every major pipeline uh computer communications line in the university with out the need of a physical connection. Colt calls it proximity linking. It drives Ops(Operations) crazy because they don't know what's going on, because every thing that's coming in or going out of it is put on hold while Mother does her thing, for thirty seconds to a couple of minutes , and now this VR stuff. Well, Colt says Mother is light years ahead of all other computers, but and I say Colt is LYAOE - light years ahead of everything!"

The two adults were silent.

"Why didn't Colt ever tell me?" muttered Paul.

"Well, maybe the 158 times you saw him he just wasn't in the mood. Do you know what his hopes and dreams are? What he wants in life? Do you even know what his favorite color is, or his favorite book or what clothes he likes to wear, or what annoying habits he has? What's his favorite kind of music? No, Paul you don't. And to me that equates to, you don't really give a Fuck!"

"I'd better go find him" said Paul and he left the room.

"Mom, I've waited for ten years to have the balls to say that to him." said Arb, rather proud of himself.

Ruth quietly said "I wish you'd said it earlier. I've always known that Colt was super intelligent - it just never occurred to me that he was so far ahead of me."

"Just before Dad died, we were all talking. Dad and I said that Colt was the smartest person in the world. Colt argued the point as usual saying he wasn't, that you were much smarter than he. In his mind he's just improving upon your original concepts, and he may have taken them further than you, but they were your original thoughts - ‘she thunk them up'."

"I guess I owe you both an apology. I think I'm nearly as bad as Paul when it comes to keeping in touch with my boys."


Chapter Twenty-three


Colt leaned against the railing looking out over the university. He felt so lonely. Just stood and looked for a while with tears streaming down his face.
Paul quietly walked across the roof and stood next to his son.

"Nice view."

"Yeah." Colt wiped his face on his T-shirt then added "It's particularly nice at night when it's clear."

"You come here often?"

"Lately. I have been. I'm sorry I was rude to you and Ruth."

Paul put his hand on Colt's shoulder, "You had every right to be rude. I have neglected you. Do you think we could just sit down here and talk for a while ?"

"Yeah." Colt said. Then they both sa t down crossed legged next to each other.

"I'm very sorry for not being a real father to you. I have no good excuse. When your mom died, I guess I sort of drowned my sorrow, by working intensely. Keith understood, and I guess I just got into a groove. Then, when I'd see you, you seemed so happy with Arbor and Ruth and Keith, I just figured you were better off." He looked at his son, and Colt could see his eyes getting watery.

"I didn't want to be a burden. I figured you just didn't like me."

"It's not true. I've always loved you. From the moment you were born. I have your pictures, all over my office, and in my wallet" he said, pulling out his wallet, "Look this was your first baby picture. And this one was your Mom's favorite; you had the cutest little butt."

Colt smiled.

"Your mom always said you were like her from the waist up and like me from the waist down"

"Did she say you had a cute butt?"

"As a matter of fact she used to tell me that she married me because I was good-looking and because I had a cute butt."

"Here's a picture of you and her and me at Disney Land"

"She was very pretty."

"Yes, she was beautiful."

"Was it love at first sight?"

"No , Although I think we were secretly attracted to each other in high school. She was Ruthie's best friend. We didn't start dating until after Arbor was born."
"Arb told me about Mother and you. She's an awesome computer , and Keith was right for trying to protect you."

Colt suddenly burst into tears again. Paul quickly took his son in his arms to comfort him.

"I miss him so much, Dad. I want him to come back. I don't want him to be dead."

"Colt, I can't bring him back. If I could, I would. When he died, I felt the pain too, and I cried and I still miss him too. I miss your Mom. Keith told me once he didn't believe in heaven or hell. He said life is what you make it, and life can be heaven or hell. He said he knew he'd lived before. I believed him, and some years later, we were talking about it, and I remembered something he did once. He remembered it too , an adventure we'd had together… in some other lifetime. We discovered, in fact, that we had spent many lifetimes together - sometimes as ‘enemies', but most of the times as comrades fighting for a cause or just living a life. So, the thing is, even though I miss him, I know we will meet again and we'll be best friends again."

"Does Ruth know?" asked Colt.

"I'm sure she does. I'm sure Keith told her, but we've never discussed it. The only person I've ever told was your Mother, and now you."
Colt thought for a while, then asked, "Do you think we've all had lives together, before? You, me, Keith, Arb, Ruthie, Sarah and even Kevin?"

