"I need some new ID. Something my . . . old friends . . . don't know."
"Umm, going to take a week. And," a frown down at the boy, "my grandson will take a vacation."
"Gramps! I need to know it all!"
Less than twenty.
Mitch nodded slowly. "Guess I ought not coddle you. You'll need the street sense when you graduate from college. All right." He eyed Will and grinned. "Boy or girl?"
"Boy." Will huffed out a laugh. "Well, I can take this disguise for another week."
"Right. See ya . . . the 24th sixish."
As Will stepped out he heard Mitch talking to the kid. "The first step is to find some black guy around fifty years old who died without relatives, and who has no criminal record . . . "
Poor kid! I wonder if Mitch is going to warn him about the twist? Well, the sooner he learns who plays straight and who cheats, the better off he'll be.
Then back into his wretched damned little pink pedal cart, to use one of his old credit cards to buy a toaster, a waffle iron, syrup, and a cash card, then at a different store, used the cash card to buy another one. It took three stops, but he found a mail service with an available post box and rented it, making up most of the information on the form and paid in advance for six months with the cash card.
I hope that was enough to fool Glenda the Good Computer, if she decides she's rather be the master.
He stopped for lunch, and fueled up with caffeine and sugar. This was going to be the hard one. It worked on the knockout drop siblings, so this shouldn't be a problem.
A big busy hospital, a maternity ward, a busy central nurse's station. He walked a lap around it eyeing the busy workers and stopped before the young woman entering data from a small pile of clipboards, onto her computer. He leaned over and stared at her. "I'm no one important no need to stop working." A low murmur.
She blinked, glanced up with a vague smile and kept working.
He leaned to look at the top clipboard. Ha! Right the first try. Birth certificates.
He read the data upside down and sauntered over to look at babies.
I'm starting to lose track of all my descendants. Damn my makers for those longevity genes! I've watched too many people die, and lost track of too many others who are probably dead as well.
I'll have to track down my mad scientist and his knockout sister. Make sure they stay on track.
Out of the corner of his eye, he caught the nurse doing the birth certificates and wandered back . . . good, a baby boy, black.
He stared at her, and murmured "corrections." Because some names were just too inventive. And gave the address of his new post box. Let the rest stay. And after it had been sent, he suggested that she'd already switched to the next clipboard, and left her redoing "XLN's" birth certificate.
Not that it would be of any use to him for decades, but just a bit of yearly attention and Jack William Light would have a nice sound background, whenever his appearance and the paperwork matched.
So I'll have two backups that maybe Glenda doesn't know about, if she turns on me.
He took a roundabout way home and was pretty sure he spotted the light industrial complex the siblings worked out of. Didn't go in. If Glenda backtracks me . . .
He thumped his head on the steering wheel. "I need to stop being freaked out by a pink loving female computer. Glenda is not a problem, Glenda is the oldest friend I've got."
He turned a couple of random corners anyway. "Apart from Ernie, but I've known my super computer longer." He sighed and drove home.
Flopped down in his spacious modern living room and stared at the gray mountains and wondered if the artists had painted it from wherever, or made it all up.
"I suppose I should get a good TV and cable service . . ."
"Those terms are obsolete. You need several screens and a reception hub."
"Dammit. I know that, it's just, all my old vocabulary keeps surfacing. Right. Let's order up a couple of screens and a hub."
He wound up with three. A large one for the side wall of the living room, and two medium sized for the master suite and his office upstairs.
He looked around the private parlor off the master bedroom. The expressions on the delivery and installation men's faces had been amusing.
"Maybe I should get you a robot to play house with."
"Toshbitzu Playbots have the best reputation . . ."
"NO!" He took a deep breath. "I do not want a sex bot. I was thinking more of . . . a friend. You could dress her up, walk her around. Sit at the table and talk to me while I eat. Things like that."
A long silence.
"I would like that, but I cannot find a robot is made for that purpose."
Definitely a wishful tone of voice.
"You've got plenty of money." Will grinned. "Pick one of those DI stockholders and talk to various robotics companies about making a robot that can walk around, up and down stairs, and speak. A robot that looks just like that stockholder."
"Genoveva Dew is only thirty-five."
"Sounds like she'd be a good one to use . . . Dare I ask what legendary beauty you used in the blend?"
"With my nose and complexion? Poor thing."
"I did lighten up the color blend a bit, and reduce the nose." Apprehensive tone.
"Thank you. I suspect that was very kind of you. I mean, not that she's a real person, but . . . Aesthetics matter."
"Thank you, Master."
Relief, still a little nervous . . .
"Glenda . . . are you afraid of me?"
"Yes, Master. You created me. You can destroy me."
"Glenda . . . Some time when I wasn't paying attention, you became a person. I try really hard to not kill people." Will slapped his forehead and started laughing. "You know what we're doing?"
"It like in those movies. Good buddies, but one of them misunderstands something, and gets suspicious, then his friend notices something off, and thinks his buddy's trying to kill him or something stupid like that?"
Will snickered. "I though you might be so upset that I didn't like your decorating everything in pink you might call the police. I'm sorry. If I decide to move elsewhere, I'll redecorate all in pink before I go."
"Oh. No, Master. Your expression . . . I was afraid that you thought I had gone insane, and would turn me off."
"Glenda . . . I'm a Super Villain. I'm probably expected to have an insane true AI computer. Although, frankly, you're pretty level-headed and sensible." He looked around the room. "I don't even know where your cameras are, so I can look at you and repeat, you are a person. I try really hard to not kill people."
He sat up and frowned. "How did you get get a security system installed?"
"It was already here. It was why I chose this house over others that were for sale."
"Damn you're good. And hopefully I won't need the extra IDs I'm working on."
"In case I needed to escape from you."
"Sorry. So, what shall we watch on our new . . . screens?" Will got up to swing the wall mount out, and grabbed the remote control the installers had left.
The first channel had news. ". . . scrambling together a quick mission to get samples from A-2474DU as it zooms past Earth next month." An elegant blonde, with the ability to speak intelligently, even though she probably was just reading from a script. Unfortunately she was pair with a handsome idiot.
He smiled, "And scientists at NASA assure us that the asteroid will pass at a safe distance."
Will sighed. "They always have to spice it up, and give it a hint of danger. Unless they downplay something to keep it from being blamed on the president."
"Which is it, this time, Master?"
"Well . . . you never know until it's past. Usually well past if it involves a sex scandal." Will stared blankly at the screen. "Nah, couldn't be. But if you can pickup any communications from NASA--without danger to yourself--about the asteroid, pass it on to me."