Terry Henry Walton Chronicles Book 9
By Craig Martelle and Michael Anderle
Kimber and Kaeden made short work of the obstacle course set up outside the command center. Akio hadn’t allowed them to be idle during their recovery and acclimation time. He made them rebuild the course, tripling the height and length of the obstacles. Ramses was still re-learning how to walk before trying to run.
Akio refused to let anyone sit out, so Cory had trained every day, just like Kim and Kae. Her nanocytes were not fully up to the challenge like those of her siblings, but she was able to perform far better than even the most capable pure human.
They saw the pod descending at the same time.
Kim, Kae, and Cory’s initial concern that it was an attack evaporated once they saw Akio strolling to the landing area to meet it. The three ran after him, acting very much like children as they pulled each other back in order to be first as they expected to see their parents.
When the ramp descended, they’d put on their emotionless faces to stand in a line as if they had been there all along. Akio looked at them for a few moments, while they tried not to smirk.
Inside the pod, Terry and Char carried their grandchildren, the two-year-old William and the five-year-old Mary Ellen.
Auburn spotted his wife and ran. They’d been apart for more than a year, as had Kaeden and Marcie. She bolted from the pod as if racing Auburn. Terry and Char waited for Felicity to find her way into the sunshine, joining her outside as the children reconnected. Cory and Akio approached, bowing together.
Then Cory rushed forward to wrap an arm around each of her parents, giving nose kisses to her niece and nephew.
“Akio-sama,” Terry started, unable to bow because of Cory and the toddler in his arms. “I want to thank you in person for taking such good care of my family.”
“It is what I would do for anyone, Terry-san, although I am especially pleased with the results. Kaeden is eight inches taller and Kimber is six. It took them some time to get used to their new bodies,” Akio replied, feeling guilty over the amount of time the process had taken, no matter how many times Terry told him that it was okay.
A normal conversion with a fully functioning pod doc would usually take days, but Akio’s system wasn’t running optimally and the changes in the people were extreme. With both of those factors, days became months.
Ramses finally joined the group. He walked stiffly, stopping and stretching often during the short trip. He’d only been out of the pod two weeks, and his new muscles needed more time stretching and flexing.
Cory put William down who immediately ran to his father. To the children, their father had always been tall, so they didn’t see the difference. Marcie used to look Kae in the eye, now, she had to tip her head backward.
Kae grinned ear to ear, then picked his wife up and swung her around in a circle which knocked both the kids down. They started to cry, but their parents were quick to the rescue.
Akio motioned for the group to make their way to the house, where he would welcome them in a more traditional Japanese manner. Terry let the others continue toward a waiting Yuko. Terry watched the happy reunion. They’d been apart for far too long, but they’d make up that time and then some
When the others had gone, Terry faced Akio, both men wearing serious expressions. “He was right there, Akio-sama. We saw Mister Smith, but couldn’t get close enough to do anything about it. Have you heard or seen anything since?”
“Nothing, Terry-san. He has disappeared and we’ve seen and heard nothing. You have won the battle,” Akio assured the colonel.
“But we haven’t won the war. I think we have a long ways to go. I’d like to spread the FDG around the globe, put them in strategic well-populated locations to keep an eye on things. Watch for people who go missing. Watch for the influence of the Forsaken. They just can’t help themselves when they’re around humans. They want to take over, build their legions of minions. I need your help in transporting our people around. Is there any way we can add a couple pods to our stable?” Terry asked, bowing humbly as he made his request.
Learn more about Craig Martelle’s books and his life in Alaska at http://www.craigmartelle.com