One year ago...
"Youa leavin'? Mama mia!" The round, moustached Italian man known as Milo Vignoni held up his large, fat hands in despair. He then turned around and shouted into the back.
"Hey, Moni! You hearin' this? Ricky says he's leavin'", the owner of Milo's diner called out. "Says he's got anuther job".
Rick Roe liked the man known as Milo Vignoni. He was very flamboyant and anything different or unusual was interesting to Rick. And the man was very kind hearted. He'd given Rick a job and provided a roof over his head even though he didn't know him. Still, Rick wasn't going to tell the man everything about his job. Nor that the company he'd be joining was the Cosmic Knights.
"Milo. I am sorry", Rick apologised, smiling. "Only I think this new job will take up a lot of my time". He actually didn't know how much time he'd have to spend working as a Knight but Rick guessed that the job did not keep normal hours.
Milo turned to face Rick.
"What was this new job again, Ricky?" the Italian man asked, his left eye narrowing causing his bushy black eyebrow to almost touch his extravagant moustache.
Rick paused for only a moment and then answered. "It is in... security, Milo", he answered. "The money is good and they are providing temporary accommodation...". Milo's brow furrowed at this so Rick added, "...a place to stay. But I would still like to stay in the apartment you have rented me. I will continue to pay, I assure you".
Milo slapped his forehead and turned around shouting into the back again.
"Moni, now he say he's got anuther place to stay. But he wantsa keep our room!"
There was a muttered reply from the back, but Rick couldn't quite make out the response.
"Milo, if I can help out here, I will", Rick tried to explain. "And if you really need me, I can help. I am very grateful to you for helping me out when I arrived here in Millenia. For everything that you did".
He stressed the 'everything'. As well as providing a job and a room, Milo had also put him in contact with someone who apparently knew somebody else who provided "official" identification papers. The ones Rick had procured when he'd first arrived were somewhat suspect whereas this new identity as Richard Roe, plus the accompanying documentation, was much more secure. Almost legitimate, apparently.
Milo looked at Rick for a while, his pudgey hands twirling his moustache in thought. Then the big man smiled and clapped Rick on the shoulder.
"Ah, thatsa okay, my friend!" he exclaimed. "Your goin' inta security, eh? You always were a strong, tough one. I hope its not the wrong sort of security, eh? Not part of the Family". Milo winked at Rick.
Rick didn't know what the man meant but was sure that the Knights were not the "wrong sort". Rick convinced the chef and businessman that his job was a good one and he would be helping a lot of people.
"Thatsa good", smiled Milo. "And if you're still staying in the apartment, we'll still see you around, yes?"
"Yes, Milo", agreed Rick. He'd decided that he's freedom might be somewhat compromised if he always lived at the Cosmic Knights Complex. Having to undergo security scans and dodge the reporters camped outside would only make things difficult. It was better to leave things open. Just in case.
It wasn't as if Rick had a great need for two places to live. In his current apartment all he had was a bed, a few books (reading for pleasure was something new to Rick), a TV (Rick liked to watch anything and everything), and a radio (music was something the Qysians had neglected to discover). He had travelled light and still continued that practice.
"I hope to still see you sometimes", added Rick, returning the clap on the shoulder.
"Good, good", beamed Milo, gesturing into the back. "Nowa, come and taste this canneloni I'm making. Itsa squisito!"
"Maybe later, Milo", Rick replied, although he was sure the pasta and meat dish was delicious. "I have to get ready..."
"You have a date? Some girl we know? Hey, Moni..." Milo began shouting into the back again.
"No, No. Nothing like that. I have to get ready for the job", explained Rick. In fact, he wanted to get a good look at the Complex before the official ceremony tomorrow and see what was going on there. But he wanted to do it incognito, as it were.
"Aah, I bet you do", beamed Milo. "Still I don't know why a handsome guy like you hasn't got himself a wife yet. Someone like my Monica, eh?"
Rick looked confused. "I am not interested in your Monica, Milo", he replied. "She is your spouse".
"No, no", Milo said, shaking his head. "I don't actually mean my Moni, just someone like her, si? Aah, Ricky. Sometimes I wonder about you. Now go on and get ready".
Milo waved Rick Roe away whilst Rick wondered what that last part of the discussion was all about. He shrugged and headed out.