Adam looked at Logan as Janet, the doctors and Sergei led Alexei away to get him some medical attention. "You know you just made things a lot more interesting, don't you?"
"Well... you're the one who explained to me about the ancient Chinese curse, 'may you live in interesting times.' Well... why not have as much fun as we can during those times?" Logan smiled his quirky grin that made Adam fall in love with him all over again.
"So I take it you have a plan on how to deal with this mess?" Adam asked. While Adam may be the master tactician, it was Logan whom he trusted to make the plans on things not dealing with battle situations.
"Of course!" He said with a lopsided grin. "When have I ever been with..." Logan's grin faded as he face went pale. Adam sat up quickly, but before he could ask anything, Logan was out of his chair like a shot running out the door.
Adam was quick to catch up to Logan, still trying to figure out what was going on, when suddenly his communicator went off, almost causing him to stumble as Daileass called out. "Set condition Red! This is not a drill. All available medical staff prepare for emergency transport. Strike Teams thirty five through one hundred ten, prepare for deployment. This is NOT A DRILL!"
Daileass started to repeat the call before Adam and Logan hit the front doors of the Palace. Logan immediately started sprinting towards the front gate. "Logan, what the fuck is going on?" Adam asked while easily keeping pace with his love.
Logan, who had begun shaking his head to try and clear it, could only say a few words, while he pushed himself to run faster. "Pain... fear... hopelessness... SLAVES!"
He once again shook his head to clear it, just as Khan, his cats, and Chang and his Wolves caught up to them. Without breaking stride, Logan turned his head to Khan. "I want the MASH unit set up over there!" He pointed to an open grassy area, and Khan broke off without question, even though his eyes were burning with questions.
They rounded the last corner and the front gates came into view. Parked right in front of them was a large tractor trailer. "OPEN THE GATES" Logan shouted, and immediately the UNIT members who were manning the gate started to open it up. Logan barely made it through as he didn't bother to wait for them to open all the way.
"WHAT THE FUCK'S GOING ON?!" Jory asked as he came racing up.
"I don't know yet!" Adam said while looking at Logan as they rounded the back of the truck, just in time to see the large lock on the back of the truck break free and fall to the ground.
Logan unlatched the doors, and Adam without questions grabbed the other side and opened the doors. When Adam looked in, even he couldn't help but stop in shock. In front of him, stacked two high on half pallets, were people, all of them naked and chained to the pallet. Some of the ones on the bottom were covered in urine and feces from the ones above them that couldn't hold their bladders or bowels. All of them were blinking at the harsh light, and some of them were crying, trying to get away from the people who opened the doors.
Before Adam could get over the shock, Logan was in the back of the trailer trying to comfort people. He looked back towards Adam and snarled out, "Get me some bolt cutters!"
Before Adam had a chance to move, several sets or large bolt cutters landed on the ground next to him. "There... now get them out of there. The medical teams are starting to transport in, and the filed hospital will be set up within five minutes!" Daileass spoke over Adam's communicator.
Adam grabbed two sets and leaped into the back of the truck. He handed one set to Logan, then went about cutting people loose. "It's okay now..." Adam said to one frightened boy of maybe six or seven years. As soon as the chains were cut, the boy threw his arms around Adam and began crying uncontrollably. Adam barely even registered that the front of his best uniform was now covered in filth as he turned and handed the boy off to one of the strike team's medical officers. At first the boy wouldn't let go of Adam, and Adam felt bad that he had to force the boy to let go, making him cry even harder. "Shhhh... He'll take good care of you... I promise."
The little boy looked deep into Adam's eyes for several seconds before he nodded while still sobbing. The medic took the boy, and Adam had to wipe his eyes as he turned back to cut loose the next person. Several minutes later, and two more people freed, Adam got the woman he had cut loose to the back of the trailer, just behind Logan, who had helped a young adult male to the back. As Logan was about to turn back, Alvin came running up. Logan moved to the side, so that Adam could help the woman down, but turned his glare onto Alvin... a look that Adam had never seen before. "I want you to find out who is responsible for this, and take care of them. I don't care what you have to do... but find them and... make them suffer." Adam was reeling from the look he'd never seen in his lover's eyes, a look that frightened him to be honest. But what might have been even worse was the feral snarl that appeared on innocent Alvin's face as he nodded to his eldest brother, took a look at those still chained in the back of the truck, then turned and ran off.
Logan turned back around and looked at the double stacked pallet, one sitting on the floor of the trailer, the other sitting on four foot legs above it, that was blocking his way. With a snarl from Logan, the two stacked pallets literally crumbled, causing Adam to step back in shock.
Adam stood there in shock as Logan moved over the pieces of the crushed pallet. When Logan got to the next person, he threw a look over his shoulder to Adam and barked out, "Move it, Adam!" Adam reacted to the order without even thinking about it.
It was less then ten minutes later that Janet jumped into the back of the trailer, and thankfully she had her doctor face on. Without missing a beat, she started scanning the people and shouted orders to the medics as each person was taken out.
Unfortunately it was still taking a long time to get the people out of the back. The trailer was only big enough for two or three people to work at getting the people out. Twenty minutes into it, they only made it about a third of the way through when Adam shouted out in horror "STOP! Don't anyone move!"
Knowing that Adam wouldn't say anything like that without a good reason, everyone froze. "What's going on?" Logan demanded as he saw Adam down on his stomach looking underneath one of the pallets that had a early teen boy chained to it.
"Get Jory in here NOW!" Not wanting to alarm any of the people in here, he said simply that, and it told everyone what was needed to be known.
