Portions of this story contain copyrighted characters from other authors. The characters from the following stories are used with permission: A New Day Dawns © GunRunner; One Door Closes, Frontier, and A New Door Opens © MultiMapper; Sentenced to Life © JeffP; Memories: Down Under © Boi From Aus; Ark © Akeentia; The Unit © Roland; and Out Of The Past © DarkStar. The following characters are used with permission: Mark Owens © Slash; Johnny Carter © ND from his story Nick and Ashley.
All characters and references to STAR TREK are © Paramount Pictures Corporation. Since I'm not making a profit from this story, I believe that it is okay to use the characters in this story.
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Any celebrities portrayed in this story are used fictitiously and have no resemblance to the personalities or preferences carrying the same name. This story is set in an alternate reality, and in no way, shape, or form reflects any events or interactions which may have or ever will happen in the real world.
THIS STORY IS COPYRIGHT © 2002-2011 BY ACFAN. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DISTRIBUTION FOR COMMERCIAL GAIN, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, POSTING ON SITES OR NEWSGROUPS, DISTRIBUTION AS PARTS OR IN BOOK FORM (EITHER AS A WHOLE OR PART OF A COMPILATION) WITH OR WITHOUT A FEE, OR DISTRIBUTION ON CD, DVD, OR ANY OTHER ELECTRONIC MEDIA WITH OR WITHOUT A FEE, IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED WITHOUT THE AUTHOR'S WRITTEN CONSENT. YOU MAY DOWNLOAD ONE (1) COPY OF THIS STORY FOR PERSONAL USE; ANY AND ALL COMMERCIAL USE EXCEPTING EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS REQUIRES THE AUTHORS WRITTEN CONSENT. THE AUTHOR MAY BE CONTACTED AT: email@example.com
Cory and the Clan Short boys were leading Jason, Nathan and Riti back from Cory's home towards CIC, and the two lion-boys were playing a spirited game of tail-tag as they ran around the group. As they drew near to the northern doorway into CIC, Jason came to a stop. "You sure about this Cory? You want me to bring some of the others over?"
Nathan added, "You do know that we can't bring the entire Active Duty group here, right? They're looking after those we rescued yesterday."
"That's fine." Cory replied. "Even though we can't say anything right now I still want you guys involved."
Jason smiled, "We can openly take part as Vulcan Special and Covert Operations, so we can be fairly active."
He tapped his communicator on his collar, "Voice to Dragon's Nest. Eyes? Heart?"
"Receiving, Commander. Heart is with me as well." came Eye's voice.
"Please transport to our location. Clan Short meeting, and we're invited." Jason said happily.
"Are... are you serious??" a young girl's voice half yelled.
"Yes. Leave Red, Matt and Trist in charge, and get your butts over here. Bring the Rugrats their robes too, please. It's Dragon Dress on this one." Jason stated.
"Gotcha. We'll be there in a min!" Eyes replied.
"Wow... dressing for a Clan meeting... that'll be a first!" JJ giggled under his breath.
"I know," Jason replied. "But if we are there as VSO, then we have to start in at least our robes. Tradition, sorry. And once you meet Eyes, or Antony, you'll understand why it takes him a while to feel comfortable being naked with a large group... red face don't cover it with that tomato!"
"Does that mean we need to have the Tribe take him in for a shower to relax him?" Kyle asked with an evil grin.
"The kids? They'd be no problem to him. It's the rest of you guys... as in our age and up. He's just shy, lil' dude. Give him five mins in there, and he'll be like everyone else."
A transporter hum made them all turn to watch as a twelve year old, black haired boy in glasses and an eight year old red head girl appeared. Both in the jet black robes that Jason, Nathan and Riti were wearing, and all with the same patch covering something on the left arm of the robes.
"Greetings, Clan Short," Antony said politely. "I am Eyes, or Antony."
"And I am Heart, or Viccy," Victoria giggled. She took a quick nose count then eyed up the naked Kyle. "Nice to meet you!"
Kyle caught the direction of her glances, and a nanosecond later was clothed in a dark purple robe with a crest on the breast that none of the others had seen before.
"Getting shy, lil' bro?" Cory giggled. "Hi Antony; Hi Viccy. Welcome to Clan Headquarters, Orlando."
Victoria giggled, "Nice robe, cute stuff, but don't worry. I know you're married to that cute blond there, and that you have a son. Won't stop me looking, but just take it as a compliment. Tyler has good taste!"
"Vic," Jason said warningly, for he had picked up a surge of anger from his feathered brother next to him. "Lay it off, sis. These guys rub shoulders less with straight folks then we do."
"Okay, bro, but you're taking a lot of fun outta it! If they parade around in the buff, how can they expect a girl not to look?!" she half grinned. Turning to Kyle again, she added, "If it makes you uncomfortable, though, I'll try to restrain myself."
"Thank's for the invite, Patriarch," Antony responded formally, rolling his eyes at Victoria. "She'd thank you too, but I think JJ has her attention right now!"
"Just like we told ya Riti..." Levi commented in Riti's native language. "Don't let her get to you; I'll help you out by taking care of the eye candy."
A few seconds later, all of the boys except Riti found themselves in full medieval armor, including helms. "Okay Viccy; I know what's in your head better than you. Stop playin' 'round!" Levi giggled.
"Umm, Levi?" Jason commented, his voice echoing from the helm on his head.
"Yes, Sir Jason?" Levi giggled.
"Riti had problems learning Terran languages. We didn't have any learning his!" responded the 'welsh knight'.
Victoria was blushing deeply by this point, then her eyes flashed in pure anger. "What have you been telling them, Riti Evans!"
Riti, his own anger bubbling over, spat back, "Only the truth. I've had enough of this. Viccy, you and I need to talk. Jace?"
"Yeah?" came the still echoing reply.
"Turn off her empathy. I don't want her screwing with my feelings like she did last month when I tried."
"Done," Levi responded for Jason.
Victoria looked between them all as they suddenly went dark to her, "Wh..what are...."
Riti did not let her finish. He grabbed her and lifted her up with him into the air. Once on the roof of CIC he set her down.
The boys, now suddenly back out of the armor, watched.
"Ten quid says she kicks him in the shins for that," Nathan said in worry.
"I'd bet ya, but I already know the answer." Levi chuckled. "Oh, your armor is back in your bedrooms; the armor dealer has a no-return policy on it once it's worn."
"He's definitely YOUR son!" Tyler laughed as he gave Kyle a squeeze.
"No way; that kinda prank is YOUR territory!" Kyle giggled in reply.
"From what we've seen since we've been guarding you," added Antony with a grin as he looked at the two Mikyvis, "it's something both you nutters would do!"
"We would?" Tyler asked innocently as the lower half of Antony's clothing became totally transparent.
Antony blushed, sighed, then said, "Yes. And this proves it."
Jason looked with surprise at his brother, "Well, well. Only a blush?"
"I saw this when I took a nap earlier, dude. I went nuts then."
"Oh," Jason nodded with a grin. "Telez would be pissed at missing this, though!"
"Yeah. He said as much when I Sent him the image I had!" Antony giggled. "Can you undo what you did now, Tyler? It's odd to feel dressed yet look half naked."
Tyler smiled as Antony's clothes returned to normal. "Don't worry, Telez has been getting a direct play-by-play with video since you guys arrived. We couldn't leave him outta the fun!"
"Poor Koth. He wants to hug your son so much it's making our lives hell, then he sees us with you before he gets to be?" Nathan said a little sadly.
Antony responded quickly, "Don't worry, Nath'. I also had a dream about tomorrow. Someone has been found and Levi will be going to the 'Yoshuhlnak' to help out. Koth will squeeze the life out of him then." Antony pulled over the day old Mikyvis and hugged him happily.
Peter grinned. "Yeah; and I've been screening Koth so that he don't know you're with Levi right now; he just gets the Riti bits! Everyone knows not to say nuthin so he don't feel bad."
"Cool," Jason commented as he turned his attention back to the roof and his younger brother and sister.
They all watched as the two kids on the roof argued for the better part of five minutes. They could not hear anything, however, as Levi seemed to be keeping what was said private.
Jason started to giggle, however. "Ten... nine... eight..."
"Oh, lord," Nathan rolled his eyes, "I feel it too!"
Antony sniggered, "I saw this last night!"
"Three... two... one... Bingo!" Jason completed happily as they all watched Riti give up explaining and simply lip-locked the red-head.
"Thank GOD!" Nathan sighed in relief.
"I'm glad that we wasn't like that when we found each other." Tyler commented as he hugged Kyle.
"No, you guys just stared at each other for five minutes while you drooled on the floor." Sean replied. The next thing Sean knew, he was soaking wet and holding a lobster. "C'mon guys, this lobster wants to meet Timmy." Sean said as he glared at Kyle and Tyler. "You know, the ocean is cold up there this time of year guys?"
"Yeah;" Kyle giggled "why do you think we chose it? Peter, you mind taking Timmy's lobster in to him and getting him a tank set up?"
Peter nodded as he carefully took the lobster from Sean. "Sure! Timmy's going to love this!" he said as he popped out.
Nathan nodded at Tyler, "Yeah, most of us just fell into it, but these two literally started out as friends. And I'm serious there: there is a lot at risk for them both. They didn't want to put their friendship to the test."
Kyle giggled. "Cory and Sean were just as bad; I looked up their past and you shoulda seen how long it took for them to admit to themselves that they loved each other."
"Thanks a lot... brat!" Sean replied as both he and Cory began to glow.
Jason giggled. "Oh, tell me about it. Sorry, guys, but when I was doing the mind-healing on you, Cory, I saw... well, everything. Not that you'd done a hell of a lot before... but that time that Michael caught you copping a feel of Sean's..."
"Stop right there!" Cory interrupted quickly, whereupon Jason collapsed laughing.
Tyler giggled. "C'mon bro; all you were doing is looking for a new toy ...."
