Clan Short Pacific Rim Division

Chapter 26

Author's Note: On February 27th, 2015, Leonard Nimoy, the actor that played 'Spock' in the original Star Trek television series and in the Star Trek films, passed on to the next life at the age of 83. This chapter is dedicated in his memory, may it 'live long and prosper'.

Charleston, SC, AI Hospital

Wednesday, November 10, 2004, 12:19PM

While the Core Rimmers prepared for their day, Marc, Danny and Doctor Hubbard made the rounds. Danny walked into a semi private room where two eight-year-old boys lay in beds, intently watching the television mounted high on the wall across from them. 

Pretending to check the charts and not saying a word, Danny listened to Alden's voice on the television, calmly and gently saying, "This is the lavatory in dormitory three at Ewa Beach. Those four boys at the sinks are four of the Pacific Rim Division leadership team. The tallest and largest, brown haired boy is Jason Montigua. We call him Jay, just like his partner of three years, the blond boy beside him, whose name is Christopher Stokley. Beside Chris is Scott Shetley. Jay, Chris and Scott are fourteen years old. Beside Scott is his boyfriend, Lance Kinchen. Lance is thirteen years old. All four were made leaders yesterday. They're awake now and brushing their teeth, preparing to come visit all of you kids here. Visiting you guys is their first real mission, so they're anxious about meeting you. Of course, being anxious, that means they're a little afraid too. Are you afraid of meeting them?"

Not realizing Alden was an AI, or that he could see and hear them, one boy shrugged and the other nodded. To the boy that nodded, the four naked teens were huge and very muscular. Even thirteen-year-old Lance, the shortest and least developed of the four, was intimidating. Pouring on charm and understanding, manners that Danny had never heard from any of the Clan AI's, Alden pleasantly encouraged, "Please don't be scared. Let me assure you, all the Clan kids you'll be meeting this afternoon are the kindest, most caring people in the whole world. Some of them are responsible for rescuing you." 

Alden paused to ask, "Danny, which orphanages are these boys from?"

After scanning both charts, Danny answered, "Los Angeles and San Jose."

"Perfect!" Alden cheered, and changed the audio/video feed to the bedroom where John and Stephen could be seen dressing. Alden introduced John and Stephen, and then added, "They were leaders of the team that rescued kids from San Jose. They're very special boys. Stephen is an empath, which means he can pickup and understand what you're feeling. That means he'll know what you need moments after entering the room, without either of you saying a word. John's an empath and has learned telepathy. That means he can feel your feelings and read your exact thoughts. Of all the very special people you'll meet today, you'll meet others that are exactly like John and Stephen. None of you guys will have to worry about anything anymore. They'll know exactly what scares you and make it better. It sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?"

Danny saw both boys mutely nod before moving on to the next room. Out in the hall, Danny softly muttered, "Un-fucking-believable. If I didn't know better, I'd swear that wasn't Alden."

Into Danny's sub-vocal, Alden giggled, "VI interfaces, Grandpa. Be nice or be wet!"

Danny grinned, "Which body of water are you planning on dropping me into now?"

"How embarrassed would you like to be?" Alden evilly snickered. "Prez and Keith are almost done making love in their shower. Next door, Derrick and Mike are also getting busy. I could drop you into either shower, or maybe you'd rather see for yourself that Sean Moorhead has one of the longest and thickest cocks in the Clan. Of course, you'll only see the half that Troy doesn't have in his mouth."

"A Rimmer isn't rimming?" Danny giggled, "I am surprised."

"That's Drew's and Jerry's preferred activity this morning," Alden sniggered.

Danny giggled, "Save the dunk for after our kids get helped, Alden," and stepped into the next room. Another two boys were being introduced to Kaleo and Tory, who were busily helping their youngest sons towel off. Mark and Marv were delightfully squealing, while Leonard and Russ laughed at their brothers and dads. For the first time in a week, Danny saw two small smiles form on two of his California Orphanage patients. From across the hall, Danny heard giggling.

Danny hurried to see which patients were actually giggling. Marc stepped out of the room, leaned against the corridor wall and uncontrollably laughed, "I retract my previous assumption. This not only could work, it's already working."

Danny grinned, "Who's giggling?"

"Greg Harmon started and Clark Pope joined him," Marc giggled. "It was the little guys that set them off, or Kaleo's evil cackling, I think."

Danny nodded and smiled, "I've only been in two rooms, but all four boys showed more interest in what they're seeing than anything else I've witnessed."

"Your four plus my six," Marc smiled.

Coming down the hall, Doc Hubbard added, "Plus the six girls I was just with. What completely confounds me is how none of us here even considered this solution."

Danny shrugged, "It wasn't a medical or psychological method."

Marc offered, "Paul, Reyes and Ryan never mentioned the level two kids while they were with us Monday."

"I knew the level two kids were expected at Ewa Beach," Danny smirked, "but something this simple never occurred to me."

From the room Marc had just left, both boys yelled, "OMIGOD!" No similar outburst had been heard from any of the kids, so Danny, Marc and Doc Hubbard hurried into the room. In the bed closest to the door, fourteen-year-old Clark was weeping. In the next bed, fifteen-year-old Greg pointed at the screen and shouted, "THAT'S HIM! HE'S THE ONE THAT SAVED US!" He then began crying and panting like he had expended all his energy. 

