The wind whipped around us, the air rushing away from the island as it sank into the sea.
"A rather dramatic way to end things." He spoke thoughtfully "But, I suppose that it's a palatable alternative to genocide."
I had to ask him.
"So, if we answered right, or asked right, well… What happens now?"
He smiled wanly "My dear Celia. I have absolutely no idea what the future holds for us happy three. Only that the international community is likely even now striking me from their Christmas lists."
Sorrel snapped her fingers.
"I think I've figured it out. What you wanted us to ask!"
Leaning over, she whispered to me and I felt my eyes widen as the revelation struck me.
Together we turned to him, held out our hands and asked;
"What's your name?"
He grinned "Now that. That is the right question."
To the person who wanted more. This was going to be the end. But if you really like it so much, I'm willing to try and add a little more.
It should've ended there. By all right's everything was done, the people of Malta were warming to their new places as a mobile world power, we left the first fleet to go back to the luxury penthouse that He'd brought us to two years ago…
And on arrival, we were served with a court order.
Before either of us could protest, he held up his hand to silence us, and plucked the document from the bailiff's fingers.
He looked over the top of the papers at the summons server and began leafing through the sheets, tonelessly humming to himself.
"Oh, my. Apparently, I'm not yet old enough to live without a parent or guardian."
Celia started to cough uncontrollably, and without even thinking about it, I yelled at the top of my lungs; "WHAT!"
"No, really. As it turns out, the state was so very moved by my lack of parents, that they set about tracking them down. Mhhhmmm."
He gave the sweating official another searching glance.
"After all, to lose one parent is unlucky, to lose both is simply careless! And it would seem that such carelessness means I must attend a hearing to determine my custody and receive my just desserts, for I am nothing more than a runaway in the eyes of the law, yes! A poor wee lost babe who needs nothing more than to be delivered back into the warm and caring bosom of his family!"
The man who'd been holding the document, had until this point, remained stolidly silent, but now he opened his mouth to speak, a few strangled syllables escaping before he was abruptly cut off.
"No! Don't spoil it, I'm raptly awaiting the end, surely there must be some twist involved, yes?"
He turned to us and I admit freely, that I was having difficulties breathing at this point.
"So, let's find out- Well, as it so happens, it would seem that this poor lost boy has obtained goods and chattels of his own during his escapade, who would've thought it; of course those that he is not legally fit to hold onto will revert in control to his parents until such a time that it is decided that he is fit to control them. That is of course provident on the decision that I need parental guidance!"
He thrust the document back at the poor fellow, who grasped at it thankfully and held it up like some sort of paper shield.
"Since they have the nerve to assault me so openly, to make such a bold and might I suggest, brutal play, I'm guessing that they have managed to not only track down my genetic parents, but also my more accessible stashes of documentation regarding my attitude towards separation!"
The trembling messenger held up on finger "Sir… The hearing is in the district court tomorrow."
"Of course it is."
"And, prior to that, there is a psychological evaluation slated for two-o'clock this afternoon, you needn't attend, but I am bound to inform you that your nonattendance may be taken as evidence in court."
"Is that even… Oh, never-mind, it's a moot point. I shall attend the psych evaluation. If you would give me the address, you may go on your snivelling and unremarkable way."
The document in question was handed over and the summons server hurried on his way, looking extremely relieved.
Muttering, He let us into the apartment and set about making lunch.
We on the other hand, made ourselves comfortable and discussed the visit.
"Sounds like they're getting back at him for the whole 'All your base are belong to us' speech on Malta- but I'm actually curious, about his parents I mean."
"I'm more worried that they've done a deal with his mother and father to get his assets off him."
"Ladies, please. I could squelch this case with both hands behind my back, but I'd much rather let the morons who thought they could exploit me get their hopes up than out and out erase it from the earth."
"You intend to fight?"
"No dear girl, I intend to win."
Sorrel fell asleep in the courtroom. Seriously. Actually asleep. The lawyers working for the state drones on and on about the legality of his independance and how in the end, returning him to his family was really for his own good, as otherwise this frail boy might develop into a burden for the state and it's taxpayers- and so on. And further.
The 'loving parents' sat on the sidelines and I have to say, my first impression was that I wouldn't trust either of them as far as I could throw them.
