Clan Short Pacific Rim Division

Chapter 3

Anahola Beach, Kauai

Saturday October 30, 2004 12:35 PM

From further up the north end of the beach, a new voice shouted; "WHAT THE FUCK? DAVE! Get your ass over here and bring your entire flock!" Not getting the response he wanted, as the Ferrets kept running, the boy quickly dug into his pants pocket and pulled out a small pouch labeled 'Emergency Ferret Action Kit'. He pulled out a small thing that looked like nothing more than a ball point pen. He quickly pulled the top off of it and slapped the end of it, setting off a small explosive charge that propelled a tiny object high in the air. When it hit twenty-five feet in the air, it exploded in a very bright ball. All the Ferrets skidded to a stop and gazed at the shiny ball hanging in the air.

"NOW! Get your asses over here, or I'll have Daileass transport your Shiny Vault away!" Suddenly, every Ferret around turned and started sprinting towards him.

Prez, Keith, Derrick and Mike all spun towards the unknown voice. "Who was that?" Prez exclaimed.

Donnie turned towards the group and softly said, "That would be General Adam Casey, the head of the UNIT; also known as the Clan Short Special Forces, with the rest of his family.

Looking over, everyone saw the group that was rapidly approaching them; it was led by a boy that was their age, with long straight black hair, and slate gray eyes. He was wearing a dress uniform, with many many medals and ribbons on it. Next to him was a slightly younger looking boy with long blond hair, and blue eyes. He was not wearing a uniform, but rather, a normal pair of jeans and a light button down shirt. Prez looked at Nathan quickly, then back to the blond. He knew they had to be brothers, as they looked identical except for the new one was older.

Behind them was an oriental boy about twelve wearing a simple oriental robe. The two swords that he wore at his left side most certainly seemed out of place; however, the way he wore them made it clear that they were not out of place on him. With him were five hooded figures with long gray snouts sticking out of the hoods.

Walking next to the oriental kid was another kid with brightly colored red hair styled in a short spiky fashion wearing a pair of mirrored sunglasses. He was tall and lanky, and had a definite cocky grin on his face. Behind them came a couple of kids that were John's age, one Hispanic and the other was another blond, but this one with obvious Russian features.

Behind the two younger kids, was a woman with sandy blond hair, who was obviously Nathan's mother, and a man being pushed in a wheelchair by the biggest cat person they had ever seen. Tagging along beside the G-Cat was another small ten year old boy. Flanking that group were three triplets that again had to be brothers of Nathan, as they were obviously identical to him, save for their age.

Adam walked right up to Prez and held out his hand. "I assume your Preston O'Brian?" Prez nodded and shook Adam's hand. Adam grinned. "Welcome to the Clan. Uhh.... would you excuse me one second?"

Without waiting for an answer, Adam turned and was faced with all seventy-four ferrets, led by their leader High Priest Dave; all of them trying to look extremely innocent. "Okay," Adam loudly said, making sure they all heard him. "Here's the rules. You may NOT steal any shinys from the Shiny Haters for at least twenty-four hours. You may however, feel free to take any and all shinys you find out there," he said, and pointed towards the ocean. "If you dive to the floor of the bay, you might find little oysters." Adopting a reverent voice in a much lower tone and volume, Adam instructed, "Inside those oysters are pearls; bright shiny pearls, that can be made into adornments for your belts and hats. However, I must warn you, the oysters should be treated properly, as they are the ones who create such shinys for you to find. Treat them well and they will make more for you."

Adam knew he had their attention simply because almost all their eyes had glazed over, just thinking about pearls. Before he said anything else, the entire flock turned and started to run away, rambling excitedly. Adam's voice cut them off again. "SPIKE!" Adam bellowed, and one of the younger ferrets with spiky fur stopped dead in his tracks and looked back at Adam. Puppies were lodging protests that the ferret was able to make such sad eyes. Adam ordered, "Give him back his guitar pick!"

Mike's right hand dug into his pocket. He softly grumbled, "Dammit!"

"But... but... he has not taken the pledge!" The young ferret whined.

"He is a member of the Clan," Adam reminded. "What have we said about Clan members?"

The boy almost sounded like he was going to cry as he repeated in a small voice. "We can't steal their shinys unless they have been in the Clan for more than a week."

"Right," Adam droned. "So why?" Adam started to ask, but the young ferret quickly ran up to Adam and dropped to his knees.

"But.. but... it's so... SHINY! It begged me to liberate it from the dull one. How could I live with my faith had I not done as the shiny had asked?"

The blond haired boy that was next to Adam spoke up in a quiet voice. "I understand. But how would the shiny feel if you took it from someone who would become a shiny lover, and perhaps be able to create wonderful music in the name of shininess, but now he can't because his shiny guitar pick was stolen. Don't you think that would make the shiny sad?"

The kid looked horrified then ran over to Mike, upending a small bag he had tied to his waist. He dropped to his knees and rifled through all the different baubles that fell to the sand. He found the guitar pick and carefully cleaned it off before offering to Mike while still on his knees. "Please mister; can you make shiny music with this?"

"I can now," Mike smiled at the thieving little ferret. Bending down and retrieving his pick, Mike then asked, "Did you know that shiny guitar picks can only make shiny music for a little while before they wear out?" The ferret seemed to gasp in horror and shook his head. "It's true; the music gets less shiny over time. When this one wears out, I'll give it to you only if you use it as a shiny adornment that I can see. That way, I'll know it's shininess has not been completely used up and worn out. Every now and then you'll get a used shiny pick then I'll get a new shiny pick to make shiny music with until it wears out. Then you'll get another, and another; soon you'll be wearing so many shiny picks that people will come from far and wide to see your shiny adornments."

"Oh! Thank you mister!" Spike squealed in delight. Looking between Mike and Adam, Spike asked, "Uhh.. can I go look for other shinys now?" Adam nodded his head and the little boy was off like a shot.

Adam then turned to the group and grinned, "Okay, crisis over. Now, where were we?"

Kaleo, Keith and Derrick were laughing hysterically over Mike and Spike. Prez snickered, "We were just getting to know each other, oh leader of the Shiny Tribe!" The rest of the core Rimmers, Donnie and Nathan lost it and howled.

Adam couldn't help laughing as well. "First off, I am not responsible for them; I just know how to make it so that they don't do anything too bad. Anyways, let me introduce you to what I call the Core of the UNIT. Just so you know, the UNIT actually stands for the Universal Next-Generation Infiltration Team."

He paused as he looked at the Blond next to him. "Okay, this guy here, is Logan. He's the head of the Intel team and also my partner. He's not physically enhanced like the rest of us, but he's smarter than anyone I have ever met. Next to him is Chang, my second in command, chief medical officer, and martial arts master."

Chang stepped forward and bowed. "It is an honor to meet all of you. As of yet, I have only heard some of what you have done, and I must say I am impressed with how well you have handled yourselves in very trying times." When he stood up straight again, the Rimmers could now see that he actually had very soft Klingon ridges on his forehead.

"Next to him is Will." Adam said pointing out the red head. "He is our Flight Team Commander. If it flies, he can fly it. Next to him is Jory, our demolitions and explosives expert, then Juan, our sniper and heavy weapons expert. Behind them are Logan's youngest clones; Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. The big guy pushing the wheelchair, is Amur Khan, commanding officer of the Hybrids. The boy with his hand on top of Khan's is his partner; he doesn't like his real name, so everyone just calls him Runt. Finally we have Mom, Janet Hayes, and Dad, Joe Casey.

Mike looked at the seven foot six inch tiger hybrid and the small boy. "How does that work?" he asked.

"Oh, I don’t let him get out of line," Runt said cheekily. "Isn’t that right, Puss-Puss?"

Prez spent the next few minutes introducing the core Rimmers to the core UNIT, then Adam spoke up again. "I can only imagine all the questions you guys have, so why don't we do this..." he looked over at his group. "Logan, Chang, Khan, Mom and Dad, why don't we stay here and answer all their questions. The rest of you guys, why not go mingle. Remember, we're on vacation here. Juan, that means you can't kill anyone unless I say it's okay. Jory, no blowing anything up unless Mom okays it. Will, no stealing the Vulcan's shuttles and going for joy rides. Okay?" Many laughed, but some grumbled as they all walked away.

Seeing no other place to sit, Adam sat down in the sand. Logan moved between his spread legs and made himself comfortable, leaning back against Adam.

Prez turned briefly and focused on Reyes, Tory and Jonah saying, "Guys, excuse us for a little while please? We're just gonna have a little pow-wow here." The three boys nodded understandingly and moved back down the beach to gather their lunch trays then began the trek back to the food tables.

"What about me Prez?" Kaleo wondered.

Prez grinned, "You're being promoted to Core Rimmer. Since you were rescued by the Clan, there may be something you could ask or offer that none of the rest of us can." Turning back again, Prez sat cross-legged in the sand and noticed that Donnie had remained with the rest of Adam's group and was also sitting in the sand.

While his team sat down, Prez began, "Since we got out of school yesterday, everything's been so frenzied, let me try and explain our perspective a little. Me and my friends have rescued a few kids over the summer that were left at Ewa Beach, O'ahu, where we all live. My foster mom, Keith and Drew's mother works in a hospital, helping all sorts of folks deal with lots of different kinds of traumas. So with her assistance, we try and get the kids we found help. That's all we've ever done before. Now we've been made part of Clan Short and let me just say, we're all a little overwhelmed. We know the basics of organizing groups and teams from our band and from school but that's it. Clan Short has made the news! We haven't even made local news. We only know a very little bit of what the Clan has done. While we all think it's fantastic, we're not at that level."

"Not yet," Adam smiled understandingly. "Cory, Sean and Teri Short started the same way; a kid here, a kid there. The only difference I'm hearing is you guys worked within the system. You didn't know the system here was broke or how badly."

Keith nodded, "We do now though. So what do we do and how?"

"You continue rescuing kids," Adam stated simply. "You'll have plenty to do. And we'll teach you how to do it. It'll all be done so quick, you'll not even realize what you've learned until you've used those skills. Be yourselves; if you ever need help, just ask."

Prez reflected, "Like with the Vulcans; they already seemed to know what we needed before we arrived on the Endeavour." Adam only smiled and nodded. Prez laughed, "We're musicians! We're good, our parents and teachers consider us virtuosos, but we're not..."

Holding his hand up, Adam asked, "How did you get to be virtuosos?"

Mike replied, "We learned our instruments quickly and easily then began applying what we learned to the songs we want to play."

"So you learn fast, hear it and play it," Adam confirmed. "It takes dexterity to play any instrument, but you guys tore through that easily. What you hear, you remember; developing relative pitch along the way. What you guys consider easy, thousands want and struggle with. It's gonna be the same with the Clan. You were chosen for your good deeds. Again, it's something you don't consider all that special, but it is. If everyone tried as hard as you guys, the Clan wouldn't need to exist."

"So what do we need to do?" Prez bluntly asked.

"Let's get organized," Adam said. "Prez you're the division's director..."

"Head Rimmer," Corey softly giggled.

"Right," Adam chuckled. "Keith, your Prez's partner and conscience; that's a full time job. You can have another job, but a relatively easy one and only if you want it. The reason I say it like that is because Sean's the same for Cory, but Sean's also the Clan Short Historian. They're not here now because they're taking a much needed vacation. You'll likely be first on their list of things to do and people to meet Monday. So you'll need an historian; someone who'll know everything about every kid here. Who wants the job?"

Keith sighed, "From the sounds of it, I think I'd better not take it. Prez is most important to me and to our Clan."

Derrick said, "I'll take it then. I already know about half the kids and a good part of their stories."

Mike asked, "Can I back up Derrick?"

Keith snickered, "You already back up to Derrick, you dog!"

While everyone began chuckling and giggling, Mike shoved Keith then loudly laughed, "As historian, I mean!"

Adam chuckled and nodded, "Backups are always good to have. Kaleo, you've managed to impress Prez enough where he's made you communication's officer." Adam paused and smiled, "Mouth Rimmer, I think I heard."

Nodding, Kaleo softly snickered, "Yep. In Hawaiian, Kaleo means 'the voice'."

Adam said, "So some kids in the orphanage looked up to you and listened to you. Now more are listening to you. In Clan Short, you'll be communicating with all our divisions. Orlando is six hours ahead of us here in Hawaii. It's already dinner time there. Des Moines is five hours ahead. Eight in the morning in Iowa is three in the morning here. Calls will be coming in at all hours of the day and night. You've got to have a team that can help you get that task done and have them approved by Prez." Pausing, Adam asked, "Are you okay with the job?

"Definitely," Kaleo nodded. "I'll just have to ask around and get two more people for round-the-clock availability."

"Get three more," Adam grinned, "someone as a backup, remember?"

Slapping his own forehead, Kaleo laughed, "Doh! 'Course!"

Logan interjected, "We use a lot of technologies. One of the primary computers will be using Vulcan software. It's very secure and manages data logically, as you would expect however, it's not very user-friendly."

"Do you guys use computer systems?" Adam asked.

Prez nodded, "Windows PC's and an Xbox."

"We use Macs and PlayStations," Mike offered.

"I have a Linux system," Drew blushed, "None of the other dudes like it, but I think it's totally awesome. And when I get it configured to record the band, they'll all begin to love it."

"Sounds like we have a computer geek," Logan smiled. "That's totally kewl though. What else do you... umm... fool around with?"

"Corey!" Keith, Mike and Derrick shouted, then began snickering.

"Shut up!" Drew complained. Covering his mouth with one hand, Corey leaned against Drew and held him close with his other arm. "I can do a little programming," Drew admitted, "I've learned the shell, Pearl and C languages; enough to get stuff done."

Prez giggled, "Drew's our sound man; he connects all our P.A. gear which includes about eight different kinds of cables. He makes our band sound good."

Logan smiled, "That's engineering Drew. We'll get you up to speed on some of our technologies and you can become... Rimmer Engineer?"

"P.C. Rimmer!" Keith snickered.

"But he does more than P.C.'s" Prez reminded, and then suggested, "How about Toy Rimmer?"

"I like it!" Keith cheered. "Toy Rimmer he is!"

"I'll back up Drew," Corey widely grinned.

Mike grinned, "Corey backs up to Drew. I knew it!"

Derrick snickered, "Corey backs up for Drew, ya mean."

"You guys are just being anal!" Drew groused. On the verge of self-combustion, Drew softly warned, "Sleep with one eye open tonight bros."

While Prez and Keith mooed, everyone else in both groups laughed.

Janet rolled her eyes and said, "I think I'll leave this serious intellectual conversation and go talk with the other adults."

"Okay mom," Adam said.

Joe nodded, "We'll join you Janet."

Adam waved, "See ya later dad." Then Janet, Joe and Amur Khan started across the beach.

Looking up at Adam, Prez asked, "You guys seem to do more than security. What does the UNIT do exactly?

"We kick ass, take names and cap fools," Juan shouted from the shoreline where he was bathing his tootsies in the water.

"You forgot making big booms!" Jory giggled from where Donna and Trist were burying him in the sand.

Smirking, Donnie shook his head. Adam smiled, "That's basically correct though. To give you more details, let me explain some of our history. First, you have to understand our terminology. My 'brothers' include Chang, Jory, Juan and Will. We were actually designed to be a single strike team, and the leaders of a much larger group. I was actually born fully human; however, when I was very young, I was taken and genetically altered to turn me into what we call a class A-10 engineered soldier. 'A' meaning I was enhanced after I was born, and the 10 means I am roughly ten times stronger, and faster, and heal ten times as quick as a normal person my age. You with me so far?"

