Chu Shen’s mouth dropped to the ground in shock. Really!? Just who did this man think he was? “What? Why would I do that?”
“Simple really. I can give you a lab stocked with anything you want along with a blank check to buy anything else.” The old man replied back without losing momentum.
“Really, and how are you going to do that huh?” Chu Shen said sarcastically.
“Well, if I couldn’t then no one could. Trust me kid, I can offer you better facilities than anything anyone else could. I’m not the chief engineer of Sparta for nothing.”
“What?” Chu Shen asked in astonishment.
The weird old man puffed his chest with pride, making the stains on his clothes stick out. “Yes I am the chief engineer of Sparta, Xentus Viri!”
Chu Shen facepalmed. Of course he wasn’t the chief engineer of Sparta. He was just a whackjob with some of the best enhancements he had heard of. Ushering up his courage he started towards Xentus.
It was sad really when a twelve year old kid had to act more mature than a normal adult. “Alright, thank you for your time Mr. Viri but I think it’s time for you to leave. Can you go now? Come on, out you go. Here take this with you.”
Chu Shen started to gently usher him out while picking up his cable and pushing it into his hands. “Wait, you’ll regret this I swear! Just hear me out, come onnnnnnne.” Xentus whined he was pushed out of the room and towards the door.
He complained the entire way telling him it was a mistake to tell him to leave until they reached the door. “Hold on! If you really want me to leave then i’ll go. Just take this okay, call me if you change your mind. My offer still stands.” He shoved a metallic silver business card into his hands. With that he walked the rest of the way out and left.
Chu Shen shut the door leaned on it as he slowly slid to the wall. He wiped off the sweat from his forehead. The entire time he was scared that the whackjob would attack him. Luckily he wasn’t that crazy.
After a couple seconds he recovered. Glancing over at his pizza he shook his head. After that experience he was definitely not hungry.
Since he was done learning, he had to decide what to do with his time.
With his newfound freedom he immediately decided to explore a couple things like music and food. Chu Shen loved the candy the most. He spent a week exploring the city and everything it had to offer. He even spent some time diving in the ocean.
Eventually though he received a call from Leonard.
Chu Shen who was eating some sherbet at an ice cream parlor tapped the small communicator clipped onto his ear. “Hey Shen, it’s Leonard. Mind if I swing by to check up on you?”
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He put down his spoonful of sherbet as he replied. “Yeah. I’m having some sherbet right now though. Have you ever had any? It’s delicious.”
“Hehe. At least you’re finally getting out of your house. I thought you’d be cooped up in there for the rest of your life.”
“Nope. Just taking a little vacation.”
“Anyways I’ll be there in about an hour.”
“Great, I’ll be at home waiting.”
“See ya.” Chu Shen immediately dug back into his sherbet. There was still an hour left, plenty of time left for another bowl of ice cream or two.
A while later, and a small brainfreeze, Chu Shen went back to his apartment and waited until Leonard arrived.
“Hey Shen, how’s the studies going?”
“Good, just finished the trigonometry module.” A small lie but one necessary to not stand out.
“Man, you are one smart cookie. Bet you’re parents spent a fortune on genetic mods.” After he mentioned that Leonard immediately looked apologetically at Chu Shen. “Oh…. Sorry that’s insensitive of me. Anyways they haven’t found your parents yet but we’re still looking.”
“Don’t worry. I am confident they are alright. Just keep trying for me alright?”
“We sure will.”
After that they continued talking, just small chit chat about how they had been since the last time he had visited a month ago. Soon they started up a game of Galactic Conflict, a first person shooter with holographic displays. Truly an epic game outside of Virtual Reality.
They played for five hours after which they both decided to go to bed. It was about 10 O’Clock after all. Chu Shen set-up the couch which was a pullout bed. Then they crashed.
“Hey Shen, what did you do to the AI?” Chu Shen, who was in the middle of breakfast shrugged.
“What do you mean, I didn’t do anything.” Leonard shook his head.
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“You must have, otherwise the panel to access it’s braincase wouldn’t be off.” Chu Shen’s had an ‘aha!’ moment. He had never figured out how to put the panel back on, so it just stayed off.
“Oh yeah that. Interesting story, you see there was this weird old guy…” He quickly told his tale of how Xentus Viri had come in and messed with the case and shoved him around.
After he finished he expected Leonard to scold him or laugh it off but Leonard said nothing. Instead he showed a weird expression. “He said he was Xentus Viri?”
Chu Shen nodded. “You saw him hack the AI using his hands? And all the information was correct?”
He nodded again. “Yeah, his hands were going so fast they were a blur.” Leonard blew out a breath and leaned back in his chair.
After a couple seconds he looked at Chu Shen. “Well, that was the real deal. That ‘weird old man’ is Xentus Viri, the eccentric Chief Engineer of Sparta.”
Chu Shen was blown away by that simple statement.
Chief Engineer of the nation that was leading in technological advances? How outrageous was that!
Leonard didn’t stop there though. “Xentus Viri is a little weird as you saw. He is very eccentric and more than a little boastful. However he is a brilliant scientist. If he offered you a lab with unlimited resources he can undoubtedly back it up.”
“If you’re interested in that kind of thing you’d best call him back. He’s offering you a really good offer since the learning module was a 1000 credits anyway.” Indeed the learning module was expensive but it also included all the books he needed for his education in an ebook format.
Leonard studied Chu Shen’s shocked face. “So, are you going to take his offer?”
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