"Oh, I think that is almost a certainty."

For the first time since Keith's death, Colt felt happier. What his Dad had said, felt right and felt good. The emptiness he'd felt was gone. He hugged his father, and just said "That makes me feel better. Thanks, Dad."

They both turned around, when they heard Ruth approach.

"Hi." she said.

"Dad says my mom said I look like him from the waist down and like her from the waist up. She married him because he had a cute butt."

"That's true. She told me that too."

"Do you think I have a cute butt?" Colt said standing up and trying to look at his butt.

"You have a gorgeous butt, young man" she replied.

"Ah ha! Ergo, you think Dad has a cute butt!" Colt chuckled.

Ruth blushed.

"Ah ha! It's true! I'm going to tell Arb. And I'll leave you two a-lone" said Colt as he took off.

Paul got up laughing.

"So?" she asked.

"So, I realized I've never really communicated with my son, until just now. I've missed so much" said Paul "They need access to our main system and I need to arrange a safe house for you and them until we find the leak. Let's go."

"Hey, Arb. Do you think I look like my Dad from the waist down."

"Well, I'm sure you don't look like your Mom from the waist down!"

"Your Mom says I do. And then, I asked her if she thought I have a cute butt, and she replied that I have a gorgeous butt. At which point ergo, she thinks my Dad's butt is gorgeous!" Colt laughed "And then when I said that to her she blushed!"

"I told them who created Mother" Arb said.

"Yeah, I know. You know, Arb, I think they just might love each other. For real!"

"Maybe. You're not mad?"

"No. Should I be?"

Paul and Ruth entered the room. Paul opened his briefcase and took out another vest and tossed it to Colt.

"Put this on now and it's only to come off while you're taking a shower. Understood."

"Yes, sir" he said as he put on the vest "What about Arb?"

"I got mine already?" Arb pulled up his shirt.

"This is bulletproof?" asked Colt.

"Latest stuff! Lightweight and it'll stop a forty-five at 10 feet!"

"Oh good I'll make sure I stay at least ten feet away from anyone with a 45," joked Colt as he put on the vest.

"Guys I'm serious. I don't want you to take them off."

The two replied okay.

"What about Ruthie and you" asked Colt.
"I've got one too" she replied.


"I'm not a target."

Colt took off his vest and tossed it back to Paul "I'm not either."

"Colt, put it on now!" he said and tossed the vest back.

"Then you put one on too! What if they miss Arb and hit you?!"

"Okay. I'll get another one, but put yours on now and don't take it off."

"Put it on Colt" Arb said in a quiet voice.

Colt put on the vest then his shirt.

"Arb, if there's a program on the system that's intercepting my mail how come it has gotten by our security. Our system is constantly checked for viruses and such" asked Paul.

Arb looked at Ruth then at Colt. "Colt?"

"It's not a virus. It's a program and whoever set it up probably has a very good knowledge of your system, they've got to be someone who at sometime was trusted, but until we get access with Mother I can't say for sure, it's just a theory."

"Okay, I'll arrange for access. It won't be easy. I'll have to call in a few favors. Anybody hungry for lunch?"

"Starved!" Colt and Arbor said in near unison.

"Good! So am I. How about burgers and fries? Then when we get back I'll call my secretary and make the arrangements."

"Dad, can we send her an e-mail first and then you can call and confirm that she got the e-mail."

"Sure. Why?"

"Well, I was thinking of hotting things up a bit. We'll send the message and cc yourself. That way the interceptor will also get the message and maybe they'll make a move or something."

"Good thinking, Colt."

"What's your secretary's name?"


"Mark? You have a guy as a secretary!"

"Hey, he's good and efficient and he a top rated sharp shooter."

Colt's hands played across Mother's keyboard typing the message:

"Mark. Make arrangement for Arbor Maine, his mother, Dr. Ruth Maine, on next available flight to Dulles. Need access our system for him. Bringing special PC. Also bringing my son, Colt. Will call you after lunch. PaulS."

"How's that?"


Colt handed Mother to him "Here enter his e-mail address and yours on the cc."
Paul entered the addresses.

"Your Alan's contact…" Colt said.

