Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

“Welcome aboard, Mrs. Dieter.”

“Why, thank you, Captain Dieter,” Lana replied with a giggle, and followed it up with a long, hard kiss. Afterwards, she embraced him firmly and said, “I can’t believe I married a 200 year old man.”

“I’m thirty-five,” he corrected. “I just happened to have been born 200 years ago. It’s one of the consequences of choosing a career piloting interstellar cargo ships at near light speed.”

“I can’t imagine how hard it had to be for you to leave your family and friends for so long, knowing that they would grow old, while you stayed young.”

“I won’t lie to you, darling, it ruined my first marriage. Unlike you, Demetra was afraid of space, and wouldn’t leave Earth. It didn’t seem like such a big deal at the beginning. After all, the Alpha Centauri run has the least relativistic effects. However, I’d age only a year, as Demetra and the kids aged eight. However, the money was good, so we thought we could deal with it, but after the fourth run it became untenable. Relative to me, in four years, Demetra was older than my mother. I couldn’t handle it. I asked for a divorce. I willingly gave her all my money, and signed up for the Denebolian run. She died during the 73 year voyage, and I haven’t been back to Earth since.”

“Was she pretty?”

Concluding that he had already said too much on the subject, he tried to divert her attention. “Not compared to the prettiest girl in the universe,” he said as he framed her face in the palms of his hands. “Well, that is, until Halona decides to join us,” he added has he padded her slightly protruding tummy. “Now, if I don’t get this ship out of the dock, Phobos Control will give someone else our launch slot, and we won’t get to Regulus before the cargo spoils.” He kissed her forehead lightly, and headed toward the flight deck, truly believing the topic was behind them.

Several months later, however, after initiating the Regulus breaking sequence, Wendell Dieter entered their bedroom to find Lana sitting on the edge of the bed in tears. Fearing a problem with the pregnancy, he rushed to her side. “What’s the matter, honey? Is the baby okay?”

She pointed to the desk monitor with a trembling finger, “Is that your Demetra?” she asked through stifled sobs.

It was. Wendell couldn’t understand why his new wife was so fixated on a woman that’s has been dead for centuries. “Honey, what’s this about? I explained to you a dozen times…”

“No, no, no, it’s not that. It’s a Genealogy site. I was constructing Halona’s family tree. Demetra’s daughter was my grandmother. You’re my great grandfather.”


Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows