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Following the Professor's stooped figure through the door of the laboratory, Claudius Veniston called over his shoulder, "Well, son. Are you coming?"
Before leaving, the young man re-tucked a sheet that was slipping, reviewed his sleeping charges, then sighed happily.
In a few short weeks, he would be welcoming his siblings into their new world. In the meantime, the Professor had promised him a celebration. "You're my crowning achievement," he'd said, "and tomorrow morning, you and I will make history."
Even though the young man was consumed with curiosity, the Professor refused to elaborate.
Despite that fact that he had ordered the cook to prepare a veritable feast in honor of the occasion, the young man's father seemed unusually morose and he wondered why. While the normally talkative Claudius remained uncharacteristically silent throughout dinner, the Professor made up for it in spades. Almost bubbling, he even went so far as to tell a couple of racy stories from his distant youth. This surprised the young man who had never thought of the Professor as anything other than old and even his father raised an eyebrow.
When the servant came in to clear away the dessert plates, he rose from the table. The Professor had told him to make it an early night and he sensed the two wanted to talk alone. Turning in the doorway, he saw Claudius reach across the table to refill the Professor's glass. The Professor said something and for the first time that evening, his father laughed.
Heading up the stairs, the young man could hear the continuing rumble of voices from the dining room. As he was preparing for bed, the front door openedand closed.
Tomorrow, he thought drifting off to sleep, tomorrow morning we're going to make history.
The year was 4186, the place was the planet Andromeda and it was the last time the young man saw the Professor alive.
Copyright © 2003 by Kate Saundby