Less then a minute latter Jory jumped into the back of the trailer with a pack slung over his shoulder. He looked at Adam, who simply pointed to the pallet that had the teen chained to it. Jory nodded without a word, and laid down on his stomach to take a look under it. He looked with the aid of a flashlight for less than thirty seconds, when both Adam and Logan heard in their heads, 'This ain't good, boss. There's enough explosive under this pallet to blow a crater into the ground. It's rigged to explode if the chains go slack, or the pallet's moved.'
"They had to have a way to disarm it...' Adam replied and Jory just nodded.
'Yeah. There's a keypad to disarm it. But without the code... well, there's just not enough room for me to try and disarm it. I can't get in there.'
Adam thought for a second, while the people still chained around him sobbed loudly. They may not have known exactly what was going on, but it was obvious by the way everyone was acting that there was a serious problem. Finally Adam nodded,walked over in front of the boy and smiled at him. "I promise you we're gonna get you out of here; you're just gonna have to trust me okay?"
The teen looked up into Adam's eyes and nodded. Adam saw that the boy was terrified, but also resigned to his fate. Adam took hold of the boy's trembling hands, and gave them a gentle squeeze. The then took the chains into his hands, and held them tight. "Daileass, as soon as I break these chains, I want you to transport the boy to the med tent. At the same time, I want you to transport me and the pallet to some remote location. Make sure you got a good lock on me, 'cause I'll need to get to the UNIT base after." He left off the part about needing a trauma team standing by, but knew that Daileass would figure it out. Before anyone could argue, Adam snapped the chains.
Instantly, both the boy and then Adam and the pallet disappeared. Everyone held their breaths for less then a second, until Adam appeared right back where he was, the chains still in his hand. His eyes were closed tightly, and the look on his face would have made people laugh if it weren't for what he had just tried to do. A brief moment later, Adam opened one of his eyes slowly, seeing a shocked Logan staring back at him, Adam opened the other eye and looked around. "What the...." Adam started to say, wondering why he hadn't been blown up when the pallet went.
"Well... if you would have given me a micro-second to say something, I could have told you that it was an easy fix. But noooo... as always... you underestimate me. You know, sometime you might learn. But... quit gawking and get back to work... you got lots of scared people there that need your help!" Daileass said in a mix between annoyance and amusement.
When Adam and Logan emerged from the back of the now-empty trailer, both of them were completely filthy and had tear streaks coming from their eyes. Adam smiled softly as he accepted the damp towel from Khan, who then handed one to Logan.
Adam took a few moments to wipe his face off as best as he could before turning to Logan. "You know, I'm not even going to ask how you did what you did... but there is one thing I need to know."
Logan turned his weary eyes to Adam and nodded for Adam to ask his question. Adam drew a deep breath, pulled Logan into a hug, making sure his lover knew that he was still loved. "It's really just me wondering why we did all that work, instead of Daileass teleporting them all out?"
Logan never got a chance to answer because Khan did for him. "It's simple, Adam, if you look at it. First off, I am sure Logan knew that none of them were in any real physical danger, except for the bomb that no one knew was there."
Adam looked at Khan, then back to Logan, who was again silently crying. Khan continued his explanation when Adam nodded to him. "By us doing all the work, those people know.... deep down inside... who it was that freed them. And by freeing them, I mean more then just getting them out of the trailer. They now know deep inside that they are free."
Adam looked back at Logan shocked. "You knew all that?"
Logan nodded silently, still crying. "It wasn't easy, but... yeah, I knew that doing it the easy way wouldn't be the best way. Plus, well I doubt you noticed, but Ken Savage was here recording everything that happened. Soon it'll be all over the world what happened here. At least where they can get access to it."
Adam dropped his head and muttered under his breath. "Oh hell! Nothing can ever be easy."
As if on cue, Jory came walking up to the group with a very noticeable frown. Jory was such a fun loving little guy, that one very rarely saw him without a smile. "You guys want the final report?"
Adam really didn't want to hear it, but he nodded anyways. Jory took a deep breath, then spoke softly, trying to lessen the impact. There were a total of two hundred and fifty people in the back of this truck. Of them, one hundred and eighty-seven are under the age of sixteen. Of the sixty-three adults, forty-eight are men, fifteen are women. The adults were mainly sold for household duties or going to farms. The children..." Jory stopped for a second, letting his eyes glaze over as he stared out into the afternoon sky. "The children... one hundred and twenty-two are males, leaving sixty-seven females. The females are easier, so I'll start with them. The youngest is seven, the oldest is fifteen. Every one of them was being sold to a group of brothels in Moscow... all owned by the same person." Jory risked a glance at Adam and Logan. He was momentarily surprised by what he saw. Logan was the one who looked about ready to rip someone's head off, and Adam was looking surprised and stunned by what Jory was saying.
Figuring he had better get the rest out before someone blew up, Jory rushed on. "Of the one hundred and twenty-two males, the youngest is five, the oldest again, is fifteen. Thirty-eight are ages five, six, and seven; they were all sold to a mining company up in Siberia. Fifty-nine range between eight, and eleven. Those ones... well, forty of them were supposed to go to the same brothels in Moscow, while the other nineteen were spread out between farms, mines, and various other physical labor 'jobs'. That leaves the twelve- through fifteen-year-olds. There are twenty-five of them; they were all meant to go do some sort of physical labor."
Both Adam and Logan had the cold fire burning in their eyes... to those that didn't know them, they would have thought nothing was wrong. To Jory, he... he had never been this scared for other people before. He was just certain though that this next item was going to send them over the edge.
