The other day I found myself in a bar. I didn't remember how I got there but that didn't seem to matter, Mrs. Silverman was going to come meet me and all was right with the world

That should have told me that something was up. I'm uncomfortable in bars by myself. I'm not a social person and don't enjoy starting conversations with strangers. Yet here I was, talking to the bartender and the other customers without any hesitation or angst. In fact, I was having a high old time when he entered and sat down next to me. "Kevin," he said. "Hello alChandler," I replied.

"I suppose you're wondering what I'm doing here," he said, "I know that I would so let me tell you up front, Mrs. Silverman isn't showing, you're here to see me."

Nervously I ordered cognac. He simultaneously ordered the same and smiled. "Relax Kevin, I'm not here to hurt you. I'm just here to offer you the opportunity of a lifetime. For over twenty years you've been having your little adventures on the computer. You've fought Malek, the Guardian and Shodan. Then, when it's over you turn off the computer, grab a beer, turn on the tube and watch Star Trek."

"Not true, sometimes I, uh read."

"Ah, sounds exciting. Tell you what friend. I am organizing a little expedition. Mrs. Silverman, my Mrs. Silverman is along for the ride. It just so happens that you bare a resemblance to a man known as..."


"What do you mean no?"

"I mean no. I'm not interested. Not in the slightest. I wish you well but I'm not going with you."

"But why? At one time you would have jumped at a chance like this."

I thought awhile before I answered him. "Yeah, at one time I would have but unlike you I'm not immortal. I'm subject to age and I've learned that most people in adventures really don't want to be on them. On the whole it would have been better if Lancelot never met Guenever, Frodo and Sam never meant to go to Mordor and in his heart of hearts I bet Luke Skywalker would have been happier as a moisture farmer like his Uncle Owen. All of them lost more then they gained if you ask me."

"Maybe, but people still remember them Kev."

"Perhaps, but do you recall Achilles' words in Hades?"

"Yes." And he recited:

I'd rather be another's hired hand
working for some poor man who owns no land
but pays his rent from what scant gains he gets,
then to rule over all whom death has crushed.
He said the words lightly but there was pain in his eyes.

I said, "I'm aware of what you're offering but I don't want that now. Maybe I never did. I have friends and family who care and I have a happy life. I never thought I'd have that you know and I'm not ready to throw that away for the promise of adventure and glory. You don't want me, you want Commander Worf."

He nodded. "It's your choice after all. But I should tell you that this was a one time offer. All the regret in the world won't bring me back again."

"I have regrets but I doubt staying here will add to their number."

He finished his drink, and headed towards the door. Mrs. Silverman, his Mrs. Silverman, had just walked into the bar. When she saw alChandler she kissed him on the cheek and together they walked out into the night.

I looked around the bar. The aura of well being had faded and I was shy, misanthropic Kevin again. I walked out of the bar and wandered the streets of Manhattan. Eventually I looked around I realized I was in front of my own condo. I walked in, poured myself a cognac and turned on the computer. Before Kosh had booted, Jack jumped into my lap. I looked down at the cat and said, "Well, I'm back."