Once he finished laughing at the look on both Sean and Cory's face, Jason looked up at his winged brother and his sister. He suddenly had a sneaky suspicion that Riti was not about to stop his kiss long enough to fly them both down any time soon. He looked at his blond husband, and something passed briefly between them. Nathan started to float up off the ground as his eyes went a deeper blue.
Victoria and Riti started to lift off the roof and float down to them all, which was when they both noticed. Riti giggled and whispered something to the girl in his arms.
"Thanks, Reet." She answered.
"I never minded you looking, just hated you trying to make me feel bad." he responded lightly as their feet touched the grass.
"Deal. Window Shopping okay, making each other jealous, bad." Victoria agreed.
"Done!" Riti kissed her cheek.
"God help Clan Short..." Jason muttered.
Riti poked his tongue out at his brother, "Just cos I go both ways, dude. More eye candy for me, no?"
"Dmitry with wings?" JJ chuckled to Cory as they helped Sean dry off.
"I hope not!" Cory giggled. "I love D to death, but two of him...."
"No, I just look at cute people, and run about naked, and... Yeah, Dmitry mark two!" Riti giggled.
Nathan also giggled, "Yeah, he even tried that icing thing, but used honey instead as Viccy and Koth preferred that..."
"Waaaaayyy too much information!!" Cory, Sean, and JJ chorused at the same time. Kyle, Tyler and Levi just blushed as all three saw the results of that experiment.
Riti started howling with laughter, and Victoria giggled at the three Mikyvis, "That'll teach you for lookin'!"
Jason coughed, "Well, now that we've lowered the tone, Nath', shall we go see where our Rugrats are, and if they have joined the Tribe?"
"That last is a given, but I'm wondering if the Tribe have also become Rugrats," Nathan sniggered.
Antony said, "The Tribe will need to come to the Nest for that, you know. Bel and his swearing in stuff?"
Cory raised an eyebrow. "Swearing in??"
"Oh, it only involves a blindfold and being thrown into the pool, Patriarch," Antony assured him.
Levi quickly looked up in the air innocently, suddenly very interested in the clouds.
"Dragon's Nest to Voice," a woman's voice called from Jason's communicator.
"Yes, mam?" Jason replied.
"We have the indoor swimming pool filled with naked kids... and I'm sure as hell that they're from Clan Short."
"Uh huh, that would be quite possible, mother dearest," Jason said as he looked at Levi, who was now studying one of Riti's feathers with an obvious innocent air. "Are they going through the Rugrat ceremony?"
"Yes. Donna, the twins and Matthew are in the pool to pick up the dunked kids and help them out if they are too small, and Tristan is throwing each one in, in turn. We also have a bloody great alligator sitting on the diving board..."
"That's Allie. She's cool." Jason replied with a barely suppressed giggle.
"If she eats anyone, I get a new purse... got it?" was the obviously worried reply.
"She won't, she's Timmy's friend." Riti quickly called back.
"Oh, well, okay then... oh, they have just finished. See you later, kids. Enjoy."
"Night night, mammy," Nathan called through his giggles.
"Tell your guys to make sure they say goodbye to Allie before she leaves ...." Levi said as he studied a blade of grass.
"Is that Levi? Is that why the others are growling at the poor beast? I thought they were picking on it!"
Nathan sighed, "Never mind, mam. We'll explain later. Just get the other Rugrats to bed, we'll look after the ringleaders when they get back here."
"Okay. Night, boys," and the signal cut off.
"Well," Riti giggled, "Looks like we have about twenty more who can animal-speak."
Kyle and Tyler both looked over at their son. "Okay Levi, spill it."
"Well...." Levi replied slowly, "Timmy wanted Peter to help him out; Peter asked me 'bout it an' since you were busy I told him to go ahead an' help Timmy."
Cory rolled his eyes. "Dude! Next time Levi, please interrupt us before you go freaking out people on the other side of the world!!"
"Mam is used to it; at least with kids turning up all the time," Jason assured them, "Belar has kinda made friends with most of the Margam area. The twenty that were there are our Rugrats, but we also get about fifty odd more visiting every weekend."
"Just wait; you're gonna think you're running an animal rescue within a week." JJ chuckled as they started moving towards CIC again. "The Tribe has animals coming to their door to visit; Harley had a fawn come up earlier today looking for it's mom, he spent an hour helping it out."
"Good," Riti giggled as he and Victoria walked along hand in hand, "I need help with my bird friends!"
Jason rolled his eyes as he opened the door for the others. "Cory? We'll be right in, but we need to get ready. Reet? Robe on please. Viccy? You have the four kids' robes?"
"Yep," she answered. "And I just called them."
The door leading from the hallway into the Rec Room opened and Belar, Ross, Rhys and Jessica ran out, still dripping wet.
"Wonderful... at least they can use the robes to dry with!" Nathan muttered.
Victoria handed the four innocent seeming Rugrats their sky blue robes, "Put them on, sweeties."
"'Kay, Auntie Vic!" Belar giggled.
Jessica slipped hers on and then turned to Cory, "Unca Cory?"
"Yeah Jessica? You have fun with Timmy?" Cory smiled down at the little girl.
"Uh huh! We been made Tribe! And we made 'em Rugrats! That's 'kay, isn't it?" she bubbled as she hugged Cory's waist while smiling up at him.
"Uh huh, that's awesome." Cory replied with a smile. "You know, you guys might want to get an ID for Allie if she's gonna become an international traveller though!"
Belar quickly held out a small red book that had appeared in his hand. How it suddenly got there was answered by Peter's giggles from the Rec Room doorway. Belar handed it to Cory, who fell to his butt laughing when he looked at it. On the outside, in gold-leaf, was printed:
'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland: Passport'
Inside was a picture of Allie... smiling...
Cory was starting to get everyone around for the meeting when Gavin grabbed his shirt. "Guess what bro!" Gavin asked excitedly.
Cory giggled at his off-world brother. "You and Josiah are having kids?"
"No, goofball! My boyfriend found out you wanted to hold a meeting and he made a present for you! C'mon!" Gavin replied with glee.
Cory followed Gavin to the door facing the pool and gasped when he looked through the doorway. The spot they had entered through not thirty minutes before was now an archway leading into a large auditorium. "Whoa; thats awesome!" Cory announced as Josiah walked out of the new room. "Thanks bros; it's great!"
The black robed 'Voice of the Dragon' looked around Cory and through the door. He whistled softly, "Wow. Can we borrow Josiah for renovations at home, Cory?"
"Talk to Josiah; I don't mind." Cory giggled as he gave Josiah a quick hug. "Josiah that is great bro; now we can get everyone involved."
Cory turned to Gavin. "Bro, could you have Seth call across the street and get everyone to come over? With all of this space it's a waste to let them miss out."
"Sure Cory." Gavin replied as he took Josiah's hand. "C'mon cutie; let's get this party rolling for Cory."
The nine from the Dragon Division stood to one side of the huge stage at the front of the auditorium and watched as the place rapidly filled with children. The Unit filled one section in a very military fashion, and next to them were Sammy and his brothers and friends. To the other side the Camp kids all sat, looking around in awe and excitement at being included in something 'Clan'. Voice smiled to himself as the Oceanic Division popped into being via Mikyvis-Taxi and found places. The Maine contingent was next, then the AI Division was the last to be brought over; filling out the empty spots.
Once the seats were full, Cory walked onto the stage. "Hey Sean, did we miss anyone?" he giggled as he helped Sean up and started towards the center of the long counter on the stage.
"I think you forgot the Federation Council!" Sean responded as they took their seats. "You ready for me to call everyone up?"
"I believe you are mistaken, Archivist." Sarek announced from the balcony. "My presence here fulfills the requirements for Federation Council attendance. I believe that once Patriarch Cory is sufficiently prepared, the meeting may commence."
Cory looked over at Sarek with a grin; at Sarek's nod Cory stood up. "Hello everyone; I am Patriarch Cory Short, welcome to Clan Headquarters. Tonight we're here to acknowledge all of you for pulling together yesterday. I'm also going to make sure everyone is really aware of where they stand in our family; and every single one of you is family in my eyes. This cute guy next to me is Clan Archivist Sean Short; he's going to do the introductions as our officers are brought up."
Sean stood as Cory took his seat. "These are not in any real order guys, so don't think someone is above someone else just because they were called up first." Sean paused, then started calling people up. "Representing the A.I. Division, could Division Director Danny Page and Medical Director Marc Furst please come up?"
Marc and Danny came up to the stage, both showing a little embarrassment at being called first. Once they were at their seats, Sean continued. "Representing the Oceanic Division; Division Director Skylan Thomas and I.T. Director Cody Thomas." The two boys joined them on the stage, after a few quick hugs they took their seats. "Representing Clan Short Special Forces, Vulcan Commander Adam Casey and Intelligence Commander Logan Hayes." Both boys came onto the stage, saluting Cory before taking their seats.
"Next up, Director of Clan Diplomatic Corps, Xain Thompson and his T'hy'la Jake Thompson." Sean paused until they were seated. "Now, the Director of Operations, North America, Sammy Reynolds."
"Who? Me?" Sammy exclaimed as he looked around the room.
"Yeah, YOU!" Cory giggled. "Get on up here Sammy; bring Brian with you."
But...but I..." Sammy stuttered, looking around at the grinning faces; but he could feel there was one person who definitely wasn't grinning, his dad. He looked back and up into the balcony where he saw his dad standing; he just knew his mouth was open asking 'what the...'
Mike yelled loudly "Wait now, just a fu...darn minute here!"
Giggles erupted all around Sammy as one of the boys nearby yelled back "Just wait until he gets his fuzzymore!"
"Fuz...fuzzymore! I don't even think I want to know!" Mike said.
Sammy couldn't help but grin as he exclaimed "Cool"
Sammy could feel his dad's gaze boring holes in him as Mike yelled back "No! Whatever that is, no!"