Danny, Marc and Doc Hubbard turned to the television. Partially hunched over and pulling up his boardies over boxer shorts was Prez. Alden giggled, "Please meet Family Clan Short Pacific Rim Director, Preston O'Brian. Everyone calls him Prez. He's my boss and your leader, as soon as you're all well enough to join him, and his husband, Keith, at Ewa Beach."

Clark whimpered, "He's coming here... today?"

"OMIGOD!" Greg hollered, "We're... but... When? He can't! Not like this!"

From nine other rooms up and down the hall, nurse call buttons were pressed. Danny and Doc Hubbard raced out of the room. Noticing blood pressure monitors spiking, Marc firmly ordered, "Take it easy, guys."

"You don't get it!" Greg impatiently panted.

Covering his face, Clark sobbed, "We was dirty and naked when he saw us."

"We're not any better now either," Greg cried.

Gesturing at the beeping monitors, Marc pleaded, "Guys, slow down. You are better now than you were last week; you're clean and healthy. I've met Prez, and all the Pacific Rim leaders. If you treat them how you're acting now, you'll embarrass them, causing them to blush and giggle. They'll tell you that they're just regular guys. In every respect, they are normal teenagers." 

Marc paused to hear Danny in his sub-vocal saying, "Every kid from San Francisco went nuts the moment they saw Prez. Believe it or not, we've got to calm these kids down."

"Alden," Marc loudly called, "find a Platinum Habits concert video and play that for the San Francisco group."

Danny loudly laughed, "Do not play 'Knocking At Your Back Door', Alden!" Remembering the beach house performance and three Rimmers shaking their tushes for the audience, Marc uncontrollably cracked up.

In every room that had a San Francisco kid, the video feed switched to the prior afternoon's concert of ballads and love songs. Almost immediately, kids began to relax to the music. Soon after Reyes began singing 'Just My Imagination', Clark Pope, a fair skinned African-American boy, went completely limp and slumped in his bed. Checking Clark's vital signs, and then glancing at the television, Marc quickly confirmed that the boy had fainted. He pressed the button to lower the top half of the mattress so blood could return to Clark's brain, allowing the boy to come around naturally.

Greg wondered, "Is he okay?"

Nodding, Marc giggled, "Yeah. He'll be fine."

"That dude singing is really cute," Greg purred.

Marc giggled, "Yeah, but he's got a boyfriend already." He made a mental note to tell Reyes to be extra slow and careful around Clark. All the level three orphans were doing much better, but sudden changes in blood pressure could cause another fainting spell.

"Lucky guy," Greg grinned.

Marc gently asked, "Would you tell me a little about yourself, Greg?"

"My parents died June of 2000," Greg flatly answered. Looking back up at the television, Greg sighed, "I was put in that place, and it was worse than I imagined. The kids fought over food. I had to teach them to share. I never went to school again. Some of the kids never saw a school in their entire lives." Beginning to cry again, Greg muttered, "I tried and tried, but the adults wouldn't listen and didn't care. They locked us in our rooms, about twenty hours of every day, only letting us out to eat, clean up after ourselves and go to the bathroom. Even when we were together to eat, we weren't allowed to talk. We had a bucket in the closet if we needed..."

Reaching for tissues to wipe away the boy's tears, Marc softly said, "That's plenty, Greg. You must realize that you saved kids at your orphanage."

"I didn't save 'em all," Greg bitterly wept. "Some of the worst kids were taken away from there. I don't know where they went."

"I can tell you did your best though," Marc assured.

Wiping his eyes and trying to pull himself together, Greg whimpered, "Doctor Furst?"


"Could I please put on regular clothes?"

"Are you ready to try and stand on your new foot?"

"I have to be. I don't want Prez seeing me like this, in a gown."

Taking off his white smock and laying it on the edge of the bed, Marc instructed, "First of all, enough of Doctor Furst. My name is Marc. I'll support you, get you in the shower and stay with you until your done. Then we'll get you into clothes, the quick and easy way."

Greg scowled, "Which quick and easy way?"

"Transportation out naked, and back fully dressed," Marc grinned. Thoughtfully humming, Greg began to turn and pull his legs off the edge of the bed. Marc wondered, "Is something wrong, Greg?"

Shrugging, Greg blushed, "I'm gay. Don't freak out if I pop a woody."

Marc smiled, "I promise, it won't be a problem for any doctor here."

"Without knowing it or really trying, I probably made all the dudes in our orphanage room gay."

Reaching around the teenager to untie the knot in his hospital gown, Marc explained, "You didn't make anyone gay, Greg; that's simply not possible. Guys may be homosexual, or bisexual, or completely heterosexual. Being a teenager, you can't always control it. As far as I'm concerned, you simply gave the boys some enjoyment in an otherwise dismal situation."

"We did everything though," Greg sorrowfully mumbled.

Marc shrugged then asked, "Did you force anyone to do anything?"


"Then you did what almost every boy does, and with the boys you were closest to. You don't need to feel guilty about that or anything else. The only guilty people at your home were the adults."

Greg wondered, "What happened to them?"

Marc called, "Alden?"