"Lastly, one of the thirteen-year-old boys wants to talk to you... he says he was given something to give to you while they were being driven here... someone spoke to him in his head, and the next thing he knew, an envelope appeared in his lap." He waited while Adam and then Logan both took deep breaths, calmed some, and nodded. Jory looked over his shoulder, and motioned for a boy to come over.
Both Adam and Logan couldn't help but notice the outright beauty of this boy. He had bright blue eyes and dirty blond hair. Since Adam was used to sizing people up automatically, he could tell the the boy was athletic, and the way he walked, even though he was wearing a Unit Jumpsuit, one of the ones that were rather baggy, Adam could tell this kid was usually sure of himself, and not afraid to take on new things. He could also tell that this kid wasn't beaten down like one would expect from a slave.
He walked right up to Adam and stuck out his hand. "Hi, my name's Peter... Peter Rustiv. But please call me Pete."
Adam shook his hand and smiled, not as bright as he normally would due to what just happened. "Hey Pete, I'm Adam, and this is my partner Logan."
Pete smiled at Logan and shook his hand, then looked back to Adam. "I was told that I should talk to you as soon as I could."
"Okay... by who?" Adam almost interjected.
"Well... I'm not really sure who it was. See, I was sitting in the back of the truck, cursing my parents again, when suddenly this voice started to talk to me... in my head..." He trailed off and looked at the boys to see if they were going to believe him or not.
Adam just smiled to put the boy at ease. "Don't worry.... we know about telepaths; as a matter of fact, both Logan and I are. So don't worry about us thinking you're crazy."
Pete grinned and sighed in relief. "Anyways, she.. the voice, told me that as soon as I get here, I should find you... she told me your name, and said I should find you right away. She told me I should tell you my story... and give you a message. When I asked what message, this appeared in my lap." He lifted his other hand, and gave Adam a envelope with his name typed on the front.
After inspecting it, and checking with Daileass that there was nothing weird inside the envelope, Adam opened it up. He pulled out a single sheet of typing paper with three sentences typed on it, and no signature.
"I figured you could do more good for these people, than the places they were going to. Make sure to keep an eye out; you will have many friends in Russia, but they must be careful for now. Give my regards to our little Tsar."
Adam handed the paper to Logan after he finished it, and stared up at the clouds for a few minutes. Logan read it, handed it to Jory, who handed it to Pete. By the time Pete was done reading, Adam started to talk. Well, more like he muttered under his breath the first part. "May we live in interesting times..."
Seeing that Pete didn't get it, and Logan barely smirked at his attempt at a joke, Adam spoke a bit louder. "Okay... so tell us your story. If you want, we can go some place a bit more private."
Almost immediately Pete's demeanor changed. Up until now he had appeared somewhat afraid at not knowing what was going on, not to mention still dealing with the after-effects of being chained naked in the back of a truck. Now suddenly there was anger... but not just anger.. betrayal, pain, and even deeper, righteous rage. His blue eyes went from being happy, with a laugh just out of range, to burning with anger. Adam knew deep down that if he could harness that anger, he could turn this boy into a force of nature.
"My story started a little over two weeks ago. My ex-parents are Peter Rustiv the Third and Evelyn Rustiv." Logan drew in a sharp breath, and Adam looked at him. Obviously Logan knew who they were, but Adam had no clue. "Yup... the same ones. For those that don't know, my father is the CEO for the American division of one of the largest oil companies in the world. He spends most his time in Washington hobnobbing with politicians and other rich people. Me, I was the 'obligatory' child they had to have."
Pete stopped to draw a breath, and Logan couldn't help but cut in. "You've been all over the news. They said you were kidnapped two weeks ago. Your parents have been all over the news begging for whoever took you to let you go. Last I heard there was a hundred million dollar reward for your safe return."
If anything, Pete's eyes blazed hotter in rage. "BULLSHIT! Those assholes were the ones that SOLD ME!"
"WHAT?!" Adam and Logan both exclaimed at the same time.
"Yeah... they sold me. My ex-mother walked in on me and a friend... we were kissing. When she told my ex-father... well, let's just say it didn't go over well. Neither one of them spoke to me for two days. Finally, they called me downstairs and as soon as I got down there, I got jumped by two big guys. They held me down, tied my hands behind my back, and before they dragged me off, both of my ex-parents were sneering at me. The last words I heard came from my mother, who told me that 'maybe we can make something good out of having a no good faggot for a kid.' Later on, one of the guys that took me told me that my dad paid a large price to have me disappear."
Two nights later, right before they put me on a plane, they told me even more about what my parents had wanted. To make things look even better for them, to get even more sympathy, the two guys tied me down to a bed, set up cameras and video recorders, and... and raped me." Adam knew Pete wanted to break down, but the boy would not let himself. Adam admired very few people... but this kid right here was one of them. Before Pete gave in to the urge to cry, he went on. "When we got to Russia, I spent over a week, naked, in a small room, where they only fed me once a day, and only if I were to beg them to... to use me again. If I didn't ask, I wouldn't get any food or water... they said my parents wanted me dead, but they figured they could make a lot of money off my once I was 'broken'. That will NEVER happen."
Adam nodded and smiled softly. "Pete... from now on, you'll never have to worry about that again. You're free now... to chase whatever dream you want."