"But daaaaaaad" Sammy whined, still grinning even though the whole North America thing was blowing his mind.
Sarek got Mike's attention. "Mr. Reynolds, it would be illogical to resist this assignment. It has been based on the natural skills which your son has exhibited; in addition equipment will be provisioned which shall ensure that any future attempts at injury to himself or those around him are futile."
'What in the hell am I to do or say to that, for God's sake.' Mike thought. 'This is Sarek of Vulcan for Christ's sake. I can't exactly argue with HIM for crying out loud. But the idea that Sammy would be in this Clan thing, even though I have a lot of respect for them, is something that I'm not so sure about; at least not in some type of position of authority. God, now what do I do?'
From down on the main level, Sammy could feel his dad's worry; he knew exactly what the problem was. Sammy considered what was just offered, he thought it was something way beyond him; Cory must have made a mistake. Sammy wanted to be part of the Clan, but he thought this was too much.
Sammy started to answer when Mike called out. "Sir with all due respect to your logic, this is my SamSam and logic doesn't apply here. I don't want... I can't see him put at risk any more; him or the other kids. I just can't."
Sammy could feel his dad fighting back the tears when he said that. Brian took Sammy's arm and squeezed it tightly. Sammy turned to Cory. "I think there's been a mistake Cory, it's too much. I'm just a kid; I don't know how to do something like run a division."
Levi stood and waved for Cory to hold back on his reply. "Sammy? Uncle Mike? I just finished goin' over some stuff that the Double J's told me. I did some time bouncing and verified what I was seeing. I can say some of this stuff out loud, but some of it is private and only you two should hear it. Can I put the private stuff in your heads?"
Sammy looked around and up at Mike, before looking back at Levi who was standing there waiting expectantly. "Yes." He replied.
"Alright, I guess so." Mike added.
Levi smiled as he transferred the information to the two of them. Once he was done, he announced loud enough for all to hear "I'm happy to announce that it's been confirmed that, along with some others in the room, Sammy is pretty much the next stage of humanity. He isn't descended from a subspecies; he's humanity's next level."
From the Dragon group standing to one side of the stage, three heads jerked up and looked with grins at Sammy, who slowly smiled back at them as their eyes met. Voice, Nathan and Victoria winked and sent a silent message to Sammy, 'We'll talk after.'
Sammy just stood there, stunned at all the information that Levi had shown them. He nodded in reply to the voice in his head.
As Sammy was digesting the new information, Eric grinned as he commented to Mike, "Better you than me."
Just as Mike muttered "Why can't anything be simple with that child?" a look of shock crossed Eric's face. Mike noticed this, and asked in concern "What's wrong?"
Levi giggled. "I just gave him some information on the Trinity!"
Voice grinned wider, and then located the Trinity quickly, 'You three as well. My brother, sister and I will talk to you three and Sammy at the same time.'
"Eric!" Mike called again before saying "Umm Marc? Maybe you might wanna come up here, he don't look so good!"
Marc shook his head. "Levi; you caused this... YOU fix it!"
"Okay Uncle Marc! I'll fix 'em up!" Levi replied before popping up next to Mike and Eric. "Congrats Uncle Eric! You got really kewl kids!"
Nothing could be heard but a long moan from Eric and snickers from the Trinity, who had just got a message from Voice.
Levi put his hands on Eric's chest. He noticed that Eric's heart rate was getting dangerously high, so he helped Eric out by slowing it down. "Relax Uncle Eric; it's all good. I'll fill ya in real quick."
Sammy watched absently as Levi talked to his Uncle Eric. He was still thinking about what he had just been shown. He still didn't know if he could handle the position he was just given, and was concerned what could happen if he somehow screwed up. It wasn't like helping a kid or something; it was more like running everything. Sammy considered the possibilities if he didn't do it. 'What if Cory's made a mistake and I ain't the right person for this? I mean, I'm just a kid! What if Levi is wrong about what will happen? What do I do?' Sammy sighed heavily. 'I wish I could talk to dad right now.'
'Sammy,' Voice said in Sammy's head again, 'I'm Voice, leader of the Dragon Division. My name is Jace. That is a secret for now. I went through the same back at New Years. I had to deal with my feelings regarding leading a group just about the same size as yours is. When we talk about what you are now, you and I can have a long chat about being a leader of a group. You are not alone, brother; not alone in being special and not alone in being a leader. All the other Clan Short leaders are there for you as well.'
Sammy nodded towards Voice, and then looked up at his dad. He attempted to consciously do something with another person for the first time in his life. 'Dad I'm going try. I gotta try... please?'
Sammy waited, and shortly sensed the worry and fear emanating from Mike. Most of all, he felt the love coming from his Dad as Mike stood up straight and looked back at Sammy. Sammy faintly picked up on Mike's thoughts; 'I'll always be there for you Sam Sam; and if you want to try, I'll support you any way I can. Just be careful, please.'
Sammy nodded, and then turned back to Voice. Sammy pushed his thoughts hard towards him; trying to let him know how much what Voice had said meant to him. 'Thank you, it's good to know I'm not alone; I'll try my best'
Sammy turned back to Cory, announcing "I don't know if I can do it, but I'll try my best Cory. I promise you that." To Sammy's surprise, the rest of his family stood and chorused "We all will!"
'That your first time at broadcasting?' Voice asked curiously.
'Sorta,' Sammy giggled.
'Very good, bro. Very good.' Voice sent with an underlying smile as he watched Sammy accept the position.
Thanks. I've always had to hide the stuff I can do; nobody knew except for the Trinity. It's hard to put aside everything I was ever taught, but I had to talk to dad. Sammy replied.
'You did well, then. I'll help you, as will my sister and brother. Can I take a quick look in your head?' asked Voice.
Sammy thought about it a minute, thinking of the things he didn't want anyone to know; but then concluded 'They're family now. I guess it's time, I just hope he doesn't think I'm crazy when he finds Pablito. He paused, then sent back 'Okay, but some things...well....'
'I'm not looking for memories. I'm just checking for how your mind has set itself up. My mind is very different now, and I want to see if you are the same, going that way, or needing some help,' Voice explained softly.
As Voice began, Sammy felt a slight tickle in his mind, which caused him to giggle.
'Well, you can feel me in here. Okay, this is good. You have blocks here from the Double J's; that's what's stopping you from hurting yourself. Nice mind, dude. Okay, we'll chat after; but you and the Trinity are okay. I'm in their minds right now as well.' Voice said.
Sammy turned to look at the Trinity, who were all giggling as they looked back at him.
'This is what you'll be able to do, should you wish, bros,' Voice said to all of them at once, 'and I'll be here to help you.'
Sammy looked back at Voice and nodded his thanks. 'Thank you. It means a lot that you'll be there for me. This is all so strange to me after all this time. I've spent my whole life hiding it and now I don't have to and I don't know how not to hide.'
In the back of his mind, Sammy wished he could show Voice what his grandmother had shown and taught him; but he wasn't sure about how to do it. Sammy hoped that maybe later Voice would show him how to do it, then Voice might understand better. Sammy remembered the Double J's telling him that they had blocked things, and he knew that he felt better after they had done it; but he wondered what removing the blocks would mean. Sammy had been afraid his whole life, but now he didn't need to be. 'I don't know how not to be afraid. I can't even imagine what it would be like not to be; but looking around at all the kids here, and all they can do, I know I don't have to be afraid anymore, if only I can let myself.' Sammy thought.
'One, don't be afraid anymore. Even if you are different, then it's good. I'm different, and Kyle redefines the word! Second, nothing will be unblocked unless you want it. I am a trained Mind-healer, and I can even do any re-ordering required should you need it. You won't go through what you had to again. And even if I can't do it, Kyle or the others can.' Voice sent finally.
'You knew what I was thinking, even though I have the walls up?' Sammy sent to him in shock.
'Like Levi told you... I'm the next stage of evolution. I was only lightly scanning you and the Trinity. Only what you 'say' in your head I can hear. You cannot block me... not until I train you too,' came a slight giggle in response.
'Oh! Well, thanks. I'll try not to be afraid; it's just so hard to be. For the first time in my life I don't have to be afraid to let someone know, at least anyone other than the Trinity. It's just going to take some time to get used to it, I guess.' Sammy sent back; smiling at Voice.
Sammy felt a slight hug, even though nobody was there. 'That was nice... my first attempt at telekinesis! Chat after, SamSam,' Voice said as he withdrew his presence from Sammy's mind.
Sammy couldn't help but smile as he felt the hug from Voice. 'Okay. And oh; by the way, it was a great first time!'
As Sammy realized what he'd just said, the Trinity almost fell on the floor laughing; Brian just looked at him and said "What?"
"Nothing" Sammy quickly said in reply; the look Brian gave him proved that he didn't buy it for one second.
'First time?' Nathan sent to Voice, as Sammy began to blush like crazy. 'What did you do to that boy?!'
'This.' Voice replied; as Nathan also felt a light hug from nowhere.
'Oh, you finally managed it? Okay...' Nathan giggled.
'Yeah... I didn't do this, for example...' Voice replied with a wicked grin.
Nathan suddenly blushed, and was truly thankful he had a robe on as he felt a lot of movement below his waist.
Kyle clued Cory and Sean into what was going on, and with a giggle Cory stood up. "Sammy, get on up here and have a seat before things get out of hand! You've earned the spot bro; we'll discuss everything about it later. Bring Brian with you."
Sammy and Brian stood to join the others on the stage. Brian was a little unsteady, as he was still getting used to regaining the use of his legs; compliments of Levi and Peter. The next thing they knew, they were standing behind their chairs.
Sean giggled at the surprise they had sprung. "Next up, representing the Mikyvis Council, Arch-Vilicus Kyle Richardson and Concilium Vilicus Tyler Short." Neither boy bothered walking; instead, they both appeared in their chairs wearing huge grins.