Over Marc's comm-badge, Alden flatly replied, "For fifteen violations against the Safe Haven Act, multiplied twenty times for each kid in the home, they were executed on the spot."

Greg blinked then smirked, "All the kids from my orphanage need to know that. I've had nightmares, so I'll bet other kids have too." He started wiggling his buns off the bed and Marc quickly took his left arm, to support the side that now had an android foot attached. When the foot hit the floor for the first time, Greg grimaced and mooed.

Pulling the boy's arm over his shoulders, Marc asked, "How does it feel?"

Greg scowled, "Kind o' asleep, but really cold."

Marc smiled, "Perfect. That's exactly the answer I hoped to hear." Marc guided Greg and pulled the IV stand along with them. They went into the room's bathroom, where Greg took his first shower alone in four years. In the bathroom with Greg, Marc at last got to explain that he had an android replacement foot that would grow with him. Supporting himself on the IV stand, Greg also got the standard Clan orientation lecture while Marc toweled him dry.

Coming into the room and greeting Clark, who was now awake and watching the Platinum Habits concert, Danny peeked into the bathroom to cheerfully tell Marc, "They're not even here yet and ten other kids with new toes, fingers, hands, arms, legs and feet are out of bed, getting cleaned up and dressed. One of those ten isn't even from San Francisco!"

"I wanna shower and real clothes too!" Clark yelled from his bed.

Gesturing to the main room, Greg giggled, "Guess who's awake. The whole time we was in that hell hole, he barely spoke."

Clark called, "Greg?"


"The next time you take a shower with a cute blond doctor, but without me, you'd better hope you can run and I can't!"

Watching Greg and Marc turn redder by the millisecond, Danny cracked up laughing. Danny was about to ask a question before Clark and Greg proved they had voices and could speak, but now he had to wait to stop laughing.

Sadly shaking his head, Marc tossed the damp towel over Danny's head and smirked, "Since you can speak, Greg, would you care to tell me why you haven't said much for a week?"

Nodding, Greg grinned, "I didn't trust you." Losing his smile and becoming very serious, Greg softly explained, "At our orphanage, there are three other boys like me and Clark, who were there less than four years. There's only one other girl who was there about two years. Other than the six, almost all the other littlest kids have been there too long to remember much other than hell. It's those littlest kids I'm worried about. They can barely understand and hardly ever speak. Without us oldest six, the other fourteen won't budge for nobody."

From beyond the bathroom doorway, a deeper voice asked, "What do you need to do, Greg?" A step inside the bathroom, Danny turned to the familiar voice, smiled and wrapped an arm around his Clan brother. Further in the room, just outside the shower and supporting Greg, Mark turned his head. Standing there naked before Prez, as he had been a week earlier, Greg whimpered, started breathing quickly and heavily, and then began to uncontrollably cry. Prez tapped Danny on the shoulder and stepped into the bathroom, softly asking, "Give us a few minutes alone, please, guys?"

Danny nodded and went out to the room, where Keith was leaning over the bed and consoling Clark.

On his way out of the bathroom, Marc briefly instructed, "It's his first minutes on a new foot, Prez."

Nodding and forcing a small smile, Prez took Greg in his arms, and assured, "I've got him." Marc closed the bathroom door behind him, then he and Danny went to check other rooms.

The floor of the new Charleston AI hospital that had been deathly quiet for a week was bustling with activity. The Rimmers had invaded the hospital with more than sixty helpers, not including Doc Wiener. Up and down the hall, Core Rimmers, their sons, boyfriends, and the gifted empaths and telepaths were checking on their newest brothers and sisters. Televisions played Platinum Habits ballads. Doctors, nurses and med-bots scurried from room-to-room, ensuring that the orphans didn't over extend themselves.

Gently and carefully, Prez tried to quiet the teenaged boy he had rescued and talked with the prior week. Already somewhat aware that Greg had tried to help kids in his orphanage, Prez had specifically told Alden to transport him to where Greg was. Similarly, Derrick and Mike transported to another room where a teenage boy from Los Angeles was recovering.

The first words from Greg that Prez barely understood were "Thank you," and "I love you."

Shedding quiet tears, Prez softly assured, "And I love you, and about four hundred and eighty other brothers and sisters. Do you believe me, Greg?"

Nodding, Greg sobbed, "I do. Only someone that has that much love could do what you did."

Purposefully conveying certainty and enthusiasm, Prez reminded, "You did the same, loving the kids in your home, under the worst circumstances."

With his face still buried against Prez's chest, Greg muttered, "Not like you though."

"Yeah, you did," Prez gently insisted. "I saw it for myself. Every kid in that kitchen was huddled up to you, as close as they could get. That tells me nineteen kids trust you. That's why I asked, what do you need to do?"

"I need to talk to the kids, but I can barely stand or walk. Marc about carried me in here."

"Then supporting you is my job. All you have to do is tell me when you're ready to start, and if your foot hurts. Then we'll park your butt in a wheelchair to finish the job. Kewl?"

Looking up at Prez with the immediate trust and love of a much younger boy, Greg wiped his eyes and smiled, "Kewl, Prez."

"Are you ready?"

Greg nodded and smiled up at his new friend, nervously admitting, "I'd do anything you told me."

