The Lieutenant had many secrets, but none had proven as difficult to cover up as a living, breathing child. Lieut had decided that hiding the boy, locking him away, was completely out of the question. He had too much energy, too much intelligence, and too loud of a mouth for that to ever work. He had to create a background story, a reason to have a child suddenly with him.
Colin had been the only other person on the ship home to have contact with the boy. That was fine. Colin was a close friend.
He had a wanted a reason to get out of his business as it was. It was dangerous and, more and more, it crossed a darker gray area than his conscience cared to shoulder. Having the care of a small child suddenly thrust upon him was a good reason to get out.
So, he created a recently deceased and estranged sister. The documentation was easy to forge. He had no living family to deny her existence. Documents of adoption and birth certificates for the boy were also fabricated. His letter of resignation was harder to pen and hand over.
Colin was let go from the company a week after Lieut's resignation. They shared a laugh over beers at Colin's apartment as they discussed the prospect of twenty acres in upstate Oregon.
Alden played with a brand new set of Legos on the living room floor as they talked. He built obscure structures, which looked like nothing in particular. But each object could balance perfectly on a single one-by-one brick on the wood floor.
Lieut couldn't pin down the reason he was risking so much by protecting this small boy, why he had pulled him out of the rubble when he found him and kept him as a secret. Why hadn't he handed him over when he realized he wasn't just a normal child. Retribution for all of the things he'd done in his past? For all of the things he had ignored that were happening right in front of him? For fighting in a cause he didn't believe in anymore? The answer was probably yes, but you would never be able to get him to say it.
What the plan was from here was anyone's guess. Colin was actually being more proactive here, which was a shock. Lieut had become more focused on Alden. He was never unhappy, but he wasn't attached to anything either. The Lieutenant half expected imprinting effects to take place somehow, but the boy just seemed indifferent more than anything. This frightened the Lieutenant, but didn't seem to phase Colin.
"He's not going to become a sociopathic murderer," he said bluntly as he connected the plumbing of his AirStream to the sceptic line they had run behind the cabin on their newly purchased property.
Alden was playing with his new puppy, a German Shepard Blue Heeler mix. He hugged the puppy as sweetly as any four-year-old would. The difference her was that an hour beforehand, when the pair first met, Alden had no tangible concept of what a puppy was. Four-year-olds know puppies.
"What's his name?" Colin asked Alden a little while later.
"Steven," was the decided name.
Colin got back to plumbing his new home. They were as off-grid as was feasible. Well water, solar power, homes right in the center of the twenty-acre property behind walls of trees. They weren't exactly hiding, but they weren't looking to be easily seen, either.