"You two are nuts!" Sean giggled. "Representing the Founder Council; Council Seer Tyne Oraculum and Founder Council Cautela Rusty Timberlake." Once Tyne and Rusty had taken their spots, Sean looked and saw that three seats were still empty. "Okay, now representing Camp Little Eagle, the Director of Clan Recovery and Support, Dylan Chang."
Dylan made his way to the stage; carrying his shadow, six year old Jason K in his arms. Dylan obviously was in just as much shock as Sammy had been; even though half his face was hidden by his black leather mask, his expression was clear. Once Dylan was comfortably seated with Jason K securely on his lap, Sean looked off to the side of the stage with a grin.
"Last but not least, representing Vulcan Special Operations Dragon Division; Dragon Lead One, Division Commander 'Voice' and Dragon Lead Two, Commander 'Fire'." Sean announced with great flourish.
Voice and Nathan walked from the edge of the stage to the middle, while gesturing for the remaining seven to find somewhere to sit. Riti, his robe covering his wings, looked the most unusual, especially when he gave the back of the chair he found a disgusted look.
Nathan glanced over at Riti's silent plea for help, and the back of the chair suddenly detached and flew to the side of the room, allowing Riti to sit comfortably. Kyle giggled as he whispered "We're gonna need to stock up on chairs if you keep doing that!"
Nathan replied, "I unscrewed the back, Arch-Vilicus. I will reattach it once the meeting adjourns." He and Voice then focused their attention on Cory and Sean.
"On behalf of the VSO, I formally bring you greetings, Patriarch Cory, Archivist Sean," Voice said as he gave them the Vulcan salute.
Cory and Sean came to attention and returned the salute. "It is fitting that the elite Dragon Division of the VSO be present at this occasion." Cory replied formally. He then motioned for Voice and Nathan to choose their seats.
After moving to two open seats, Nathan and Voice sat down, lowering the hoods on their robes once seated.
Just then, Levi spoke up from his seat in the front row. "Uncle Sean... you ran out of seats! I'll help ya!" With that, the counter next to Dylan and Jason K extended, four more chairs appeared, and a bench popped into existence at the end. "Is that okay, Uncle Sean!"
"Thanks Levi!" Sean giggled. "Now that Levi fixed the seating, we can include our little 'Tribes' that have formed within the Clan as well as the VSO 'Dragon Division Rugrats'. First of all, Timmy Short and Ricky Michaels, Chiefs of the group we all call 'The Tribe'."
Levi 'assisted' the two boys with getting onstage. At the same time, Allie appeared on the bench at the end. Sean looked over and barely kept from laughing; Allie was wearing a modified Clan polo shirt, with a Clan I.D. attached at the shoulder. "I almost forgot!" Sean chuckled. "Ms. Allie Gator; representing the Headquarters Animal Corps!"
Giggles came from JJ's lap, as a munchkin wearing a blue robe observed Allie's utility belt around her waist; a British Passport plainly visible through the open velcro.
At the boy's giggle, Sean looked down at him, "And for the third group, 'Little Heart' and 'Blue', leaders of the Dragon Division 'Rugrats'."
JJ and Adam's laps were suddenly vacant as both blue robed boys hopped down and ran up on stage. Laughter followed behind them as everyone plainly heard 'Little Heart' stage whisper to 'Blue', "Yous me boyfwiend now, Ross?"
"Thinks so, Bel," 'Blue' giggled as they ran past Marc, "Ever'one's up here wif der boyfriends, so wes must be!"
"Unca Marc has a nice boyfwiend," Belar finished as they both sat by Allie, Timmy and Ricky.
Marc went an instant red color, and tried to look anywhere but at the suddenly speechless Danny. Howls of laugher rose from everyone in the auditorium, excepting the Vulcans' present. Xain did grin, however.
Danny found his voice quickly, "He's not my boyfriend!" His face was beet red, then a puzzled look came over him, "'Unca Marc'? Wait a moment! You know these guys?"
"Ummm... long story. Tell you after." Marc mumbled.
"Secrets; yeah, right," Danny muttered as his blush at Belar's comment faded.
Nathan could not resist weighing in with, "You know, if Danny hadn't just reacted that way, we'd have bought the 'We're just friends' attitude."
Kyle silently sent Nathan a message. "Dude, I've been in his head - I'm not tellin either way though, wait until he decides for himself."
Nathan sent back with a smile, "We've all been in Marc's head since Danny was found and came back to life... we know how one of them feels!"
"That explains it ... a blond with a blond in his head!" Kyle responded while giggling madly.
"I'll tell Tyler what you said... or tickle you... na, hugs are better," Nathan giggled as he shuffled closer to Voice's side.
"I know already" Tyler chimed in. "I've got my ways at getting even though!"
"Sweet, we blonds have to stick together, after all." Nathan sent.
"May the saint's preserve us!" Voice added in mock horror. He continued with a giggle, "Hey, Kyle? What's the forecast future damage with getting these two together with Cory and the other single brain cell guys?"
"None; they'd get confused trying to decide who was in charge!" Kyle shot back as he shifted phase to prevent Tyler slapping the side of his head. The trick only worked once though, as Tyler matched Kyle's phase and got him good with his other hand.
"Unca Kyle? Stop tellin blond jokes!" Timmy announced. "We's gotta meeting to be doin'!"
"I think we're busted, dudes," Voice stage whispered. The laughter from the packed room that had been aimed at Danny and Marc and their bright red faces now shifted to the four mind-speaking boys.
"Just 'member Uncle Jace;" Ricky answered, "if it wasn't for a blond there wouldn't be no Clan Short." Ricky then stuck his tongue out at Voice to make his point.
Voice giggled quietly to himself and sent to the child, "More than one, little dude, but we'll explain that after. I'll be good, though. Sorry, Rugrat."
Cory looked over at the group to his left and shook his head. "As you can tell, as usual there's nothing really formal here tonight! Since you seem to be so vocal 'King Kyle', why don't you update everyone first?"
"LEVI! You're GROUNDED!" Kyle yelled while trying to keep a straight face.
"Does dat make Unca Ty'wer a Queen?" Belar asked innocently.
Tyler turned beet red as he stuttered his reply. "No, but Levi is about to get crowned!"
"I think I'll go visit Brakkii for a few centuries!" Levi giggled as he suddenly teleported to the back of the auditorium.
Kyle motioned for Levi to retake his seat, the smile on his face saying that nothing would happen ... for now. Once Levi was re-seated, Kyle began. "As some of you know, a few weird things have happened with me over the last couple of days."
As the snickers died down from the crowd, Kyle continued. "Ok, so weird stuff around me ain't new! Anyways, what's happened is instead of me goin into a growth spurt my body changed itself into a new species. It's made it so I can travel anywhere no matter what the date, universe or whatever."
A snort came from both Voice and Nathan at that last sentence as they tried, and failed, to hold in their laughter.
Riti did not even try to hold his in.
"S...s...sorry... highness," Voice managed through his tears of mirth.
Cory looked out at the latest new Clan members and joined in the laughter. "Bro; you have NO idea of just how funny that is to the guys that your son has made contact with!"
Kyle shook his head with a smile. "Yes I do; he's gonna pay later! Anyways, what a lot of you don't know is that Ty, Levis, and I just had to take on a guy who was trying to use Time to destroy the Universe. We won, obviously, or else none of us would be here. While we were doing that, Levi was carrying out a couple of requests I made. He got 'Someone's' attention and has been fixin' some things that were messed up by the guy we fought."
"That's not all he fixed!" Peter yelled from the crowd.
"I know!" Kyle giggled. He then proceeded to fill everyone in on what him and his species were able to do, answering the occasional question from the crowd.
As Kyle finished, Cory moved over and gave him a quick hug. "You're definitely special lil bro, and I wouldn't change you for the world." Cory whispered.
Kyle smiled up at Cory as he returned the hug. "Thanks bro; I needed that."
Cory made his way back to his seat, then looked around the room. "Guys, I need to make one announcement that I think all of you will like. I know a lot of you were able to hear the stories of the D'Kyr from Skirk and his brothers. As of just before this meeting, I officially took possession of the ship; we now have a Vulcan Combat Cruiser as our Fleet Flagship. In addition, we have the plans to build additional smaller combat frigates for each division which has need of one."
Cody, Tim and Zeke from Oceanic all had looks of shock on their faces at this news. "You're kidding, right? I mean, no way anyone would put the control of a Vulcan cruiser in the hands of kids." Tim said.
"That fits in perfectly with my guys' plans, actually. I have an announcement of my own." Sky said, standing up. "As of earlier this week, the official Clan Short Commbadge went into production, and just before being 'popped' to this meeting, I had received the final shipment of them. At the conclusion of this meeting, if you will all see Zeke and Tim up here on stage, they will be able to assign you your badge, and then they'll be able to brief you on the operation of the new badges, seeing as though they're the ones who designed them."
Voice stood and turned to look at Antony, seated in the crowd. Receiving a nod, he addressed Sky, "Skylan Thomas, I have an extra gift to add to your commbadge design. Eyes has received clearance from the VSO for us to give you our Covert Vulcan frequencies."
As Voice was speaking, Antony came up on stage and handed over a Vulcan data pad, "All the codes are here, and already cleared for each Clan Short Division. The list of who has what is tagged at the end."
"That won't be a problem for us." Sky said, accepting the Padd from Antony. "Tim and Zeke created an easier interface than Starfleet has, to be able to add frequencies and encryption levels as required. I do believe it can even be done through the badge itself, but you'd have to check with them. I don't know anything about it, way too much technical jargon for me."
Once the giggles from his statement had died down again, he continued, "Also, following the events of the past few days, my Communications Officer decided that everyone needed some form of downtime, so being the wonderful person she is, and considering the amount of publicity just my division alone has been getting lately, Nintendo of Australia practically threw a testing contract at us for their new console. Anyone interested?"