Amazed, the wide-eyed Rimmers could only nod. Adam didn't seem that different from any of them and it was difficult to believe he was genetically engineered, but they took him at his word.

Adam continued. "My brothers were engineered, and built from the genetic level up, then genetically aged so that they appear as old as they are now. From birth, they were all fully immersed in their field of study, and after taking some tests, all four of them have at least two doctorate degrees, as well as being enhanced. I managed to escape the military hospital that housed me, with Mom's help, and then we went and rescued the rest. Now, I know you guys have met some of the hybrids, but I guess no one ever explained what they were. They were another experiment at creating human animal hybrids, to work in the military. Obviously the experiment worked.

"So now, after we met up with the Clan in the Montana battle last week, we became the Clan Short Special Forces. Since then, we have rescued in the neighborhood of ten thousand kids, with about eight thousand living at the UNIT base in Utah."

"Eight thousand!" The Rimmers chorused.

"Oh man!" Prez groaned. "The Vulcans are providing dorms that house a hundred. Across six Hawaiian bases, that's only six hundred kids!"

Donnie said, "They showed you 'L' shaped buildings, right?" Prez nodded and Donnie explained, "Expect those buildings to be setup so there are four of them at each base, forming a quad. You'll be able to house two thousand four hundred, right off the bat."

"We'll get more when we need to," Logan added.

"Not to mention," Adam interjected, "we are housing the largest number of rescued kids. No one expects you guys to even come close to that."

Derrick mumbled, "How the hell do ya feed 'em all?"

Logan grinned as he picked up a data pad out of his pack. "This is how." He punched a few buttons on the thing, then looked back at Prez. "I had Daileass set this up as we were leaving. One thing you guys will never have to worry about is money." He then handed the pad to Prez. "This is what is currently in the Rimmers bank accounts."

Prez and Keith looked at the pad. Their jaws dropped and they passed the pad to Mike and Derrick. Mike looked at it and almost screamed; "FUCK ME!"

"We've got hundreds of millions U.S. dollars?" Prez wondered in disbelief.

Logan grinned, "Yup. Now understand that is the Rimmers personal account; that is not the Clan account that Cory will have setup for you when he gets here."

Drew smiled, "So now we can get that P.A. system we've been wanting?"

Donnie said, "You'll have six P.A.'s, one at an auditorium at each base. You'll also have communications systems in each room and between houses and the dormitories."

"After everything Joel told us about Cory, we can't wait to meet him," Derrick giggled.

Mike grinned, "Sean too. What did he call them again? Blondie and... what was it?"

"Big Ted," Keith chortled. "I miss that little guy already, and he's only been gone four hours. Oops! Should we even mention that time stuff?"

"I think it's okay now," Prez said, smiling at his boyfriend. He looked at Adam, "Do you know when Joel and Kevin will be back to visit?"

All smiles vanished as that question was asked. Adam looked down for a brief moment to collect his thoughts. "What?' Prez asked, noticing the quick shift in emotions.

Adam explained; "Obviously you would not have known this, but this morning... well... Joel was attacked and hurt... badly."

"WHAT?" All the boys shouted.

"But I saw him take on the Prime Minister! Where were his guards? His friends? Where were you all?" Prez wept bitterly as tears started to pour down his face. The rest of the new core group shed tears and mumbled, wondering how anything could have happened to Joel so quickly.

Adam quickly held up his hand to quiet them. "I know you guys like Joel as much as the rest of us. All I can say right now is this; Joel is fine physically, and spending time with his family. I am sure that as soon as he is able, either you can go see him, or he will come here. However, if you wish, you guys can join in with many of the kids in the UNIT base that are making get well cards for him. Daileass is handling getting them all to Orlando, while Juan handles making sure people get whatever they need to make their cards."

"Absolutely," Keith sniffled, "we'll get him one from all of us and I'm sure each kid here is gonna want to offer their own personal note too."

Prez nodded and wiped his eyes then asked, "Do you know who hurt Joel? I mean, have they been found and are they being dealt with? I ask because there are so many here protecting us. Priorities, ya know?"

Adam's eyes hardened as he met Prez's eyes. "The ones who hurt him have been dealt with... with extreme prejudice."

"That's all we needed to hear," Prez said firmly.

Mike wanted to be sure he understood correctly and asked, "Extreme as in dead?"

"Exactly," Derrick nodded. "He's about one of the nicest guys we've ever met and didn't deserve whatever happened. He just married Kevin, after all."

Adam only nodded, but didn't bother to elaborate.

Drew's voice wavered; "Please send Joel our best."

Keith noticed two gorillas carrying John and Bruce rapidly approaching. "Shit!" Keith grumbled. Looking back over his shoulder, Keith said, "Okay, everybody chill out now. Let's not get John upset, he won't let it go and would want to see Joel immediately."

The gorillas stopped beside the group sitting in the sand. John began climbing down his gorilla's arm loudly asking, "What's wrong?" Bruce was still working his way down off his gorilla's back.

"Nothing's wrong bro," Keith said convincingly. "We were just talking about some of the bad stuff that happened to our kids and others in the Clan. It's upsetting."

"Adam, this is our youngest brother John," Prez quickly added. "And the other little dude is Bruce, the boy we rescued on Ewa Beach yesterday. John and Bruce, this General Adam Casey." Prez believed that by emphasizing the rank of General, John and Bruce would both be impressed.

"It's good to meet you John and Bruce," Adam pleasantly said. "Are you having fun with the gorillas?"

"Yeah, they're so kewl!" Bruce cheered.

But John only looked around at everyone suspiciously. John impatiently huffed, "It makes me crazy when you do this! You treat me like I'm littler and younger than Bruce!" He then threw a temper tantrum and reminded; "Who knew something bad was goin' on with Kai? ME! Who trusted Galli at first? ME AND BRUCE! Who knew the Prime Minister was bad? ME! Something's goin' on now too! I KNOW IT!" Pounding his fist into his belly, John screamed, "I FELT IT! RIGHT HERE IN MY GUT! BUT DON'T TELL JOHN! HE'S TOO LITTLE! FINE!" Spinning around, John stormed off and told his gorilla, "Let's get away from here."

Bruce was speechless for a few moments, but then hurried after John.

Keith sighed, "Sorry about that dudes."

Adam nodded, "It's alright," but then asked, "Is what John said about Kai, Galli and the Prime Minister true?"

After a moment's thought, Prez said, "Yeah, pretty much."

Logan hummed and nodded. He then asked, "Have any of you ever met an empath?" All the core Rimmers replied negatively. "I have," Logan said. "You guys got upset over Joel and John showed up as soon as he could. Between that and the three other incidents, I think you have an empathic little brother."

Keith grinned, "You're kidding, right? John's always..."

Logan waited a moment for Keith to finish then chuckled, "You were going to say he's always done stuff like that, weren't you?" Keith slowly nodded.

Prez and Keith turned to each other and mumbled, "Oh my God!" Also stunned, but somewhat less so, Mike and Derrick began softly snickering.

"Hey!" Drew excitedly said, "Remember when Mom's lung collapsed a few years ago? It was John that found her and called everybody for help. When Dad tripped and broke his ankle, it was John yelling for help then too. How many other times has John known stuff was going on and we all just figured it was coincidence? And look how he's been with Bruce since we found him. You'd think Bruce would be a wreck wondering about his parents. But John stays with him and Bruce is doin' pretty good, considering."

"If I might make a suggestion?" Adam softly requested. Prez and Keith nodded. "Invite John into the core team. He would be another piece of the puzzle you guys definitely need. You need an Intel division to help you find out who's lying. He's not as good as a telepath, but it would make him feel better and you guys would feel better too."

Prez sighed and turned to Keith. "Adam's right, ya know?"

Keith nodded and honestly relayed, "It's always been our job to watch out for our little brothers."

Prez shrugged, "What better way is there to watch him? He'll be around us more of the time this way."

Shaking his head, Keith snickered, "Mom's gonna have a fit!"

Prez joked, "She'll be good or find herself with a gorilla for a shadow!" Standing up while everyone else giggled, Prez bellowed; "JOHN!" The gorilla carrying John turned around. Prez waved for them to return. Then the gorilla shook its head and started back across the beach. The other gorilla carrying Bruce also turned around and hurried back.

Remaining on his gorilla's back, John looked down and grumbled, "Well? What do you want now?"

Prez grinned, "I want you bro; here, with the rest of us, as part of Clan Short Pacific Rim Division's Core Team."

Looking way up, Keith added, "Come on down John. We all want you here with us."

John glanced around at all the nodding heads. "Bruce has to be with me too," John defiantly reminded.

Nodding, Prez said, "That's fine. Bruce can be part of your team for as long as he's with us."

"Really?" John squealed.

"Really," Prez affirmed, "we even have a job that only you can do."

Tilting his head back and forth uncertainly, John asked, "You'll tell me what's going on?"

Keith assured, "We'll tell you later on tonight when we get back home, I promise."

John looked over at Bruce and nodded then both boys climbed down off of their gorillas. Landing in the sand, John wondered, "What job do you want me to do?" Both gorillas turned and took only a few steps away then sat down in the sand.

Drew said, "It's an easy one, bro. You've been doing it forever, we just didn't know it."

Logan introduced himself then asked, "Why did you come over here before, John?"

John shrugged, "My belly hurt; not like I was gonna be sick but still, it made me want to cry. I felt like everyone was sad so I wanted to find out why."

"It wasn't that everyone was sad and you know it, John," Logan challenged.

Reluctantly, John sighed, "It was Keith, Drew and Prez that were sad."

"I rest my case," Logan grinned.

"Good job bro," Keith proudly smiled.

Prez nodded, "Just like with the Prime Minister; you hit the nail right on the head." Walking behind John, Prez smiled; "Gentlemen, please meet the newest Core Rimmer; John Hundser, the Soul Rimmer!"

"Oh Dear Lord, please help us now!" Keith and Drew laughed. Prez picked up John and parked him atop his shoulders. Jumping up and down happily, Bruce was the first to begin cheering and soon everyone in both groups joined in.

Once everyone calmed down, Adam said, "Now I have an announcement. It's kinda sad, but there is a silver lining."

Concerned, Prez asked, "What's goin' on Adam?"

"We can't secure your homes," Adam told them. "Your new homes are on the main Rimmer base. We'll have all your personal belongings packed up and delivered to you on base. When we leave here, we're going directly there."

Kaleo piped up. "That leaves me an opening."

"Is there a problem dude?" Keith wondered.

Uncertainly, Kaleo said, "Well, most of the kids I've talked to don't want to be separated." Kaleo grinned, "We all want to stay together and near our leaders, at least for a little while."

Kneeling down to let John off of his shoulders, Prez began chuckling. And he kept on chuckling while he leaned forward and John stepped into the sand. Looking up again, Prez laughed, "From the sounds of it, there will be plenty of dorm rooms; about four hundred at each base! Even if there were only one hundred rooms, everyone could've still stayed on O'ahu. It gives us all time to get to know each other too. Let 'em know it's kewl, Kaleo."

"Thanks, Prez," Kaleo widely smiled and breathed a heavy sigh of relief.

"There was no chance of us saying no," Keith reminded, and gently rubbed Kaleo's back.

Wiping away a stray happy tear, Kaleo said, "When we're done here, I'll let everyone know."

Prez asked, "Are we done Adam?"

Adam nodded, "We've made a good start. If any of you dudes have other questions, just let me, Donnie or Logan know."

Keith remembered, "It's gotta be near dinner time for you guys. Why don't you get something to eat? When you're done, we'll introduce you to our parents."

Logan got up to allow Adam to get up then went to Prez. "Stop worrying Prez," Logan softly said. "You're right, the Vulcans are good, really good in fact. They've provided security, all this food and they will provide you and the kids with everything all you guys could ever need or want. All you have to do is be a big brother for them. That's a big enough job.

"The last things you asked for from the Vulcans was food and clothing. Food's been provided, soon they'll have clothes by the suitcase full!"

Prez smirked at Logan's telepathy and wondered, "How can so many buildings be built in only six hours?"

"Replicators and transporters," Logan smiled. "The technologies you're used to is nothin' dude. In the next few days, you'll be doing things without even thinking about it, pretty much; unless it actually requires that you make a decision."

Everyone returned to the food tables and loaded their trays. They then gathered near were Reyes, Tory and Jonah were still sitting. Conversation revolved mostly around music. Adam and Mike talked about guitars and favorite songs; Reyes and Derrick were talking about drums, drumming and their favorite songs; Runt and Keith were talking about keyboards and their favorite songs while Kaleo told Adam and Logan about the concert. The remaining kids tossed in their own remarks. After about thirty minutes, everyone was done eating and the trash was deposited in the garbage cans.

It was then that Jory, Juan, Will, Runt, along with Koth and Korris, who just showed up, ran to the Rimmers grabbing them each by the arm, pleading to teach them how to surf. It was Keith that got everyone quiet for a moment, and then told all of them, "We'd love to guys, but the waves aren't big enough right now. We need to wait till the tide starts to come in before we can teach people."

"The waves ain't big enough?" Jory asked with a hopeful voice, and got nods in return. "Well, we'll have to fix that then won't we?" Before anyone could ask, the young blond boy ran off.

"What's he doing?" Prez asked in a very worried voice.

In a very excited manner, Juan replied; "Oh, nothing much. Where do I get my wet suit? You guys wear wet suits, don't you? Or should I just have Daileass send mine?"

"I don't think you'll need the suit," Mike responded. "But for some strange reason, I don't think you'll be able to surf well with those army pants on."

Juan looked down as if noticing what he was wearing for the first time. "Oh yeah, your right. Be right back!" All the guys, including Chang, Adam and Logan ran off to get changed.

Glancing at the other Core Rimmers, Prez said, "I guess that means we're going surfing." They all grinned, nodded and stripped.

"So why didn't you tell them they didn't need suits?" Mike wondered.

Prez chuckled, "'Cause it's funnier this way."

Five minutes later, Adam led his group back to the Rimmers, and frowned as he saw all of the Core Rimmers were simply naked. Juan however, just shrugged and dropped the long shorts that mom had insisted they wear. Shrugging, the rest of them dropped their shorts, all except for Runt, who would not drop his. None of the UNIT said a word to Runt, as all of them knew he was still very self conscious.

Adam sent a thought into all the Rimmers head's. "Just a heads up, Runt is not comfortable being naked around people he doesn't know. He's actually fourteen, but hasn't grown to his age yet due to past abuse. Please don't bring it up."

Prez scowled and grunted. Keith looked around nervously. Derrick whimpered and Mike whispered; "What the hell?" Drew shook his head vigorously and Corey stuck his pinkies in his ears. They all heard Adam clearly, but didn't know how.

Adam went to them and spoke softly. "Sorry guys, I thought by now someone would have explained telepathy to you. When we get a few moments, I will let you guys in on all the mental shit that we have running around. Take John for example. I am willing to bet that John has a lot more to him than just being an empath, but I can't guarantee that. However, eventually you will all have to know what the different people with mental stuff can do. We have a few minutes until Jory gets back, so why don't I explain some now. That work?"

Everyone nodded, and Adam went on. "Okay. I know this will come as a surprise to many of you, but humans have always been telepaths, empaths, things like that for a very long time. Recently, there have been a lot more of us around then in the past. For some reason, we seem to be gathering them to us." Adam said, and then grinned at John.