Pete stared Adam directly in the eyes as he responded. "The voice in my head told me what you and your Unit do. What the Clan does. She gave me a LOT of information. If even half of what she said is true... and if what you just said is true.. then I know what dream I wanna chase... I want to destroy people like my parents, and help others like me." If Adam had been a lesser person, he might have had to step back from the intensity of those blue eyes; as it was, he couldn't help but feel a shiver of fear... not for himself, but for those that crossed this boy.
Adam couldn't believe he was here: the one place in the entire Unit base that he swore he would never visit, and now, less than three days after he had made that vow, here he was... walking down the corridor to it. He turned the corner, and there it was... the door that he vowed he would never cross. In his mind there was a sign above the door... 'Abandon Hope all ye who enter here.'
He took a deep breath as his hand reached for the knob, and steeling himself for what was to come, he turned and pushed the door inwards. Many voices suddenly stopped what they were saying when Adam waked in. He had spent almost twenty minutes getting his uniform perfect for this occasion. He was glad he had; it helped him keep his face straight, his eyes forward, and his knees from shaking as he made his way down the aisle. Many eyes were following him as he made his way to the front of the room, and the person he sought out in this... place.
Behind the person he came to see, the only person standing in the front of the room, stood a large fire: a fire that seemed to dance with a life of its own. The room, a cathedral actually. Large vaulted ceilings, archways spread every so often, and the walls... the walls were covered with objects, some valuable, some insanely valuable, yet others which had no worth, save to the people here.
In his hand, a single sheathed sword, wrapped in crushed black velvet. A sword that he made by his own hand. Worthless really, since he knew it wouldn't stand up to actual combat, but it was the first one he ever made, Master Takamora standing over his shoulder the whole time.
He continued down the aisleway made by those kneeling. He heard no muttering or anything; the room was eerily silent save for the fire burning. The reflections of the flames, and the fact that it was the only light source in the room, cast everything in a red sheen.
When he finally made it to the front of the room, he had to step around a large pile of objects so that he could look down at the person in front of him. While he hated having to do it, he knew that this group was highly ceremonial, so he would go with it. He spun around so that all could see him, and in one swift movement drew the blade form the scabbard and held it high, making sure that the firelight danced off the blade for all to see. This time, sound was heard in the room. Ohhs and ahhs came from almost every mouth as Adam held the sword high. He then slammed the sword back into the scabbard, and laid it reverently on top of the pile.
He then turned and looked at the furry creature in front of him and spoke. "I am Adam Casey, leader and commander of the UNIT. I have come before you to ask your aid in a matter."
High Priest Dave simply nodded for Adam to continue, so he did. "One of the first things taught to me was that while I had to be good at almost everything, I did not have to be the best. All I had to do was know who was the best, and let them handle it. I have found myself in a situation, that I now need to ask for you and your flock to aid me, for you and they are the best for what I want done."
"You have kept to the Shiny ways so far this day. We will hear your plea, and consider what must be done," Dave said stoically.
Adam lifted his head and spoke loudly. "Daileass... If you would, please!"
Behind Adam and High Priest Dave, a large screen descended from the ceiling. A large picture of the boy Adam had recently met was already on it as it descended. As Adam had figured would happen, when Pete's eyes came into view the ferrets all started commenting about them in a high-pitched rush, which didn't stop until the screen was fully lowered and High Priest Dave held up his hand.
Adam turned and looked out over the assembled crowd. Mostly Ferrets, but he saw a few chimps and gorillas in there, as well as a few non-hybrids and others. "This boy has been wronged grievously by his own flesh and blood. His own parents SOLD him into slavery!" Yes, Adam was playing to the crowd, but isn't that what a good commander often has to do?
"He only has one request now that he has been rescued. But I will not speak his words to you, I will let him!" On cue, Daileass started to play the recording of the conversation that Adam had had with Pete. He didn't need the reaction from all the ferrets in the room to know the line that got them the most: when Pete said, 'I want to destroy people like my parents.' Adam knew no one could resist that. As soon as the video stopped, Adam again spoke.
"I want you!" Adam said as he spun on Dave and locked eyes with the furry little leader. "I want you to give Pete what he asked for. I do not want someone to simply kill his parents. That would be too easy... too quick. That would not teach them anything. That would not teach our enemies anything. If I wanted them to die, I could ask any number of people to do it, or do it myself. No... I do not want them to die... not yet anyway. I want them DESTROYED!"
He turned back to the crowd and kept going without skipping a beat. "I want you to figure out what their deepest darkest fears are... and I want you to bring them to life. I do not want them to have a good night's sleep ever again. These will not be handed over to the Federation to be tried and sent off to some prison planet. No.. this will not be Federation justice, or even Clan justice. This will be UNIT VENGEANCE."
Adam calmed and turned back to Dave. His voice was quieter, but still carried to everyone in the room. "I cannot make this an order... this is not happening. There will never be a document that ever speaks to this. I do not want to know what you do, or how you do it; all I want to know is, will you do it?"
Dave grinned in a way Adam had never seen before, a way that made Adam wonder just how sharp all those little teeth really were. Then he nodded. "Worry not, Adam Casey. The Shiny ones have heard the plea of this young boy, and we will answer."
Adam only nodded, said no more, but turned and walked out of the room. Not a sound was heard until he shut the door.
"What did you do?" Logan asked shortly after Adam reappeared outside the Russian palace.
"What I needed to," Adam said as he started to turn away, then turned back to his love. "Look, Logan, there's no way I could have done what those people deserve. I'm not mentally able to be that cruel. So I turned it over to someone who could."
Logan looked at him skeptically before his face paled and his jaw opened wide. "You... you couldn't have!"
