Another chapter from the first draft of Hadrian’s Destiny
Good-bye is Forever
Dean’s funeral is solemn, as one would expect for such an event, and yet, the level of solemnity differs from the usual sorrow expressed through grief. Dean’s father stands stoic, too stoic for a man who just lost his son to an accident so brutal the body had been shattered into too many pieces for proper identification. The family was left to depend solely on DNA testing of the fleshy matter found at the scene. Even, still, knowing the mess of flesh, blood, and shattered bone is all that remains of his son Gordon Stuttgart looks angry, not as a man horrified as to the condition of his son’s final remains, or devastated as any man would be with the death of his only child. When Destiny comments to him on his grave demeanour Gordon does not reply, he merely glares at her – a stare that foreshadowed their upcoming row. Even Aleksandar questions Gordon’s attitude, but after witnessing his reaction to Destiny, Aleksander wisely chooses not to mention it. He shivers, knowing Gordon’s glare means he is merely refusing to speak his mind to his mother, here in the mausoleum where his son’s ashes are being interned, not in front of so many people, both present and virtual. The death of a founding family member is high profile, and the entire nation is in on the know. This is not over Aleksander reasons. There will be a blow out as soon as they get home.
Even before the funeral opinions go to war on HNN’s comment site, not over the way Dean Stuttgart died, all grieve collectively in that senseless tragedy. The young are always so reckless, failing to heed warnings about speed and the dangers of wildlife. The Bubble, Hadrian’s chosen style of vehicle due to its environmentally friendly use of solar energy as its primary energy source, all batteries charged by solar panels, are known to be fragile. Individuals who choose to own and drive such a vehicle are all informed of the dangers and the necessary restraints required to keep one safe. Thus, all of Hadrian citizens need to drive safely, as even the slightest impact will cause extensive damage to the vehicle. If they do not, they are independently responsible for all costs incurred both mechanically and medically. Or, as with Dean Stuttgart, one must accept the loss of life without hope of reparation from either company or country. Knowing this, one can easily imagine the damage inflicted on a Bubble by a moose bull. The bull, as all were told, walked away from the crash relatively unscathed, but first, it inflicted all its indignity of being hit by slamming its hooves in the vehicle trampling it and its sole occupant into a semi-plastic aluminum pancake. It is no wonder the young man could only be identified by his DNA.
Why and how young Stuttgart died is not the question of hot debate on the HNN chat wave. It is the question the media immediately asked of Gordon when Dean’s death was first announced: “Will this be the end of the Stuttgart founding family line?”
Gordon’s response was immediate: “I hope not.”
“Are you planning on having another child?”
“Not yet, perhaps in a few years.”
And the chat line went wild!
“How is that fair? No one else can just assume they can have a second child. Why is Stuttgart so sure of himself?”
“Of course, he is sure of himself. He’s a Stuttgart!”
“Still, no one else is free to have a second child. He shouldn’t be allowed to just because of his family name!”
“Impossible. Gordon Stuttgart must procreate, there must be a future for the Stuttgart family.”
“But how is that fair? Ordinary citizens who lose their only child do not immediately qualify for another child. At best, their names get thrown into the childbearing lottery where they hope for a draw in their favour.”
“The Stuttgart’s are a founding family. Their name must continue to reign.”
Even Destiny Stuttgart chimes it at this stage. “No family reigns in Hadrian. Thank you for respecting the role my family played in the founding of Hadrian, but we are no more special than any other family.”
Her words re responded to with gratitude and, ironically, proof that the Stuttgart gene must be preserved, must continue to flourish as the great leaders of Hadrian.
Gordon Stuttgart, keeping a sharp on the public opinion, also takes to the comment site to thank, most graciously, those who desire the continuation of his progeny. He, in a most politically wise maneuver, agrees with his mother and assures Hadrian that if he is to have another child, that new progeny will come as a result of his name being drawn from the nation’s lottery not solely due to his being a founding family member. All the while as he types these masterfully designed words, Gordon knows he can arrange for a surrogate and have a new child (a better child, a normal child, a societally acceptable child) within nine months. Realizing how such a timeline is too soon, he determines to have his new infant before the third anniversary of Dean’s ‘death.’ But his mother’s comment sting. He believes she means for him not to procreate. He believes she means his genes are unworthy of future replication. He believes she would rather see their family line die than see him procreate again! There is a reason he hates his mother, and this only helps solidify that enmity.
On the eve following the funeral, as soon as the family arrives home [in separate Bubbles of course – Gordon Stuttgart is wealthy enough to shoulder the financial burdens of a new vehicle and an expensive funeral with little strife and even though his mother owns a double bubble (designed for families and nannies) he refuses to be in such close proximity what that woman] Gordon instantly denies Destiny entrance in their home. He never considered it their home, to begin with, he merely endured her presence (mostly unseen as she lives in the nanny’s suite) as she and Aleksander had tricked him into hiring her seventeen years ago to help take care of the babies. Even after the ‘babies’ were no longer ‘babies’, he was outvoted continuously to having her expelled from their home. Having forged too strong a bond with her grandsons, neither they or Aleksander are willing to see her go. Well, today is different. There is no Dean, no genetic grandson to keep her tied to his waistcoat. Even if Aleksander and Raoul love her, she is not genetically related to them. They can live without her, and they will. “Do not think, mother, that you are welcome any longer in my home. Dean is dead. And with his death dies you. Enter from the back to your suite, clean it out and be gone within the hour.” All are stunned by this sudden outburst so soon after Dean was interned. No one speaks for a full minute. Gordon breaks the silence with a harsh whisper, “Good-bye is forever.” Turning, he enters the house, closing the door behind him. Not on his husband and son, but as a symbolic gesture aimed solely at his mother.