"Now, the next thing you need to know is this. There is something that we are calling the Next Generation, or N-Gen. These are people who have pushed their mental abilities well above what they should be able to, and actually changed the way their mind works. I don't think I need to really get into the specifics right now, at least not yet anyways, but that's the general idea. Any questions?"

"Why do we need to know about N-Gens?" Prez asked.

Juan did not wait for Adam to respond, he jumped in grinning; "Cause John's gonna be one; at least I'm pretty sure he will be."

"He's WHAT!" Prez and Keith responded in unison.

Adam sighed and looked at Juan. "Way to go Mr. Subtlety!"

"What?" Juan whined with an impish grin.

Adam just shook his head and turned to the group. "Guys, calm down; it's nothing bad. All it will mean is this." Adam showed his maturity, as he stepped in front of John, crouched down, put his hands on John's shoulders and spoke directly to him. "All it means is that everything you already know how to do will get stronger. At some point, you will use your abilities more than you ever have in the past and it will cause you to change in here." Adam said as he tapped John's forehead. "When that happens, your mind will grow much stronger, and you will be able to learn to do things that you had never known you could have."

Adam stood back up and looked at the group. "If you all want, I can show you what I mean. What I'll do is show you what a normal mind looks like from the inside, and then show you what my mind looks like. It will not show you anything personal, or memories or anything like that, it'll just show you how a normal mind is set up."

"I'm ready," Prez nodded.

Keith replied, "Me too," then turned to the rest of the Core Rimmers and asked, "Is any one not willing to try this?" Everyone shook their heads except Corey, who appeared uncertain.

"I'm just a little worried," Corey offered. "Like monster movies and horror; I'll do it and will prob'ly like it but... you know?"

"It's kewl, Cor," Drew assured.

"We're ready Adam," Prez said.

"Okay, who wants to volunteer to let us run around in your mind?" Adam playfully grinned at them all. At the looks of concern from some of them, Adam laughed. "Just kidding. We'll use someone who I know won't mind. Adam looked at Will who just shrugged. Suddenly, everyone was sitting in a room, around a big table. The room they were in looked to be surrounded entirely by glass, and outside the glass, they could see a whole bunch of different things happening. In one area, a helicopter was flying through a canyon, in another there was a helicopter being built. Another area had Will surfing, and a whole bunch of other things. Adam looked at the group and started to explain. "As you can see, Will's thinking about a whole bunch of different things right now, however, they are all happening at the same time, and none of them are taking his full concentration, meaning that none of them are getting as much attention as they would if he was concentrating. Does this make sense?"

Again everyone nodded, so Adam went on. "Now, let's move over to my mind." Suddenly they found themselves in a similar room, only this time there was nothing going on outside.

"It's empty?" John asked in shock.

Adam giggled. "Not really. See an N-Gen's mind has their mind separated into rooms. With this, I can put something into a room, and not really think about it. However, inside that room, I am using most of my concentration on whatever I am thinking about. Later on, I come back and I have figured out whatever I had been working on. Does that make sense?"

Logan added his own description with a grin. "For you geeks, it's parallel processing."

"Oh!" Drew excitedly chuckled, "How sweet is that?" Keith turned around and grimaced. Drew sighed then explained, "Imagine learning one song to play while your actually playing another different song."

Logan tilted his head. "You mean other people can't do that?"

Keith, Prez, Mike and Derrick loudly laughed; "No!"

Drew grinned, "Why not?" then remembered, "Oh, wait; that's right, you're OLD!"

Keith, Prez, Mike and Derrick smiled. They surrounded Drew and Corey scurried away. Nearby, a small pool appeared, approximately twelve feet long by ten feet wide and six feet deep. The four boys took hold of Drew's arms and legs. Seeing the pool was filled with water and ice cubes, Drew stopped giggling and began struggling. "No! Wait! Ple-e-e-ease!"

Prez teased, "Can you say 'shrinkage' little bro?" The four older boys began swinging Drew by his arms and legs, counting down; "three... two... one..."

"NO-O-O-O-O!" Drew screamed as he flew up over the center of the pool. John, Bruce and Corey were hysterical as were Juan, Jory, Adam and Logan. Splashing into the pool and rising to the surface, Drew spluttered; "Fuckin' cold!" and practically flew out of the small pool.

They were suddenly back on the beach together and they realized there was never really a pool on the beach. Drew was dry, but still feeling terribly cold and it showed. Everyone snickered evilly and Drew raced down the beach into the warmer water of the bay to hide himself. "You bastards!" Drew hollered. "Sleep with BOTH eyes open tonight!"

"Now for the really funny part; to you guys that felt like almost five minutes. Right?" Adam asked.

When they nodded Adam snickered; "It was actually 2.3 seconds."

Keith giggled, "Dare I say, that was actually pretty cool!"

Bruce grinned, "Drew thought it was way cold!"

Adam grinned evilly. "You wanna see cool? You wanna see what an N-Gen can do?"

Seeing all of them nodding and Drew walking back up from the water, Adam turned to Jimmy, grinned and nodded. Jimmy, naked as the day he was born, backed off a couple of feet, assuming a very feminine tone while crying "FLAME ON! BITCH!" Suddenly his entire body was wreathed in flame. He lifted a few feet off the ground, riding the thermals he was producing, then turned towards the water. Raising his arm, he snapped his fingers in the direction of the water. Suddenly a large portion of the bay, where there were no kids swimming, was on fire. Steam bellowed up into the sky.

Juan softly growled, "I hate it when he does that."

"Now there's something I've never seen before," Prez grinned.

Derrick shook his head sadly, "I don't know that I ever want to again either."

Mike softly sang, "Smoke on the water, and fire in the sky."

John hollered, "I could someday do that?"

“Showing off again?” a fourteen-year-old with shaggy blond hair yelled out at Jimmy. With him were four others; a middle-aged woman, a tall muscular twenty-year-old with crew cut brown hair, and two boys of eight and ten. Runt spotted the last of them and delightedly yelled; “Brandon!”

Runt ran over to the group yelling, "Bobby! Skipper!" He would have said more, but he slammed into the older of the young men, wrapping him up in a huge hug. Jimmy for his part, simply let the flames die out and snickered at the fact that there was now a cloud forming over the bay from all the water he evaporated with his fire. "Hey guys," Will said. "Prez, these are our friends Skipper Hamilton and Bobby Martin from Maine, their kids Brandon and Andy Jessup, and Bobby’s mother Grace Martin."

Jory ran up to the group holding a small box in his hand. "You guys ready yet?"

Adam nodded then frowned. "I think we need boards."

Suddenly in front of them twenty surfboards appeared sticking out from the sand. Four of them were nothing short of massive. Adam took a step back in surprise, then looked at Logan who just laughed.

"Okay, we got the boards. Now what?" Adam said, and looked at Prez

"Umm, we need better waves still," Prez reminded.

"What did I say?" Jory exclaimed, sounding somewhat annoyed. "Just get your butts out there, and let me know when you're ready, and you'll have your waves!"

"Should we be worried?" Prez wondered, not really sure what was going on.

Jory shrieked, "NO!"

"YES!" Juan cried out, almost simultaneously.

Logan just quietly asked, "Are your wills up to date?"

Adam grabbed a board and started running out into the water. "Come on guys, you wanna live forever?"

Suddenly, the only people standing on the beach were the Rimmers.

They each shrugged then took a short board, but looked at the four boards that were sticking up out of the sand about fifteen feet and could only wonder what they were for. They hurried into the water and hopped onto their boards then began paddling out.

John whined, "There's no good boards here for me or Bruce."

"Don't worry little dudes, we got you!" Turning around, the two boys saw their two gorillas, both wearing leis and board shorts. The gorillas picked up huge eighteen foot long boards, tucked them under their arms and then picked up their boys. John and Bruce crawled onto their gorillas backs.

Once the group all assembled about seventy yards from the shore, Prez and Keith began to explain everything that was needed. When he was sure the guys had the basics down, Prez looked to Jory and hollered; "Well mister magic maker, let's see where these waves are?"

Jory just grinned, picked up the little box that was now dangling from his neck and shouted, "READY?"

Everyone nodded and the six core Rimmers held up an arm each. Then Jory cried his four favorite words; "FIRE IN THE HOLE!" Then he pushed one of his buttons.

Behind them about thirty yards, the world exploded. Keith, Mike, Prez and Derrick all screamed at the loud underwater explosion and then started paddling their arms off as the resulting waves started to race towards them. "WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING?" Mike bellowed excitedly as he jumped up on his board and rode a wave that swelled to twelve feet high.

Tumbling about in the water around the boards were seventy-four ferrets. About half of them managed to scurry onto boards. "WAHOOOOO!" John loudly laughed from atop his gorilla. Keith quickly glanced over at his little brother and shook his head sadly. Six ferrets climbed onto John's gorilla and were peering down from his outstretched arms. Another four ferrets were aboard Bruce's gorilla, in awe at the shiny water before them. On each of the other surfboards were two or three ferrets, standing upright and balancing themselves.

On the beach, Juan and Jory started singing; "In Hawaii there's a place known as Anahola Bay, where the best surfers in the world come to stay, and ride the wild surf, they come to try, to conquer those waves some twenty feet high."

As they approached the beach and rode the white water, dozens of ferrets were chanting praises to the shiny water bubbles popping around them. Eighteen surfers and their boards turned around, paddled back out and prepared for the next wave. Two more gorillas jogged down from the dunes and grabbed the remaining two long boards then hurried out into the water.

After whispered consultation, Keith, Mike, and Derrick broke into close Beach Boys-style three-part harmony. Little ferret, little one; take my shinys, one by one; do you love me, do you surfer gorilla; surfer gorilla, my little surfer gorilla.

Once they were lined up far out in the bay, twenty arms went up to signal they were ready. Jory shouted; "FIRE IN THE HOLE!" Again the entire beach trembled and a tremendous swell pushed the boards forward. Everyone stood and gained their balance as the wave lifted them higher and higher. Prez noticed that on the beach six mothers were marching in line towards Jory. As the surfers approached the shore once again, all six women stood with their arms crossed behind Juan and Jory.

Noticing a looming shadow, Jory turned and saw them. "WHAT?" Jory squealed. "I made sure they were floating off the sea bed and shaped properly so they didn't hurt nothin'... and.. and... no one got hurt... and... well... umm..." Suddenly his eyes dropped to the sand. "Sorry mom," he said in his best sad puppy dog voice.

Holding her hand out, Janet simply said, "Now Jory."

"But... but... mo-o-om!" Jory whined. Janet only glared angrily. Jory sighed, "Oh, alright," and handed his mom the detonator box.

Adam tried hard not to laugh and finally decided to take pity on his little brother. Arriving on the beach, Adam smirked, "Jory, she's got a bit of a point though. There's really a lot to go over with the Rimmers. Why don't you take some of the younger ones and do some swimming or whatever. We'll take care of business." Jory sighed and nodded sadly then turned and ran towards where a lot of the little kids were playing. Jimmy, Juan and most of the others followed.

Adam turned to John and asked, "Hey dude, could you gather all the core Rimmers together while I go talk to our mothers?"

John nodded and ran off while Adam spent a few minutes talking to Janet and Mrs. Hundser. Once all the Rimmers were there, Adam walked over with Chang and Logan and Nathan joining in. "Okay guys. I just cleared it with our moms. We got lots of security stuff to go over, and I thought it might be best to do it back in Utah. Don't worry that we're not dressed, no one will really know we're there. Sound okay to you guys?"

Prez frowned, "How are we gonna get all the way to Utah? Transporter? I don't like to fly at all. That's how my parents died."

Adam's eyes softened and softly said, "We don't use transporters like you know them; however, your time of ever having to worry about flying is over. Before we leave the base, I will make sure you have communications access to Daileass, and any time you wanna move from island to island, he'll move you. Just like this; Daileass, conference room 4-A if you please."

For all the Rimmers, it really felt like they simply blinked and were in another place. This room was set up just like many of the conference rooms they had seen in the past, only this one was way high tech, with nice plushy chairs and a twelve foot long Formica table.

As soon as they appeared, Adam spoke while looking up a bit to the ceiling. "Daileass, could you do me a favor and raise the temperature in this room to a nice round eighty degrees and ask Ray Ray to send up some refreshments."

"Sure thing Boss-O!" Came the giggling reply from all over the room, of a boy who sounded like he was twelve or thirteen. "And I gotta say, these guys are cute. I'll make sure to keep Melinda away from here!"

Logan giggled, "I think all the ones old enough to interest her are already spoken for, by each other."

Adam just chuckled as he motioned for everyone to sit around the table.

Drew and Corey blushed while everyone else giggled. John smiled, "Who's Daileass?"

"Well John," The voice said from all over again. But this time, on the screen in front of John's chair, a face appeared. He looked just like Logan and Nathan, only a bit younger. "I am. But I guess you want more of an explanation. Let's just say that I'm the A.I. the runs this base and a lot of other things around here. See about four years ago, some bad doctors took images of me and my brother's brains, took them out of our heads, and put them in a positronic matrix. They came out of it okay, but I was the first, and they screwed up with me. So when Logan found my brain sitting in a box, he figured out how to hook me up to the server farm that he installed downstairs and basically gave me a body again, only my body is this base."

Saddened, John frowned, "I'm sorry dude."

"Why? I'm not. See John, if there's one thing I learned while working with these guys it's this; a lot of bad shit happens all over the place. It's up to us to decide if we're gonna get wrapped up in what happened to us in the past, or use what we learned with what we had to go through to help try and make sure others don't have to deal with it." All around the table Daileass's face appeared on all the screens. "You guys have got a great chance here to really get out there and help." It was like he was talking to each of the new boys individually. "Being part of the Clan is not really all that difficult, not if you look at it in pieces. Sure, you have a lot more that you can do, but that's only because you would want to in the first place. You can give lots of people the kind of power that the Clan gives them, and they'll use it to make their own lives better, and forget about everyone else. But I really doubt that's you guys."

His face moved from being on all the screens to just being on the big one that hung on the wall. He looked right at John and spoke again. "John, you said you were sorry that I had to go through what I did, and I know you mean it. I appreciate that, however, there is a lot more that I can do now than I could ever before do. I mean yes, I can spy real well on everyone, but that's just a perk." Everyone laughed at his joke, then his face got serious again.

"You can ask Nathan if you want, he's one of my brothers, and because of that we are always talking in our minds. Since I came online here, they have always been there floating around my thoughts, and knowing what I know. That means we've all heard just about everything that has been said on this base by anyone. I know you heard how many kids we got running around in here, and almost every single one of them have said the same thing in one way or another. Many of their lives have been bad for one reason or another, but every single one of them has learned how to survive. They are now learning how to take what happened to them and turn it around into something good, and in the process helping others that are going through the same things." He laughed for a second then spoke again. "I'll end my sermon with one last thing. One of the founding Clan members once said something that has turned into almost a motto for the Clan, even if most don't realize it. Sometimes it takes something bad to happen, so that something good can."

There was a small knock on the door and then it opened. Entering with a tray were two young boys; one who was seven, the other was eight. While everyone was thinking about what Daileass had to say, the two younger boys passed out drinks and some snacks to everyone in the room. The older one took a position behind Adam. The younger of the two boys walked out, shutting the door behind him.

Adam spoke softly so as not to break the mood. "Just so you guys know, the young one that just left is Ray. He's Donnie and Emily's adopted son, and the rug rat behind me is my personal assistant Aiden. But Prez, I saw you were about to say something. Please go ahead."