Adam nodded almost sadly. "Not even Juan could do what these people deserve... so I asked Dave to handle it." He saw Logan about to say something, so he rushed on. "I told him I didn't want to know what he was going to, or did do. I... I just don't want to know."
Finally Logan nodded, so Adam turned to walk away. Under his breath, Logan couldn't help but mention: "So that's why Dave called Seth... section 31."
However, Adam had stopped before he made it a few steps towards the palace. He could clearly see two different groups of people walking right for him. The first group was Alexei with Sergei in tow. Adam had to grin as Alexei looked much better then he had when he first saw the young Tsar.
The other group was MUCH larger though. Janet was leading the group; behind her was Adam's middle brother Jimmy, who broke into a run towards Adam as soon as he saw his older brother. With the group was Khan, his boyfriend 'Runt', the wolverine Logan, as well as his full team of eighteen badger hybrids and the other wolverine hybrid. Right behind them were three Unit members, all of them in full uniform. Adam knew them well as they were the ones that Logan had slated to help make up the command team here in Russia. Rounding out the group were the triplets that Adam had rescued the day before. Adam didn't have time to wonder why they were here before Jimmy slammed into Adam with a fierce hug.
"I missed you..." Jimmy said softly into Adam's shoulder. "Don't leave me behind anymore... I need my big brother."
Adam choked up with Jimmy's words, and simply hugged him harder. Had Jimmy not been enhanced, Adam might have broken a few ribs. All he said though, was just as softly, "I won't."
Adam broke the hug and turned away so people wouldn't see him wipe away the tears that formed. When he turned back he saw the knowing look in Janet's eyes, and an envious look in Alexei's eyes, that he quickly hid behind a mask.
When the two groups got to Adam, he was finally able to force a smile, and introduce Alexei and Sergei to the other group, and them in turn to the young Tsar and his retainer. Adam made especially sure to introduce Logan to Alexei. As expected, Alexei couldn't help but stare at the very impressively built hybrid. What most people didn't notice, Adam did. He knew how to make full use of that fact that behind Logan and the hybrids, a large group of the former slaves had gathered. He also saw Ken Savage and with a discreet nod, saw that Ken's camera boy raised the camera to his shoulder, and a second later, Adam saw the little red light come on.
Adam couldn't help but grin as he spoke to Alexei, breaking the spell the boy was under. "I see you find Logan to be rather interesting."
"You could say that," Alexei responded after a moment. "I do not think I have ever seen any... being... with that much... muscle." Adam could tell the young boy was picking his words VERY carefully. Adam almost lost it, though, when he saw Logan puff his chest out at the 'compliment' paid to him.
"Well I guess it's good that you have taken such a keen interest in the hybrids..." Adam started up with a grin. "Since I have assigned them to be your personal security... ALL of them."
Alexei's eyes got huge as he looked back and forth between a grinning Adam, and a grinning, yet with those teeth, a VERY scary looking Logan. Adam couldn't help himself as he leaned forward and stage whispered to Alexei, "Don't worry... they're all house broken... well, mostly."
Alexei stared in shock at Adam, trying to figure out if the older boy was serious. Meanwhile, the badger and wolverine hybrids started grumbling, while Logan started to growl threateningly towards Adam.
Adam turned his look towards Logan, and cocked his head to the side in a 'really?' type of facial expression. When that didn't stop Logan from growling, Adam sighed deeply and spoke softly, yet loud enough to be heard by all. "Really, Logan... do I need to call Professor Mary here, to get you back in line?"
Immediately, Logan's growl died, his ears wilted, and his head turned towards the ground, "Oh come on... That's just not fair," Logan said as he looked up and met Adam's eyes. "She's scary when she's mad...."
Adam suppressed his laughter by turning the conversation to more important matters. "Now all kidding aside...."
He was interrupted by Logan's muttered... "I wasn't kidding!"
Adam chose to ignore it and just kept talking. "They will be Alexei's personal security. Please understand, Alexei, they are VERY good at what they do. However, I must ask that if one of them tell you to do something, that you do it without question." After getting a reluctant nod, Adam turned his very serious glare onto the hybrids. Seeing the look in their commander's eyes, they all stood a bit straighter, especially Logan. "Understand something clearly. We... all of us, were created to be the best at what we do, and you, as hybrids, are even better than most. I am asking you to prove it now. When we rescued you, you all gave your oath to follow me, to follow us, but more importantly, to follow the ideals that we stand for. Now I am calling on you to fulfill those oaths, even if it means sacrificing your lives. He is your charge, and your duty, as a Unit member, is to lay down your lives if needed. I want a constant watch on him while in the palace itself, but you don't have to be shoved up his ass. If he's on the grounds, I want no less the three of you nearby... and if he leaves the palace... which I have a feeling he will... I want every single one of you to be involved. If he dies, this country is fucked... with a capital F... do I make myself clear?"
All the hybrids snapped to a salute at Adam's orders. Logan was the only one who said anything, and it rather surprised Adam to see that Logan had a theatrical side. He stepped before Alexei, knelt on one knee in front of the young Tsar, with his head down, brought his closed fist to his chest, thumping it slightly, before looking up into the boy's eyes. Behind him, all the rest of his squad also dropped to a knee. "Our lives before yours. No harm shall befall you while I still draw breath. This is my oath to you."
Alexei straightened up and took a step forward so he was standing before the kneeling wolverine hybrid. Placing a small hand on Logan's head, Alexei spoke. When he spoke, though, everyone knew that this was a person who was used to making speeches, and someone who knew that every word he said had special meaning to many people. His voice seemed to travel to all those who were listening, and it was as if he made eye contact with everyone, making everyone there think he was singling them out, speaking directly to them. Very few people had this gift, and Alexei was making full use of it.