They were wearing brand new, clothes, which if I was any judge, were more expensive than their last home.
Of course, no price tag could change how uncomfortable they were, shifting this way and that, while the woman tried to keep a hanker-chief pressed to her eyes, mopping at nonexistent tears.
For his part, he remained silent and impassive, dressed far more casually than usual in jeans and a brightly colored shirt.
It was obvious that the jury was going to side with the state, particularly since He'd declined the use of a Lawyer for himself.
Then, the psychologist arrived.
It was quite an entrance, he was carrying a bundle of papers under one arm, but they weren't bound together so he'd lose a few with every step, stop, attempt to pick them up, lose more papers, give up and stagger forward again.
When he reached the front of the room he was wheezing for breath and bright red in the face.
As he recovered himself the formalities tied to his appearance as an expert witness were dispensed with- and then the judge asked to hear his opinion about the boys intelligence and personality based on their session together.
The man adjusted his spectacles, cleared his throat and drew himself up.
"When I tested his IQ, the results were... Inadequate!"
The representatives of the state almost gloated.
"So, would you say that an individual of such sub-par intelligence is fit to live away from home?" The lawyer asked the question with a smile on his face, sure that he knew the answer which would be forthcoming; and that's where it all went wrong for them.
"Sub-par intelligence? What on earth are you talking about?"
"The boy's tests, you said yourself he was inadequate?"
"You misunderstand me, he wasn't inadequeate, the test itself wasn't fit to properly assess his intelligence!"
"I move that-"
"Now, if I may explain." The psychologist's confident tones drowned out the indignant squawk's of the representative for the state.
"A high intelligence quotient is nominally considered to be in the range of say, one hundred and forty to one hundred and seventy points. That is to say, genius or near genius levels. Super-genius can be roughly given as any score over 200. When I first had him take the test, this boy not only answered the questions correctly, but corrected the questions themselves! Furthermore, when the original testing was rendered invalid, he worked with me to make an entirely new test, with an entirely new scoring system! In this test, which I underwent myself under the supervision of one of my colleagues, I achieved a modest score of one point six. This is equivalent to a total of one hundred and sixty ordinary IQ points, approximately.
When he tried it. He achieved a total of thirteen and a half."
After a moment, comprehension dawned on everyone in the courtroom, and all eyes turned towards Him.
"That is more than six times higher than the nearest highest measured IQ."
"But... But, that's preposterous!" The representative of the state objected "If he, as you say, helped to make the test, then how can you be certain he didn't cheat?"
"Because it's not a test you can cheat in. It requires you to start from scratch. Using a catalog of every historical discovery, you're presented with a medley of challenges, based on barriers civilization actually had to overcome. Designing the first printing engine, organizing the logistics of separating from England and becoming a free state, weaving textiles and domesticating animals. A problem is presented, a situation, given and then it's up to you to figure out a solution. And keep figuring them out, as you get closer and closer to the present day.
After the first nine-hundred, you're presented with problems that don't actually have solutions, question's about the nature of the world that we haven't figured out yet. With all the time I had to warm up, I was able to reach a score of thirteen and a half. If arithmetic isn't your strong suite, that mean's I answered one thousand three hundred and fifty questions before I got one wrong."
The psychologist coughed. "Actually, your choices when it came to the expansion of the roman empire weren't entirely accurate-"
"As were many of my decisions when it came to empire building and warfare- however, I'd like you to note that even when you doubled the number of Persians, I still managed to not only to emerge victorious at Thermopolite, but engineered a four pronged counter-attack that allowed me to take control of Athen's, Cairo and Byzantine Constantinople."
"Indeed, as I believe you pointed out to us the other day, your decisions were intelligent ones, not historically accurate ones, which is rather the um, point of the whole exercise."
"Glad we got that cleared up." He turned around rubbing his hands "Now then, I'm getting rather tired of this whole fiasco, so I'm going to ask a single question of my genetic patriarch and Matriarch, which they may confer on if they wish- a question which should rather clear up this whole buisness of whether they really love me, or are simply following the whims of a greedy government in an oblique and outrageous attempt to nationalise private assets held by myself."
"Mother. Father. What's. My. Name?"