Prez nodded to Adam, then smiled at the boy on the screen and said, "Thanks Daileass." Turning to John, Prez said, "That's our job now bro. Just like your family picked up my pieces after my parents died, all of us are going to help the rescued kids in Hawaii pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. Think about what their lives were like for a minute. Kaleo's fourteen, just like me and Keith, but had never surfed until today. Lots of these kids don't know how to play soccer. We can teach them. Lots of them slept four or more to a single bed. Imagine if you, Drew, Keith and I all had to sleep in one bed. Now they'll have their own beds and a certain amount of privacy, maybe for the first time in their lives."

"Talk about dealing with changes," Keith added. "Yeah, our lives are changing, but imagine how lonely some of them will feel in a nice big bedroom with only one other person. Imagine having so many after school chores that all you could do was finish them and then go to bed. That's what some of the kids told us their lives were like. We're gonna change them back into kids, John."

"I can do that," John happily assured. "We'll get a soccer lesson in as soon as possible."

"Now you guys got it." Logan beamed, but then got serious. "One thing to watch out for though; many of the kids won't be able to handle having privacy. You'll find your beds filling up at night. You'll find yourselves having less and less privacy for yourselves. You'll have to work as a team to make sure that none of you get overwhelmed by it, and can have some time to yourselves."

Nathan jumped in right behind his big brother. "One thing I think you'll find quickly is that 'nesting' is great. If you don't know what that means, it's simple. Take a whole bunch of blankets and pillows and spread them out. Then people sleep where ever they want to. It's great for forming bonds between people, and it really reinforces to those kids that never had anyone before, that they are actually wanted. Now, of course, don't force it, but make it available."

Turning to Kaleo, Prez wondered, "What do you think dude?"

Kaleo thought for a few moments then said, "I'm sure most of the younger kids would like the nesting idea more than being in a dorm room. Me and Tory though, we're looking forward to sharing a room already."

Keith asked, "Are you and Tory becoming a couple?"

"He knows I like him," Kaleo shrugged, "and he likes me too. It's just the fucked up shit we had to deal with before that kept it from moving further than friendship. Maybe we will become a couple, but I don't really know if or when that might happen."

"Maybe we can setup a couple of nests," Drew offered. "Like maybe one for the younger boys with John and Bruce, and another for the eleven and twelve-year-olds with me and Corey. Some of the younger girls might want to stay with Lindsay..."

Turning to Derrick, Mike interrupted, "I'm sleeping at your place then tonight! All I need is a bunch of cackling little girls!" Grinning, Derrick took Mike's hand and nodded understandingly.

"Kids are flexible," Chang said, "They can adjust and cope with almost anything, if they have support. They need someone who loves them that they know they can count on; remember that. It’s not what you provide them, so much as it is who you provide them, to love and be trusted."

Adam nodded, "Just remember one thing; many of the kids you have now have probably had more exposure to sex than any of you. To many of them, that was the only love they ever felt. It will really fuck with them if you guys were to see what they were doing and freak out on them." Adam chuckled, "I'm sure many of you know how addictive sex can be, and you don't have to be older to have that addiction. All I would advise is to talk to them about it if you see it."

Adam made sure he got nods from them before he went on. "Okay, now for the next thing; security. I'm pretty sure you guys haven't really thought about what this all means in your day to day lives. I'm just going to assume that you guys want to continue going to the school you go to now?"

"Course we do," Prez quickly said. "Keith, Mike, Derrick and me want to be in our school's jazz band. We have commitments and responsibilities to that band." Keith, Mike and Derrick nodded.

Drew and Corey checked with each other. Corey said, "We just started middle school in September. It don't matter much to me where we go to school."

"As long as we're together," Drew assured.

"I only got one more year of grade school," John thought aloud. "It would be better if I could at least finish off this year."

Adam nodded, "I kinda figured that, however, there might be problems with things." He raised a hand to cut off protests then explained, "You have to understand, you just shut down a very profitable ring of child pornography and child sex. I'm sure most of those involved have been caught, but it has pissed off a lot of people, even some of the kids you go to school with. They probably don't understand what really happened, all they know is that shit that you were involved with made it so their mom or dad no longer has a job, or their uncle was arrested, or anything else."

He took a deep breath then went on. "Obviously you know that you're part of the Clan, but there are people out there who don't like the Clan. Just look at what happened last week in Montana. I think you get the point." Met with nods, he stood up and started to pace.

"I'm hoping what I have set up will allow you guys to finish school without having any big problems, but you must understand that you and your family's security is most important. So here's what I have in mind, also anything can be revisited at any time. Each of you will have two security personnel assigned to your person. What that means, is that one of them will be with you any time you are not inside a secured building. When you are out and about, I expect you to listen to what they say when it comes to your safety. Logan has handpicked them, so that they are your age, with as many similar interests as we could make. They will go to school with you, be in the same classes, and even go to the bathrooms with you. They will be as unobtrusive as possible, but they will be there."

He saw that some of them were about to protest, and honestly he couldn't blame them, but he cut them off anyways. "You see all the pictures on that wall. There are sixty-one kids there that died to protect their family one week ago. You're family now and it security's job to protect you. If you allow them to, I doubt you will ever have a problem. Your lives have changed, and I'm sorry for that. But now you have to realize that you guys are targets and it's my job to make sure that nothing happens to you.

"One other thing to know; if something happens at school, if the school bully comes up and tries to start a fight, my guys will not step in. If any of you start a fight, you will have to deal with it; however, if it starts to get out of hand, or if others jump in then my guys will too. And understand something that's very serious; if anyone were to ever draw a weapon on any of you, that person will die quickly. This isn't a game, okay?"

No one said a word, but Keith groaned. Noticing everyone looking at him, Keith explained, "That could be bad. The Board of Education would have something to say if a handful of students were considered more important than every other kid and adult in the building."

Prez looked deep into Keith's eyes and softly asked, "Do you really think it will be that bad?" Keith only shrugged.

Adam said, "Just a scenario here. What if someone were to learn four Clan Short leaders went to your school and decided to send a bomb in the mail? Their intention is to hurt or kill you and they don't care who else gets hurt or dies to accomplish that goal."

"That would be extremely bad!" Prez loudly said. He then sighed, rested his head in his hand and said, "How can the four of us expect everyone in the entire school to become targets?"

Derrick wondered, "What if we continued most of our schooling on base, but went over to James Campbell only for jazz band in the afternoons? It's the last class of the day anyway. That way we're not there most of the day, reducing the risks."

"That'll work," Adam smiled. "You'll still need the two security personnel for each of you, but it would only be for an hour or so."

"We'd better plan on that then," Prez agreed.

Sitting down again, Adam said, "We talked it over while we were here and have come up with this, if you guys approve." Adam looked at John. "Now, one last thing; John, you're going to be the head of the Intel team for the Rimmers. If you would like, Nathan here has volunteered to come over and stay with you guys, and help get you trained in what you need to do, and help out how ever you guys need it."

John smiled, "Yeah, let's do that."

Seeing only nodding heads from the remaining core team, Prez confirmed, "Okay then; John, you'll be the only one going to the same school Monday morning, but with two security guys. All the rest of us will be attending school on one of our bases. Keith, Derrick, Mike and I will only be attending our jazz band class in the afternoons. Hopefully we've come up with a plan that everyone, including adults at the Board of Education can deal with. We'll find out Monday when our parents begin transferring us to Clan Short operated schools."

Adam waited for a few moments to make sure that they were done discussing things, then he spoke up. "Okay guys, just a few more things to go over. First off; Daileass, can you get me eight subvocals and comm-badges?" Suddenly there were eight small boxes sitting in front of each of the Core Rimmers. Adam had them open the boxes and then instructed them on how to fit and use the sub-vocals. Once they all knew what they were doing, Adam explained what they were for. "The subvocal will let you communicate with Daileass at any time, no matter where you are. You can arrange for transport, or anything else like that. You don't really need to talk, just activate it, and mouth the words. Any questions on that?" No one had any so Adam sat back down. "The comm-badges pin to your shirts. Just tap to activate it. They'll let you communicate with each other or anyone else that has one in the Clan, the UNIT or in Starfleet."

"There is one other thing," Adam paused then took a deep breath before continuing. "I am reluctant to bring it up. I totally understand how your mothers will take this, but I will strongly suggest that all of you get firearms training; whether it's a normal hand gun like we wear, or even a phaser. Either way, I would like for all of you to know how to use one. I will not make this a requirement as none of you are military; however, I would strongly suggest it."

"One more thing," Adam said quickly, so as to not let them dwell on the gun issue. "Mike, I understand your father is a police officer. How do you think he would feel about switching jobs and working for the Clan? It would mean that he would be home a lot more often."

Mike quickly replied, "My mom worries about him every day. I'm sick of her freaking out if he's ten minutes late. I think both my mom and dad would like it." Mike paused and grinned, "Me and Lindsay on the other hand will have to get used it."

Keith then offered, "I know my mom would freak out over hand guns being around. She wouldn't be too happy about phasers either, but they have variable settings, don't they?"

"Yes they do," Adam responded quickly. "Phasers are safer for people who don't know what they are doing." Adam paused and laughed, "However, most of my guys like hand guns cause of the boom they make."

Prez cracked up and loudly chuckled, "Let's stick with the hand phasers. All our mom's would be happier, but we'd still have to keep them locked up when they're not needed. Safety, ya know? All we need is for someone to accidentally stun themselves and the party's over! When you get the chance to train us, let us know."

"Now, for the last thing I wanted to ask about; there are three bases on O'ahu, right?" Prez nodded, so Adam continued. "The third base was formally a Marine Corps base. If my numbers are accurate, it covers about five square miles. If you guys are okay with it, and it's is totally up to you, I would like to turn that into a rapid deployment base for The UNIT. It's already set up to handle any type of aircraft to land there. It would be perfect for what the UNIT needs, and if you're willing, I would like to annex it." Prez was about to speak up, when Adam once again, pushed on. "Basically, what I see its functions being is an emergency relocation facility for you, your families and your Clan. It would also house a Vulcan state of the art medical facility, as well as many different styles of training areas. See, we don't just school the kids here in military strategy and tactics, we let them pick just about anything they want, and somewhere, we have someone that can train them in it."

"I see no problem with that," Prez offered. "It's on a peninsula and would definitely be most secure."

Logan grinned. "Cool! That means we finally have a place to put the Goliath."

Adam also grinned and nodded to Logan. "Okay, I think that about sums it up. Anything else you guys can think of, or want to say?" Adam, still grinning, was looking right at Prez.

"I do have one more thing to say," Prez huffed. "In the little while we've known each other, you've presented me with several questions and chances to say something, but kept on talking so I couldn't answer. Just let me say that I am responsible for this division of Clan Short. All the people stationed on these islands will ultimately report to me because I report to the Clan Short Patriarch, whether that be Joel or Cory Short or whomever. Have I made myself clear Adam?"

All the other core Rimmers were wide-eyed and completely stunned that Prez had put his foot down so forcefully. Prez and Adam didn't seem to notice anything except each other. Noticing that Adam had never stopped smiling, Prez grinned, "You've been cutting me off on purpose, haven't you?"

Adam's grin widened and he nodded. "Yes I have, and it was to see how long it took to get this kind of reaction. To be blunt, I needed to make sure, for myself, that the person I was having security put around would not just roll over when presented with someone who has some authority. I had to make sure that you would do what is needed to get your point across. Do you understand what I mean?"

Prez nodded, "That's part of leadership. One thing I learned from my dad, Keith's dad and Mike's dad is to give people a chance, maybe multiple chances, especially when you know you have to work with someone. But I have a responsibility to almost a hundred kids, my friends and their families not to mention the reputation of Clan Short. What I need to know is where our authority overlaps and where it doesn't."

Adam nodded. "Very sensible. I will bring this up with Cory when he comes to see you, and make sure that what I am about to say is accurate, however, I believe it is. Due to the title you have been given as director of the Pacific Rim, I would assume that your area of influence covers everything from the West Coast of the United States; including the States of California, Oregon, Washington State, and Alaska; as well as the western section of Canada. It would also include any and all of the Pacific Islands north of the equator, including the entire country of Japan, and the coast line country in that part of East Asia. The only exception to that would be any UNIT bases. Simply put, that is because the military does not answer to the local governor, if you will, but only to the president, or Patriarch. Does that help clear things up?"

"I agree with the geographic coverage however I do not agree with who the UNIT on Hawaii will report to," Prez said. "Basically what you've said is that if the Pacific Rim needs UNIT assistance, only the Patriarch can approve that request. Due to time zones and the possible importance of needing the UNIT, waiting for the Patriarch is not reasonable. I see it more like a U.S. Governor having control over the military reserves and the National Guard in his State. Let's face it Adam, too many cooks spoil the broth; too many leaders in charge creates havoc."

Adam grinned broadly as he sat back. "Damn, you're good at this. Let me see if I can explain it like this. You will have many different security personnel hanging around the base at all times. They are your national guard. If you need for them to effect a rescue, that's what they are there for. The troops on the base are different though. All my base commanders have standing orders to aid and assist all Clan Division leaders no matter what they ask for, as long as it does not detract from ongoing operations. Basically, what that means is this; if for some reason, you need more military support than you have, you call the base on the island. If they have available personnel, you'll get them. However, if they are already all out and about, then you'll have to figure out something else." Adam paused for a second, then he went on. "Let me try it one other way, because I am sure that was somewhat confusing. As a division Director, you can ask my commanders for assistance. One thing I am sure Nathan will assist you on is learning the Military chain of command. However, and I am sure this will annoy you to no end, but you will get saluted."

Prez was about to say something, however, Nathan held up his hand and said, "If I may Sir?"

"Go ahead Nathan." Prez said with a nod.

"Adam, I think what Prez is saying is this. He's got personal security, what he doesn't have is the personnel to do an operation if needed. As a division director, he needs to have a squad of troops, I would say maybe a hundred strong that are at his disposal all the time. If the shit hits the fan, they can be pulled, but that would only be after the Core are completely secured. I think you're seeing the base in Hawaii as as worldwide response, where Prez saw it more as a Pacific Rim response. So what you need to do is make sure he's got the troops to do whatever he may need to. Remember, he will have the largest area to cover of any of the divisions, with a whole shit load of people, in several different countries. He needs troops of his own, more than just his security. Am I right here Prez?"

"That's exactly right," Prez agreed. "From California to Japan is a huge area; it covers seven time zones and crosses the International Date Line. California alone is the most populated State in the United States. Japan is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Joel and his team of thirteen, not including Blackie and I-Cheya, took down the Hawaiian government. God forbid I was ever put in a situation like that, but I can't deny the possibility exists. Therefore the Pacific Rim needs dedicated UNIT personnel at all times, regardless of what the remainder of UNIT forces on that base are assigned to do. Because of where I've lived the last seven years of my life, near Pearl Harbor and Hickam Air Force Base, I am already very aware of the military chain of command. Joel made me director of about a third of the planet. I report to the Clan Short Patriarch. There cannot be two commanders in the Pacific Rim division both reporting to the Patriarch."

Adam was nodding as Prez was speaking. "You made good points, and I agree with you. Sorry for not understanding." He actually chuckled. "Sometimes it's annoying that I refuse to allow the telepaths, including myself, to read from people if there is no cause. Had I done that, I would have figured out exactly what you meant. Now, let's see what we can do."

