You know the drill -- I'm posting unproofread drivel as I write it...
T H E I N F I N I T Y S E R I E S
* III *
Author: D. Sanders
“Brion, pass me that spanner, the three quarter one.” Val asked where he drifted in the gravity free environment in the engine room. He’d turned off the gravity field so the blood wouldn’t rush to his head as he tried getting to the awkward flux grid power relay.
“Where the hell is it?” Brion grumbled trying to find the elusive wrench in a sea of weightless tools they had floating close at hand.
“There above your head.”
Brion rolled his eyes and handed it over to Val.
“How you boys doing in there?” Beau’s voice called over the intercom. Brion floated over to the panel.
“Another ten minutes or so and we’ll have it back on-line. Just a circuit break, Val’s putting the panel back on now.”
“Good, dinner is almost ready and Cris is having computer withdrawals.”
“When isn’t my husband not having computer separation anxiety?” Val chuckled tightening the last bolt. “Done.”
“Tell Cris he can fire up his network again. Power stabilized no more brown outs.” Brion said as he and Val collected their tools and turned the gravity field back on.
“Yippee! Oh lovely cursor, oh how I pine when you do not blink so beguiling at me!” Cris’ voice came over the speaker and Val laughed.
“I’ll give you blink you idiot.” Val retorted as he turned to Brion.
“You can quit ya know, we’re only a few days out from Pirotaine we can take you back.”
“Oh hell no.” Brion grinned as they wandered up from the engine room of the “Infinity” into the main living section. He’d just turned twenty years old and while he loved his parents and grandparents and his siblings, he wanted nothing more than a change of scenery and no girls hogging every bathroom in the Homestead. Between his aunts, his mother, and his sister he rarely had a chance to breathe, let alone take a nice long bathroom visit without someone pounding on the door. Women surrounded him and children of all ages had it not been for his grandfather, father and brother he’d have gone crazy.
Not that he didn’t love them all dearly, in fact that was far removed from the truth. Farin had taught him everything he knew about engineering, his mother had taught him to sing, his father taught him to draw, his grandmother to cook, he was all in all quite a well rounded young man but he needed something more, a chance to spread his wings and fly as it were.
So when Tovi had wanted to remain behind on Pirotaine with her husband Marc and start raising a family, she was almost thirty after all and as much as she loved her parents, it was time for their baby girl to leave the nest. Marc had come on board while both he and Tovi had been in their teens and they had been married almost seven years at this point. It was nice for Val and Cris to have them both close, but both men knew they’d not be able to keep their daughter close forever. So Tovi and Marc stayed behind, Val was losing his assistant and Brion jumped at the chance and vacant job opening.
Farin needed to retire soon and Brion’s younger brother Roger, just out of high school would stay to take over the Salvage yard with their father Phineas so Farin could retire. The yard suited Roger more anyway; he was the most like Phineas. Laid back and easy going and had no desire to leave Rael.
Brion was definitely his mother’s son. Fiery tempered, passionate, foul mouthed, and eager to take the world by storm. She and his father had a strange marriage. She flittered about the galaxy singing to throngs of people, Phineas was the stay at home dad, painting, sculpting and running the small art gallery since Ms. Renault had willed it to him in her passing and he managed to also help the aging Farin run the salvage yard. Roger spent all his time with Farin as Phineas ran back and forth between the two jobs. Valeria, an artist herself thanks to her brother’s influence on her took up working full time at the gallery to allow Phineas the time to run back and forth.
The Corcoran’s had become a leading family in Rael, everyone knew who they were and their contributions to the community were vast. Farin was even asked to run for mayor at one point, he respectfully declined the offer, he hadn’t a head for politics, he was an old grease monkey as he put it and not inclined to working where his hands didn’t get dirty. Phineas was offered the candidacy the following election and like his father ran for the hills when faced with politics. He had too much to deal with raising three children and working two jobs let alone trying to run a city.