Riti started chirping with excitement. Victoria slapped the back of his head, "No. No way. You spend too much time with those things already. I want some time!"
Levi giggled. "You gotta ask? SURE!"
These statements were followed by a roar of agreement, as the information sunk in to the rest of the group.
"I'll take that as a big 'yes', so simply contact Zoe, and she'll get a console sent out to you. Personally, I've seen the console, and it's TINY." Sky said, smiling at the enthusiasm of those in the room.
Sky's commbadge suddenly detached from his top and floated over towards Nathan. "Oh, this is sweet. Koth will love this," he said to Voice as he looked the badge over.
"You nut! Ask before you scare the hell out of someone, dude," Voice sighed.
"Oops," Nathan blushed as he sent it floating back to the startled Sky, "Sorry! But Jace! That is great! These ones we have are obvious, those really add to the whole covert thing!"
Voice covered his eyes with the palm of his hand as he said, "Oh, dear GOD, Fire! Code names? You really are blond, you know that?"
"Hey!" came the protest from nearly half the room.
The next thing Voice knew, he was in the Clan Short Swimming pool. Barely a second later he was hanging upside down over the center of the stage, dripping.
Levi giggled, "You gotta 'pologize to Eli an' Benji before they'll let ya down!"
"Geez, way to tick half a room off there, Voice." Cody muttered to the dripping boy. "The rest of us suffer all the more for it."
"I coulda told ya not to do that!" Sean added.
Voice could feel the power that was holding him, and knew it came from both twin telekinetics. His mind had already gone into 'battle-mode' and he had to fight down the trained impulse to lash out at them. Instead, his eyes suddenly blazed forth in power, and he started using Nathan's own fully trained abilities to right himself and float back down.
Nathan giggled, "It always tickles when you do that, Voice."
As Voice came to his feet, he looked at the startled twin telekinetics and smiled at them, his eyes slowly returning to normal. "Guys, I do apologize, but it's not wise to use your powers on me or the others in the Dragon Division. At least, not until we are used to someone new pranking us with them. That goes for any here who are not Mikyvis. We are trained to react violently to mind attacks, and I could have easily used your own power against you." He looked pleadingly out at the entire room, "I don't want to cause hurt in response to a prank, so please, give us a few hours in your presence to 'imprint' on you all."
All the telekinetics, empaths and telepaths nodded in agreement and smiled back at Voice.
"It was very well done, though. I bet the dunking came from Levi?" Nathan asked.
Levi nodded with a grin. "Mikyvis Dunking Authority at your service!"
"Can't stop that, Voice!" Nathan giggled.
"Agreed," said the still dripping boy as he sat down.
"Your clothes are wet!" Peter giggled. "Let me help!"
Voice suddenly found his cloak replaced with a pink tu-tu. "Is that better Voice?" Peter asked innocently.
Voice giggled, "Not bad. Not bad at all."
"Oh, we're having some fun tonight?" Nathan giggled evilly.
"Uh huh," Voice nodded with a wicked grin.
Sky barely restrained his laughter and kept a straight face as he said, "Looks good, bro. When's the performance start? I assume, of course, you're in the ballet?"
Voice glanced at Nathan. The boy nodded, and Voice floated up and started to dance in mid air.
Antony sighed, "Idiot."
"That settles it, definitely the 'OTHER' side of the family." Cody laughed. "All nuts over there."
"Hey now!" Cory giggled.
Voice bowed in mid air, then suddenly found himself back in his seat and in his Division clothes again.
"Guys, that brings me to another good point. Apparently, the new badges are also waterproof, so all you dunkers out there will be able to continue the torture." Sky said.
"Thats good to hear;" Kyle giggled, "since I don't bother warning anyone any more...." Kyle grinned at Levi as he added "... It's GOOD to be King!"
"Technically," Antony offered with a giggle, "the Vulcans, in ancient days, would have labeled you as a High Prince, Angel boy!"
"So, when someone calls you a royal pain in the butt anymore, they're actually being truthful." Sky quipped.
Kyle giggled. "I thought Cody was the pain in your butt, Sky; or did he finally learn to be slow?"
"Ouch, low blow, lil bro. I seem to remember a story about two little boys playing 'sword-fights' with their wieners." Sky quipped back, glowing bright red. "Delta, I may need you to give someone a taste of your 'numbing noogie'."
"Sword fightin's fun Uncle Sky!" Timmy announced.
Belar and Ross nodded, "Uh huh!"
"I'm sure it is, kiddoes. I was just trying to deflect attention away from me. Tell you what, you got any good, embarrassing stories to share about your Uncle Kyle?" Sky asked with an evil grin, already knowing about Timmy's 'habit' of spouting embarrassing stories unintentionally.
"Uncle Dan says that ev'ry time Uncle Kyle an' Uncle Ty goes to sleep they have another baby!" Timmy said proudly.
Voice giggled, "I think they're after world conquest, personally!"
"Yeah, seriously, where's the standard 'Take me to your leader' before the mass-invasion?" Sky asked. "And besides, mass-invasion?? SO cliche!"
Levi giggled. "Daddy is our leader, and Uncle Cory's his. Who else do we need to see?"
"Guys, I think we've drifted a little off course with the meeting...." Sky said.
"A little? Kinda like I can see the edge of the galaxy off of my shoulder!" Cory laughed.
"Nah, you're just looking too far into Sean's eyes again. Come back, Cory!" Sky replied.
Voice giggled, "I think it was my fault... or was it Fire and his commbadge fetish?"
"Dude, NOT going there!" Cody said, laughing.
Sean laughed. "Sky, you're one to talk; I seem to remember you and Cody getting lost a lot..."
"Shut it, Tower-boy." Sky said.
"Just wait until I take you for a ride in a REAL shuttle!" Sean said with an evil grin. "That reminds me, I have about thirty stuffed animals for you guys to take home with you."
"Oooo.... I'm shakin'." Sky replied sarcastically, before the second part sunk in. "Thirty? Dude, aren't that many in my division!"
"There will be soon!" the Mikyvis replied in unison.
Cory got an evil grin on his face as he said "While we're at it, I want to make sure all of the blonds here know the name of their target tonight. Voice, would you be so kind as to introduce yourself to the Clan?"
"Target, eh?" Voice giggled as he stood and walked to the front, "fair enough."
He looked over the assembled Clan before him, and suddenly tears rose up in his eyes. Here were all those he and his Division had been protecting even before they had become 'Clan Short'.
'It was worth the blood, Jace. It was worth it,' Victoria sent silently, tears also in her eyes.
After a quick glance at Sarek seated on the balcony level, Voice began, "I am the Voice of the Dragon, a Division within Vulcan Special And Covert Operations. Our mission has been and will continue to be: Protect Clan Short. As you have likely worked out, my real name is Jace, or Jason. This," he pointed behind him, "is Fire, or Nathan. Seated amongst you is Eyes, or Antony; my little sister Heart, or Victoria, and Wings, Riti."
They all rose and bowed, tears also in their eyes.
Turning and pointing at the four blue robed children, Voice continued, "My son and daughter, Belar and Jessica. Antony's little brother, Ross. And finally, one of Antony's sons, Rhys."
"We..." He paused, for up on the balcony another adult had appeared. A Starfleet Captain. And he was speaking to the Ambassador.
It was Captain Dafydd Evans of the USS Hood.
"DAD!" Voice yelled loudly.
All the Dragon kids stood and started running to the stairs, all but Nathan who made them all stop and start floating up towards the Captain and Ambassador instead. As they landed, Dafydd found himself on the floor after being pounced by all nine children.
"They've been watching Justy!" Sean giggled.
"Then Heaven help us." Sky added.
Justy giggled. "That was about an eight; I need to teach them air-time!"
"Perfectionist." Cody muttered.
"Just wait; I'm gonna give Kano his advanced course while you're here!" Justy replied with a grin.
"He don't need one." Jason replied. "I should know. I receive most of them."
It took a while for Voice and the others to calm down, and it took longer for their tears of joy to stop. "Hello kids. I can't stay long, Admiral Morrow needs me in Command. Can we talk later?" Dafydd said softly.
"Sure, Daddy!" Riti whimpered.
After a last round of hugs and kisses, Dafydd left. Sarek pulled Voice to one side and started whispering to him.
Riti, however, turned to look down at Justy, having heard his comment. "Air-time? THIS is air-time!" he stripped off his robe, and the entire room saw what the lump on his back really was; his midnight blue wings.
He jumped and flew straight for Justy, grabbed him, and took him on the ride of his life. "Who needs shuttles, eh?" he giggled as he set the smiling boy to his feet.
"THAT was AWESOME!" Justy exclaimed. "Thanks!"
"Anytime. And that goes for most of ya... If you're too big, though then sorry... I'm only little!" Riti giggled.
"So have a comment there..... must.... resist..... urge.... in front of...... children!" Jason said.
Riti rolled his eyes, "I mean to carry! By the Great Tree, you humans have a one track min... oh, never mind, so do I!" He poked his tongue out at the laughing Jason Thomas-Komac.
After a brief whispered conversation, Voice asked Sarek out loud, "Has the Charter been released?"
"Not as yet, grandson," Sarek responded. "Eyes told me that something may occur in the next week that will make such redundant. Your Crest is also on hold. The Protection Crest shall be your symbol for now."
"Thank you, Grandfather." Voice hugged him, before turning back to the stage. He and Nathan suddenly transported there, with Kyle giggling at them.
"Well... I..." Jace shook his head slightly. "Patriarch Cory, I hope you don't mind this being a kinda Birthday event?"
"Does that mean we can all wear our birthday suits?" Levi asked hopefully.
Riti giggled as he hovered over the stage, "Why not? I already am!"
"Lil' dudes, I think you need to spend a little less time with your horn-dog parents." Jason said, shaking his head.