Adam looked behind him to Aiden, who spoke almost immediately. "My suggestion would be Delta Brigade once we do the restructuring. That would give them one hundred and twenty troops, as well as eighty support personnel. You can house the officers at the main Rimmer base, while the rest are housed at the UNIT base." Adam was nodding the entire time, while Logan started to input things into the computer terminal he was sitting at.

Mike wondered, "What exactly are support personnel?"

Keith hung his head and chuckled, "Jeez dude, haven't you watched any war movies at all?"

"Hell no!" Mike laughed. "I'm a lover not a fighter!"

Prez grinned at Derrick. "Is that true dude?"

Derrick chuckled and nodded.

"We're talking about cooks, laundry and mechanics; all the people that support what the main troops do," Keith answered.

Adam spoke up at that point. "Not to mention the four troop transport helicopters, the two attack helicopters, and the harrier jump jet that goes along with it, and of course, their support."

"Well you won't ever get me in any helicopter or jet!" Prez grinned devilishly. While most of the Rimmers snickered, Prez then asked, "Daileass, is there anywhere you can't get me in the blink of an eye?"

"Hmmmmm..." The boy's voice came over the speakers. "Well Mars would be a problem, but other than that...."

Prez snickered, "I'll make a note; no interplanetary travel."

Adam laughed, then stood. "Well I think that's enough for now. There's a beach with my name on it."

Logan's grin widened as he slapped Adam's arm. "Why don't you bring your guitar? Maybe you and the Rimmers can do some jamming."

"You play?" Mike smiled.

"Sort of, but I ain't that good." Adam said, showing an uncharacteristic lack of self confidence.

Logan laughed out loud, "He plays a lot of things, and the guitar!" The whole room busted up laughing.

Leaning back in his chair, Keith began jabbing; "Jeez Prez! Could you pick someone other than a genetically enhanced military type to argue with?"

Derrick snickered, "For a while there, I thought it was gonna come to blows!"

"Nah!" Adam said with a grin. "I don't fight people who ain't got a chance."

"I'm not stupid enough to underestimate Adam, any of his brothers or the UNIT," Prez sneered. "At the same time, I am not underestimating my position as director of this division. The welfare of over a hundred people has been dropped in my hands. I don't take it lightly."

Aiden jumped in quickly. "You all gotta see Adam and Khan trying to take on Chang. It's amazing to watch!"

Calmly, without any hint of anger or arrogance, Chang said, "While that is good exercise, I must agree with your assessment Adam; I should reserve myself for people who actually have a chance."

All the Rimmers began mooing at the gauntlet being thrown. When most of the giggling and laughing had died down, Keith chuckled, "That might be fun and interesting to watch, but definitely not in front of any of our mothers!"

Adam laughed and suddenly the screen at the end of the room blinked on. What the Rimmers witnessed was something that shocked them. They recognized the huge Khan, but didn't recognize the hugely muscled hybrid that was facing off against him. "Oh shit!" Adam laughed, "That's Khan fighting Logan, one of the Wolverine Hybrids we rescued."

Meanwhile, back on Anahola Bay beach...

Runt was in an animated conversation with Bobby, Brandon, and Andy, as Skipper, Grace, Khan, Joe and Janet looked on bemusedly.

Skipper motioned to Will, who trotted over and listened to his whispered idea. He grinned delightedly and spoke quietly to Daileass; seconds later they vanished.

About five minutes later, two helicopters very suddenly appeared over the bay about two hundred feet from the shore, both of them were UNIT Hueys. The one closest to the beach turned hard, and came in fast and low. It landed a ways up the beach so that there wasn't sand blowing everywhere. The other landed right by it, and Will jumped out of the first one and ran up to the group. "Okay, so who's up for some para-sailing?" he asked with a huge grin.

Bobby came running, followed by Kaleo, Tory, and several of the other rescued kids. "You're kidding!" he exclaimed.

"Nope! We've got it all figured out. I got a huge 'chute that we can tether behind one of the Hueys, and drag people across the bay. Hell, if there's someone who has the guts, we can even hook up the tether and let them try and ski."

"'If somebody has the guts?" Bobby scoffed. "I know a dare when I hear one. Count me in!" He grinned at Skipper.

"Do you even know how to ski?" Will asked Bobby.

"I grew up in Maine, what do you think?" Bobby gave back as good as he got.

Starting to head back to the helicopter, Will grinned, "Well, what do you want first, the parachute or the skis?" He stopped then turned back saying, "I'll need someone to act as a spotter in the helicopter. Runt, you wanna hang out the side and let me know when the little freak dies?"

"Freak? Why the hell am I freak?" Bobby asked, mocking offense.

"Simple man; you're about to be pulled by a freaking helicopter while you're on water skis! That's fucking dangerous don't you think?"

"Nah, easy peasy!" Bobby confidently said.

Little Andy was looking like he half expected to see one of his fathers depart this mortal life immediately.

"Well come on then dead meat," Will laughed hysterically. "I'll make sure the medics are standing by. Oh, wait a minute! The medic is flying the other helicopter!"

Grace picked up Andy, giving her firstborn a glare that said without words; 'You will be careful.' "He'll do just fine," she said comfortingly to Andy.

Bobby, Will, and Runt hopped into one of the Hueys. Will belted himself in as pilot then took off. They veered out over the water and off to the east. Will descended to about six feet above the water and hovered; Bobby jumped out, and Runt threw him the tether and Ski Rope to hang onto. Bobby tread water, got his skis on, grabbed the tether, and signaled. Will took off.

Bobby shot across the bay behind the helicopter, screaming maniacally. Most of the group on the shore were watching by now. Finally he dropped the tether and swam back to shore laughing.

"I want to try that!" Tory called out.

Over the next half hour, Tory, Kaleo, Bobby, Brandon, and two of the UNIT security detail took turns hang-gliding-skiing behind the copter. Then Skipper took one of the gorillas up.

The Gorilla got ready to go and gave the signal. Just as the rope was tightened, a ferret leaped out of the water and onto the gorilla's shoulders. Unable to stop what was happening, the Gorilla simply shook his head and adjusted himself for the extra forty pounds of ferret on his shoulder.

Spike meanwhile was looking around mournfully for Mike.

After the Gorilla plus ferret run, Will came back in and picked up his next rider; Khan. Once Khan was in the water, he looked up at his new boyfriend and did something that got Runt to reply with fierce negativity. He patted his shoulder inviting the smaller boy to ride with him. Shrugging defeat, Khan simply gave the signal that he was ready. Will started laughing as he hit the accelerator on the helicopter. With Khan's strength and resilience, Will was going to see just how fast he could make the big cat skip across the water of the bay. He did pull it back when he noticed his gauge top the one hundred mile an hour mark. The big cat was barely clipping the wave tops at that speed, roaring and was obviously enjoying himself.

Appearing on the beach was all the core Rimmers, Adam, Chang, Logan, Nathan and Aiden. Seeing Khan zipping back and forth across Anahola Bay, Adam groaned, "Oh Jesus Christ! I knew it; as soon as I left, Will found an excuse for a joy ride!"

"That looks like so much fun though!" Derrick laughed. Keith agreed and so did John.

Looking down at John, Keith reminded, "Check with mom first bro."

"Why?" John whined.

Keith giggled, "I'm second in command! I can't get grounded now!" John sighed then tore across the beach to where all the adults were gathered.

Looking up from organizing his shinys, Spike noticed that Mike had returned. Quickly loading his pearls and assorted other trinkets into his waist sack, Spike then scurried over and parked himself immediately before Mike.

Meanwhile, just up-beach and to the west of where the Core Rimmers and UNIT guys had reappeared, another party was beaming in. There was a man in later middle age, two women in their thirties, a man in his late twenties, three teens, a group of ten boys and four girls, a set of red-headed seven-year-old twin boys and finally a nine-year-old towhead who popped back out of existence, then back into it again giving a hug to Prez.

Prez looked down at the small boy hugging him and immediately noticed purple eyes. "Another Mikyvis?" Prez chuckled.

"Yep!" the small boy giggled, "I'm Peter, by the way! Nice to meet ya Prez!"

As John ran up to the group of adults, Mrs. Hundser didn't even wait. "NO!" she forcefully hollered.

"But MO-O-O-OM!" John whined in his perfected little boy voice.

"No buts mister! That is way too dangerous," She said, as she planted her hands on her hips.

Skipper thought it was time to interject something. "Mrs. Hundser. There is a reason we brought the second helicopter. It's a chance for some of my guys to practice in their water rescues. Basically, in a few minutes we're going to run it so that when the person falls off the ski's, we're asking them to stay there, so that my guys can do a water jump and secure the "patient" for transport. Not only would John be wearing a flotation device, he would also have someone to him within one minute, probably less."

Brandon was giggling at this. John gave a glance and smile to Skipper that clearly said, 'Thanks'.

Buckling, but not quite ready to give in, Jennifer Hundser checked with Janet who only smiled and nodded. Jennifer then sighed, "We'll watch the first water rescue. Then you can have a chance only if you go out with Keith."

John jumped excitedly and hollered, "Thanks mom!" then ran back across the beach to tell Keith and Prez.

Jennifer turned to Janet and said, "Remember those Valium we were kidding about earlier? I think I may need a few to help me sleep at night."

Janet reached into her purse and pulled out a pill bottle, handing it to Jennifer, she sighed, "It's not the good stuff, but with all the shit you're about to start seeing, they can help. Not to mention, I write out standing prescriptions for all Clan parents for an almost unlimited supply of Valium."

As Tory came swimming back into shore from his para-surfing run, Peter looked at him, blinked, zeroed in on him, and popped out of Prez's arms and down to the surf line to meet him. "C'mere," he said warmly.

Puzzled, Tory walked over. "Hold still," Peter said, and concentrated. Ever so slowly, the bruises, welts and scars on Tory's skin from how he had been abused faded to faint ghostly vestiges. "There, feel better?" Peter asked.

Tory looked at his arms first then down the front of his body. "Much better!" Tory loudly said, "Thank you!"

Kaleo had jogged over to meet his friend. "How'd you do that?" he asked with wide eyes.

"Time regression; I took his skin back to before he got beat," Peter explained.

"Can you do that for Kaleo too?" Tory pleaded.

"Sure," Peter said, took Kaleo's hand and concentrated. Slowly the livid bruise marks and pale scars on his rich brown skin faded into nearly normal skin tones. "How's your chest feel?" Peter asked.

Kaleo drew a deep breath and smiled. "Much better!" he grinned.

"Couple of bruised ribs," Peter explained, "they didn't show up for the medics, but they were obvious to me. So I regressed them too."

Kaleo warmly smiled, "Thanks!" Peter only nodded and giggled then popped out of existence. He mainly moved around the beach giving random hugs and healing rescued kids as he found them.

Logan caught Prez's eyes, and motioned with his head off to the side. When the two teens walked away a bit, Logan turned towards Prez. "I just wanted to have a few moments to inform you of a few other things that Adam didn't go into."

Prez nodded so Logan continued. He ran his hand through his long blond hair and sighed. "You gotta understand what Adam and his brothers are to really get them. I'm sure by now, you think Adam's an arrogant asshole, and he is, but only when it comes to the military stuff. Get him out of his element, and he's just a scared little boy. All of them are. They were all raised in a lab with no interaction with anyone except doctors. To be honest, I was shocked that Adam got naked on the beach."

"Why?" Prez asked. "I mean, don't take this wrong, but he's got a great body."

Logan smirked, but sadly sighed. "It wasn't like that yesterday. See, someone healed his entire body yesterday, before that Adam was covered in scars. Think about it for a minute. If you're trying to make it so someone will heal quickly, how do you test your success?"

"Oh shit!" Prez gasped.

"Yeah. He told me a few of the things he had to go through, including intentional cutting with knives, being shot at point blank range, and being burned severely. Adam healed from everything quickly, but of course, he still felt the pain. I mean, I literally watched one time as a cut on his hand healed. I watched it close up and stop bleeding.

"The reason I'm telling you all this, is because I don't want you to get the wrong idea about Adam. He seems so self assured most of the time, but if you take him out of the military situation, he doesn't have a clue what to do."

"Is that why he was reluctant to jam with us?" Prez asked, starting to understand.

"Exactly. I mean, if you look at all the Core UNIT guys, there is something mentally wrong with all of them. I'm sure you've heard the comments about Juan, and for the most part, they ain't jokes. If someone hurts a kid, Juan would rather kill them than look at them. He is the total cold blooded killer. His abuse was a lot worse than many of them, though. Think about it, what would it take to turn a kid into a psychotic killer? I won't go into the details, but his personal 'doctor' thought it would be a great experiment to cut off his balls just to see if they would regenerate."

Prez bent over slightly in sympathetic pain as he started to shed tears. "Did they?" he asked, almost not wanting to know the answer.

"Yeah they did, with some help. They would have anyways, but someone helped move that along quicker. Jory is a bit better off, although he really has no social graces and is a bit obsessive when it comes to his explosives. Will is one hell of a cocky fly boy, but he has a right to be. He's been flying since before he could walk and with what the docs did to all their intelligence, you can guess that he picked it up very quickly. Chang is actually the worst of the lot, although you would never really guess that. The main reason he is so emotionless at times is because he had to learn to control his temper. I have never personally seen him loose it, but I have heard stories. It wasn't pretty.

All in all, they are a fantastic set of people, who would do anything they can to help people." Logan said with a sigh. "You just have to understand that they have their problems and learn to let them go. Adam is a damned good guitar player. I'm sure nowhere near Mike's caliber, but he's still damned good. But I will guarantee you that you won't get him on stage without a fight. However, that's a fight I want to have. He needs to get out there more."

Prez nodded thoughtfully then smiled, "I think I can set something up. And thanks for telling me all this. It helps to understand the people we'll be working with more."

The two little redheads from the newcomers had promptly shucked all their clothing and headed for the water. The other kids, ranging from eight to thirteen in age were hanging back nervously. The older man put his arm across the shoulders of one of them, pointing to the Vulcan security forces, and then to the Rimmers' rescued kids group. The kids seemed to take courage from that, and began to strip and head for the water themselves.

Adam saw the group that was standing up the beach and waved them over. Once they got there, Adam started the introductions. He turned towards the Rimmers and said. "Guys, I'd like to introduce you to the core group from the North East United States Division. First we have Jonas," Adam said pointing to the auburn haired teen boy. Then he pointed to the dark haired one, "Harry is the guy hanging onto Jonas." He said with a chuckle. After Jonas and Harry shook hands with the Rimmers, Adam turned to Jonas.

"Jonas these guys are the Clan Short Pacific Rim Division, or as they're calling themselves, the Rimmers. Why don't you introduce the rest of your group?"

"Okay," Jonas said, pointing to the redheaded woman, "this is my mother, Maureen McConnaghay, and this," pointing to the other woman, "is Harry's mother, Abbie Johnson. Word of warning; never get on her bad side; her tongue could slice cold steel!" He grinned.

Then he gestured at the older man, who looked to be about fifty with salt-and-pepper hair. "And it gives me a lot of pleasure to introduce my brand new father, Judge Josiah Brewster of the Family Court."

"Over here we have State's Attorney George Wentworth and his older adopted son, Philip," indicating the younger man and the husky teen. "Philip's little brothers are those two little redheads down there in the surf, Drew and Randy. And the kids with them are brand new to our family, as of an hour ago."

Prez then quickly introduced his core team, starting with Keith and working his way round through Drew, Corey, John, Mike, Derrick and giving Kaleo special notice as one of the rescued kids.