It was hard for Phineas sometimes with Romi who could and would be gone for months at a time, Phineas never worried about her beyond her getting hurt, but he was lonely during those times, it’s why he still lived in the “Homestead” with his parents and their children. He could care for the kids and help his parents who were growing older. Farin was Seventy and Mandy was Sixty-five and their bodies reminded them they needed help occasionally. Phineas was always there for them all. It was part of what made Romi love him so much, he gave her the freedom to live her dreams and always have him to come home to. Phineas was the rock in the family that everyone turned to, and whom everyone supported when he was missing Romi more than usual.
He and Romi had a faithful and unquenchable trust in one another that was amazing and inspiring. The love was strong and Romi always came home to them full of amazing stories and bizarre presents.
Brion’s youngest sibling and the only girl of the trio of children was still in middle school, she was only twelve and was certainly daddy’s little girl. Phineas was a tad over protective, but so were her older brother’s, Beryl certainly did not lack for doting male figures in her life.
She was the only one of the siblings to look like Phineas. They all had his eyes, and his height, but only Beryl inherited his coloring and his even temperament. The “Homestead” had expanded even more over the years; it was a virtual compound of family homes and workshops. The health clinic was expanded into a freestanding facility and Mary ran that with a volunteer staff while her Husband Leigh ran a law practice in Rael and managed the fundraising and accounts for the free clinic.
Erin, a middle school science teacher and her Husband Aric, a high school literature teacher had built their home next door to start and the additions grew from there. Bo and her wife Margaret lived next door to that, they were both pastry chefs and much to Beau and Cris’ gluttonous delight had bought the Fontesque bakery from the owners who were old and wanted to sell and rather than open their own bakery, they bought the landmark location and to keep the heritage of Rael in tact they didn’t even change the name and in return for the financial aide to help purchase and win the bidding war for the building, they spoiled certain uncles rotten when they came to visit. Valeria, who was still unmarried, lived at home.
Tovi and Marc were next to join the circus and construction had already started on their home. Tovi was a genius when it came to computers, Cris had taught her everything he knew so finding a job was not going to be difficult for her, Marc would help at the Salvage yard, freeing up more of Phineas’ divided schedule. It was becoming a working, self-sufficient family compound quickly.
However, it was always noisy with children of all ages running in and out and Brion reveled in the peace of his cabin on board the “Infinity” it was so much quieter in space.
Everyone gathered at the table in the main room for dinner, Beau had prepared steak and onions with mushroom gravy and the entire cabin smelled of grilled onions, it was wonderful. Beau had become quite adept at cooking over the years, it was his job on the “Infinity” and he did enjoy it so it helped. He was feeling the loss of Tovi almost as much as her parents. For years she had been his student and his companion while the others worked, and when she got older and began working as part of the crew, she still managed to spend time with Beau. He was grieving a little and pouring his energy into keeping busy.
He was writing music, cooking and playing a lot. Eran sighed as he sat down at his plate. “Beau, I worry about you.”
“Eran love, I’m fine.” Beau reassured laying a hand to his beloved’s check. “Eat your dinner, I’m suffering an empty nest is all.”
“Tell me about it. Cris sighed, trying not to tear up, again. He missed his baby girl and all the fun they’d had when she was little teaching her. They taught her well and she was a strong, bright woman now, they all had to let go. That was the worst part about never aging or changing. Those you loved did and one could not stop time to prevent children from growing up. It was a sublime pain; the love you gained was worth the sorrow of letting go. They’d not have traded one moment with her, and it wasn’t as if she were gone, yet. She was still young, and there would be grandchildren, and then great grandchildren. The cycle of life they’d get to see would be fascinating and something no one but the four of them would ever get the chance to see.
“I wonder how my dad is. I know he’s feeling a bit down since I left.” Brion said just looking at his dinner.
“Son, every father hates to see his children grow up because you do it so damn fast. He’ll be fine eventually, we all will.” Val said pouring wine for everyone and then holding up his glass. “To family.”
“To family.” Everyone raised a toast and drank deeply.