This morning, Officer Grant sounded friendly and congratulatory. This afternoon, it's menacing. Chuck, the senior officer in our small department, already knows I went against his orders. "Yes sir?"
"So you ignored me and went ahead about those pet reports?" he was frowning. Damn, I am so busted.
I shrugged. "Yes sir." No point in denying it. It was a nice job while it lasted.
I opened it to find two VIP passes to the pet show. "Everything will be on us. Drinks, nibbles, and we'd be honoured if you presented the first place trophy," Merlot added.
Chuck shook his head and took a step back. "I'm very allergic to cats. I'm not going to be anywhere near the place. But you have good cop instincts, Sam. There was a problem and now the pet nappers can wait their trials. I was wrong to neglect it but don't buck orders too often."
I went home feeling pleased and proud. The pets were home, the culprits would face their sentences and I was a proper cop.
"What's up," he asked. I just pointed at our son.
Jericho looked over then started to grin. "Oh look at my clever little fish. You swam out there all by yourself. Now swim back to daddy."
I watched as Goby suddenly launched himself into the water. He dived out of sight, I would have been worried but Jericho clearly wasn’t. No wonder he said ‘little fish’. Striders do swim like fish.
Goby popped out of the water near Jer who promptly scooped him up. “What a clever little fish,” he cooed at our son.
I had a sudden unpleasant vision. I started scanning the pond for a small dark haired body. “Jericho, where's Monica?"
"She's inside. She was playing with the dollhouse a few minutes ago. Why?"
“I have a child that can't swim?" For one moment, Jericho looked offended by the idea. After that moment passed he looked thoughtful then shook his head. "That's not acceptable. We should visit the pool later and teach Monica to swim."
"Jericho? I think we need to talk more."
"About what, love?"
"Fair enough, Sam. Let's go inside. I can find some dry clothes and we can talk."
“Sammy, I promise. I don’t want anything bad to happen to any of our babies.” He shuddered as much as I had at the thought. “It’s weird to think we're going to have to teach some of them to swim though.” He looked at me. "I might need a little help with that. Striders don't need to breath air when we swim, we have gills. A little help reminding me that you don't would be a good idea."
I stared for a moment at his neck but could see no signs of gills. “So neither you nor Goby could ever drown?" He nodded. "Now, about the other thing Goby did. Did he really send the fountain water right at you?”
“So, what can you do? Other than steal hearts?”
“Actually, Sam, I’m kind of pathetic for a Strider.” Jericho was looking a bit sheepish. “I can barely do more than Goby. Well, I can suppress the magic from another Strider but that's not an admired ability for us. My lack of talent is one of the three reasons that I was chosen to send to land.”
I looked at Jer. “So if it’s one of three, what are the other two?”
“Well, so much for that prediction. You just have me.”
“Sammy, my people think very long term. It might be that the prediction is about one of our children. It might be that it's about one of our grandchildren.” He turned to kiss me. “I’m sure that you are part of the prediction, that would explain the blessing when we bonded. It was truly meant to be. Ah, that’s something else I should tell you.”
“Strider males are capable of carrying babies. Effectively, I could get pregnant. The science lab option just means no one has to bother with it. Even without the science lab, we could have children.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Sam. You are certainly not a boring mate.” Jericho spent the next few minutes proving his words.
“There is one more thing that bothers me. Jericho, suppose you were wrong? Suppose my life isn’t as long as a Strider, your life will be as short as what mine would be, 80 or maybe 90 years?”
“Sammy, my love. I’d rather live 50 years with you than 1000 years without.”
Side note - what the boys don't realise yet and probably won't for some years is that their non-Strider children will have normal Sim lifespans. So basically, Monica will grow up, grow old and die while Jericho and Sam are still young adults.