Finally, after literally dozens of para-surfing passes back and forth across Anahola Bay, Khan noticed Runt signaling down that others were waiting their turn and allowed himself to release the tether.

Mike, Derrick and Keith were all wanting to take a turn para-surfing and were arguing about who would go next while the Huey and Khan returned to the beach. Spike sat in the center of Mike, Derrick and Keith, reverently looking up at Mike.

Off to the side slightly, John was jumping up and down whining; "Keith's gotta go next! Mom's gotta see him do it or she won't ever let me do it!"

Derrick looked down and noticed the way Spike was watching Mike. Realizing that Spike practically worshiped the ground Mike walked on, Derrick grinned and wondered how Spike might react to shiny microphone stands, shiny guitar pickup covers and shiny tuner pegs. It was all too much to fathom and Derrick bowed out of the argument, becoming hysterical. Mike and Keith continued playfully bantering to and fro.

Derrick couldn't hold it back, and he tapped the little ferret boy on the shoulder. Spike looked up with big wide eyes that just radiated innocence. "Yes?"

"I just gotta know," Derrick playfully wondered, "Why do you look at Mike like that?"

"Oh! Cause he's a Shiny maker. He makes Shiny music for us. I already asked Shiny High Priest Dave and he agreed. Shiny Mike will be our first human priest, leading us in worship of the great shiny with his shiny music. Such Honor has never been bestowed onto a non ferret before, but with Mike's love of shinys and his great music, it's only right to make him the first Human priest. Dave's getting his Shiny robes now, but he's gotta make them as we got none that will fit such a big priest."

Derrick snickered, "How long before his Shiny robes will be ready?"

The little Ferret boy starting bouncing on his feet with excitement. "The most Shiny Dave said that they would be ready before the Day-Shiny falls below the water shiny, and the Great Night Shiny rises into the air, and the lesser night shinys are out."

"Huh?" Derrick cocked his head to the side.

Only hearing the final part of the conversation, Mike sighed, "The sun, moon and stars, doofus."

"See?" Spike excitedly shouted. "He's gonna be a GREAT Priest! He knows! HE UNDERSTANDS!"

Mike wrapped his arm around Derrick's shoulders and explained to Spike; "We all understand. Derrick plays shiny drums with shiny rims and shinier cymbals. Derrick just doesn't fully grasp the shiny vocabulary."

Clasping his forepaws together and dropping to his knees, Spike blubbered, "Can I stay with you forever, please? Oh PLEEEASE!"

"Lemme check with our division leader," Mike giggled. Glancing around and finding Prez with Logan, Mike shouted, "Prez! Got a minute dude?"

"Be right there," Prez loudly replied. Logan and Prez shook hands and together walked over to Mike, Derrick, Keith and Spike. "What's goin' on?" Prez smiled.

Derrick giggled, "Mike's being made the first human Shiny Priest!"

"I'm what?" Mike exclaimed.

Derrick nodded and snickered, "Spike wants to stay here with Mike too."

Prez looked over to Logan and said, "Well I'm not really sure. Logan, what do you think?"

"Well," Logan began, trying to stop a smile while looking at Mike. "One of the things that being a Clan member means is that you can adopt. I'm sure Spike would love to have you as a Shiny Daddy."

"Oh YES!" Spike pleaded, "Please Shiny Mike, can you be my Shiny Daddy?"

Seeing the warmth and affection already clearly portrayed in Spike's eyes, Mike said, "If Prez says it's okay, I'd like it." Only to butter up Prez and to impress Spike, Mike explained, "Prez plays a shiny bass; it has shiny pickups and shiny tuning pegs."

"He does?" Spike gasped in awe.

"Shiny followers never lie," Mike grinned. "Keith plays shiny keyboards too. We all have our shiny favorites."

"Oh, I have died a shiny death, and now I'm living in the shiny fields," Spike whimpered. His face fell then and it looked like he might actually start to cry.

Mike immediately went to his knees in front of the small boy. "What's wrong?"

"I... I can't stay with you, not without my litter mates. We're the only family we really have," he said trying hard not to cry, and failing.

How many are there?" Mike asked. "If they're all as cute as you are, I don't see why we can't have a few more." Seeing a more hopeful expression on Spike's face, Mike stood again.

"Really?" Spike cried with excitement. "Well lets see... there's Xander, my brother, and my two sisters; Willow and Faith. We're the Scooby Gang!"

His heart melting, Prez smiled, "Tell your brother and sisters that the four of you can stay here if you like. We'll even change our band name from Old Habits to Platinum Habits. How does that sound?"

Spike dropped to his knees and grabbed Mike's ankle. "Oh thank you Shiny daddy! Thank you!" He blubbered as the tears streamed down his furry face. Quickly he ran off to gather his family. Almost everyone around them had a smile on their face, and tears in their eyes.

"Mike Gibbons, Holy Father of Ferrets," Drew giggled.

"The ferrets are the Shiny Rimmers!" Prez laughed.

Keith snickered, "Yet another rimmer joke! I can't take it!"

Skipper motioned Bobby and Brandon to join him, and then approached Keith. "Sounds like your mother is being protective of John. You heard what I said to her, right?" Keith nodded a little uncertainly. Skipper asked, "Are you a good strong swimmer?"

"Well, yeah," Keith grinned, "If you're going to surf in the waves around here, you pretty well have to be."

"All right then," Skipper continued, "how would you like to be the 'victim' for a sea rescue? We can use the practice, and it should alleviate your mom's fears about John getting a chance to para-ski."

Keith grinned. "Cool, go for it!"

"Okay, then, start swimming out, and we'll take the other bird up and 'rescue' you," Skipper said. Keith gave Skipper a thumbs-up, told his mother what was in the offing, and then darted down to the shoreline, starting to swim out. Skipper motioned to Little Andy, who hadn't been far away from his big brother and father figures. "Okay, Mister Loadmaster, one sea rescue coming up. Ready for it?"

The eight-year-old nodded his head vigorously, grinning ear to ear.

Skipper, Bobby, Brandon, and Andy hurried over to the other Huey. Brandon hurried forward, then stopped short. "Who's co-piloting?"

"Nobody; the Huey can be flown one-man. You're piloting," Skipper instructed, "The three of us will be needed in the back."

Brandon gulped and belted himself in, running quickly through the pre-flight checklist. "Ready!" he called back in his preteen treble.

"Take her up," Skipper instructed. "Keep her low, twenty-five to thirty feet. Head for where Keith's swimming out to." The ten-year-old did as instructed. Many of the rescued kids were watching with fascination as the small helicopter spun up and lifted off the beach. Prez was watching Keith too, but noticed that Nathan was having a private chat with Derrick and Mike.

As he approached, Keith put on a good show of a swimmer 'panicking and drowning'. The Huey came to a hover over where he was; Skipper and Bobby dove from it and swam easily over to him.

Andy dropped the rescue harness out the hatch. As Skipper buoyed up Keith, after telling him to go limp, Bobby belted him into the harness. Skipper wrapped his strong legs around Keith's waist and grabbed the line above Keith's head with both hands. Bobby wrapped himself around the two of them, clinging to Skipper's shorts with one hand and wrapping the other arm around Keith. He signaled Andy, who engaged the winch.

The line came taut, lifting the three of them from the water. Brandon struggled to keep the helicopter level.

As the harness came up level with the bottom of the copter, Skipper grabbed the ski and then a handhold in the hatch, and pulled himself up into the bird. The smaller Bobby followed suit a second later, and together they helped Keith into the Huey's cargo space and out of the harness.

Just then, a commotion arose among the rescued kids on the beach. A nine-year-old girl of apparent Chinese-Hispanic ancestry, Lupe Jui, was animatedly pointing out to sea and screaming, "She's going out too far! She's going out too far!"

Prez, Mike, Adam, Chang, Grace, and Jonas converged on her. Chang laid one hand on her and turned her head to meet his eyes. She looked into them. With a great deal of effort, the twelve-year-old oriental boy, now sporting Klingon brow ridges and a purplish cast to his skin, managed to calm her. "The last thing she said was she wasn't going to be a sex toy to those pointy-eared freaks," the little girl said, gesturing at the Vulcans. "Then she went down to the water and started swimming out."

Adam began to react, caught himself, and glanced at Prez. "May I?" he asked. Prez made a hand gesture that effectively said 'go ahead.' Adam activated his comm-badge. "Skipper! Bobby! Get to that girl swimming out! This one's for real!"

Inside the helicopter, Skipper called out, "Do it!" Brandon rotated the helicopter and headed across the bay to intercept the girl.

"Not sure what's up," Skipper said. "Be ready for anything." He fiddled with the First Aid kit, drew out a hypo-spray, and slipped it in the pocket of the board shorts he was wearing. Bobby nodded. Over the sounds of the helicopter's engines and rotor blades, Keith couldn't hear what was going on, but looked out the open hatch. He saw the teenage girl in the ocean, further out from shore than he had been.

"Oh no!" Keith nervously complained, "Not today, not ever!"

"Come in low," Skipper called out. Brandon didn't respond, but skewed the copter into a descending trajectory, coming to a hover about twenty feet above the girl. The two paramedics dropped again. They swam over to the Anglo-Portuguese girl, who looked to be about fifteen.

"Get away from me!" she shouted. "I won't be your fuck toy, or anybody else's either."

"Get her!" Skipper told Bobby, moving in and drawing the hypo-spray. He injected her; she went limp, and began to sink. Bobby tread water, trying to support her.

Andy had meanwhile been playing out line. Now he tossed the harness down to them. "Lean against the left wall," Andy instructed Keith. Bemused that the little eight-year-old was giving him orders, Keith did as he was told.

The two paramedics got the girl into the harness and signaled Andy to activate the winch. As the combined weight of girl and two paramedics came out of the sea, the chopper tilted. Brandon fought it. At last the harness came level, and Skipper and Bobby repeated what they had done with Keith, drawing the naked body of the teenage girl on board. Skipper slammed the hatch; Brandon headed the 'copter for shore.

Bobby broke an ampoule of smelling salts under the girl's nose. As she came to, she said, "You should have left me. I won't put up with you two raping me!"

"Neither one of us has the slightest interest in sex with you, whether you are willing or not," Bobby said steadily. Gesturing at Skipper, he added, "He's all I want." Looking from the feisty little blond to the big brunet, Keith's eyes widened.

"You see all those people on the shore?" Skipper said to her. "They're either rescued kids like you, or people committed to ending the kind of stuff you had to go through, with the power to make that happen."

"Or both," Bobby added.

Keith told the girl; "Me and Prez are a couple; so are Derrick and Mike and Drew and Corey! Nobody in this Clan will ever take advantage of you sexually. Tonight we're giving all of you the choice of where you want to sleep and who with."

"And," Bobby continued, "that means 'sleep' as in sleep, not 'sleep with' as in sex. You're welcome to fall in love and have sex with the person you fall in love with if you want, but you've had sex just because somebody made you for the last time – ever!"

Keith asked, "What's your name?"

"Melonie Correro," she answered.

"My mom's real good at listening to people," Keith began. "Would you talk with her please?" Melonie only shrugged and sighed.

The Huey set down in the sand at the far south end of the beach. All the adults and about two dozen kids, including the other core Rimmers, raced down the beach. Skipper opened the hatch door and jumped out into the sand. Bobby and Keith jumped out next. Skipper and Keith helped Melonie out of the 'copter.

"Mom," Keith called. Jennifer Hundser and Janet ducked down and stepped forward. "Can you have a chat with Melonie please?" Keith asked, and with an intense glare offered, "I think she has a lot to say."

Nodding understandingly, Jennifer took hold of one of Melonie's arms and said, "We'll take care of it." She then began to walk away from the 'copter with Janet and Melonie.

"Oh man!" John loudly whined, "now I won't get to get rescued!"

Jennifer's eyes almost shot from their sockets. She always knew John was special, but over the last day, she wondered exactly how special.

"Who said we were done?" Bobby grinned.

Andy giggled, "Practice makes perfect!"

Keith grinned, "Come on bro. We'll take a surfboard out and I'll dump you off to be rescued."

"YAAA!" John gleefully yelled and ran down to the shoreline. Bobby and Skipper jumped back into the Huey and it soon lifted off.

Keith grabbed a board and hurried back down to the water line. Laying down the board in knee deep water, Keith turned to John and said, "You just..." then began laughing his ass off.

John frowned, "What's wrong?"

After howling himself to tears, Keith leaned forward and softly snickered, "Lookin' forward to this, are ya?"

"Course!" John smiled.

"I can tell!" Keith laughed and pointed at John's crotch, "So can everyone else!"

"Oh! SHIT!" John hollered and quickly covered himself with both hands. Embarrassed beyond his years, John smirked, "Sorry bro."

"It's okay," Keith giggled. "I was gonna have you lay on my back and hold on! It might be better if you got on the board first though now!"

"Wise guy!" John complained.

"No complaints here," Keith reminded, "I know what it's like." Noticing Prez watching them from the shore, Keith explained, "Think about gross stuff, like mom naked, so that the guys rescuing you don't get the wrong idea."

John grimaced, "Eww!"

Holding the board steady, Keith instructed, "After you!" and John slid onto the surfboard. Keith joined John and they began paddling out. Soon they were far enough out and the Huey piloted by Will with the tether hanging down roared by. Keith grabbed the tether and sat upright, squeezing the board tightly between his knees. The board suddenly jolted as the slack was taken up and John hollered, "YEAH!"

Keith instructed, "When ever you're ready bro, jump off and the other dudes will 'rescue' you."

"Okay!" John giggled, but remained on the board through the first two turns the Huey made. He then stood and waved his arms before jumping off the swiftly moving board and into deep water. Keith then released the tether so he would be close enough by to help if needed.

Brandon brought the 'rescue' Huey low over John. This time Skipper jumped, but Bobby decided to descend on the rescue harness rope. When ready, he signaled Andy to run the winch backwards and descended smoothly. Skipper meanwhile had swam to John and fitted him with a flotation vest. John was loving being the center of attention.

Bobby brought the harness down, slid easily off it and began harnessing John into it. The body contact had the expected results on John, who blushed deeply. Bobby grinned. "No sweat kid; it happens to me all the time too."

"It's the helicopter ride," John loudly giggled, "it was stiff before I even got on the surfboard!" Bobby cracked up and laughed all the way back into the Huey.

As they helped John in, Andy giggled. Bobby laughed, "Don't embarrass him." Turning to John, Bobby said, "Wanna ride copilot? The copilot seat is open; just don't grab the wrong stick!"

Turning bright pink, John giggled then turned to hurry into the copilot's seat before any more remarks were made. John looked around at all the dials, displays and knobs on the control panel before him.

Intent on his piloting, Brandon didn't say anything as John sat down. He turned the 'copter towards the beach when he spared a minute to look over and then did a double-take.

"I can't help it!" John giggled and turned red again. "This is about as much as I've ever had."

Brandon couldn't help it; he burst out laughing. "Just about as much..." he got out and howled laughing.

John blushed even harder. "Just about as much FUN, I meant!" he said.

"That's pretty obvious," Bobby giggled.

Brandon meanwhile had gotten control of himself and brought the helicopter in for a landing. "Wanna go for a ride when we take this back up?" he asked John.

"Could I?" John squealed. Brandon nodded and John smiled widely, nodding frantically as if nothing could make him happier.

"Sure," Brandon said. He nervously eyed John's boner. "Ummm..."