"Thank you, my friends. On behalf of the Russian people, I thank you." He let his voice rise a bit so that everyone could hear him. "Let it be known that from this day forward, the name of Romanov will no longer hide behind walls, and turn a blind eye to the plight of their people... of MY people. No longer will those who wish to destroy my people for their own gain be allowed to do so unchecked."
Alexei reached down and lifted Logan to his feet. He turned the larger boy around so that the crowd could see him. "This mighty warrior just swore an oath to me. Now it is my turn to swear an oath. Not only to all of you here, but also to all of the people who look to me and my family. I may have let you down in the past, but that ends now. With the Premier dead, it is time for me to take back full control of my government. Those who make a life from the pain and suffering of others... your time is over. This is my one warning. Run now. Close up shop and run for your lives. I will have no mercy for those that bring harm to others. I will have no mercy for those that traffic in other humans, and I will have no mercy for those who threaten my country. I will take back my country so that the people will once again be able to flourish, so that once again, Russia will be the great and noble power it once was. Not something that others fear coming to because we are considered backwards and corrupt. Let those who are fully evil in nature once again tremble at the name of Romanov." With that he turned towards Logan, opened his arms wide, and embraced the commander of his personal security detail.
Before he had left the rest of the group, Adam had set up for a full staff meeting to happen thirty minutes later, as he had a report to give. Now he had spent the last ten minutes sitting alone in front of Logan's laptop computer, figuring out exactly what he wanted to say. When he was ready, Adam spoke softly, "Daileass, please connect me to Orlando CIC."
"Orlando Headquarters. Please press one to be transferred to Medical for Valium prescriptions. Otherwise, how can I help you, Adam?" Seth's voice replied.
Adam sighed while he ran his hand though his hair. "Hey Seth. I felt it was prudent to give HQ a report on what's going on in Russia... since it looks like I've stepped into one hell of a hornet's nest."
Seth reached up and pressed a square on his console. "Secure mode activated. Just how bad is it, General."
Again Adam sighed deeply while he organized his thoughts. "I'll be honest here, Seth. Unless I break a whole shitload of international laws, this entire country is going to be in a full-blown civil war within a week... probably more like three days, to be honest. And even if I did do that, I probably won't be able to stop it. This entire region is looking at a blood bath."
Seth's face became totally serious. "That is unacceptable. Hold on, you have authorization to report to Cory directly."
Adam's face hardened, but he simply nodded to Seth and waited for Cory. Mentally he figured out it was only about 6 or 7am where Cory was. Hopefully he didn't wake him up.
The next thing Adam saw was a half-asleep and probably nude Cory appearing on the screen. "The orders were to not contact me unless something threatened world stability," Cory said, a small smile signaling to Adam that he wasn't mad. "You're the last person who'd break that order, Adam; where are you and just how bad is it?"
"Cory... it's bad. Basically I am in Russia. I was contacted by Tsar Alexei Romanov, asking for my assistance to help take back his country and to put an end to him being brutalized to keep him in line. Shortly after we secured the palace, we had a tractor-trailer show up with 200 slaves that were headed elsewhere. This entire country is rife with corruption, and Alexei has already cut off the head of that by having his Premier assassinated. He was the head of the KGB, and from everything I can see, they are going to try and strike back to keep the power that they have gained. If they manage to kill Alexei, it will only get worse for the country... and even if they don't succeed, just their attempts are going to throw this part of the world into a civil war as the corrupt attempt to grab as much as they can in the confusion. And to top everything off, not that this is a bad thing, but it makes things a HELL of a lot messier... Logan extended brotherhood to him formally... and he's accepted."
Cory's face hardened. "This isn't good. Contact Grandma Lizzy, inform her that I have issued you orders to stabilize the area due to the actions of a group that is endangering the children of Russia and is willing to throw the world into turmoil to do it. She'll take care of the League notifications, and they will be available if you need help. Shut those bastards down. Hard. Now."
"Understood, but also be aware... Any involvement of the League could have a very bad effect on the Russian people. According to Alexei, and Jory agrees with him, the people of Russia would see that as a sign of weakness, and it erode their confidence in him."
"I am sure Grandma Lizzy already understands that, and has plans in place to prevent something like that from destabilizing things any more than needed," Cory replied. "I don't care if you have to break out Juan's mech, you've got resources that only two people know about. Use them. I'm sure the other person besides me will tell you when they are needed."
Adam let a small smile appear on his face. "I don't think I'll need the mech, but we have Eryradain air support that i can call in. But I will deal with it. Anyways, you go back to bed; it's time for me to get my hands dirty."
"If I don't hear news about heads on the fenceposts of the Russian Palace, I'll be disappointed in you," Cory replied. "I will talk to you after this vacation is over; you have your orders. Good luck."
Adam sprung to his feet, and saluted. "Yes Sir... And I won't need luck, I've got the UNIT behind me!"
Cory returned the salute, and his feed went blank. Seth nodded to Adam. "Tell Logan to expect calls," he said cryptically.
Adam nodded then closed the connection. He had a very interesting meeting to get to, but first, he needed to have a little chat with his lover.
Adam released Logan from his embrace, and both had to wipe tears away from their eyes. The two of them just had a very long and emotional meeting inside of Logan's mindscape. The ramifications of what Adam learned, well, he still didn't really know how to deal with it, but he knew he would have to. In a way he was so damned proud of Logan for what he'd done, but another part of him was upset because Logan never shared that part of his life with Adam. Yes, Adam understood why, but deep down, it still hurt.
