Author's Note: University is starting for me tomorrow. I'm excited but nervous at the same time. I'll be very busy, so I decided to write shorter chapters instead of incredibly long ones.
Give me feedback on what you like most (and least), and I'll concentrate on writing the good and interesting stuff.
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Year: 2037, Front Lawn of Robinson Household, April 22nd
For the first time since they left the city, Lewis felt he could breathe. The filthy air was more tolerable in the suburbs outside the city. Stanley maneuvered his vehicle through the expansive green fields that were characteristic of the Robinson house; their beloved home was now a dot on the horizon. The passengers maintained an awkward silence with their hesitant rescuer and driver.
Wordlessly, Stanley abruptly stopped the vehicle and dumped his passengers onto the ground. Carl groaned in utter agony as he futilely attempted to get up. Wilbur caught the beloved robotic family member and hoisted him up.
Lewis, obviously not pleased with the rude gesture, narrowed his eyes at the man.
"You couldn't drive us any closer?" the child criticized as he looked at the fat man, "Judging by the looks of you, I'd think you'd love driving as much as universally possible."
"Don't get snappy with me, kid." Stanley warned, "An undergrounder isn't exactly welcome on the Robinson property. I'm on a registry list. Your father's bots would instantly imprison me."
Stanley took out a giant wrench and Lewis flinched as he expected to be struck. At this point, he couldn't blame Stanley for doing so. Instead, the man of lard cut off the restraining device that was around the inventor's neck.
"Did Cornelius," Lewis breathed as he looked down in shame at the removed device, "really make all these awful things?"
"Yes," Stanley said but at the sight of the child's disappointment he instantly added, "but you seem like a good kid. I'm sure you'll grow up to not be like him."
But I am him...
Stanley was obviously not aware of this irony as he silently went back to his vehicle. Lewis could only watch as Stanley began to drive away; the man returned back to the heart of the city of ash as his tunic flowed behind him like a cape. The undergrounder didn't look back.
Lewis turned toward the now barely steady Wilbur and the groaning android. Together, they lifted Carl up and slowly walked toward the front door of the Robinson household.
Wilbur had recovered quickly although he was still hurt. There were so many questions the young man had in his mind. All of them were unrelenting.
What was the underground? From what the young man gathered so far, the underground was a hostile gang-like organization that routinely had psychopaths like Lizzy in their ranks. And, unfortunately, they had something against his father and his family.
Who was Machiavelli and what was Machiavelli Industries and why was his father working for them? Better yet, where was Robinson Industries?
Speaking of his dad, why wasn't he helping the future like he was destined to? Worse, it seemed like his dad was impeding the progress of humanity than helping it along.
"The soot from the main city," Wilbur stopped his thoughts to listen to the young genius. Lewis was taking in every detail of the now dismal future, "is interfering with the weather."
"What makes you say that?"
The inventor pointed toward the grass and, while it was hard to see at first, he saw what Lewis did. Patches of grass were gone and shriveled. This pattern was there as far as the eye could see.
"What is that?" Wilbur almost dropped Carl and wasn't sure what he was seeing and was about to panic. He never saw or even heard of anything like it. It was almost like a disease.
"Acid rain," Lewis explained, "when the environment is polluted there are extra hydrogen ions in evaporated water. So when it rains this is toxic to many organisms. How can you not know what that is?"
"Because you did such a good job helping the future, dad."
"Obviously, I didn't do a good job this time," he reflected sadly. Wilbur decided not to touch on the subject. Of course, Lewis was correct as he always seemed to be. He was relieved that Lewis decided not to pursue the subject and solely concentrated on helping him get Carl to safety.
All he knew was that they needed to keep moving forward or they'd be left behind.
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Year: 2037, Front Lawn of Robinson Household, April 22nd
Frankie the singing frog, Franny's star pupil, patrolled around the Robinson household. Little did most people know, the frog was almost always up to no good. Today, however, was an exception. He ventured around the household in search of his conductor; Franny Robinson's absence was noted.
Band practice was supposed to be an hour ago but no practice could happen without Franny. The usually upbeat, strong, and enthusiastic woman kept dodging her responsibilities. In fact, she was the only one in the family who was on good terms with the Machiavelli empire. Yet, Frankie feared, this recent behavior would have her fall out of favor. She and Cornelius were the only strong strings in a close, intertwined family. It was these two who prevented the incision by the Fates themselves from unraveling the very fabric of their existence. She must get back to her duties under any means necessary. He spotted her sitting near a window still.
"Ah, there's my gal," Frankie sang. He successfully got her attention but when she looked up at him her make up was smeared all over her face. Fresh tears, the culprit, rolled down her forlorn face.
"Ah, geez," Frankie felt his normally cold blood fill with warmth at the sight of his creator sobbing. He could never understand the mammalian bond with their offspring. His parents abandoned him before he even hatched. He wanted to roll his eyes, but he just couldn't. He hopped onto the couch beside her.
"I know I'm late, Frankie, and I'm sorry. I just can't do it today,"
"Ya mean, you're thinking about your boy and our beloved, skittish robot?"