John giggled, "It's that way cos I'm in a helicopter... in the copilot's seat!"

Brandon giggled and confided, "I get one whenever I'm piloting or co-piloting too."

"How old are you?" John wondered.

"Ten," Brandon replied.

John thought for a few moments then asked, "How'd you learn to fly? I mean, I'd love to learn, if my mom would let me."

"I learned in the TARDIS. But Bobby 'n' I could teach you, if we can get your mom to let us!"

John grinned devilishly, "Well, I'm here now. What my mom don't know won't hurt her. At least teach me what some of these buttons, dials and knobs do."

"Well, I think you already know what that knob does," Brandon giggled and pointed.

"That's a joystick!" John laughed. "I know a little, got three older gay brothers, after all. You gonna tell me what all of the knobs up here do?"

Laughing, Brandon began an explanation. "Here, grab this stick," he said. Giggling, John did. "That's the cyclic; it controls pitch and roll. This other lever is the collective. It controls the lift. If you're hovering, it makes the 'copter go up or down. If you've set the cyclic to forward pitch, it makes it move forward." He went on with his explanation, with John eating it up.

Mr. Hundser peeked inside the Huey and smiled, "How was the ride John?"

Remaining seated, John looked back and hollered, "Awesome! Brandon's teaching me about the controls and stuff!"

Looking back, Brandon waved and smiled at John's dad. Jim Hundser smiled and waved at Brandon.

"Dad?" John innocently called. "Can I please stay in here for a while?"

"It would be fine with me," Brandon said. "I did invite John so it's cool. I like having him around."

Jim Hundser grinned and wondered if it would be best to let his son learn, but also considered the possible ramifications from his wife learning about this flight training. Finally, he admitted it would be good for John to have interest in flight since it was a necessary form of transportation across the islands. And the two boys were obviously becoming friends. "Okay," Jim Hundser said, "just for a little while. Pay attention and learn from Brandon."

"Thanks dad," John smiled, "I promise to pay close attention to Brandon."

Brandon giggled. Skipper looked in to say, "Brandon is a good pilot Sir, and Bobby and I will be here helping coach John."

"Even better," Jim Hundser nodded, "have a good time." He then walked away from the helicopter.

Far away from all the other groups of kids and adults, Jennifer and Janet sat with Melonie.

"My mom and dad divorced when I was a baby," Melonie shared. "My mom died when I was ten."

"Do you know how exactly?" Janet softly asked.

Melonie sighed, "Oh what does it matter? Since she died everything's gone to shit!"

"It matters because it might affect your health," Jennifer said. "Your life as it was with orphanages and foster parents is over now. We're going to help you Melonie."

Melonie eyed the two adult women suspiciously. "What do you want from me?" she sourly wondered.

"Not a thing," Janet assured. "All any of us wants, adults and kids alike, is to help you in every way necessary."

"The more you tell us, the better we'll be able to help you and the better you will feel from releasing the negativity of the past," Jennifer said.

Melonie slouched and said, "It was so long ago... they said my mom had something like a blood vessel exploded in her brain. It happened while she was driving. She caused an accident. Other people were hurt. I was only in the orphanage a while when I was fostered to one family. They didn't like me and after a few months, I was back in the orphanage again. It went like that for a while; a few months in orphanages then a few months with fosters. When I was about thirteen I guess, the Haymon's became my foster parents. That's when things got really bad." Hiding her face and weeping, Melonie said, "They used me, both of 'em, him and her and others too... for sex! I knew it was wrong, but when I said no, they beat me, put me to bed without supper and locked me in my room; usually just overnight but for more than a day sometimes. As far as I'm concerned, sex is bad, always. I got pregnant once and they beat me for that too." She wailed, "I wanted that baby! They gave it no chance; gave me no chance."

"Did they abort the fetus?" Janet asked.

After a few moments of uncontrollable weeping, Melonie nodded, "Is that an what an abortion is?"

Janet nodded and took Melonie's hand in hers. She softly asked, "Melonie, have you told anyone else this?" Melonie only rapidly shook her head. Janet looked at Jennifer and said, "She needs to be examined to find out."

"Examined?" Melonie screamed. "I knew it! You're just like the others!"

"No!" Janet loudly said, "No men around; just the three of us women. I'm a doctor and would simply like to know if the abortion was performed properly so if you ever decide to have a baby, you may."

"What does it matter?" Melonie cried, "No one will ever care."

"That's where you're wrong," Jennifer corrected. "Janet and I care. Preston and Keith and all the boys that rescued you from bad foster parents care. The boys that rescued you from drowning care. They did it without knowing you and would do it again if they knew all your deepest secrets. You and I will talk more about this. We'll talk about your past, the present and your hopes for the future."

Uncertainly, Melonie made eye contact with Jennifer, but only for a moment. "I don't get it," She sighed and looked back down into the sand again. "Why does anyone care? You talk about the future like... there's something there... something worth living to see."

"There is precious girl," Jennifer said.

"How you were treated was wrong in the worst ways known," Janet assured. "They were illegal acts in every civilized nation. Those that mistreated you and all the other kids on the beach have met justice. You will never see them again. All your fears and worries are past, over and done with."

"You'll be safe from those kinds of evil people from now on," Jennifer said. "My boys will make sure of it. Janet's boys and the rest of the UNIT will protect you for as long as you need or want protection. We'll take care of you; get you the medical care you need and help you release the past so you can live today and look forward to many tomorrows."

"Can you trust us to do that?" Janet asked.

Melonie shrugged and wearily answered; "I guess."

Down the beach, Prez was talking with Keith. Soon after Keith returned to shore after Melonie's rescue, the conversation began about her. Then Mike took a turn para-surfing with Spike. Derrick then took a turn with Xander. But now Mike and Derrick were surfing with their entire ferret family. It was a sight to behold and hysterical to both of Prez and Keith. Which reminded Prez; "When you and John were getting ready to paddle out before, what was so funny?"

"John was a little excited about it," Keith chuckled.

Prez only shrugged and grinned, "No big surprise there."

"No Prez!" Keith howled, "John was excited; as in visibly, hard as a fuckin' rock!"

"No way!" Prez loudly laughed. Keith nodded and laughed harder. Prez wondered, "From what; being rescued or about the helicopter ride?"

"The helicopter," Keith snickered.

"Where is he now?" Prez smiled.

"Dunno," Keith giggled, "I never saw him leave the 'copter so he must still be in there."

Adam and Logan strolled nearby and Prez called them over. As they came near Prez asked, "How're you two dudes doin'?"

"Good," Logan grinned. "Wishing it was warm like this in Utah."

"How're you two doing?" Adam asked slyly.

"Between Mike and Derrick and their ferrets, we're really good too," Keith giggled, still unable to shake his youngest brother's condition.

Prez locked eyes with Adam and smiled, "You know I trust and like you, right?"

Adam shrugged, "It was a rough start and I know it was partially my fault."

"It was a good test and when I asked, you answered honestly," Prez nodded. He then said, "Look inside my mind Adam. Then you'll see what motivates me and why I acted the way I did. Just don't look in the room marked 'Keith - Private - Keep Out'."

Tilting his head uncertainly, Adam asked, "Are you sure Prez? You really don't have to allow this you know?"

Prez nodded, "I'm sure. We will be working together again someday. I want you to know, without any doubt."

Adam closed his eyes and nodded. He frowned, then he smiled, then his face went blank and his fingers began slightly moving. A short minute or so later, Adam opened his eyes. He chuckled, "I just learned more music theory than I ever knew existed! Now I just need to try and apply it!"

Keith laughed heartily. Prez smiled and asked, "What else did you learn?"

"That you never really wanted command of this Clan or the UNIT."

Prez nodded, "And what else?"

"You took this division to make your parents, Keith and his parents proud."

"Go on," Prez prodded.

"You measure success by what is visible and audible. When these kids seem like they're happy or say nice things, you know you've done a good job. You're worried about Melonie and don't really understand why she got depressed when most of the others seem to be adjusting alright. You're need of a UNIT brigade was justifiable and I agree about that. You honestly hope you'll never have to make use of them. The next time a life is in danger, I shouldn't wait for any approval from you before acting." Adam then paused and blushed.

Logan could barely believe his eyes and incredulously giggled, "ADAM!"

"WHAT?" Adam laughed at Logan, "It wasn't in the room marked 'Keith – Private – Keep Out'!" Turning to Prez, Adam shyly stammered, "I... umm... won't say a word aloud... ever!"

Prez also blushed and giggled, "If it's what I think you're referring to, Keith and I already talked about your cut abs and tight tushie!" Adam turned beat red while Keith and Logan laughed their asses off. Offering his hand to Adam, Prez smiled, "We're cool now?"

Adam shook hands with Prez and agreed, "Definitely! I'm looking forward to working with you Prez."

Logan grinned at Keith and wondered, "Do we have to keep our eyes on our boyfriends?"

Shaking his head, Keith giggled, "Nah! Prez and I keep each other very happy. I trust him as much as he trusts me. He wouldn't have admitted his thoughts about Adam otherwise."

Logan nodded and huffed suspiciously then scanned Keith from head to toe. Adam playfully shoved him and laughed, "You'd better stop!" Grinning, Logan looked up innocently then took off running down the beach to the water.

Adam wagged his eyebrows and giggled, "See ya later!"

Prez heard chirping and wondered, "What's that noise?" Keith shrugged then joined Prez following the foreign sounds. They found themselves standing before a pile of clothing and Prez asked, "What time is it babe?"

Keith checked his watch and answered, "Quarter of five."

Kneeling down in the sand, Prez began digging through the clothes saying, "It can't be the Endeavour already!" Keith joined Prez in the search for his buried shorts and soon found them then dug the communicator out of the pocket.

Handing it to Prez, Keith grinned, "It's for you."

Squinting playfully, Prez sneered, "Some day!"

"Not today!" Keith giggled.

Prez opened the communicator and said, "This is Preston O'Brian."

"This is Lieutenant T'Rel aboard the Endeavour."

"How can I help you lieutenant?"

"We are about to beam up the food tables Sir. In the same location we will beam down additional clothing and suitcases for your Clan. Please ask all persons to step back from the tables and notify me when we may proceed."

"Thank you lieutenant. Give us a moment."

Keith stood and said, "I got this baby." Running over to the tables, Keith got everyone to finish grabbing whatever food they wanted and then step away.

Keith flashed a thumbs-up and Prez said, "We're ready now lieutenant."

"Stand by."

"Okay," Prez stammered, "I'm sorry, acknowledged." The large food tables disappeared while Prez and everyone watched then a new set of tables appeared, loaded with all kinds of clothes. Barely five seconds later, a large group of suitcases appeared beneath and around the tables. It seemed that every kid on the beach was racing towards the tables again. The adults, Keith and Kaleo were trying to hold back the rush while they figured out what was available.

"Transport complete," T'Rel said.

"Thank you lieutenant," Prez smiled. "When should I expect your next call?"

"The next communications will be in approximately forty minutes Sir."

"Thanks again! This is awesome! The kids all appreciate your kindness. Please inform your Captain we couldn't be happier."

"Very well. T'Rel out."

Prez closed the communicator and sighed, "They ain't much for small talk." Looking up again, Prez noticed all the kids were being sorted; one line for boys, another line for girls and from shortest to tallest. Prez pulled his shorts and T-Shirt on, pocketed the communicator then hurried over to Lieutenant Vorik.

Noticing the new Director approaching, Vorik asked, "Is there a problem Director O'Brian?"

"No," Prez huffed from running, "everything's great! I just have some questions about our new bases." Prez waited for a response, but since he got none and the Lieutenant was waiting, Prez wondered, "What can I expect there? We're all anxious and anything you could offer would be better than not knowing anything."

"I understand that all the children will be billeted at the main base," Vorik confirmed.

Prez nodded, "For at least the first few days, maybe longer."

Lieutenant Vorik tapped a few keys on his pad and turned it so Prez could see then explained, "This is an overhead view of your primary base at Ewa Beach. From the top northwest corner, you will find a helicopter and shuttle pad, a Federation Youth Services office building and vehicle parking areas and a parking garage. The large ovular building is the Division Command Information Center with an attached auditorium. Below the C.I.C. are housing facilities; from left to right there are town homes adequate for small families; three bedrooms, two baths, one half bath, approximately one thousand seven hundred square feet. Each town home building includes six units of similar size and function. Across and to the right are four dormitory building with sufficient facilities for three hundred eighty-four individuals. To the right of the dormitories are four single family homes. They are approximately three thousand square feet, four bedrooms, four bathrooms and fully finished basements. All dwellings will have been furnished and will be ready for occupation. To the south are recreation facilities including a regulation soccer field, basketball courts, swimming pool, pool house and an indoor recreation facility. Finally, to the southeast is an outdoor recreation area. As it currently exists, approximately forty-five acres of the seven hundred fifty acre lot are in use. Around the structures, all the previously existing vegetation has been untouched to provide security and privacy."

Wide-eyed and flabbergasted, Prez looked up and smiled, "This is... nothing less than remarkable! I really don't even know what to say except thank you, thanks to the Captain of the Endeavour and the entire crew. My only question is; where are the schools?"

Lieutenant Vorik entered a few more commands then turned the device back to Prez. "There are educational facilities to the southeast of the outdoor recreational area.

"This is the Ewa Beach 'Incoming' base. As you see, it is almost identical to the main base. The only exception being the removal of the C.I.C. and the insertion of medical facilities. All other bases are arranged similarly. As for medical facilities, the main division hospital is at the O'ahu UNIT base on the peninsula."

"Amazing!" Prez gasped.

Vorik nodded, "The facilities are adequate and serviceable."

At the understatement, Prez chuckled, "We're going to need maps to get around!"

"I will be leading an orientation tour this evening," Lieutenant Vorik said.

"Is there anything else you know that I prob'ly don't?" Prez grinned.

Raising an eyebrow, Lieutenant Vorik stated, "Tomorrow we will need to arrange education for use of the various Clan Short hardware devices and associated software. The education could take as little as two hours, depending on your team's ability to absorb the information."

Prez thought for a few moments then said, "We're all good students. I need to check with my team, but I believe we could begin that around noon."

"I will make arrangements for that hour and will keep it unless notified by you that it needs to change," Lieutenant Vorik nodded, and then input the data on his pad.

Standing up straight and attempting to appear more formal and professional, Prez said, "Thank you Lieutenant. If there is anything more required, let me know."

"Very well Director O'Brian," Lieutenant Vorik said.

Prez waved and giggled, "See ya later," then raced over to where everyone was gathered around the tables of clothing. When he arrived, most of the youngest kids were being helped with packing their new Clan Short suitcases. Prez noticed that they now seemed to have the basic clothing necessities. Arriving near Mrs. Seaver first, Prez asked, "How's it goin'?"

Mrs. Seaver looked up for only a moment then continued helping and said, "The children have a week's worth of underwear and socks, sneakers to go with the sandals they already have, a few pair of jeans, T-shirts, button down sport shirts and windbreakers too."

"Can you think of anything else they may need?" Prez wondered.

Mrs. Seaver shrugged, "This is fine for everyday wear, but they would eventually need shoes and dress clothes."

"We'll deal with that when we need to," Prez said and then smiled at the boy. "What do you think Richie? Do you like your new clothes?"

Richie Grunert looked up and smiled, "It's kewl! I never had new clothes before. John said I'll have my own bed too! Is that for real?"

Laying a hand gently on the boy's shoulder, Prez nodded, "A new bed of your very own and anything else you want or need, I promise. Ya know what else we're gonna do tonight?"