Riti giggled again, "I'm always like this... my tribe are rural, not stuffy city-folks!"
"Everyone keeps their clothes Levi; this IS a meeting!" Cory replied seriously. "Go ahead Jace."
Voice nodded and took a small device off his belt and placed it on the floor, then tapped his comm on his neck, "Voice to 'Yoshuhlnak'; Wisdom, Talons, Holo-comm activated. Number 34. Please start transmission when ready."
"Received," Wisdom replied.
A moment later, two figures were projected from the small device on the floor of the stage, one a ten year old Klingon, the other a twelve year old Andorian.
"Dragon Leads, on stage please," Voice gestured.
Once all seven of the Dragon Core Leadership were on stage, in one form or another, Voice again touched his comm, "Voice to Dragon's Nest; Draco, come to full audio and relay to the Division."
A computer voice responded, "As you command, Voice. All the Division are online."
The holographic Klingon asked, "What's happening, Voice?"
"Wait and see, bro," Voice turned and pointed out the two 'newcomers', "This is Koth, Code-name Talons, and Telez, Wisdom."
"Woah! What about Red One, Jace!" Telez hissed.
Voice just pointed up at Sarek.
Sarek announced, "As of this moment, 'Yon'kur Wuh' has been rescinded. All that has been hidden from sight is now official, and I formally recognize Jason Evans as my Grandson through A'nirih relationship to he-who-is-my-son, Captain Spock of House Surak."
"Clan Evans now exists," Voice said happily. Over his comm loud cheers and yells could be heard as all the Dragon Division changed into Clan in an instant. The seven on stage pulled off the covers on their Arm-Crests. Underneath was the Clan Short crest, in a silver tint with a Silvery Welsh Dragon encircling it.
"Finally..." Voice sighed as he embraced Nathan.
"Oh God, now we have to get another crest design done for the badges. Cory, stop adding divisions!" Sky said.
Voice shook his head, a little sadly, "We're not and can never be Clan Short, Skylan. This is the Protection Crest."
"Oh, okay then. I'll let you deal with the disappointment from Fire then. I'm sure he'd have loved playing with one of the badges, earlier statement meaning anything." Sky said.
"They're still family Cuz; I don't see any reason not to share technology." Cory replied seriously.
"We have our own toys anyway, bro, and we're going to be sharing; like with the Frequencies." Voice giggled, "And no, I don't mean what all you guys are thinking about 'toys'! Sheesh... hormones..."
"You were thinking it too!" Tyler giggled. "Nice tent!"
"Nath'! Do you have too?" blushed Voice.
"Uh huh!" Nathan giggled.
Levi giggled as he added "You should SEE some of their toys ... poor teddy bear ...."
Koth's face grew a lot darker as he blushed, "Levi, when I get to hug you, I'm gonna try squeezing the life outta ya for that!"
Telez laughed, "Well, I need to get back to work here, guys. We'll celebrate when we get home!"
Koth and Telez disappeared from the holo-emitter.
Over Voice' comm a new voice was heard, "Jason? Is he there?"
Nathan rolled his eyes, "Oh, no. Horny Klingon time..."
"I heard that, bro!"
"Yes, Korris, he is," Voice replied with a wicked grin at one of the boys seated in the crowd; Chang.
Chang raised his eyebrow, "Me?"
"I'm beaming over..." ... "... now... oh, never mind..." said a twelve year old Klingon who had just appeared on the stage.
Peter giggled. "Transporters are such OLD tech ... get with the times dude!"
"Yes," Antony said, "But there's a time coming when you won't be there, so..." He trailed off, his eyes far away.
In his full battle armor and with his bat'leth slung over his back, Korris looked around the room... and then saw Chang.
Korris bowed formally, then stood and simply stared at the boy, who was staring back with an appraising look.
"You know, it is generally considered rude to stalk people..." Chang replied with a small twinkle in his eye.
"Oh my God!" Adam said loudly, "Chang just made a joke!"
Korris' lips curled into a smile, "Had I been stalking you, then yes, that would have been... dishonorable. I was assigned watchcare for..."
"Assigned??" Voice exclaimed in shock.
"You practically insisted!" Antony half yelled, "I nearly lost the use of my arm, you were twisting it so much... Literally!"
Chang slowly walked up to the group, Adam and Logan nearly lying on the floor in hysterics, "So... you were "assigned" to stalk us?" At that, Adam and Logan totally lost it.
"As I was saying," Korris continued, totally blanking his brothers, "I was watchcare for your Unit, and I saw you. You interest me, as does your code of honor." Chang had stopped a few feet before Korris by now, and both boys looked the other over.
On hearing what the young Klingon had said, Chang raised his eyebrow again. "You are interested in my code? Well perhaps then, if the Patriarch agrees, and my commander does as well, we can discuss Codes... at length."
As they were continuing to assess each other, Adam Casey asked through his giggles, "So, are you going to introduce yourselves?"
Voice waited a few seconds, but when it looked obvious that neither Chang nor Korris was going to say anything, he answered instead, "Chang... this is my brother, Korris. Korris, you obviously know Chang... oh god, Viccy? Can you..."
"Yeah, on it," Victoria said as she looked between them, scanning. "Oh, lord. It's love. I mean... REALLY love... well, even a blind idiot can see it... Korris is really in love. Chang... is holding it back... the spark is there, and OH, is it there... Oh, this is sooo sweet!"
"Wow," was all Nathan said as he stared at the two boys.
"Dang, they're almost as bad as Sky and Cody!" Sean giggled.
"What do you mean by THAT?" Cody asked Sean as he twisted around, directing his glare at the teen in question.
"Easy; the way you two get lost in each other's eyes." Sean replied.
Victoria giggled as she added, "'Cos you and Sky love each other as much as Cory and Sean do, or my big bros! And these two are working on it..."
"Well, you obviously haven't heard of the trouble we had a few days ago...." Cody said, trailing off sadly.
Cory stood up and pulled Cody and Sky into a hug. "Everyone has something happen that strains their relationship." Cory whispered so only the two could hear. "The fact that you are still together and still love each other proves that your love was made stronger by it. Don't let the past haunt you guys; let it go and move on to the future. Sean and I had to do the same thing a while ago, and we both feel closer because of it."
"Thanks cuz. It still hurts that I hurt Cody like that, but you're right. I feel a lot closer to him than before." Sky said, hugging Cory back.
After Cory let them both go, Victoria walked over and sat on the table facing both boys, "Give me your hands." she whispered softly.
They did so, and she linked their fingers together.
"This is what each of you feel for the other," she said as her green eyes started to faintly glow blue.
Cody and Sky's own eyes widened as all the emotions they held in the deepest places in their hearts and memories flooded through their linked fingers.
"Wow. That's an intense experience." Sky said as the glow ended.
Victoria giggled, then kissed them both on the cheek, "You're welcome, bros."
Levi smiled. "Good job Viccy; they needed that. Sky, Cody; just so you know I've been goin' back and watchin' how you guys did in the past. You're really something special; I can tell why Uncle Cory is so proud of you now."
Sky smiled down at the boy. "Thanks lil' dude, that means a lot. But if I find out you've been watching our.... 'private' times, not even your parents will be able to spare you the torture we can inflict on you."
Levi grinned. "I learned from Uncle Dominic that those times are not supposed to be watched. That's private stuff between two people unless someone's gettin' hurt. If someone's gettin' hurt I don't care about their privacy."
Cory nodded with a smile. "That's good to hear Levi; I'm glad to see that you're paying attention to how others feel."
Levi grinned. "Thanks Uncle Cory."
Adam stood up, and moved over to where Cory and Levi were talking. "Excuse me sir, would I be permitted to address the entire Clan?"
Cory just nodded, and moved back to his seat. The room fell silent as Adam turned and started to look out to the very large group of kids, and the smaller group of adults in the balcony area. It took him a few moments to organize his thoughts, and then he nodded to himself and started to talk.
"Yesterday my family lost many. Yesterday we were all hurt, and hurt bad." He took a moment to compose himself, and fight back the tears. "I'm not sure who started this saying, but my brother, Kent, told me that there is a saying here that means a lot to everyone. 'Sometimes bad things have to happen so that good things can.' That statement holds more truth to it then almost anything else I have ever heard. And while bad things did happen to my family, it brought us all together. It is no longer my family, but ours. Every single one of us, in our own way, is what makes this Clan so great."
He paused for another moment, letting his eyes roam over everyone that was seated before him. "I would like to offer the full resources of our base to all of you. There you can learn anything you may have wanted to about Military, and non-military occupations. We have set this up so that when all the kids get older they will all have some training in a field of their choice. I would like everyone to feel free to use what we can offer."
Adam waited for a moment to let what he said sink in, then he continued. "We have a saying in the Unit, that i think very much fits with the entire Clan. If anyone is interested in learning where it came from, you can ask any member of the Clan Short Special Forces Division." He gave a half chuckle, "Hell of a mouth full there. But anyways, I think it best to show you, and if you wish, feel free to make it your own."
He silently nodded to Juan who jumped to his feet, and barked out a loud "UNIT! ATTENTION!"
Every member of the Unit jumped to their feet, and Adam took a step back from the microphone. He smiled a sad smile, took a breath, and then yelled out "Unit...THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!"
In one voice they all replied, "There IS only ONE!" Then they all saluted. Adam saluted back, and then let his hand fall. The rest of the kids dropped their hands as well, then Adam turned back to Cory.
Cory took back control of the meeting. After having Kyle help Sean fill in all of the new guys on Clan history, they discussed the various events that had happened since the last meeting.
Once Kyle had done this, Antony and Voice moved towards Cory and Kyle. After a brief whispered conversation, Kyle and Antony transferred the Clan Evans history.
