Peter Walter II sighed as he slowly climbed up the winding stairs to the third floor of the Walter Mansion; it had not been an easy day.
His father, Colonel Peter A. Walter I, had died that morning after being confined to his bed for three days. Peter II had immediately turned off the Walter Wifi, but not before sending a message to the household:
"Everything is fine, stay where you are. I'll be there to explain in a moment."
He did not want the news spreading too fast. There were a lot of people (and robots) in the Walter Mansion these days. Though the country was still at war, the automatons had taken heavy damage after a year of combat; they had been shipped to the Mansion just a week ago to be repaired and refitted. Peter II had been more than happy about this in the start, but his father's health had declined dramatically. Oh, of course the old inventor had put on a smile when The Spine, The Jon, and the rest of the mechanical men arrived, and he'd managed to crack a few jokes and laugh with the bots when they visited him in between maintenance checks, but Peter II had come quickly to terms with the fact that his father would not be with them for very much longer. Now, he was gone, and these things had to be handled carefully.
He'd called his brother first. Peter III had not lived in the Walter Mansion for quite some time, but a promise had been made some years back, thus Peter III was the first to be told. The conversation had been short; Peter III would be there the following day, and they'd talk more then.
Peter II had gone to his family after that. His wife and three children had been waiting for him in the kitchen. His eldest son, Mark, was eighteen and had already deduced what had happened; Mark's 16 year old sister was old enough to guess that the news was bad. Their five year old brother, Peter Walter IV, was sitting quietly in his mother's arms, eyes wide as his siblings began to cry when their father came into the room, his expression grim. The Walter family held on to each other for about ten minutes, Peter II grasping the hand of his wife for strength. He could feel the lump in his throat, but he ignored it. His eyes began to burn, but he rejected that too; later, when I'm alone.
Finally, Peter II broke away from their embrace.
"Where's The Jon, Mary?" he asked his wife thickly, still holding onto her hand.
"He was with Alex in the shop, last I heard," she answered, giving him a sad, knowing smile.
"Thanks," he returned the smile, squeezing her hand a little before letting it go; he'd need some extra courage for this next part.