Prez smiled, "We're a lot alike, bro. I do for every kid at two bases now, and I love the challenge." Reaching one arm over, Prez pulled a hand towel off the shelf and wiped Greg's face dry of tears. Prez then called Alden to get Greg dressed in "proper Pacific Rim Division attire." Leaning onto his IV stand, Greg phased out naked and back in wearing boardies and a Hawaiian button-down sport shirt.

"Awesome!" Greg excitedly gushed.

"I'll share something with you, so we can share it with all the other kids."

"Uh oh, that sounds serious."

Nodding, Prez leaned closer to help Greg stand, and to whisper, "Every kid is awesome. It's only asshole adults that make kids believe their not awesome. Adults that have some major inferiority complex make kids believe they're awful, only so they can feel superior. What you kids are going to start learning today is that you're very important to us; each of you have value and worth."

"How can you know that, and say it like it's true?"

"It is true. It's so true that I brought a team of sixty here, and my brothers from Des Moines and Orlando are at two other hospitals. We want you kids as part of our Clan. Thousands of kids around the world are our brothers and sisters."

Shivering and shedding happy tears, Greg whimpered, "Why?"

"To change the world, bro; so what inferior adults have done will never happen again."

"You make me believe it's true."

"That's the key word, Greg - believe; believe in yourself and believe you can achieve a goal. Have a little faith and try, then watch the results."

Prez took Greg's left arm over his shoulder and led the way out of the bathroom.

As soon as Greg and Prez stepped into the room, on queue and as planned, Keith and Clark suspiciously huffed, "HARRUMPH!" Of course, Clark couldn't hold his suspicious glare and began giggling.

Keith evilly grinned, "Now I get to help Clark in and out of the shower."

"WHAT?" Clark incredulously squealed, "You didn't tell me that!" causing Prez and Greg to crack up.

Nodding and softly chortling, Keith told Clark, "You're my brother... my recovering brother, with a new right leg, from the knee down, according to Danny. It's a slippery job, but someone's got to do it."

Prez told Greg, "Keith's my husband. I completely trust him. The question is, do you trust Clark?"

Nodding, Greg giggled, "If he's got half a brain, he'll pop a bone, but will only wash it."

Wide-eyed, Clark gasped, "I don't believe you said that!"

Prez chuckled, "Find me a teenaged dude that doesn't get a chubby in the shower, and I'll have Danny prescribe Viagra to correct the issue."

Standing in the doorway, Marc sniggered, "The old man has a renewable prescription."

From the ceiling speakers, Stevie giggled, "I'm tellin' Grandpa you said that."

Effortlessly, Keith reached behind Clark and pulled the correct string to untie his gown.

Greg grinned, "It took Marc way longer than that!"

Prez nodded and chuckled, "Keith's really good at untying knots, and opening buttons and zippers."

"And Prez is good at flashing national officials, like Presidents and Kings!" Alden playfully offered.

"I wish I had seen that," Marc giggled.

Suddenly, the TV flickered and showed a video loop of Prez, talking to Colin Powell, Gordon Rice and King Aalona, from Friday morning, where his robe repeatedly slipped open. Marc, Greg and Clark cracked up.

Bouncing his eyebrows, Keith sniggered, "That was an interesting day for our entire Clan."

Through his chucking, Prez sweetly called, "Alden?"

"Yeah, I know," Alden giggled, "my first day with a body will be spent in the diving well and with Grandma Morrison."

Obviously confused, Clark and Greg asked, "You don't have a body?" 

"No, I'm the much improved, better, faster, and cuter version of that ancient doctor standing with you!" Alden replied.

Unexpectedly, Greg groaned and pulled his left foot up off the floor. Concerned, Prez asked, "Are you okay?" Hurrying over, Marc knelt before Greg.

Greg shrugged, "It was a sharp pain, like stepping on glass."

Looking up, Marc reminded Greg, "The foot is making connections with your nervous system. This time it was sharp, another time it might be heat, or a tickling sensation." He then ordered, "Wiggle your toes a little." Greg did as he was told. Then Marc used a pen to tap around the top, sides and bottom of Greg's foot, checking that each tap was felt. Standing again, Marc smiled, "It's kewl. When you feel stuff like that, take a break to wiggle your foot and toes."

Prez asked, "Is Greg good to take a walk around with me? We need to visit some of the other kids, like he said."

"He's perfectly fine and should be able to put more weight on it as he walks around," Marc assured. "By the end of today, it'll be a little like a twisted ankle. Tomorrow, I'll be complaining because he won't stay in bed."

"Just like he complains about Great-Great-Great-Great Grandpa Danny!" Kerry giggled.

Clark asked, "What about my leg?"

Marc answered, "You'll feel similar sensations all the way up to your knee. It's completely normal, and will dissipate with continued use. It would help if you wiggled your toes, rotated your ankle or flexed your knee joint."

Slowly walking toward the doorway, with Greg carefully hobbling along beside him, Prez wondered, "How're you going to deal with the kids?"

Stepping out into the hallway, Greg shrugged, "It depends on the kid. With some, I can just tell them how it is. With others, I'll have to whisper in their ear. Now that I think about it, seeing you again might make them freak out."

Prez asked, "How can we correct that?"