"It'll be okay, Adam. Please don't worry too much about it. You know I always have your back, no matter what." Adam knew the truth to those words, but could only nod. Logan had said that to him many times in the past, but now it meant a whole lot more. However, he would have to do as Logan said, and not worry too much about that stuff now; he had a very important call to make.
He turned towards the monitor that Adam had used to call Cory, and saw the somewhat anxious face of Daileass on it. Knowing that the clones would have known what was going on, Adam sent Daileass a reassuring smile that seemed to drain the AI boy's face of all worry. "Daileass, could you please set up a formal call with Queen Elizabeth... The put yourself and all your brothers in for a commendation for your work with Logan and the others... it is more than well deserved."
Daileass's smile was so wide Adam was afraid that it might crack the computer screen as he said, "Right away, General!" Then his face faded, to be replaced with the UNIT logo as he started to make the call.
Less then three minutes later, the screen changed to the symbol of the royal house of England, and then 10 seconds later, that was replaced by the face of the Queen herself.
"Greetings, General. How can I help you?" Elizabeth asked, her face impassive and regal.
"Your Majesty..." Adam began as he bowed to her, Logan doing the same to his right. "I have been instructed The Patriarch of Clan Short to inform you of the actions and orders I have been given in regards to the UNIT's involvement in the country of Russia, as well as The Tsar's personal appeal for help."
Elizabeth nodded, "Please continue."
"To make things easy, I will give you the complete story of what has happened so far." Adam paused for a brief moment to gather his thoughts, then began. "At approximately 01:15 this morning, Utah Time, I received a call from Tsar Alexei Romanov, asking for my help in not only putting an end to the brutalization that he was receiving at the hands of the KGB, and specifically Premier Bartnev, but also he asked my help in bringing an end to the oppressive regime that had taken over his government, and restoring his rightful rule. Upon hearing of any child being injured, I, as well as several of my UNIT members, made plans, and secured the palace, thus ensuring his safety.
"Before we were able to do much more than that, a large tractor-trailer appeared at the front gates to the palace. Inside were 250 people, ranging in age from seven years old to thirty-eight years old. All of them were chained to pallets on the floor of the trailer and were to be sold as slaves. We have been able to confirm that members of the KGB were behind the sale of these people, but we have not been able to figure out how they ended up here.
"Ten minutes ago, Patriarch Short authorized me to engage in unrestricted warfare to ensure the stability of this country, as well as ensure the safety and well being of the Tsar."
Adam reached down and pressed a button on his keyboard, and suddenly Queen Elizabeth was seeing Cory hard face on the screen. 'This isn't good. Contact Grandma Lizzy, inform her that I have issued you orders to stabilize the area due to the actions of a group that is endangering the children of Russia and is willing to throw the world into turmoil to do it. She'll take care of the League notifications, and they will be available if you need help. Shut those bastards down. Hard. Now.'
When the playback ended, Adam simply stated, "As ordered by my commanding officer, I am informing you of what our situation is here in Russia."
Elizabeth's face had remained impassive through all that Adam had just said. Once he was finished, she answered slowly, "I would assume that my cousin does not wish this to become known as a State of Civil War. When the League had to enter to help in the late 80s, it caused some trouble for his great grandfather. As good as the Chinese have been to the League, it did not help with the Russian people, due to their proud heritage. I will hold off the rest of the League for as long as I am able, to allow you the time to restore order for my cousin. However, should this become such that it becomes of note to the world at large, the League will have to act. I will give word that any British Special Forces in Russia are to act as you order, should you need them to quell this 'small show of discontent'. If we play it as that, then it can and will remain an internal matter to Russia. Please do not let your pride stop you from asking for help, should the situation call for it, General Casey – If it calls for direct intervention to save lives, then it may have to come to it. However, I have confidence that you have the tools you need already to deal with this. I throw my support – unofficially – in with Patriarch Short's: do whatever you need to do to stop this becoming a Civil War. And take care, Adam," she added with a small smile, yet her eyes remained hard as agates. "Give my cousin Alexei my love for me, and if you can save some of those who harmed him, I would appreciate them being handed over to the Embassy in Moscow – I would have words with those who have harmed my family."
Adam nodded, "I will see what can be done about that. Thank you for your help, your majesty."
"Be well, grandsons," Elizabeth said in farewell to both of them, then the signal ended.
Adam and Logan walked into the large conference room, hand in hand. To the world they would look as if nothing was wrong, but Janet knew there was some strain there. She was the one who knew these boys the best, but she also knew that unless they brought it up, she might never really know what was going on. Her concern right now, though, was this meeting, and what was going on here in Russia.
Adam was happy to see that there were two badger guards standing outside the door to the conference room, and even more pleased when he walked into the room and saw that the head of the wolverines, Logan, was standing right behind Alexei. Adam walked into the room and quickly counted people. He looked twice, and saw that there were a few more then he thought there would be. He had expected Alexei and Sergei to be there, as well as Janet, Chang, Will, Khan, Jory, Chief Petty Officer Mark Connors, Master Quel, as well as the three Unit members that Logan had hand-picked to help round out the command staff here in Russia. The ones that surprised him were his younger brother Jimmy, and Madison, Morgan, and Maddox, the triplets that Adam had rescued.