Voice addressed Clan Short. "Just as we have been included in Clan Short history by Kyle, he and Antony have prepared a package about the Dragon, or Clan Evans history. When you're ready, lil' dude," he finished with a brief hug to Kyle.
Kyle transmitted all that he had been given by Antony. Once done, Antony spoke, "That is the brief history of Clan Evans, as well as an overview of each of those in our Clan. Some of their stories †are painful, so please, if you need to talk to us about them, to find out how those involved are doing now, come talk to us. We're gonna be here for the next few days, and we want to get to know our brother Clan better."
"Welcome to the Family of Sarek, bros and sis," Cory said as he pulled Voice and Antony in for a tight hug.
Once everyone was up-to-date and aware what their membership in the family meant, Cory closed the meeting and led everyone off the stage, The rest of the Clan began to stand and mingle with those others they had not seen in a while, some taking the time to greet and congratulate the now 'official' Clan Evans, and welcome them to the Family of Sarek.
Jon Bon Jovi looked over the crowd below him from the balcony. He couldn't help but smile at the resilience of the boys below him; while nowhere near healed from the hell they had just been through, it was clear that they had made it past the worst of their pain and were pulling together as a group to heal each other. Their hope was contagious; the adults that had occupied the balcony were recovering more because of the youth's attitudes than their own internal strength. Jon appraised the new auditorium, and grinned as he thought up the perfect way to give something back to the 'family' which had welcomed him with open arms.
"Hey Cory?" Jon yelled towards the crowd near the stage.
Cory looked up. "Hey Jon! What you still doing up there?" he yelled back.
"Just looking over the most amazing group of people I've ever seen." Jon replied with a smile. "Is the 'Blond Bouncer' around somewhere? I've got an idea, and I'm pretty sure Peter could give me a hand. I hate to say it, but it's too quiet in here!"
"'Blond Bouncer'?" Nathan said as he collapsed laughing.
"Suits 'im," Victoria giggled.
Peter appeared next to Jon, as Nathan suddenly found himself outfitted in a frilly pink see-through nightgown. "You rang?" Peter giggled.
Voice sent to Peter, 'You trying to make me mess myself??'
Nathan looked down at himself, sighed, then looked back up at Peter, who was still giggling at him. Nathan's eyes turned a deeper blue and started lightly glowing. The molecular structure of the nightgown changed and it became a solid black color.
"Nice nightgown; I need to get one for Cory!" Sean giggled, barely avoiding the drink Cory threw at him in response.
Eli had been talking to Nathan, and muttered "Dang dude; you really need to teach me how to do that with my eyes!"
Voice looked at Eli and his twin seriously for a second before asking, "Can I take a peek in your head? Not at memories, but at structure?"
Eli giggled. "Why not; we've had more people inside our heads than Aunt Teri has kids!"
Voice sniggered, "I bet, but I still like to ask."
A few seconds later, and two giggling twins left scratching at an itch they could not get to, Voice murmured softly, "Enhanced, and something else..."
"Natural?" Nathan queried.
"Yes," Voice nodded. "Guys? You have great power there. Nath' can help you refine your abilities, even to do some really wicked things."
"And the eye thing?" Benji asked with excitement.
"If you were to live a very long time, then maybe. It's likely your children, or grandchildren who would step over that line." Nathan said somberly. "Still, you want to learn more? You'll like, I promise."
"Sure!" Benji and Eli bubbled in unison.
Jared asked with interest, "So you guys are those 'Next Gen' guys that Levi was talking to Sammy about?"
"Yup," Victoria replied.
"You all do that eye thing?" Jarad asked again.
Voice, Nathan and Victoria did not reply, they just took a step back and linked hands. As one, they rose up off the floor with their eyes glowing brightly.
"When as one, we can do more. Synergy; the end result is greater than the sum of the parts," all three spoke at once. Power flared around them, and a wonderful feeling of contentment radiated out to touch everyone in the entire Compound.
They giggled at the shocked faces before them as they came back to the ground.
Eli came closer to Nathan, "What type of stuff can you do that we'll be able to copy? And what can you do that we can't?"
"Okay," Nathan said, after a moment's thought. "I could make everyone float at once. You should be able to get to that level. As for what you can't do, then that is hinted at by my code name, Fire. You lot want to see?" Nathan asked loudly of the entire room.
Cory looked around at all the Clan who seemed very interested. Only Jon and Peter were busy talking together and ignoring the Dragon boys. "Sure," he replied with a smile.
"Okay, everyone sit down, please. This is Show Time," Nathan giggled.
As the kids and adults sat down quickly, some of them on the floor where they once stood, Voice called to the Clan computer system, "Clan Computer. Deactivate all Fire Suppression Systems in the auditorium."
'Access denied. Clan Short Identification required,' replied the Mickey Mouse voiced computer.
"Override," Voice order, "authorization: Voice 001, Password: Yoshuhlnak."
'Authorization accepted. Fire Suppression disengaged. State time frame.'
"One minute, begin in ten seconds," Voice finished.
Cory was staring at Voice, "How...?"
"Grandpa gave us unilateral access when you guys were formed for us to do our jobs," Voice grinned at his fellow Patriarch.
Nathan had by now risen off the floor and again his eyes were glowing with power. A mist was forming in the air above the centre of the room. It was water vapor...
"Beware the Dragon..." Nathan stated. The mist seemed to suddenly erupt in flames, and a Dragon shape appeared and flew about, tightly controlled, before burning out thirty seconds later.
As he landed, Nathan received a standing ovation.
Voice giggled as the applause died down, "THAT is why we call him 'Fire'!"
"Oh, so it's not because he burns the sheets in the bedroom?" Sean sniggered.
Nathan and Voice blushed deeply as everyone started laughing. "Well... that too!" Nathan giggled.
As the fun on the floor finished, Peter nodded his head in acceptance of Jon's idea. Peter then grinned as he replied "You got it; watch this!"
The stage was already clear of people; those who happened to be looking that way saw everything on it vanish without a trace. Suddenly the entire stage went black; covered by something which allowed no light to penetrate and nobody to see what was going on. Peter's voice suddenly echoed throughout the building, gaining everyone's attention.
"Members and Family of Clan Short and Clan Evans! Welcome to the Short Auditorium! It's time we christen this building the right way! Direct your attention to the stage; those who were lost are with us tonight. Before they move on to their new home, they want to have one last party... Clan Style! All of our brothers are here; tonight we get to spend time together."
With that, the lights slowly dimmed throughout the room. When the room was pitch-black, things started to get interesting. Peter appeared in the center front of the stage, a halo of electricity surrounding him. The halo increased until it was a ball surrounding him, then Peter pointed at the ceiling and released a bolt of lightning that was just enough out of phase to give the visual effect with the sound accompanying it just coming across as a muted 'crack'. As the lightning faded, the stage began to flash brightly with the drum beat as Bon Jovi launched into 'It's My Life'; Cory and Sean appearing on the stage as Jon started singing the first verse.
As the song finished, Richie came to the front of the stage. "Hey CD; you said you could play? Come on up; I can use some help on this one."
CD grinned as he ran through the crowd to the stage. As he was coming up, Jon announced "I need all the Mikyvis up here!"
Once everyone was in place, the stage went dark once again. The music started, and the Mikyvis kicked in with their own version of a laser light show.
"Brothers and sisters; I dedicate this song to the Mikyvis ... 'Lay ... Your ... Hands ... On ... ME'!!" Jon announced enthusiastically.
As the song finished, Jon looked out over the crowd of kids and smiled. The stress of the last twenty-four hours was gone from their faces; the music was doing its job and for this short time the kids in front of him were absorbed in the sudden concert. Just then, a thought from Kyle popped into Jon's head; with a grin he nodded to the boy next to him. His jaw dropped as both Tyler and Kyle aged to about eighteen in front of him. At the now-older Kyle's grin, Jon waved to the band, including CD, behind him to start.
"ONE... TWO... THREE... FOUR!!" Jon yelled as the area him, Kyle and Tyler were in was bathed in light.
Rainy night and we worked all day
We both got jobs 'cause there's bills to pay
We got something they can't take away
Our love, our lives
Close the door, leave the cold outside
I don't need nothing when I'm by your side
We got something that'll never die
Our dreams, our pride
My heart beats like a drum (all night)
Flesh to flesh, one to one (and it's alright)
And I'll never let go cause
There's something I know deep inside
You were born to be my baby
baby, I was made to be your man
We got something to believe in
Even if we don't know where we stand
Only God would know the reasons
But I bet he must have had a plan
Cause you were born to be my baby
And baby, I was made to be your man
Light a candle, blow the world away
Table for two on a TV tray
It ain't fancy, baby that's OK
Our time, our way
So hold me close better hang on tight
Buckle up, baby, it's a bumpy ride
We're two kids hitching down the road of life
Our world, our fight
If we stand side by side (all night)
There's a chance we'll get by (and it's alright)
And I'll know that you'll live
In my heart till the day that I die
Cause you were born to be my baby
baby, I was made to be your man
We got something to believe in
Even if we don't know where we stand
Only God would know the reasons
But I bet he must have had a plan
Cause you were born to be my baby
And baby, I was made to be your man
and My heart beats like a drum (all night)
Flesh to flesh, one to one (and it's alright)
And I'll never let go
There's something I know deep inside
you were born to be my baby
baby, I was made to be your man
We got something to believe in
Even if we don't know where we stand
Only God would know the reasons
But I bet he must have had a plan
Cause you were born to be my baby
And baby, I was made to be your man
You were born to be my baby
And baby, I was made... to be your man
("Born to be my Baby" by Bon Jovi © 1988)
As the two Mikyvis finished singing with Jon and reverted to their original forms, Voice, Victoria and Nathan took the stage. Voice whispered quickly to Jon, who nodded his head. The lights dimmed again, and the band started playing. The three leaders of the Dragon Division took center stage and began to sing:
"We search for an answer,
And when it appears
We can challenge the world with our sweat and our tears.
