At home on Earth in 2996, Peyton, now a Sergeant (Sgt.) was at the beach with his wife and son. Out of his suit and enjoying the warm weather, he and his family enjoyed the walk.
“What do you plan to do?” his wife asked.
“I’m not sure, Elizabeth,” Peyton replied, “Finish this year with the UEC, get a job with the police,” Peyton smiled, “Maybe have more kids.”
Elizabeth sighed, “Do you have to do something dangerous?”
“Relax,” Peyton assured, “I’ll probably get stuck behind a desk like I am now. Everyone thinks I’m a hero. I chose to take out that base at great expense to my battalion.”
Elizabeth hugged Peyton, “You did what you had to.”
Peyton waved at his son, “Hey, John, slow down! Don’t go too far.”
“You made a decision and saved people.” Elizabeth said.
“Yeah in the long run,” Peyton said, “I should have taken out that tank. It nearly wiped out my battalion.”
“You’re still alive,” Elizabeth said, as she snuggled up against Peyton, “That’s all that matters. Stop doubting yourself.”
“Aren’t you excited about the ‘more kids’ part?” Peyton asked.
“That’s a few years down the line,” Elizabeth said, “I’m sure we’ll manage.”
“Let me ask you something,” Peyton began, “Do you think it’s a good idea to have kids in this day and age?”
Elizabeth looked at Peyton curiously, “As opposed to when, and that’s a hell of a thing to say considering we have a ten-year-old. It’s sorta too late for doubts now.”
“I love John,” Peyton countered, “I’m talking about having more kids. Our worlds have their share of problems.”
“Like what?” Elizabeth asked.
“Crazy people, neo-terrorists, corrupt politicians,” Peyton answered, “Tell me something? How the hell did terrorists get on other planets?”
“Homegrown,” Elizabeth replied, “I imagine it had to be difficult at first. Then it just got easier and easier as time went on. We’ll always have those problems. Right now I’m more concerned with John. He spends so much time in those holorooms.”
“Holosuites,” Peyton corrected, “You rent them. A holoroom is when you have one in your house.”
“Whatever,” Elizabeth said, “John wants one. He’s always pretending to be you.”
“Don’t you tell him it’s just a game and he can get hurt in real-life?” Peyton asked.
“Sure I do,” Elizabeth said, “He doesn’t care. You’re the greatest thing in the Universe to him.”
Peyton looked slightly disappointed, “Far be it from me to change his feelings about me, but I’m only a Myrmidon because I have to. He can do whatever.”
“That’s not what he thinks,” Elizabeth said, “He and his friends hear all these stories about you. It’s like you’re some kind of superhero.”
“I’m sure half of it’s made up,” Peyton said, “Hey, John! Come on. Let’s go.”
Now on the sidewalk with John nearby and stores on one side, Peyton said, “I heard you like spending time in holosuites pretending to be a Myrmidon.”
Peyton smiled at Elizabeth.
“I’m gonna be the best Myrmidon ever.” John declared.
“Let’s turn in this store.” Peyton said.
“This is the Hololounge.” John said.
Inside, Peyton and Elizabeth browsed around while John played in one of the holosuites. A sales representative walked up to Elizabeth, shook her hand and introduced herself.
“Hi, I’m Beverly. Call me Bev. Can I help you find something?” she asked.
“We’re looking for a holoroom.” Peyton said.
“Are you adding or using an existing room?” Beverly asked.
“Existing room if possible.” Elizabeth said.
“May I suggest holocubes then?” Beverly said, “Place them at certain points in your room and presto! You’ve got a holoroom.”
“We’ll take some of those.” Peyton said.
Beverly grabbed a pack.
“Elizabeth, please go get John,” Peyton said, as he followed Beverly, “Let’s get out of here.”
Elizabeth went to find John as Beverly placed the pack on the counter. As she turned to get a bag, a man quickly grabbed the holocubes and ran off. Peyton, nearby, gave chase. On the streets, the thief shoved his way through the crowd and navigated various obstacles.
Peyton wasn’t far behind, easily doing whatever the thief did. In fact, he was catching up. It got to the point where the thief felt like he had to pull a gun.
Peyton ducked between two buildings to shield himself. Two shots came close to hitting him while a third injured an innocent bystander. As soon as the shooting stopped, Peyton continued the chase. He phased on his suit as he ran to absorb the gunfire. The bullets from this particular gun did little against the Myrmidon’s shields.
Elizabeth and John peeked out the door to see what was happening.
It didn’t take long for Peyton to catch up with the thief and easily subdue him. He held the thief down until the police arrived a short while later.
The police had their own suits - the POL variant.
“Thank you, sir,” an officer said, “We got it from here.”
Peyton grabbed the pack of holocubes. “Is it ok if I return these?” he asked an officer.
The officer scanned them with his visor. “It’s ok, we have everything we need,” he said lifting the thief up. “Everybody, please, get back to business.”
By the time Peyton got back to the Hololounge he had already phased off his suit, “Here are your cubes.” he said to Beverly.
“Please,” Beverly begged, “keep them.”
“Huh?” Peyton said confused, “I just got these back for you. Besides, it wouldn’t be right.”
“After what you did, it’s the least we can do.” Beverly said.
“I’ll tell you what,” Peyton suggested, “I’ll take these if you give me a discount.”
On a tram going home, Elizabeth was leering at Peyton with her arms folded.
“What’s the matter?” Peyton asked.
“You know damn well what’s wrong,” Elizabeth responded, “First you get involved in a dangerous situation, and then, you had to get those cubes.”
“It’s alright,” Peyton assured, “I have my suit and the cubes are for John.”
“Good thing you had the suit,” Elizabeth said, “Hon, did you have to get the cubes? She gave them to you for practically nothing.”
“She was just being thankful,” Peyton said, “At least we paid for them. Besides, where else were we gonna get a deal like that?”
“She was hitting on you.” Elizabeth quickly added, as another man with nodes on his body similar to Peyton’s walked up and greeted him.
“Hi, I see you’re a Myrmidon. I’m Pvt. Brent Steward.” he said, shaking hands with Peyton.
“Peyton Hanson.” he replied.
“The Peyton Hanson?” Brent asked excitedly. “The one who ended the Cephei War of 2981? Sir, you’re a legend.”
Peyton was coy, “Well, that’s what they say.”
“My older brother wasn’t deployed because of you.” Brent said, then noticing Elizabeth and John, “I’m sorry is this your family?
“This is my wife, Elizabeth,” Peyton said, wrapping one arm around her, “This little guy here is my son, John.”
“Pleasure to meet y’all,” Brent said, then leaning toward John and whispering, “Listen to your Dad, he’s a hero.”
Just then a loud noise shook the tram and brought it to a screeching halt. Everybody was thrown forward and the tram lost power. Peyton could tell by the sound it was an explosion. He crawled to a nearby escape hatch and turned a small wheel to open it. Upon exiting, he could see several trams derailed, turned over, or on fire.
Peyton phased on his suit and helped his family escape the tram, “Please, help me.” he asked Brent, after pulling Elizabeth and John to safety, “John, protect your Mom. I’ll be right back.”
Brent phased on his suit and helped people out.
Peyton ran to nearest overturned tram and was easily able to right it up so people could climb out. He went to next tram which was on fire and kicked open a fire hydrant to put the flames out.
By that time volunteers, some in suits were helping.
Peyton walked back to his family.
“Wow,” John said amazed, “I’m definitely gonna be a Myrmidon when I grow up.”