This is set in the "Tales from the Blind Pig" universe.
I was doing some work on the terrace when one of the small remotes that was part of the Bunker's Voice Interaction system rolled up and started beeping to get my attention. Alex had helped with both the design and construction of the little units, which ended up being very useful for keeping tabs on any visitors to our property. The small device resembled a 6 wheeled rover that had been proposed before the first probe returned from Mars. There was a full video link to the main system and a small active display on it which worked well enough for some functions. The beeping started to increase in volume, so I answered it. "Yes Booster?" The Bunker's AVIS 'persona' was a modeled after a male military officer and responded as such. "Alex is calling from the Barn. Voice only, Shall I patch him through?" I nodded, a largely futile gesture for the little droid to understand. "Patch him through."
The droid made a clicking noise and I was patched in with Alex. "Hello!" I said. "Hi dad. You out on the terrace again?" I nodded. "Yep. You got the camera turned on in this thing finally?" Alex chuckled. "Yep. Took a while, but I finally got the protocols working correctly. Anyhow, I've got a request of you. Got a minute or two?" I nodded again and start putting the tools away. "Fire away." "Are the two of you busy this weekend? I need to talk with you for a couple hours. I'm doing a project for the university, and they want me to interview a family member and get their story. Mom already refused."
I sighed. "Might as well. What's this about, anyhow?" Alex's voice was somewhat cautious. "The project I was given this year was to interview someone in my family that came down with the Flu and SCABS from the outset, and get their story. It's been forty five years since the Flu swept the world, The professor was hinting that he'd like to make a book out of it as well. Can I tell him that I found someone?" I sighed heavily as I finished packing the tools up. "Sure. Come on down." Alex thanked me and hung up.
As I followed the 'bot into the house, I was greeted by Kerry, who was wearing the usual since we moved out here after going into semi-retirement: a smile, and not much else. Well, sort of: Ever since she discovered that I had the talent to do body-painting in a very unique manner, she usually walked around wearing some pattern that either myself or her had dreamt up. This pattern was the result of a very silly evening, and she was decked out with smiley faces in strategic locations, and other such things. She had the "Cat that caught the canary" smile on her face as well, which pretty much meant that I had been set up again. "You need to stop doing that, silly." I remarked to her as I broke the hug she automatically gave me."Doing what?" She asked with an innocent smile on her face. "Telling people yes before they've asked me. Remember the trouble it got you into last time with the school district?" The smile abruptly dropped as the memory of the school board having an absolute screaming fit over me intentionally going 'feral' in the auditorium returned. "This is different, though. It's not like I'm parading you around in front of a bunch of kids again, right?" I sighed, and nodded. "True. At least it's just Alex, and whoever reads it. Although if it gets published, I'd feel much safer having either something that states that our names get scrubbed/replaced. I'll talk it over with Alex when he comes by in a few days.
Alex came by that weekend. Kerry had me remove the dye job, and was back in town, as she said that she had some things to do with the studio that required her personal attention. Although we were 'retired', being part owners required us to do things on occasion, and being half owners on a modestly successful audio and video studio required Kerry to do things like go out of town to conventions, and other fun stuff. Sometimes I'd go with to the conventions as something to do. This weekend, though, had Kerry overseeing installation of some new equipment in the video lab. This left me and Alex at the bunker, as Alex came out alone, as Maya was busy attending a collage course, although I was pretty certain they'd be calling each other over the weekend. Nope, it was a guy's weekend. I was also done with fixing dinner when Booster told me that Maya's car had pulled in to the parking cave, and that the only occupant was Alex. "Booster, send a bot to meet him and bring him in here, please." The AVIS acknowledged, and I began to clear the bar area so that he would have somewhere to sit.
Alex came in with the 'bot trailing him, and sat down in the spot that I had cleared for him. "I was just finishing up with fixing dinner. I made you some, if you'd like." He nodded, and I dished out the food and placed it in front of him. We took an hour or two to catch up on each others lives, and it was about 6 pm before we finished dinner and put the dishes into the dish washer and padded back out to the living room to get started in earnest.
"So, did your professor come up with some form of form or plan to hide identities if he wants to publish?" Alex nodded, and reached over to the messenger bag where he kept his laptop and removed a form from it. I looked over the form, and nodded. "I see. Yes, I think all of us can agree to this. I'm assuming that Kerry and Maya saw this?" Alex nodded again.
"Yep. Kerry arrived about ten minutes before I left, so I showed her the form. Both ladies are in on it, so we just need you to sign it. I'll let you read it over while I get everything ready to go." I gave the form a more detailed read while Alex got busy setting up a video camera and other recording equipment.
I finished reading the form and signed it. "Booster, please sync recording with the equipment Alex has set up, and place into protected storage 'bio1'." the system chimed once, and stated in it's flat voice "ready to record." I looked at Alex as I handed the form over, "Looks good. How about we take three hours tonight, and we can pick things up in the morning. Sound good?"
It was another five minutes before Alex had everything ready to go, which I used to get a couple glasses and a pitcher of water. Alex commanded both Booster and his own setup to start recording, and after putting some information onto the recording, began. "Let's begin with how you caught the Flu, and what happened when you first developed Stein's Chronic Accelerated Bio-Morphic Syndrone, or SCABS." I nodded. Well, it all started back in 2001..."
Onward to "Origin."