When Jared was a teenager, his father invested heavily in his education before he died. Aiden, his father, recognized the spark in young Jared’s eyes whenever he played chess or mixed new potions on the chemistry table. He was a writer and loved all things creative. Science was not his thing, but Jared showed an interest in it so he bought him everything he could think of for his teen birthday. Jared had it all: a microscope, rocket kit, observatory, and the fanciest chess table Pruett legacy money could buy. The microscope was helpful in simology classes, but the observatory was his first love. Jared found much pleasure in gazing into the heavens and getting a closer look at the stars. There were so many of them farther than the eye could see! Space was so beautiful, he had to become an astronaut to get a chance to go up there and be among the stars.
At first, being in space was enough for him. Everything was so quiet. He felt like a tiny grain of sand on the vast beach that was the galaxy. As he moved up in the ranks, he learned more about the life outside of his own planet. There were all kinds of aliens out there, and not all of them were benevolent. Never in his life did he ever consider joining the police force. He wasn’t protective that way and only protected the ones he loved, not that anyone else didn’t deserve it. But, there was something attractive about being a policeman of sorts in space. Sheriff of the Stars, they called him. Truthfully, he probably would have taken any position they gave him as long as it meant he could go to space often.
Jared was assigned to planet Sixam while his fellow astronauts were assigned to other planets. Their job was to basically maintain the peace between planets kind of like a negotiator except he had the power to enact law on their planet. He got lucky with Sixam. They were a peaceful alien race. The most human-like, actually. If the people of Earth found out these aliens wore disguises that looked so much like humans and actually lived in their neighborhoods, people might freak out. There was nothing to fear, of course, but part of Jared’s job was to know who lived on earth and make sure they were living according to Earth’s rules.
Other aliens from planets like Vega Startron were not so friendly and were the catalyst for even having a position like Sheriff of the Stars. Jared had to fly past that planet on the way to Sixam, and he did so with his finger on the trigger every time.
Sixam’s beauty could be seen for miles even before entering into its atmosphere. It was very visible and looked like a hazy, purple arc. Seeing that signaled Jared to turn off the thrusters and begin his descent.
It was a cloudy day on Sixam that made navigating through the floating boulders more difficult. But, Jared was a pro and had made that flight hundreds of times. He could probably do it with his eyes closed.
There wasn’t much on the agenda for the day, so he took a few moments to stroll around the perimeter and collect things to bring back home. Kaiden still loved the weird little creatures he brought back. It felt good to have one of his children appreciate his work. The training to be an astronaut was intense and not for the faint of heart. He would never force one of his children to follow in his footsteps, but if any of them did, he would die an extremely ecstatic man.
The crystals on this planet were very rare, naturally. He liked to mine and send them to a jeweler to refine for placement in rings and pendants to give to his wife. Asia wasn’t one to wear jewelry all the time, but when she got dressed up, she made sure to sport all that bling from her loving husband.
Most alien planets did not have their own law enforcement. That made it easier for the government to negotiate deals that involved citizens of Earth having a certain level of authority on their planets. These planets didn’t exist in complete chaos, though. Most had some semblance of government they called councils. These heads of the community were the ones Jared interfaced with the most. One council person met him while he was still on his stroll.
“They were here again!” She was so angry her cheeks were flushed. It was so amazing how human-like they could be.
“The Vegas?” Jared was so glad they spoke Simlish. Or, at least that’s the language he heard when they spoke.
“They come for our resources! What if they increase their numbers next time? I fear we will have nothing left!”
“I understand, Valeria. I do. I told you last time that someone is dealing with them. It may take some time to detain all the criminals, but you’ll have to be patient.”
“I am not sure how long we can stand by and watch those miscreants ransack our nation! Why can’t you get involved? I’m sure, with your leadership, things would resolve much faster.”
“I appreciate your confidence, but I don’t have the authority to go to their planet and start arresting them! My duty and assignment is on this planet. Now, if they invade while I am here, or if I see them in airspace, I can do something then. But, I can’t overstep the boundaries.”
She sighed and hung her head, coming to terms with his message. “This person… The one assigned to Vega Startron. You trust him?”
“Oh yes. He’s assembling a team as we speak. I would volunteer, but I don’t want to leave Sixam uncovered.”
“We do appreciate your fervor for us, Officer Pruett. I hope my impatience does not reflect negatively on the whole of our nation.”
It always felt weird when they called him “officer.” He was an officer of the law and of peace but still felt like it didn’t suit him. “Of course not. Your people are lucky to have someone who cares as much as you do.”
“May the Life Force forever be on your side, Officer.”
“Have a good day, Valeria. Give my best to the council.”
“Officer,” she called after him. “You’ve come at a good time. The glow orbs are full term!”
“Thank you, Valeria! I’ll go pick some right now.”
Jared had been waiting for what felt like forever for the glow orbs to be ready to harvest. The germination period was long, and to make matters worse, they were only able to grow during one season on Earth: winter. He could have harvested them many times before, but there would be no use taking them home if he couldn’t plant them. But finally, the stars had aligned–literally–and he could finally bring some home to plant.
He wasn’t much of a gardener. Actually, he didn’t like gardening at all. Back in his time at the Pruett Estate, he left tending the flowers to everyone else. Luckily for him, the garden was more the heir’s responsibility. Even as a spare, knowing most people wouldn’t remember him, Jared still wanted to secure his own story within the Pruett legacy. Planting strange vegetation and collecting space rocks and things was an easy way to do that. Future Pruett heirs and even Willow Creek citizens might not remember him, but his own descendants would. They were reason enough to do something he did not enjoy. Jared had been shaped by legacy life, and he took cues from his own history to make sure he would be remembered. Xavier Pruett, the founder, planted lilies as a way to make extra money back in the days when he struggled to make ends meet. The flowers exist today, four generations later, and have increased in value a hundred fold. Flowers from space might not be worth much right now, but generations down the line, young future Pruetts will still be able to enjoy the fruits of his labor with fond memories of him and his contribution to the world.