The Happy Ending
Max signed the papers and handed over the ownership of the vessel. From there, he headed to town to find a hotel.
Regret nagged at him but he pushed his guilt to the back of his mind. He really didn't want to close his business, but he didn't see much of another choice. As long as his name was recognizable, it wasn't safe for him to work alone. The disaster on the way to Sparta had been too close to going much worse and if Rob hadn't remembered the pocket computer, Max would probably still be their hostage.
It was obvious that Max could not proceed with his business. That meant that he also couldn't afford to keep Rob. Well, he could if he borrowed from his parents but that was out of the question.
That night, Max lay on the springy mattress of the hotel bed, regret keeping him from sleep. That ship had saved his life. As annoying as Rob could be sometimes, Max had somehow grown fond of the computer's personality. Not to mention, Max owed him for saving his life. Once again, he thought over his options. Was there any way he could at least afford to buy Rob back? He had the money to buy it but to continue paying for insurance and the like would require him to have a job and since Rob was a transportation ship that left that option.
Max continued to ponder over this thought until at last he fell asleep.
The next morning, he decided to go back to the lot and buy the ship back. He hadn't yet figured out how he was going to afford it, but he'd chosen to do it anyways and figure out how to pay for it later.
The same dealer he'd met when he bought Rob met him. "Mr. Piper! You're back! How was the Robin? Did you like it?"
Max looked around the lot and couldn't see his ship anywhere, "I sold it. I wondered if it was still for sale."
The dealer blinked in surprise then shook his head, "It hasn't been for sale while I've been here today. I wasn't here yesterday, either so it must have been sold."
Max's expression became downhearted and he sighed. "Well that's that, then." He turned and left the lot, heading back to his hotel.
How could he have been sold so fast? Who could have heard of an A.I. ship and gotten to Terren Five to buy it in less than a day?
The situation was pretty much hopeless now. He was too late and he had no way to even find out who owned Rob now.
Back at the hotel, he lay down on the bed, trying to figure out what he was going to do. The hours passed and his thoughts seemed to be chasing each other in circles. Slowly, his eyes closed.
At three o'clock in the morning, Max's pocket computer beeped, signaling that it had received a message. The sound woke him up and he reached over to look at it. The message was from Kendall.
Meet me at the docking bay A.S.A.P.
Max yawned after he read the message and stretched before getting up, grabbing his jacket and heading out the door. As the sleep cleared from his mind, he wondered what Kendall was doing here and why she wanted to meet with him at such an ungodly hour.
He stepped outside and shoved his hands in his pockets to keep them warm from the cold night. There were very few lights to guide him along the road to the docking bay, but the sky was lit by the three moons that orbited Terren Five.
One foot moved ahead of the other in a mindless march toward the bay. As much as he just wanted to go back to the warmth of his hotel room, the urgency of Kendall's message drove him on.
The walk from the hotel to the bay wasn't very long and after about fifteen minutes of walking, he arrived at the chain-linked fence that surrounded the bay. Max stopped when he looked inside.
Kendall stood at the dock waving at him. Behind her was Robin.
A smile slowly spread across his face as he realized what Kendall had done for him and he waved back.
"Hurry up! Get your butt over here!" She called to him. He needed no further prompting and jogged to the gate, pausing only to open it and ran the rest of the way to them.
He picked Kendall up in a big bear hug and spun her around, "I can't believe you did this!"
"How could I not? I'm not going to let you go back and work for the Piper Empire!" She grinned, adopting his nickname for the company.
Max laughed, "How can I ever repay you?"
"Hmm…" Kendall mused, teasing him by seeming to think hard about it, "I think I might be able to call things even if you took me out somewhere nice."
A smile spread across Max's face, "I'd like to do that." There was a moment of quiet as the two of them smiled at each other. Max was the first to speak after that, "Well then, what are we waiting for?"
"I was waiting for you!" She turned him around by the shoulders and gave him a push toward the hatch.
He boarded the ship and headed toward the cockpit.
"Thank you for using the door!" Max chuckled as the door spoke.
"You're welcome!" The man replied.
Kendall walked up beside him and motioned for him to take the pilot seat and he did so. He deftly activated the controls and powered up the ship.
"Max?" Rob asked in a surprisingly small voice.
Max's brow furrowed with worry, "Rob… what's wrong?"
There was a long pause that had Max holding his breath and finally the computer answered, "I'm… happy."
Both humans gaped at the screen that flickered every time the computer said something. Computers weren't meant to feel emotions. How was it possible for him to be happy?
Rob decided to break the silence, "I'm glad that I'm speaking to you two again. You know, zeros and ones don't make for great conversation."
Max and Kendall laughed at the joke then Max replied, "We're glad to have you back, too."
"That's good to hear!" Rob's tone sounded genuinely sincere, "So where are we off to now?"
Kendall looked at Max for his answer when he didn't answer right away, "You're the captain…"
A look of confidence crossed over his face, "To the stars!"
Author's Notes: So the last line was definately the cheesiest thing I've ever written. I'm truely sorry for that. Thanks so much Sapphirefly for helping me out with this story. Your input was really helpful :) I'm sorry this took so long for me to finally end.This was an experiment for me to see what would happen if I wrote outside of my comfort range and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Anyways, I hope you liked my story :)