Grimacing, Greg blinked and muttered, "I'm not sure. You'll need to hang back a bit, Prez. Maybe I could use crutches?"

Having an idea, Prez grinned, "How about a piggy-back ride?"

Greg gasped, "No!"

Prez playfully sang, "Yes," and maneuvered to stand in front of Greg, mindful to keep supporting his left side.

Embarrassed to near mortification, Greg squealed, "No, Prez!" Reaching back, Prez lifted Greg's left leg first, and then his right leg. Shedding happy tears, Greg held Prez around the shoulders, giggling, "No wasn't a good answer?"

"Think about it," Prez grinned, "the kids need to see you trusting me, so I'm not some major super-hero to them. That's the kind of attitude that nearly drove me insane."

Greg giggled, "Nearly?"

Carrying Greg down the hall, Prez sniggered, "So, I play bizarre video games and walk into girls' changing rooms. I know another Clan leader that blows up trees for grins and kicks."

"I really don't know about this!" Greg cackled.

"I'll explain it to you some time soon."

Back in the room that Prez and Greg had just left, Marc watched Keith helping Clark to stand on his new leg for the first time. While Keith supported Clark, Marc quickly unsnapped the gown sleeve, so it could be removed without interfering with the IV. Tossing the gown onto the bed, Marc softly said, "Your leg's going to feel a little like it's asleep, Clark. Keith, he's going to need almost constant support to stay balanced in the shower. All three of us are going to get wet in the process."

"I noticed you're damp and already figured that, Doctor Furst," Keith sniggered. "What I can do in under ten-seconds, Alden can do in less than a second."

Seeing Marc getting undressed, Clark squealed, "I'm so embarrassed! All I want is real clothes and to be normal again."

Keith chuckled, "When we're done with this shower, you'll see on TV that normal in Hawaii means being naked. You've got the same goods hangin' as every other dude, Clark. Chill, bro." Marc took over supporting Clark. Keith quickly ordered, "Get me in my birthday suit, Alden." Keith phased out and right back in again.

Covering his eyes with one hand, Clark whimpered, "Which one's cuter than the other? I'm gonna die!"

"No," Marc giggled, "that possibility has already been avoided, which is why you've got a brand new leg. I spent most of the day Saturday naked in Hawaii, with Keith and all the Core Rimmers, and all their sons."

Nodding, Keith took over for Marc, gently telling Clark, "Keep your hands on my shoulders, bro. You step forward and then I'll step back. About your ex-care givers in California, those fuck-wads kept you naked because they were too greedy to give you clothes. In a couple o' days, you'll have plenty of clothes. Then you can choose to stay dressed or get naked, just like the rest of our Clan. The only place we've told our kids that they have to be dressed is at our kitchen and dining room. Guys in our dorms decide what to wear, and if they want to wear anything at all." Keith gradually walked backwards toward the bathroom, softly instructing, "Slow and easy, bro."

Wobbling unsteadily and feeling Keith's strong arms supporting him, Clark wept, "I can't believe... after all you've done... you're doing this too."

Marc called, "Stevie, tell Clark what else is going on around this floor."

Stevie answered, "Prez is carrying Greg into another room, piggy-back. AJ, Kaleo, Jay, Mike and Sean are all in showers with other boys that have new feet and legs. Using their Mr. Fuzzy puppets, the Rimmers' sons are all talking to the youngest kids. John, Stephen, the quadruple R's, Caitlin and Ida Durand, the Steibs, and the Stoeher twins are all doing their empath and telepath things. It's very quiet, but those orphans are grinning and giggling, so it must be kewl. Nurses are helping some of the girls adjust to their new fingers, toes and limbs. Doc Hubbard is briefing Doc Wiener about the kids in a conference room." He paused to giggle, "Grandpa is talking to himself, but me, Kerry and Alden keep offering silly answers to his sillier questions."

Marc sniggered, "Danny will need therapy tonight."

Stevie sarcastically giggled, "Do you really think that might help?" Softly chortling, Marc and Keith slowly shook their heads.

After all that, Clark was still shedding nervous tears. With a nod from Keith, Marc turned on the shower. Keith shivered, "The water's still cool, Marc. Prez would be bitching about shrinkage."

Marc giggled, "None of you Rimmers need to worry much about that!"

Keith locked eyes with Clark and explained, "The best way for this to get done is for you to trust us. Can you do that?"

Nodding, Clark whimpered, "I have to."

"You hold my shoulders to keep yourself steady," Keith instructed. "I'll wash your front, Marc will wash your back, and it'll all be over really quick."

Taking his place behind Clark, Marc shared, "Keith, you need to know, the boys in their orphanage had sex, as a way to have some enjoyment and fun."

"This is not a bad thing," Keith replied, and started soaping up a washcloth.

Clark sniffled and sobbed, "It's not?"

Shaking his head, Keith began washing Clark's neck and shoulders. He sighed, "That orphanage was bad enough for Prez and I to execute those two assholes. Anything you kids did that didn't cause you more pain and suffering is kewl." Looking past Clark, Keith asked, "They have no sexually transmitted diseases?"

"None," Marc assured and soaped up a second washcloth, adding, "A few boys had to be circumcised and kept anesthetized for three days. Clark and Greg are among that group."

