After returning home on Monday, I needed to pop out of time for a few months on business. I felt sorry for Deyanira, knowing she had a class in the morning. Everyone’s sleep scheduled would be off for a bit, at least for those who needed sleep.
When I returned from work, mere minutes had passed for everyone else, but I had something rather important to do. Tuesday was Mila’s birthday, and Aaliyah had asked me to plan the decor, itinerary, and general entertainment. Mila was going to have her first birthday party.
This couldn’t be a quiet affair as Ai and Mai had chosen in France with their husband. This would be the first birthday on Earth for a fully sentient AI capable of managing my business across time and space flawlessly. To make matters more interesting, I had no idea who all had been invited to this party.
I could assume that anyone who would be invited would enjoy whatever I planned, given that Aaliyah already knew what I was planning, but I wanted this to be something particularly memorable for her. What did Mila consider memorable? What would she enjoy?
I felt that the morning arrived all too soon, but I knew I needed to finish the preparations. I jogged down to my least favorite room in the house and activated it after stepping inside. Distractions instantly surrounded me as my consciousness expanded, but I had a job to do.
First, I used the node’s magic to create Mila’s presents from Alma and me ― she had instructed me on what to create via telepathy. Then I created the decorations around my home and yard, having them appear in place. Luckily, Aaliyah reminded me to focus occasionally when distractions caught my attention.
“Not bad, boss-man, sir. Auntie would be proud!” she told me as I did some finishing touches. “That little girl’s parents will be most bewildered.”
I had to search through my recent memories before figuring out what she meant. Oops. A girl had been following a cat across the ledge of her apartment complex and fallen. When I was decorating, I might have tied a group of helium balloons around her waist as she fell.
“Don’t worry. Over a thousand people will mysteriously survive today, but that was meant to be.” she assured me.
Despite her words, I hardly felt reassured. I lacked the control necessary to wield such power safely. I didn’t deserve the option.
“And yet you’re guaranteed to always get it right. Act your age, boss-man, sir. You’re far too old to be worrying about things you can’t control.” she teased.
My head ached, but I gathered the presents with a spell and picked up Aaliyah with one arm. Two steps later, I answered my phone.
“Is Aaliyah with you?” asked Chad.
“Oh, yes. Is something wrong?” I replied.
“A month ago, she built this large machine in her castle. The thing is making a racket, they don’t have a clue what to do.” he explained.
“We’ll be right over.” I told him before hanging up the phone. Turning to her, I asked “Do I want to know?”
Grinning, she shook her head rapidly.
I hurried to the foyer, deposited the presents, and jogged at an all-too-human pace across the park. After briefly greeting the doorman, Aaliyah and I took the elevator upstairs and went into the apartment.
Stepping inside was strange for me, knowing that the last time I was here was in Chad’s future when he died. The beeps and whirring sounds were certainly not there before.
Aaliyah wiggled out of my arms, and ran toward the kitchen.
“Chad, we’re here. Aaliyah’s grabbing something.” I called.
He came out from the castle area and looked relieved. “I was scared that I somehow broke it.”
After walking over to him, I took a peek at the large machine making the noise. “What is it?”
“No idea. I’ve caught her feeding it cake though.” he told me.
“Cake?” I questioned.
“Yep! Cake!” exclaimed Aaliyah, coming up from behind us. She deftly stepped around her father and placed a plate into a hatch on the machine.
Not entirely certain I wanted to know, I still asked “Why does your machine need cake?”
“It doesn’t!” she giddily exclaimed.
“Then why would you waste cake?” questioned her father.
“She wouldn’t.” I flatly stated. “Aaliyah, what is this?”
“An artificial womb!”
My eyes were probably bulging as much as her father’s as my mind raced through the types of creatures I had seen.
“I don’t suppose a litter of puppies are going to come out in a basket…” suggested her father.
“No, silly. I’m having a baby!” she replied.
“What? How?” I questioned, worrying what might come out of this machine.
“You and Alma are having a baby, so why can’t I, boss-man, sir?” she questioned as she stared up at me.
“Aaliyah… you’re twelve.” stated Chad.
“Thirteen next month!”
“I think your father feels that’s a bit young.” I stated, considering how he’d probably feel she was too old if he knew the truth.
“You’re feeding an unborn baby cake!?” I exclaimed when my mind finally processed that part.
“Health report!” exclaimed Aaliyah.
A screen on the machine instantly lit up, displaying all sorts of numbers, and Aaliyah started explaining what each meant in enough detail to leave Chad sighing.
“Congratulations in advance on being a grandfather.” I told him, understanding his discomfort.
Unbeknownst to him, he was probably younger than me now, barely into his thirties. He made the mistake of asking who the father is, which turned into a lesson on writing DNA from scratch. Neither of us were willing to let her go too far on the subject. I looked forward to seeing my wife’s reaction when I told her about this.