Living in an inner city apartment with an ex-military father who had been disabled in the Zone 7 War was no fun. Not for a kid who wanted to get out there and see what life had to offer.
Caring for his father was hard work – Jackson certainly was a demanding patient! Everything had to be just so. Clean linen on the beds every second day, the taps in the bathroom had to be sparkling. Even the cutlery at the dinner table had to be shiny enough so that you could see your face in them.
Mega resented his father, the fact that Jackson had driven his wife away with his constant need for attention and perfection.
Mega’s Mom, Grace had left a few years after Jackson had returned from War. She was devastated with the change in his personality. She and Mega both had all the empathy in the world for this man they loved, this newly broken man. But after a few years of Jackson’s mood swings and aggressive outbursts (not to mention the drinking), Grace had to pack up and leave.
Grace didn’t want to leave Mega in the city but promised that she’d send for him the minute she found somewhere to stay.She was going to look for a nice airy place with lots of windows near the sea. That had long been hers and Mega’s dream. To hear the sound of the surf breaking on the sand.
Mega soon found that he had no spare time to himself. He had to quit school and concentrate on caring for Jackson. He couldn’t leave his father in the apartment on his own for too long otherwise Jackson would drink himself into oblivion. Mega just went out to get the groceries and to get a breath of fresh air now and again.
When Jackson had his daily nap Mega would sit by the window and watch life in the streets below. The young couples in love, the old grocer on the corner who would shout out his specials of the day, the kids who’d play Hackey Sack and Smaberson Sage until the sun went down.
And Mega would work at his computer. His favourite game was one where he could make up his own characters, live the life he wanted through them.
Jackson thought the computer was a stupid idea but he eventually relented when he found out he could keep up with his old army mates on the S-28 Messenger System.
Mega started to notice that there were less and less adults out on the street and when he did wander out to get the groceries he found out from his old school buddy Jay that there was a horrific virus going around the city.
Jackson heard the news from his army friends at the same time Mega had heard word on the street and the news brought the two of them closer together. Mega managed to have a heart to heart with his father and vented all the emotions that he had kept suppressed for so long. Jackson accepted all of this and pleaded with Mega to forgive him.
Mega was just relieved that he and his father had managed to sort out so many of the problems that had haunted them for years and Jackson started to put in as much effort as he could into making sure that his son would be able to survive in this world without adults.