"That's because the fuck-wads didn't let them bathe or keep their willies clean," Keith grumbled. Seeing Clark crack a small smile, Keith grinned, "Prez is circumcised and has a sex drive that matches mine. I'm sure we'll all agree, it's better to lose the foreskin than lose the desire to get an erection and have sex." Seeing Clark crying again, Keith asked, "What's wrong, bro?" Clark blushed and looked away, at the shower wall to his right.

Noticing that Clark had a stiffy, Keith asked, "It hurts?" Clark shook his head.

Keith sighed, "That's completely normal and understandable. Like I told you before, at our base, you and all you dudes are going to learn about real loving relationships. If Greg is your best friend and not simply a convenient sex buddy, you'll be free to become real boyfriends and partners. Please don't be embarrassed. I know those fuck-wads taught you guys nothing of any value. We'll teach you all you need to know and be the best examples we can possibly be."

Marc prompted, "Tell him why, Keith."

"Prez is my husband," Keith began. "Derrick and Mike, who you'll meet later, are our best friends and our lovers. The four of us grew up together, became musicians together, and learned about our bodies together. The four of us, my two brothers and their partners were made Clan leaders. That gave us the ability to be big brothers for everyone that needs big brothers.

"We didn't raid those California orphanages because we had to, Clark. We wanted to correct obvious problems. We wanted more brothers and sisters. As happy as we were two weeks ago, before becoming Clan, we're even happier now. What makes us happier are four hundred happy brothers and sisters. When all you guys get out of the hospital, it'll be four hundred and eighty brothers and sisters. Anyone with a heart that had the resources, tools and training we have, would do what we're doing for all the kids."

Clark sobbed, "I'm a worthless orphan!"

"No, you're not," Keith and Marc chorused.

Keith firmly explained, "The orphanage made you feel and think that way, Clark. Every kid everywhere has worth. All you need is to be shown that you're valued. I value you; Marc does, Prez, Danny and all the doctors here value you. I'm certain that Greg values you too. Soon, you'll have so many brothers and sisters who will think you're really kewl. Then you can start showing them that you think they're really kewl too."

Coming into the bathroom with Stephen at his side, John teased, "You know, I could've done this, without embarrassing Clark into an early grave."

Marc cracked up. Keith smirked, "Tell me you're not levitating kids."

"I'm not levitating kids," John innocently giggled, causing Stephen to crack up and turn around to walk back out of the bathroom. John cackled, "Now look what you did, bro! You broke my husband!"

Keith smirked, "Clark Pope, this is my youngest brother, John."

Clark whined, "I need to lay down and ask for a doctor."

"Why don't I count?" Marc giggled.

With a chance to poke fun at the damp teen android doctor, John joked, "You're still wet behind the ears, Marc."

"I must've been in that orphanage too long," Clark whimpered.

"Nah!" John giggled, "We got you out before serious damage occurred to any of you." The soapy washcloth Keith had been using flew up before Clark. It then dove down, wrapped itself around Clark's stiff dick and quickly washed it. John smiled, "There, this whole drawn out shower can be ended, quick as a bunny." From the other room, Stephen roared. John giggled, "Alden, give Clark the special dry and dress treatment, and then let him land in front of me, bro."

Alden laughed, "One dry cleaned future Rimmer, comin' up!" IV stand and all, Clark phased out of the shower and phased back in, completely dry from his hair to his toes, and dressed, standing directly before John. Gasping in shock, Clark's hands dropped onto John's shoulders.

Smiling up at Clark, John assured, "I held up a forty story building, bro. I can easily support you." To prove the point, John levitated a few inches so he was looking Clark in the eye. Stepping out of the shower, Keith handed Marc a towel then pulled the last one for himself. John asked, "Marc, have you done swimming pool therapy with any of these kids with new limbs?"

Drying off, Marc answered, "It was on the list of things to do Sunday or Monday, but the kids weren't ready to try, and then we figured that many of them never learned to swim. With three extra days recovering, they're ready to stand and walk. Our intention was to get them able to jog and run before sending them to their new home. We're short on physical therapists around here, so doctors will be helping with that recovery process."

John nodded and smiled, "We'll start right away with no impact therapy." Rising up off the floor a few inches, Clark nervously squealed and whimpered. Backing out of the bathroom, John instructed, "Move your legs like you're walking, Clark. Let's get that new leg and foot moving right." Seeing Clark trying, John encouraged, "Good, dude. Wiggle your toes, bend and twist your ankle, and then try to bend your knee again. Once you can manage the basics, I'll put you down on the floor, but still support most of your weight." Leading Clark out of the bathroom and into the room, John introduced Stephen to Clark.

Half dressed and holding his shirt, Marc wondered, "When did you learn physical therapy, John?"

Pointing to his sub-vocal, John grinned, "Alden's feeding me summaries. I never knew how important a toe was for balance, especially the big toe, until a little while ago." Calling for Stephen, John asked his husband to demonstrate leg, ankle and toe movements. As soon as Stephen agreed, he rose up off the floor, slightly higher than Clark, so the newbie with an android leg could see and reproduce John's requested actions. Marc quietly left the room to check on the other patients.

A boy about John's age popped into the room, causing John, Stephen and Clark to pause. "Hi ya!" the sandy brown haired boy cheerfully said, "I'm Skylar Richardson. My daddies said I could come stay with you guys for a while. Whatchya doin'?"