Richie looked down and softly offered, "Chores?"

Taken aback, Prez acted less shocked than he truly was and shook his head violently. "Nope, we're gonna play video games! And listen to music! And watch TV! And just hang out so we can get to know each other!"

Richie delightfully squealed, "Really?"

"Really," Prez chuckled, "from now on your main job is to be the very best Richie you can be! All that means is school, which even I still have to do. But you can try all kinds of new stuff if you want."

"Like what kinds o' stuff?" Richie wondered.

"You can play soccer or basketball or volleyball or tennis, or swimming in our pool. Or maybe you might like to try painting, or playing piano like Keith, guitar like Mike, drums like Derrick or bass guitar like me. Basically anything you want to try that you've always wanted to, but never could."

"Won't I have to do any chores?"

Mrs. Seaver smiled at Richie and assured, "All you'll need to do is keep your new bedroom tidy. We'll have a service do all the cleaning and painting and lawn work so you kids can be kids."

Prez locked his eyes on Mrs. Seaver and asked, "You've been considering all that?"

"Of course!" Mrs. Seaver giggled. "Did you think we weren't making any plans? You can't think of everything Preston; not even with your team helping you. Laura Gibbons, Anna Seibert and I have already resigned from our jobs. Our new jobs are going to be helping all these boys and girls every way we can."

"What about my folks?" Prez asked.

She said, "Your mom and dad will be handing in their notices Monday. Mike and Derrick's fathers will be doing the same." She paused and closed up the suitcase for Richie smiling, "There you are; all set. It's even got your name on it so you'll always know it's yours."

"Thank you Mrs. Seaver," Richie softly grinned.

"The price is one kiss on the cheek!" Mrs. Seaver teased. But Richie giggled, leaned over and gave her a peck anyway.

Before he ran off, Prez took hold of him again and said, "Find your clothes and get dressed Richie. We're going to our new home soon and we can't be naked all the time. Let's at least transport with our clothes on, okay bud?"

"You should talk!" Mrs. Seaver giggled.

Prez blushed and laughed. While Mrs. Seaver began packing the suitcase for the next child in line, Prez bellowed, "CAN I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE?" Once most everyone had turned his way, Prez loudly said, "When everyone is packed, we're heading to our new homes! If you're just waiting in line or not otherwise occupied helping some of the little tikes, get dressed. After we get home and get some supper, we'll decide what to do next and whether it requires clothes or not!"

"What are we doing for supper?" Mr. Seibert playfully hollered.

Smiling, Prez shrugged and loudly said, "whatever ya want. Put a plate of food in front of me and I'm happy." While they were helping kids pick clothes, Keith, Derrick and Mike began laughing. Prez noticed both helicopters were nowhere to be seen on the beach or in the sky.

Already dressed again, Nathan, John and Bruce ran over to Prez. John asked, "Can we have pizza for supper Prez?"

"Let's wait and see what the adults have in mind bro," Prez said. "It might be even better than pizza."

"Nothin's better than pizza," John softly frowned.

Prez giggled, "But pizza for over two hundred? We're talking like a hundred and eighty pizzas!"

"We're good for the local economies," Nathan slyly chuckled. "whatever you need for tonight and tomorrow Prez, I'll let Daileass know. You'll learn from me and Daileass how to place similar orders."

"Oh God!" Prez laughed, "you're right! We can't exactly go grocery shopping for a hundred plus, can we?"

Smirking, Nathan shrugged, "If you want to load a three-quarter ton van every other day, you can if you want, but it's better to just order bulk and have it delivered by truck."

Prez playfully rambled, "I'd like twenty dozen eggs, thirty gallons of milk, forty boxes of assorted cereals..."

"You're not too far off the mark!" Nathan laughed. "Daileass will get you hooked up with all our regular suppliers for food, clothes, households and general merchandise. That way you won't have to worry about security clearances, it's all been done already."

"Are you listening to this Daileass?" Prez wondered.

"Heard every word Prez," Daileass assured via the sub-vocal.

Mr. Hundser walked up and placed a hand on his foster son's shoulder. "What's up dad?" Prez smiled.

"We've decided on tonight's dinner," Mr. Hundser began. "We'd like to barbeque; maybe some chicken, hot dogs, burgers and sausages for the kids. The parents are leaning more towards salmon and jumbo shrimp. Some assorted salads would be nice too."

"I'll take care of it Prez," Nathan said.

Mr. Hundser scowled, "How are you going to handle all that? The four fathers were planning on taking two or three cars to the grocery store just for dinner!"

Nathan smiled and held up a finger. "Daileass, we'd like to place our dinner order now."

"Go ahead Nathan," Daileass responded.

Nathan said, "We're barbequing tonight. We'll need two hundred hamburgers and buns, two hundred hot dogs and buns, two hundred mild sausages, twenty chickens cut into parts... better make that thirty chickens... twenty salmon steaks and a hundred jumbo shrimp. Now for condiments; twenty bottles of ketchup, another twenty of spicy and mild mustard, relish, pickles, hamburger dill slices, mayonnaise and tartar sauce and two fifty-five gallon barrels of barbeque sauces. We'll also want twenty gallons of macaroni salad and twenty gallons of potato salad. Course we'll need sodas, juices, water, milk and something nice for the adults, a case of beer and a case of white wine. Don't forget cookies by the case and plenty of fruits for the gorillas. Got all that?"

"I've got it Nathan," Daileass assured. "I've also placed standard orders for your food for tomorrow and Monday. Eggs, pancakes, waffles or cereals for breakfast. Assorted lunch meats and breads for lunch. Pasta and meatballs with side salads for dinner tomorrow night. And how about London broil and baked potatoes for Monday night?"

"Sounds great!" Prez cheered.

Daileass said, "All this will be delivered to the main Ewa Beach base before six-thirty this evening local time. Please inform Adam that security and quartermasters will need to be in place before then. It's all been paid for out of the account Logan showed you this morning."

"You rock dude!" Prez smiled.

Daileass giggled, "I aim to please! Anything else guys?"

"Lemme check, just a moment," Prez said. Then he glanced around asking, "What else do we need?"

"Grills, tables and chairs?" Mr. Hundser grinned.

"OH!" Prez snickered, "Daileass, will we have grills, tables and seating for about three hundred?"

"There are twenty-five gas grills on your base;" Daileass replied, "four near the single family homes, one for each town-home and the others at the north end of the outdoor recreation area. Your C.I.C. should have more than sufficient seating for everyone. There are plates and silverware in the C.I.C. kitchen too."

"Thanks dude," Prez said. "Catch ya later, okay?"

"You bet! Just give a shout if you need anything," Daileass said.

"We've got lots of grills, tables and chairs for everyone dad," Prez assured and then laughed, "This is nuts! This morning I was wondering how I would feed, clothe and house everyone! In a day it's all been done!"

"These kids are important to all of us Prez," Nathan reminded. "If you can't do the basic stuff, we're in a lot of trouble!"

Prez nodded and said, "I gotta tell Adam that we need security setup on the new base. The food trucks will arrive by six-thirty."

"Gotchya covered Prez," Nathan said. He then tapped his comm-badge and said "Adam?"

"What?" Adam giggled.

Nathan grinned, "Prez is getting everyone ready to move onto the main O'ahu base. We've already contacted Daileass for food. Everything will be rolling in by six-thirty so we need quartermasters and security."

"We're busy!" Logan interrupted, "Tell Donnie to get his teams over there and in place."

"Yeah," Adam giggled, "That sounds like a plan!"

Nathan snickered, "Where the hell are you both?"

"Wouldn't you like to know!" Logan laughed.

"HEY!" Nathan shouted.

"Adam out!" both Adam and Logan chorused.

Prez grinned, "What happened?"

Nathan frowned, "He shot me a telepathic bird!"

"What're friends for?" Prez chuckled.

Shaking his head sadly, Nathan softly commented, "They'll regret that!" and then tapped his comm-badge again. "Donnie?"

"Yeah Nathan, what's up?" Nathan repeated his message and Donnie replied, "Got it prepped and ready to go. Two at the Iroquios Avenue entrance, two at the North Road entrance, another two at the housing area checkpoint and four gorillas roaming looking for lurkers. Is Prez there with you?"

"Right here Donnie," Prez chimed.

"Just say when Prez."

Prez grinned, "I'm expecting the Endeavour any minute. When is now."

"Done," Donnie answered. "We'll see you guys there. Donnie out."

Prez picked up the rest of the clothes in the pile nearby then stood and grinned, "Lemme get my core Rimmers dressed."

"Good idea," Nathan agreed.

"Director O'Brian," Lieutenant Vorik called.

Carrying clothes with him to meet with Lieutenant Vorik, Prez answered, "Yes Sir?"

"Now that you have sufficient security, my team and I will be leaving as soon as you depart for O'ahu. I will meet you there at twenty-hundred hours to begin familiarizing your Clan with the facilities."

"Excellent!" Prez chirped. "Eight tonight should work fine. Thank you for everything Lieutenant. I look forward to seeing you later tonight."

The rest of the Core Rimmers had come up to Prez right at the end of the conversation and were now just waiting for the transport when Juan and Jory ran up to them. "HEY GUYS!" Jory loudly huffed, obviously slightly out of breath.

Juan grinned, "We'd been looking all over for you guys."

"What's up dudes?" Prez asked, matching their grins

"We kinda forgot something earlier, and I think you guys and your kids would be the perfect people to test them out on!" Jory rushed out.

Mike held up his hand to try and slow him down. Trying hard not to laugh, Mike chortled, "Wait a minute, what do you mean. Start at the beginning, what did you forget?"

"We forgot about the bears!" Jory said quickly, then Juan slugged him hard in the shoulder. "OWWWW! What?"

"Let me do it asshole, your confusing them!" Juan said, getting ready to hit his brother again.

"FINE! You do it," Jory exclaimed, while still grinning.

"See it's like this. You guys met Galli right?" Juan asked. When he got affirmative nods from all of them, he continued. "Well, a little while ago, Galli, Jory, Joel and I came up with something to help all the kids that we'd rescued. Right now, we got lots of them at the UNIT base, but to be honest, that's not really a good test of them; so we figured we'd ask if you guys wanna test them out for us."

"Okay, why not first tell us what 'they' are?" Prez chuckled, trying hard not to laugh at the enthusiasm of the confusing younger boys.

Jory punched Juan on the shoulder and jumped in; "See, you ain't doing no better!" He turned toward the group and started up where Juan left off. "See, we were looking to make something that would not only help the kids, but also be able to protect them, so we made teddy bears. We'd like to know if you guys would like to give them out to your group and see if they want them."

"Sure, why not," Mike shrugged. "I can see that; lots of kids would love to have a teddy bear. I mean I had one till I was almost twelve. What harm could they cause?"

"Well these ain't your normal Teddy bears," Juan said, grinning even wider.

"What do you mean by that?" Keith asked suspiciously.

"Well see, these ones are actually sort of like android teddy bears," Juan tried to explain. "They're actually only V.I. which means they aren't actually intelligent, but they have some very complicated programming. They ain't ever going to become sentient, like an A.I. would."

"Okay, I've heard about A.I., but what's V.I.?" Prez asked.

"Virtual Intelligence!" Juan, Jory and Drew all said at the same time. The Core Rimmers all had eyes on Drew with the same look; explain.

Juan said, "See, A.I. is like an actual living person; they can learn, they can do things that a normal computer can't. Virtual Intelligence, is different. It cannot learn, at least not anything past it's programming. If a V.I. is not programmed to do something, it can't learn how to do it."

"Okay, so what do these teddy bears do?" Mike softly wondered.

"It's really simple actually. They make friends with one of the kids," Jory explained, now over his initial excitement. "At that point, the bear acts as a friend for the kid. It will never betray them, never hurt them, never tell any of the kid's secrets, and most important, if someone tries to hurt the kid, the bear will protect the kid no matter what."

"Protect? How?" Drew asked.

"Well, they were programmed in fighting by Chang himself; who, as you know, is the UNIT's bad ass amongst bad asses. Not to mention that they all have retractable four inch claws that extend out of their fingers. Sort of like Wolverine in the X-Men comics," Juan explained, now in his 'teacher' mode. "If someone tried to hurt their 'friend', the bear would react and protect the child."

"But what if the kids are just wrestling around?" John asked.

"Well first, they know the difference between someone trying to hurt the kid, and someone just playing. Second, they will always warn the person before they attack. If the person backs off, and the child can escape, the bear will not attack." Jory said. He and Juan were taking turns explain different bits of the bears.

"Cool!" John exclaimed. "Can I get one; just to see what they're like?"

"SURE!" Juan cried out excitedly at seeing someone actually wanting one of the bears; someone who wasn't in the UNIT base. He pulled out a data pad, and hit a few buttons, then handed it to John. "We got about fifteen different types, different sizes, and colors. Just pick out which one you'd want, and I'll have Daileass transport it over.

John looked over the available options, and finally came up with what he wanted, a brown furred, blue eyed, male bear, that was as big as they were made, which was forty inches tall. As soon as John made his decision, Juan made a few entries then called Daileass for delivery.

Little more than a minute later, a three-foot four-inch Teddy bear materialized next to Juan, looking exactly as John had picked out. The bear looked up at Juan, and all Juan did was point to John. The bear's face broke out in a huge grin and quickly waddled over to John. "Hi!" it said in a very life like, child like voice. "I'm Zed. What's your name?" Some of the kids further down the beach saw the Teddy bear actually walking. Word spread like wild-fire.

John was grinning, as was everyone else. "I'm John."

"Hi John, can I be your friend?" Zed asked, looking up at John with his big blue eyes.

Juan quickly jumped in before John could answer. "That's how it bonds to someone. If you say yes, it will bond with you, until either you decide you don't want him anymore, or until it is destroyed. Just so you know." Juan wanted to make sure that John understood, which he did.

John thought about it for less than a minute, then looked back down at the bear. "Yes, I would love to be your friend."

A human wave of about thirty kids, mostly under ten years old, converged on John and Zed.

Editor’s Notes:

CS-PRD has certainly sprung to life! Eggman never stops amazing me with what he can do with a story! The characters are starting to really develop now. Preston really impressed me when he finally had enough of Adam pushing him. Then, Adam did it on purpose too and Prez passed the test!!! Prez won't let anyone just push him around.

John is now a core Rimmer (Soul Rimmer!) Ha, Ha. That made me really laugh! But, John is coming into his own a bit. Being an Empath is not so bad, he seems to be really good at it too! Now I can't wait to see what else he picks up on.

Mike and Derrick dads? Now that is going to be fun, and to Spike!!! OMG, what on earth were they thinking! Now they are considering changing the name of the band to Platinum Habits! Oh, a Shiney band they will be! Let's not forget that Mike will be a Shiney Priest as well!

I don't know about you, but I think the UNIT guys set the Rimmers up really nicely and got them going on the right foot too! I like Adam, Logan and the UNIT. They all seem to be great and helpful. And from the sounds of it, Prez and Keith liked ''seeing" Adam, as they did make some comments on how tight and buff he was!!! HeeHee. Logan checking out Keith really set me to laughing.

But seriously, I just wonder what is in store for these guys. What could Eggman possibly come up with, and how much trouble can these guys find! Well, considering how many countries and states that these guys are responsible for, there could be plenty for them to do and plenty of trouble out there. Let’s hope they can save some kids!

Hugs and Happy Holidays from your friendly neighborhood Boxer!