The Reids had uneasily accepted "The Morphist" into their estate.
David sunned himself on the porch. He breathed in the salty smell of the bay and the green scent of the freshly cut grass. A portable radio by his hip faintly played summer hits through moments of static.
Felix lay under his feet, paws holding down a rawhide bone he intermediately crunching on and tearing off drool-soaked pieces. The shepard's ears picked up on animal rustling the leaves of the bushes at the far end of the yard. When the thing moved to a closer bush, Felix went ballistic. David tried to catch him as the dog jumped down a story to chase what his owner thought was a fox or deer. Spurned by the excitement of the hunt, the shepard formed full armor.
"Please retrieve your dog. In broad daylight ... do you know what people will say?" Martin Reid peered over the wood railing.
"Don't worry about it, Gramps." David stretched in no particular hurry. "He'll either give up on it and come home and catch it an eat it."
"From my experience, I wouldn't let any Xilvrin being run wild." Ruth said softly.
David chose to ignore that and changed the subject. "Do you think... this is just a theory... the reason you couldn't break down the Xilvrin into solely metallic compounds was that it had something else in it? We know it was in a rock that came from space ... it seems to have aggressive, defensive, and self-healing properties ... possibly it was an alien weapon, something synthetic they were developing."
"You know I was never that interested in the possibility of extraterrestrials ... that was more of your father's hobby."
"Or maybe it was part of their DNA... even though some scientists argue that alien lifeforms may not develop DNA but some other mechanism, that is it unique to Earth. Asteroids and comets have dust on them over four billion years old of carbon, minerals that are the basic ingredients of life. Even though they slam down at up to 5,000 miles and hour, some of that survives. In Australia they found a meteorite containing amino acids in the 1960's. They did tests on it. Under pressure and the energy of impact, which form proteins, which in turn make cells. This leads some to hypothesizing all life on earth could have been brought here from somewhere else. Xilvrin certainly was... it is not out of the realm of possibility that it also contained something similar to, if not, DNA. Was our meteorite tested for DNA or any of its components?"
"I don't test for that ... that was Dr. Chung's department. If he'd found something I'm sure he would have shared his findings."
"Oh yeah. He tried to kidnap me and make it look like an accident ... in the middle of an earthquake so it wouldn't be suspicious if I went missing ... real reliable source, Mom. If he did find anything he would have hid it from you.
She sighed. "Both your parents were one hundred percent human. If you start talking about ..."
"I did find out something monumental at SunSand. The Xilvrin 'infected' dogs grew normally from puppies to adults, but once they reached adulthood their cells life cycle slowed by a factor of three ... their overall lifespan extended by a factor of three ... Do you know what that MEANS? I could live to be 300 or better. Judging from what they said about the dogs and observing Felix, I'll keep a youthful appearance and vigor throughout most of my life. and you thought I wouldn't make it past childhood." He smiled smugly.
"Not to be negative, but who is saying you will? You're not in the best of shape now."
"You're the only one saying I won't. I really am a super being. Does that threaten your sense of security?"
"I have to get ready for work," David slipped inside to up to his room.
"We'll be joining you for lunch, dear,” his grandmother called after him. "Maybe you could wait on us if that wouldn’t be too awkward." She and his grandfather tended to tune out Ruth and David's private conversations. They were not something they could wrap their minds around just yet.
The room David had been sleeping in for the past year was nearly all white, as was all the rooms. It had been his uncle's room once, an exact copy of his mother’s room. Other than on the tapes, she had never talked about him. David had been allowed to tack up a few posters to personalize it. There were girls, cars, and girls on cars, as well as a dinosaur here and there.
He pulled on the polyester pants and buttoned the formal shirt. He cheated with the bowtie, using slivers of Xilvrin to do the knot instead of fumbling to tie it with human hands. The uniform itched against the scars that refused to heal. They wouldn't heal until he could forget the trauma that went with them.
One thing he loved about the Yacht Club was it's view. He could stare at the oceans blue grey expanse for hours. It called to him.
... as did his manger. Table five wanted their tomato basil soup before it got cold.
He hummed along with the smooth voice of Enya singing "Oronoco Flow". Those he brought entrees to were mostly older folk who'd made their fortune and were now relaxing. Their expensive toys -boats and cars- were parked outside. Inside, the walls were pale blue with guilded chair-rails, nautical paintings, wine colored cloth covered tables with fresh flowers in crystal vases and gas lights he'd set up before they'd opened at noon.
"Darling, I've been talking to a few of my people, and they may be able to make you a real citizen. all the proper papers. Would you like to be a Reid or take whoever-it-is's name?" Diane Reid patted him on the arm after he'd brought over their garden salads. "Oh, and we're going sailing later, all of us. I know Martin has been teaching you the ropes."
"Mmm... Reid, I guess," David nodded, staring out the window to the subtle waves. "Nice day for it. Sailing."
"Gorgeous, don't you think? We're going to have a friendly little race with someone vacationing here. Mr. Richards I believe his name was."
David's ears perked up. "What?"
Martin chuckled. "You're not afraid of the competition are you? Oh, there he is with his family," He waved to a table in the corner where Will, Elizabeth, and a woman he'd never seen before sat.
"Mrs. Richards won't be joining us of course, being so later in her pregnancy," Diane informed him.
David's fists clenched. I should kill him now. But with all these witnesses? I hesitated before... am I making another mistake?.
"Don't you know who that is?" Ruth whispered, panicked. "We can't..."
Her mother assured her, "Oh, don't be silly. There's nothing at stake."