Noticing pale purple eyes, John giggled, "Your daddies are Kyle and Tyler?"

Rapidly nodding, Skylar giggled, "No fair peeking, John! I don't go gallivanting around rooms in your head... yet anyway."

John grinned, "I never gallivant in public places. It was your eyes and your surname that gave you away, Sky."

"Oh! Well, then how can I help?"

"We have a timing issue to resolve with our newbies."

"Time-shmime! I can fix that."

John sniggered, "I know you can."

Coming out of the bathroom and seeing Clark and Stephen floating, and John with a new kid, Keith asked, "Who's this, bro?"

"Hi ya, Keith!" Skylar cheered and hurried over to give the teenager a quick hug. Stepping back and looking up, he giggled, "My daddy says you're gonna teach me how to surf."

Seeing purple eyes, Keith grinned, "Not in hospitals and not without sedation."

"I promise to keep all the waves under ten feet," Skylar giggled. "Of course, if my bro is there too..."

"That's how we got in trouble last time!" Keith laughed.

John wondered, "Which brother are you referring to, Sky?"

"My twin, Xavier. He's helping at Des Moines."

Keith and John incredulously chorused, "Twin Mikyvis?"

Nodding, Skylar giggled, "My daddies was usin' rubbers, so we figure we bounced into twins. That's our story and we're sticking to it!"

Sighing, Keith stepped out into the hall and tapped his comm-badge, urgently calling, "Julio, come in, please."

"Des Moines insane asylum; where problems appear out of mid-air!" Julio giggled in reply.

"You're telling me!" Keith laughed, "You've got the other twin by now, I assume?"

"Are you sure there are only two? This kid's bouncing around here like a super ball that was shot out of a bazooka in a gymnasium!"

"I'm calling an emergency meeting," Keith sniggered. "When we're done at the hospitals later, all available Clan Leadership teams are requested to gather at Maui."

"Bring cots for us; Xavier is wearing us out just watching him running up and down the halls to bring stuff to everyone!"

Keith queried, "Running?" and peeked back inside the room. Skylar had transformed himself into a teenager. Inside a time bubble with Clark, John and Stephen, Skylar had taken over for Stephen and was exercising his legs, showing Clark the therapy routines. From outside the time bubble, it appeared that a movie projector was running amuck at quadruple speed, and everyone inside was scurrying around at ridiculous speeds.

"Yeah, running... nonstop... as in never even stops to take a breath or a drink."

Feeling somewhat woozy, Keith turned away from the room and leaned against a wall, reminding Julio, "The meeting's at Maui. We'll meet you there. I'd suggest a time, but I can't seem to get one stabilized."

"Xavier said that Sky would work out the time; he's gonna be busy helping Mini and Alien with some gardening," Julio stated, his tone reflecting his amazement at the events around him.

"That figures," Keith sighed. "We'll need relaxation and recovery time anyway. I think I'll go find something more normal to keep me occupied, like bungee jumping. I'll see you later tonight, bro."

"Kewl," Julio weakly muttered, "Later, Keith."

A moment after Keith ended the communication, John, Stephen and Skylar walked out of the room. Skylar appeared as a ten year old boy, once again. Keith asked, "Where's Clark?"

"Resting in bed," Stephen grinned, and held up his left arm to show Keith the time on his watch. It was still set to Hawaii time, but obviously almost two hours had passed inside the time bubble. Sadly shaking his head, Keith began softly chortling.

Skylar giggled, "What? Daddy said to help, but not fix everything for everyone. Clark did all the work. I only sped up his therapy in this timeline. To him, it was still almost two hours of work."

Looking up at his brother, John smiled, "Clark's able to stand and walk. Now he's hungry, which is an even better sign. We're gonna find Prez and the rest of the team, so we can introduce Sky to everyone. Then we'll get some more kids through physical therapy." Knowing what his older brother was thinking, John huffed and then smirked, "I don't know what you're so worried about. Sky can help our division in so many ways, I can't begin to count them all. Besides that stuff, how'd you like to talk music composition with Mozart, or go back to 1962 and hear The Beatles perform, before the crazed screaming girls drowned out the sound? Not to mention, a bunch of these level three kids will definitely be home with us in Ewa Beach this weekend. By this time next Wednesday, we'll have all of 'em."

Nodding and then focusing on Skylar, Keith grinned, "I'm really glad you're here to help with these kids. Anti-energy beings that can do just about anything make some of us nervous, especially our parents. A perfect example is your brother, Xavier, zooming around Blank Children's hospital. Julio sounded like he was becoming exhausted just watching him."

Partially covering his face with one hand, Stephen giggled, "Look down the hall, Keith."

Doing so, Keith saw Chris and Jay walking in extreme slow motion. Behind the two teenagers, Keith saw a small boy pulling his IV stand and reaching for the Mr. Fuzzy puppet hanging out of Jay's back pocket. Gage and Jonah stepped out of another room, turned to one another and seemed to freeze where they stood. Obviously, Skylar had put the four of them in a time bubble.

"Wasting time just became a worry of the past," John sniggered. "Sky's a Period Rimmer!"

