The Fourth Generation
Rose is a no nonsense Filipino woman in her middle thirties. She is somewhere highly functional “on the autism spectrum,” which mainly manifiests in some OCD tendencies and she has trouble keeping eye contact when she talks instead trying to stay
She is normally wearing her office clothes, even when off duty. She doesn’t really have a casual wardrobe. She does not wear anything that might be mistaken for a uniform.
Rose likes to make lists, and also tries to establish a “set of rules” for every situation that Michael may find himself in growing up. However, she has not established rules about being a superhero. Her current set of rules for him are about maintaining and growing his humanity.
Rose was not like other girls. When she was given a Barbie doll with a speech chip at age 11, she pried the chip out and had reprogrammed it to speak in Tagalong by her 12th birthday. Her parents didn’t need to worry about boys in high school: no one wanted to talk to nerdy Rose who was more interested in programming the light show than dancing to the music at the school dance. In college, she studied computer programming and robotics and never once noticed the sighs of her own mother when the neighborhood girls started raising families.
It was in her senior year of college when she met Junipero Diego at a party. Junipero and a few friends were crashing the party, but Juni was so out of place that he ended up just sitting outside in the garden. The two outsiders began to talk, and although they disagreed as much as they agreed, they soon started dating.
It wasn’t long before the inevitable happened: Michael Joshua Diego-Pena was conceived, and as Rose’s parents rushed them towards the altar, they discovered Juni’s big secret. Years ago he had crossed the border, and had never applied for citizenship. He left one step ahead of the INS agents, and bought a house in Palomar(*), a small town south of the border.
Rose applied for a civilian roboticist position at Miramar, helping to build robots that were then shipped overseas without her. Working for the military gave her a structure to her life that she didn’t realize she had always wanted.
Rose took Michael to visit his father occasionally as they waited for Juni’s paperwork to clear as he applied to enter the county legally and get his green card. It took a decade, but all was set… until an unsympathetic judge took a look at Juni’s original illegal immigration and occasional nights in Palomar’s drunk tank, and deemed him permanently banned from citizenship. After that, Rose stopped taking Michael so often. However, she did make sure that he spent time with Juni’s expansive family in Southern California, as well as her own.
Her parents had taken an early retirement and left for the Phillipines, but there are many, many cousins.
After Michael’s accident, Rose threw herself into her work, unable to look at the tree in the backyard that used to be her son. Once Michael was able to move and speak again, she was already assigned to a unit that was scheduled to go overseas in a few months.
Rose has spent the last three months deployed in Japan, supervising a carefully monitored robotics knowledge exchange. Now she has returned home, hoping to reconnect to Michael and see if there is still her son within the bark of the tree.