"Yes. He was a good friend he did some part-time work for the agency. We were basically financing a lot of his research here at the university."

"Did you finance Keith's research?"

"I think if I need financing for anything I'll seek other sources" Colt said. Then quickly added "Just joking."

"Yeah, well, the worst part of it is I haven't a clue why they killed Keith. He had never mentioned Mother to me" Colt saw the sadness and frustration in his Dad's face as he continued to talk "The work he was doing wasn't even classified."

"Dad, Keith probably emailed you about Mother. Whoever intercepted your mail from Keith and Alan never routed it on to you."

"Lunch?" asked Arbor.

"I've got some work to do you guys go on without me, just get me a double cheese burger, fries and a strawberry shake" requested Colt.

"I'll stay if you want" said Arbor.

"No. You go ahead and go."



They left for lunch except for Colt. He put on his VR gloves then called a friend. As he waited he felt the same kind of fear he had experienced before. He had to make a modification to Mother. For some reason he felt it had to be done.
Fifteen minutes later, just as he finished the modification, Bob Jordan, a paramedic, arrived outside the computer lab and Colt buzzed him in. After twenty minutes he left laughing and shaking his head.
The fear had gone.
For the next ten minutes Colt practiced using the VR gloves which were now wrapped in gauze and tape. For the first few minutes it was a little more difficult than it normally was, but soon he was operating at 100 percent. Of course doing much of anything else was nearly impossible.

Colt was in Ruth's office, when they all returned, playing a flight simulator, wearing the retinal projection lenses. His body was dodging and ducking as he avoided obstacles while chasing after another plane. He would have probably never noticed them, except for the smell of food which wafted into the room.

"Gotcha!" yelled Colt.

The others started laughing. Colt turned the game off and looked at them, feeling slightly embarrassed, "Oh, hi! I was just playing an awesome game with my new interface" he said. Then held up his hands saying "They look pretty good, hey? I figured it would look pretty weird wearing my VR gloves so I asked Bob Jordan to come and bandage them up for me"

"Colt you are amazing!" said Paul.

"Here's your food" said Arbor.

"Well, I'm sure Ruth would prefer me to eat elsewhere. You know you two make a charming couple!" he said to his Dad and Ruth. They just smiled and made no comment. Colt smiled thinking to himself, that at least they didn't deny it.
Colt sat down at a table in the lab, and Arb unwrapped the burger, and put it up to Colt's mouth. Just as Colt was about to take a bite he pulled it away. Then he waved it back and forth slowly about two inches in front of Colt's nose saying "Smells good doesn't it. Delicious! Yummy!" He continued his teasing.

Colt snapped at the burger and just managed to get a bite.

Arbor continue his taunting.

"Arb! Knock it off!" said Colt getting pissed off at having only succeeded in getting two small bites.

Ruth stuck her head out of the office saying "Arbor! Just feed him and stop teasing".

"Okay, baby open your wittle mouthy" said Arbor.

Colt opened up and Arb crammed half the hamburger in.
Colt tried to say something, but his mouth was too full.

"Stop chewing with your mouth open" said Arb.

Colt chewed with his mouth opened even more.

"Ready for another bite?" asked Arb.

"Yes, but if you cram it in like you just did I'll split it out all over you!" Colt said.

Arb couldn't resist. He crammed the rest of the burger into Colt's mouth. Colt chewed a bit then spat the hamburger out all over Arb.

"Colt!" yelled Arb "Mom, he spat the burger all over me."

Colt was laughing and said "I told him not to cram the whole hamburger into my mouth or I'd spit it out all over him. He did, so I did!" Then continued to giggle.

Ruth came over, trying not to laugh, and said sternly, "What are you a couple of three year olds?"

Colt said in a baby voice "No, he's four. I two." Then both boys began laughing.

Ruth trying even harder not to laugh said "Arb! Go to the rest room, and clean yourself up! And you young man, clean up this mess!"

"I can't. My hands are all bandaged up" giving her a helpless look.

"Make him lick it up, Mom!" Arbor laughed as he quickly went out the door.

"Can you feed me my fries?" asked Colt.

"Here, I'll feed you" said Paul.

For the rest of the afternoon Arbor, Colt and Paul sat and talked. Mainly about Paul, but also about Arbor and Colt. Colt was happy. He was really getting to know his dad.