Sky giggled, "Sweet! Now that I've got a Rimmer handle, I can do the time bubble thing whenever I want, ya know? We can get these kids caught up on therapy pretty easily."

John nodded, "We'll do that." He turned to Stephen and asked, "Do you wanna help or join Frankie and Wade?"

After thoughtfully humming, Stephen said, "I'll find our sons, hon." He planted a quick kiss on John's cheek, then giggled, "If I keep doin' physical therapy with kids, I'll sleep from the time we get home until tomorrow morning."

"Sky and I are working on some ideas so we can all decompress a little when we're done," John shared. Knowing Keith's next concern, John said, "We won't need security. Don't worry about a thing, bro."

Rather than think about it, Keith went back into the room with Clark.

Further down the hall, Jay remained behind the wall, but stuck his Mr. Fuzzy past the doorframe and into the room, squeaking, "My Fuzzy instincts tell me there are future Rimmers in this room."

The two tween boys in the room grinned at the hand puppet, and then at each other. Hearing nothing from inside the room, Chris slid in close to his lover, displayed his Mr. Fuzzy into the room, and squeaked, "Even un-fuzzy future Rimmers are allowed to giggle before initiation."

"We'll have to get them fuzzy fast," Jay squeaked, and then led the way into the room. Pausing only two paces inside the door, Jay introduced himself and Chris, telling the newbies that Chris was rescued by the Clan on Friday, and he was rescued on Saturday. He had Alden transport Mr. Fuzzy puppets on each bed, and then asked the boys their names.

Both boys quickly put on their Mr. Fuzzy puppets. After checking with each other, the blond boy in the closest bed whispered, "I'm Vernon Williamson." He then turned to the boy in the other bed. That boy seemed more interested in the Mr. Fuzzy puppet on his left hand. It clearly said that the boy hadn't had a toy of any sort to play with in a very long time. Vernon softly told the two teenagers, "That's David Walsh."

Holding up his Mr. Fuzzy, Chris grinned, "You guys need some stuff." He then ordered, "Alden, get our two new Rimmers the toy replicas of the Enterprise, bro." 

After the toys appeared on the boys' laps, Alden replied, "There ya go, Chris. So you know, Vernon has a new left arm, from the elbow down. David has a new right hand. They're from Los Angeles, and were rescued by Derrick and Mike."

Nodding, Jay said, "Then we'll need some special toys, that will help them exercise their hands."

"I've got it covered," Alden replied. A second later, small rubber balls landed on both beds.

In moments, each boy had several toys to help exercise their hands and arms. To try and get the boys more comfortable, Chris said, "We're here so you guys are ready to join us in Hawaii in a few days. These toys are just the start of your new lives. Soon, you'll have big beds in big dorm rooms."

"Most rooms have only two guys in them," Jay continued, "but sometimes younger kids choose three or four to a room. Each room has beds, chairs, desks, dressers and computers for each occupant. You'll also have a television and a stereo. Whatever else you guys need, just ask and we'll do our best to make it happen."

At last, David asked, "Why?"

"Because we're family, as of this moment," Chris answered. "We're your brothers, and you're our brothers, right now."

Vernon asked, "Whadda we gotta do?"

Jay answered, "Only your best, for yourself, your brothers and sisters, and in school."

Chris gently explained, "This is the second room we've been in. We know what your old lives were like. You weren't allowed to talk; you weren't allowed to go to school; you weren't given enough food to eat. All of that has already changed. Here and at Ewa Beach, you're allowed to eat all you want; just go to the kitchen and get whatever you want. Here and at Ewa Beach, you're allowed to talk. When you're ready, at least a week after you get to Hawaii, you'll be allowed to go to school and encouraged to do the best you can."

Jay smiled, held up his Mr. Fuzzy and squeaked, "Do you guys understand?" The boys only shrugged, obviously reluctant to believe anything could change so drastically. Jay's Mr. Fuzzy squeaked, "Then let's practice with our Mr. Fuzzy puppets." He displayed the cast on his right wrist, squeaking, "I'd like to know how old each of you are. If you want to tell me, that's kewl, or you can have your Mr. Fuzzy tell me."

Vernon held up his puppet and squeaked, "I'm twelve."

"Eleven," David answered through his Mr. Fuzzy.

"We're fourteen and originally from Washington, D.C.," Chris offered.

Jay asked, "What would you guys like to know about our Clan, or Ewa Beach?"

Again, both boys clammed up and remained silent. Turning to his partner, Chris raised his Mr. Fuzzy and giggled, "That's too big a question, lover." Facing the boys again, Chris called, "Alden?"

Alden giggled, "Yes, Mr. Fuzzy Chris?"

"Can you help us out with some satellite images?"

"Sure I can."

Moving between the two beds and watching the television, Chris instructed, "First, let's show Dave and Vernon where they are in Charleston." A satellite image of the hospital and surrounding streets came up on the TV. Chris called, "Now lets take them on a quick tour cross country. Show them downtown Los Angeles, where they came from." On the TV, the image of Charleston AI hospital zoomed out, showing the coast of South Carolina, and then the image went west until it arrived at Southern California. During the moments it took for Alden to cross the United States, Chris reminded the boys, "It would take a five hour plane ride, or about five days of driving to cross country." The view zoomed in on LA. