Lisa slowed down the action, coming precariously close to the end of the goggles’ memory bar. She stopped the projection unit on the 14th of February 2174, the day before his 58th birthday. He seemed happy, oblivious to the end of his life as he walked beside Moriah, now an adult, along the path.
She picked up the phone and pressed the extension for Professor Hunter’s office.
“Professor; it’s Lisa.”
She could never hide anything from him. His ears and sense of smell could detect any nuance in her mood.
Tears spilled from her eyes.
“Please come down here.”
“I’ll be there in a minute,” he said, hanging up.
She made coffee for both of them and arranged the seats to view the final portion of Brad’s life.
“Professor Hunter,” he said from the hall before passing through the door.
“What’s happened?” he asked.
“I’m at the end.”
She handed Professor Hunter his oversized mug.
“Professor, you’ve always been a father to me. I mean this whole time, I’ve talked about Brad to you and…” she trailed off.
“… to Ian?” he finished for her.
“You already told me about him. Although you weren’t authorised, I trusted your judgement. As we can tell, he hasn’t leaked any information.”
“I’m sorry; I had to tell someone.”
He sniffed the top of her head. “I understand.”
“That’s why I asked you here, Professor. Brad’s come to mean so much to me. I couldn’t watch him die on my own,” she ended in sobbing.
Professor Hunter pulled her close.
“I couldn’t think of anyone else I wanted to be here more than you,” she said into his chest. “Only another Christian could understand the journey Brad’s been on.”
She hated asking her employer to watch with her. He couldn’t possibly have the time to do so.
“I’m here for you,” he said. “Let’s watch this through to the end.”
They sat down.
“Play,” said Lisa.
Day 15, 698…
“She’s a pretty woman,” Professor Hunter commented.
He obviously referred to the Moriah, holding Brad’s arm as they walked along the path. No ring adorned her left hand. She had grown her hair longer. Her eyes remained the same piercing blue as they did as a child. Going by the holographic date, she had now reached her 40s. Even at this age, her form filled her simple homespun dress magnificently. Brad often smiled to himself whenever teenaged boys stole glances at the beauty Moriah had become.
“It’s your birthday tomorrow,” she said.
Brad groaned. “Please don’t arrange another party when I get back.”
“Why shouldn’t I?”
He sighed in frustration, then hugged her.
“I appreciate what you’re doing. It’s just that I’m too old for birthdays anymore. Anyway, I’ve got to go.’
Moriah tightened her grip on his arm.
“Do you love me, Brad?”
Although it shouldn’t have, the question took him by surprise.
“I never think of you that way.”
His jaw dropped. “How do you always know?”
“You always leave your goggles on when you’re lying.”