Through winning and losing,
Oh, The brave never bend,
And The hero keeps fighting, standing tall in the end.
"And Time can heal anything...it can mend any fall.
It's The moment of truth that's facing us all,
And It's time for the hero to stand tall.
"It's a time for heroes,
Time to answer the call,
It's a time for Heroes in us all.
"We carry the flame
For all to see
The fire and the passion, of what we can be.
And Sometimes we must fight,
But we will never bend
And The hero keeps fighting, standing tall in the end.
"And Love can change anything...it's inside of us all
To reach out a hand oh, whenever we fall.
It's time for the hero to stand tall.
"It's a time for heroes,
Time to answer the call,
It's a time for heroes to stand tall.
It's a time for heroes,
When our back's to the wall
It's a time for heroes...in us all.
(A Time for Heroes" by Meat Loaf and Brian May, ©1987)
As they left Teri's house and headed back to CIC, Cory looked around at his family with a smile. The table had seemed full with all of the kids and grandkids present; but Teri had made sure that each and every new boy was made welcome and assured of their place in the family. From the smiles on Austin's son's faces during the meal, it was obvious her message came through clearly.
Part of the way across, Leo stopped and pointed to the sky. "Dad? Where did those new stars come from?"
The smile at hearing Leo call him 'Dad' stretched Austin's lips beyond imagination. "Those are not new stars son; they are the ships that have gathered to protect us."
Cory overheard this, and looked over at Bast and Mont. "Hey; I'm sure that Brandar's friends have the perimeter covered out here. You two see any problem with chilling for a few and doing some star-gazing?"
"If we didn't think you were safe you wouldn't be walking." Bast replied. "I like the idea myself."
Mont nodded. "I agree; we're tied in with Brant so we'll know if there are any problems. I'm getting to like telepathic relays."
"Y'all's getting spoiled!" Cory giggled as he pulled Sean into his side. "C'mon guys; let's just watch the stars ... and the ships ... for a while."
The entire group agreed, and in no time the families were laid out on the grass, quietly discussing what they were seeing. Austin was a hit with the youngest kids, as he pointed out the constellations in the sky.
After a while; Cory whispered into Sean's chest just loud enough for Sean to hear. "It's so big out there Teddy Bear; so big yet I think Someone is pushing us to change all of it. Why us? We're just kids."
"I don't know." Sean replied as he glanced over at Kyle. "After seeing what our little bro has grown into, I really don't know. Whatever the reason is, the promise we swore with Kyle and JJ is changing the Universe. All we can do now is act like Mom taught us to growing up and do what is best for everyone."
Cory sighed, then shifted his attention to watching Kyle, Ty, Levi, and Peter. They had set up an illusionary three-dimensional 'map' about four foot square and were holding a time and dimension visual question-and-answer session for anyone who was interested. Occasionally the illusion would change as someone questioned something from their star gazing or wanted to get a look at a constellation that Austin had mentioned but was not visible at the moment.
Cory watched for a few minutes, then settled back into Sean's arms. "I love you Sean." he whispered quietly.
"I love you too Angel." Sean whispered back.
When Cory and the others finally entered the Rec Room, they saw the place filled with all their clan brothers and sisters as well as the Clan Evans group. Cory looked over the nesting group and saw that Chang and Korris were sitting down near Jason, cross legged and chatting softly with their knees touching. He noticed that Antony was already asleep, with Juan curled up on top of him snoring lightly. Just past them, Riti and Victoria were snuggled up together with Danny from the Trinity tucked in between them; all three fast asleep. Nathan was also fast falling into dreamland with Kev and Randy on either side, snuggled up with their heads on his shoulders.
Jason and Sammy were still awake, however, and talking quietly. As Sammy noticed Cory, he smiled over at him. Cory could swear that, just for a fleeting instant, Sammy's eyes flashed with blue power, but it was there and gone before he could be certain. Jason turned, quickly said something to Sammy, then leapt and floated from the center of the vast nest of bodies to land softly by Cory, Sean and the others.
Sean asked quietly, "You using Nathan's abilities again, bro?"
"No," the twelve year old giggled, "That would wake him up. I can't hide my use of his abilities from him like I could with Eli, for example. That was my own."
"I thought you were telepathic?" Cory queried.
"I am all three, and likely more. Viccy has already manifested TK, but I was always focused on TP. My first use of TK was with Sammy in the meeting." Jason explained.
"Oh, cool," Sean smiled.
Jason giggled as he watched Timmy and the other munchkins run passed and climb into the G-Cat nest pile that was in one area to join Belar and the others. "That looks fun," he commented quietly.
"It is." Sean replied. "Timmy and Ricky are great cuddlers; I might be biased though since Timmy's our son."
"All parents are biased," Jason muttered lovingly as he watched Timmy and Ricky curl up with Jessica, Ross and Belar, "it's in the job description."
"You got your spot yet?" Austin asked as he put an arm over each of his son's shoulders. "We're about to go claim ours."
Before Cory could say a word, Jason placed a quick finger over the Clan Short Patriarch's lips. "Yes, your parents do; but not here, Austin." Jason turned to the startled Cory and said seriously, "You need time with Sean, my friend. And he with you. Cuddle, kiss, or more, it doesn't matter. Just take this night and be alone with each other. The Dragon has the Watch on your family tonight... I've got my two heads of security here; one with Chang in the group, and 'Prince' is out in the grounds with the Vampire guys."
"Prince? If I wake up to 'Purple Rain' you guys are in for it!" Sean joked.
Jason giggled quietly. He glanced over Sean's shoulder and out of the door, "Nope; THAT type of 'Prince'..."
They turned as a twenty year old ginger haired young man came into the room.
"Patriarch Cory, Archivist Sean, meet Prince Henry of Wales. Your Highness, these are the leaders of Clan Short."
"Hi," Harry grinned.
"Good evening Your Highness." Cory and Sean replied as Bast and Mont came to attention at their side.
"Evening, lads. Call me 'Harry', though please. Unless you wish to be addressed as 'Highness' as well, Patriarch." Harry smiled. He glanced at the two lions, "At ease, soldiers."
"Okay Harry." Cory replied. "But I'm a little confused; why would you address me as 'Highness'?"
"In ancient days, Vulcan House Patriarchs were High Princes, as in Kings," Harry explained, "and Family Patriarchs were Princes, or my rank. Clan Patriarchs are akin to Grand Dukes, and so can be addressed as 'Highness'. The British Crown recognizes the ancient traditions. We're just like that, Cory."
"I would say something about being blond, but I've already been pounced by half the Short Clan tonight, so I won't," Jason giggled as he hugged himself into Harry's side. "Bro? How many guards did you bring?"
"About thirty. Ten to stand with the Vampires, and twenty with me for the Patriarch's residence. Lads?" Harry addressed the two G-Cats, "You can stand relieved, should you wish. The Dragon stands forever as guards over Short. We will take up your duties for this night so you can relax with your brothers. If you wish, of course."
Mont came back to attention. "With all due respect Your Highness, we would prefer to remain in a stand-by status in the Short residence. Our assistance will be available should you need it."
"Thought as much," Harry smiled at them, "and I expected no less, really. We have your commbadges linked to ours. If it gets hot, you'll get the signal."
Both lions nodded.
Jason moved from Harry's side and stood before Cory and Sean. He grinned teasingly up at them, "So, you guys gonna go get some alone time, or do I have to get Grandpa to order you?"
Cory started to respond, but stopped at the looks his bodyguards were giving him. Sean giggled as he noticed the obvious signal from Bast. "I agree with Bast and Mont; we're going to take a quiet night so you can relax. Mom cornered me before dinner; she said to tell you she's gonna stay here and watch the kids so that you can unwind. Uncle Josh told me earlier that I need to give you a good kick in the butt if you don't take some 'chill time'. I think you're outnumbered Babe!"
Cory grinned back. "Okay; I'll give in ... this time. Besides, if our two feline friends are gonna insist on making sure I'm staying at home I'm gonna make them suffer through one of OUR baths!"
As Bast and Mont gave both their charges a toothy grin, Jason gave into the impulse and hugged both Cory and Sean. "Good. Glad that's settled."
He turned his head and looked back into the room and at all the children sleeping or chatting peacefully. His grip on the two teens tightened as he whispered so quietly that Cory missed it, "It was so worth it. Guarding you all this time."
"What was that, Jace?" Cory whispered to him as he returned the hug.
Jason turned and looked up at them both, tears in his eyes once more, "What my sister said. It was worth the blood."
He stood back and smiled through his rolling emotions. "Go, bros."
So saying, Bast and Mont each took one of the two teen's hands and led them out, with Harry following closely behind them.
Once they were out the door and it had closed behind them, Levi popped in directly in front of Jason. "It's about time ... I thought you was going to take FOREVER to convince them!"
Peter popped in next to Levi, holding a box in his hand. "Yeah; what HE said!"
Jason giggled as he eyed the box carefully. It moved slightly in Peter's hands. "Okay, what you two up to this time, angels?"
Both boys gave Jason a serious expression, somehow managing to hide their smiles. "While Levi was giving me a history lesson today we found this box with your name on it."
"The time was not right to give it to you until now." Levi added.
Jason reached out and took the box from Peter. After a long look at both mischievous Mikyvis, he opened it.
Jason's eyes opened wide, and in shock began to glow with blue power...
Clan Short Archivist's Review Notes:
First of all I have to let everyone know that the end of this chapter was mandated by Multimapper so please send all your flames to him.
Where to start and don't tell me the beginning; there was a whole lot of things that happened in this chapter. We saw a lot of love and the beginning of the healing process. We met some new friends and caught up with some old ones as well. It looks like the Clan and their new allies are on their way to recovery so they can get on with their mission of saving troubled youth.
This was a wonderful melding of words from several multi-talented authors and I look forward to seeing where they take this story now.
The Story Lover