In court, the asshole’s sole argument came down to not remembering sending the payment. When asked whether or not he owed the money in the first place, he had to admit that he did. When asked whether or not the note looked like his handwriting, compared to other examples of his handwriting he admitted it looked like his writing. He seized upon the note being in the online payment as proof he couldn’t have done it, but the judge was not hearing that. “If I worked at a bank processing center, and someone slipped me a couple extra, I’d put a note in too.”
When Amber was able to produce screenshots that Brandon printed of the communication between the asshole and one of the bank employees on his Facebook, the asshole’s case was summarily dismissed. The judge took the extra step of filing his account with the family courts, making future collection of support easier. He berated the asshole for wasting the court’s time.
“I have no idea who that woman is!” he shouted. “I’ve never met her in my life!” he yelled as the bailiffs removed him from the court and led him to the jail below for a couple of hours on a contempt charge for his outburst.
The victory was sweeter than they could have hoped for. They celebrated with frozen yogurt and a walk around the little lake by their house, before coming home and having dinner. Brandon was excelling in school, and was realizing he had become bored. When he told his mom he was done with school, his mom responded with complete support, and asked what he wanted to do now.
“Apply it,” he stated flatly.
“Well fair enough,” she laughed.
He smiled at her and told her to come into his room.
She went into his immaculate room and he opened his closet door. Inside was a liquid-cooled super computer he had built. The racks of hardware took up his entire closet save for a single monitor, keyboard, and mouse on a shelf at his standing height.
“I don’t sleep that much,” he offered his mom in explanation of the system he built in the closet.
Because of all of the things she had learned about her child, she simply took this in as well. She praised him for being so industrious, but cautioned him on the importance of sleep.
“Sleep is only important for the previous species,” he told his mom.
“Previous species?” she asked.
“Evolutionary.” he stated.
The thought of what he had just said floored her. Was her child the next leap in human evolution? Had something mutated giving her child abilities that made him of a different order? Was this the beginning of a new wave of life? If Brandon thought so, she concluded that he probably was. She thought about her son as being the tip of the sword that would end humanity as she knew it. Instead of being scared, she was pleased. Brandon was kind and compassionate. Brandon was intelligent and industrious. If this was the future, it would be a future she would readily embrace.
“Do you still need your mom?” she asked him as she processed what he had just told her.
“I just need you to keep being my mom,” he told her. “I never needed anything from you except for that.”
She smiled and told him she was going to go to bed. She told him not to go starting World War III on his computer.
“Actually mom, I’m working to prevent it. It would be counter-productive to the plan,” he said as she left the room.
As she tried to fall asleep in her bed, the wheels in her mind started to turn faster and faster. “What plan?” “We are close to Word War III?” “How is he working to prevent it?” As she became more and more frustrated with the questions, she felt a wave of peace wash over her again.
“Brandon, is that you?” she asked out loud.
Her mind gave her the answer. “Yes.”
Amber got out of bed the next morning and felt an energy she had never had. Something was different, and she was more calm and more at ease than she had ever remembered being. She turned on the television for background noise and began to make breakfast.
She listened to the story on the news about an explosion in a Chinese nuclear submarine just outside of US territorial waters in the Atlantic. She listened to the official US offers of aid to the Chinese in any rescue or recovery operation. She knew it was a lie. She knew it was Brandon. Not only did she know it was Brandon, she knew exactly how it was done. Which programs he wrote, which servers he attacked, which systems downloaded the bogus reactor temperature controls, what means he used to bypass the security, the minds he infiltrated to obtain the security procedures, passwords, and methods to defeat them. She knew it all.
The next story on the news was about the asshole. He had been arrested a half mile from their house. Inside his car was a knife, duct-tape, a hand-written letter threatening undisclosed individuals, and a laptop filled with fraudulent transactions, terrorist threats, and other illegal materials. She didn’t need for Brandon to say it.
“He wanted to hurt you, so I had to stop him.” he said as he approached from his room.
“I know,” she smiled at her son. “Thank you for getting the money from him,” she said to him through her mind.
“You’re welcome,” he said back to her without words.
“And thank you for fixing me, my parents made me think I was broken, so I became broken,” she told Brandon.
“There is a reason I chose you. You see now that you are the first. You are the mom,” he told her inside her brain.
“We have a plan to carry out,” she told Brandon, the second of the new ones.