Six months later, on his break while working as an assistant cook at Mary's Café, Richard picked up an electronic newspaper. The top headline read "President Sharpe Gets Life Without Parole for Role in Murders."

Then below it, another headline read, "Inspector Blackmore Fired and Arrested for Aiding President Sharpe."

The first article read, "Modified humans aid in outing President's illegal experiments to give people extraordinary abilities and ultimately create a vaccine for aging. Another former test subject was arrested for the Silver Cove murders and abductions. The remaining modified humans used in the experiments have been relocated and wish to stay anonymous. We will honor their request."

Richard glanced out the window. The people walking by wore clothes in all colors now that the national fashion regulations had been thrown out. Some of the clothes looked like they had been painted or dyed by hand. Mary had changed the décor in her café from blue to brightly colored wallpaper with flowers and a soft beige carpet. She played neo-Jazz when there were customers, but often listened to classical when no one else was around. Currently, Bach was playing.

Lily smiled as she sat down across from him. "A credit for your thoughts?"

"No, I was just thinking about all the new changes. I like them," he said.

"Mmm hmm. No more of President Sharpe dictating to us what to wear, how to clean our houses, or how to think. It's very refreshing," she said. "Also, no more health policer coming around."

He nodded. "I can't wait to see how the future pans out," he said.

"Me too," Lily said. On the spur of the moment, she kissed him on the cheek. He seemed startled, but pleased.

"I hope you stay for a while. Things are never dull while you're around," she added.

"I plan to," he replied with a smile.