"Yes, I just can't get them out of my head. They just seemed to disappear out of thin air," she could feel the heavy tears continue to endlessly streaming down her face, "I can't help but think what happened to them. They're not coming back."
Frankie leaned on her side and stroked her bare arm.
"Well, Fran. A little fly told me that your boys will be back. Just wait."
"Thank you, Frankie, for trying to cheer me up," she picked him up and gave him a gentle kiss on the head. He was truly her prince in disguise, "that's so sweet of you, but it doesn't seem likely."
She held him against her chest for a much needed hug. Frankie wasn't about to squirm away from the embrace. He knew the hug was more for Franny than himself.
The doorbell then rang, and she jumped off the window still in surprise and fear. It must have been Machiavelli Industries. They were here, once again, to see the progress of her work. She'd fall out of favor like most of the Robinson family already; this time, it would have dire consequences.
She placed Frankie on the window still she had just sat upon. Frankie noted it was damp from her tears. The mother gestured to her face, "I can't answer the door right now. Look at me I'm a mess. You'll have to answer and tell them I'm ill."
The doorbell continued to ring and Franny was trying so hard to not be hysterical. Frankie tried to console her and tell her it would be alright. That and the frog didn't have thumbs and so couldn't open the door. It wasn't working.
Now there was rough knocking but this time a voice accompanied it. "Mom," called a teenager voice, "are you home?"
Her head turned so fast that she made herself dizzy. Could it be?
The impatient knocking continued.
"Moooooooooooom," wailed the young voice again. It swore and seemed as if talking to someone else, "the old lady never answers when she is there."
Her eyes lit up and she could feel the tears of happiness, instead of sadness, brimming in her eyes; she almost lost hope. She gathered enough resolve to open the door and she sobbed once again when she saw it was Wilbur. She brought him into her instinctive, motherly gasp.
"Wilbur, oh, where have you been? The patrol bots have been looking for you everywhere. You just disappeared."
"The patrol bots?" His words were slurred as his face was crushed against her chest.
Franny broke her hug, held onto his shoulders, and extended him out so she could better see him. She noted his slightly bloody and bruised body. She paused as she eyed him up and down. Was that crude oil all over his clothing?
"What happened to you!?"
"I really wish we'd know Mrs. Robinson," Lewis felt like he was lying and telling the truth at the same time. He certainly didn't have the full story of the timeline, but he didn't want to tell her what had happened only a few hours ago. She already looked distraught. He was concerned a story of their near brush with death would send her over the edge.
"Wilbur, who is your little friend?"
"Him?" Wilbur quickly thought of a lie, "Carl and I got lost and he helped us find our way back home. He has nowhere to go."
"Carl?" she looked past the two boys and saw the heavily damaged Carl slumped on one of the nearby pillars near the entrance of the home. She gasped, "I'm going to have to call the medic."
"Mom," Wilbur said, "how long have we been gone?"
"You both have amnesia too," she noted and she approached the child that accompanied Wilbur. He was around Wilbur's age and had thick spectacles. She could tell he had blonde hair, but it was filthy from what looked like a tough fight. She wouldn't be surprised if he was an abandoned street kid. He instantly reminded her of Cornelius. If they both had another boy, he'd probably look like him.
It was love at first sight.
"By the way," she looked into his eyes, "thank you so much for helping Carl and Wilbur." and then gave him a gentle hug, "welcome to the family." She then touched his nose, "but I didn't quite catch your name?"
"My name is Lew-" the inventor managed to cut himself off at the concerned gasp of Wilbur. His future son dramatically slid his finger across his throat and pretended to play dead behind Franny. He looked up at his future wife shyly and mustered up a benign smile.
"Lew?" she cocked an eyebrow up, "What a unique name. I've never heard of it. I'm sure Cornelius would love to meet you, Lew. He'll be so happy to have all of you back."
"I hate to interrupt this family reunion, but we have work to do," Frankie began to hop toward the music room. Franny reluctantly followed the amphibian.
"But mom, we just came back!" Wilbur protested.
"I have to get to work, honey. We'll all have dinner together with the whole family," She looked at him with a knowing frown, "Just promise to stay out of trouble for me until then. Stay with Carl until the medic arrives, okay?"
It was so hard for her to turn around and leave them behind, but she was way behind on her work. All that mattered was he was safe. Lew seemed to be a good kid. Possibly, the child would keep Wilbur from getting into further trouble.
As she made her way down the hallway, she dialed the medic as promised. They would arrive shortly. Carl was unconscious and in bad shape. Whatever happened to them, it was obvious the android bore most of the onslaught.
She pushed open one of the many doors that strew across the long hallways of the Robinson home. The music room, in all its majesty, greeted her. Frankie had already perched himself on the raised podium on the middle of the stage in the back of the room. All the finely dressed amphibians looked at her expectantly.
Franny went and cleaned her disheveled face with her petite dress. She still probably looked like she went through hell, but it didn't matter anymore. The woman just wanted her gang to master this piece, and she'd be back to spend some needed time with her biological child and surprised visitor.
She was just about to pick up her baton to direct the concert of frogs when she stopped. She looked at Frankie, "Wait, where's Francis?