Shrugging it off, Adam and Logan made their way to the two open chairs around the large table and sat down. "Sorry to be late, everyone, but I just had an interesting conversation with the Patriarch of Clan Short." Adam let that statement hang in the air for a few moments as he met eyes with everyone there before he continued. "He has authorized unrestricted warfare against the enemies of the rightful ruler of Russia, Tsar Alexei Romanov."
Silence ruled the room for a few stunned moments. Adam looked around and saw satisfaction in many of the UNIT members' eyes... satisfaction as well as a bit of worry in Janet's eyes, and confusion in the three non-UNIT members' eyes.
Finally Alexei spoke up in his soft yet firm voice. "What exactly does that mean?"
Adam met Alexei's eyes with a steady gaze. "It simply means that instead of playing defensively, we're gonna go out there and take the fight to the bad guys, hopefully ending this sooner rather then later." Adam took a long deep breath, then spoke while still holding Alexei's eyes. "Everything that we do WILL be run through you, and you have the final say, as this is your country. But with your permission, we will take the fight to those that wish to topple your rule."
Alexei closed his eyes and rubbed the bridge of his nose. When he opened his eyes, he looked at Adam with a mixture of sadness and hope. "How bad will it get?" He asked in a small voice.
"I won't lie to you, or try to sugar coat anything. It's gonna be messy. If you agree, tonight will mostly be quiet on our end, but by the time we wake up, this country will be in turmoil as there will have been several hundred assassinations that happened overnight. From there, we will take the fight to those who still wish to gain control of this country." Adam paused at the wide-eyed look on Alexei's face. "I know this is difficult to accept, but I see no other options. I've been ordered to handle this as quickly as possible, in hopes that it does not destabilize the entire region, and possibly the world."
Alexei stood up and began to pace back and forth behind his chair. The room was silent for several minutes as everyone waited to see how Alexei would handle what Adam had just said. Finally he stopped pacing and spoke while looking out one of the windows in the conference room.
"I have watched the Clan's actions since they first broke onto the world stage. With great interest did I watch what you all have been able to accomplish. Time and again I, along with the world, watched as you have accomplished deeds that many 'wise and worldly' people have called impossible." Alexei turned and stared hard at Adam. "Do as you see fit. I have placed my faith and my crown in your hands, General. I did not do so lightly."
Alexei moved back to his seat and sat down. "However, I will have to be seen leading the charge. The first step to that will be to connect with the people of Russia itself. Conspiracy can not stand the light of day, so I shall bring the full light of the sun down upon those that wish to usurp my rightful place. That shall happen tonight." After meeting the looks from everyone in the room and getting nods of agreement in return, Alexei turned back to Adam. "Okay, let us speak about the specifics of your plan."
For the next forty-five minutes, a plan started to form on how to do what needed to be done. Everyone knew it was not going to be easy, but by the time they ended, they all felt rather confident that what they had come up with would be what was needed to keep Russia from fracturing during the coming events.
Adam sat back and rubbed his hand together. "Okay, so is there anything else? I think we just about covered it all." Adam went around and got shakes of heads from everyone sitting at the table, but then a small voice spoke up from the back of the room. "One more thing... if we can?"
Adam was surprised to see one of the triplets had spoken up. He had only ever seen them just kinda stay in the back ground. All three of them looked a bit nervous now that they had all eyes on them, so Adam came to their rescue. "Go ahead Madison, what's on your mind?"
Alexei couldn't help but stare at the triplets. He'd seen them from a distance before, but hadn't really even realized they were in the room. He couldn't get over how exactly they looked like each other. Their hairstyles were the same, kind of longish, just off the shoulders dark red hair. Bright green eyes that seemed to pull Alexei in, and somewhat pale skin tone. They looked to be about his age, and he really had to wonder what it would be like to be part of a set of triplets, or have other people that you are that close to.
"Well... uhh... we kinda overheard Dave talking to dad, and what was going on here." Madison started, and Maddox seamlessly took over as if the same person was talking, and didn't even pause.
"He also told dad how important Tsar Alexei is and how if he got hurt, how bad it would be for the country." Maddox paused, and Morgan picked up for him.
"So we figured we could come here and maybe... well... we thought that maybe we could be some help in protecting him." Morgan blushed slightly, and all three of them started to look a little scared that they might have overstepped their bounds.
Not really sure what it was that these boys could really do to help protect him, Alexei nevertheless felt he had to do something here. Quickly he got up and moved to kneel before the boys. "I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you wanna do for me. I am not aware of exactly what you three could do to help protect me, but I would be honored to have you three with me. It has been a long time since I really had friends my own age before, and if nothing else happens, if you need to do nothing else, I will forever be in your debt for simply being around, and allowing me to perhaps, have some friends my own age, where I can forget for a few moments that I am the Tsar, and simply be a twelve-year-old boy."
All three boys were now beaming with pride and Adam was also smiling; however, his had more to do with just how well Alexei handled that, and seeing just how good Alexei was at reading situations, and figuring out how to deal with people. That was the mark of a good leader, and at that point, Adam was positive that, if things went as well as he hoped, he knew that Alexei would make an outstanding ruler for his country. Now all Adam had to do was make sure that he was given that opportunity.
"Okay, so Chang, you're all set to go to Bartnev's estate in the morning and see what you can find there?" Adam asked, bringing the meeting to an end. When Chang nodded, Adam turned his attention to Master Quel. "Then, unless anyone else has something, why don't we go outside and take a look at some of these fighters that you have allowed us to use for all of this."
With Quel's nod, everyone stood up, and started to head outside so they could get the first real look at a space fighter from the Beta Quadrant.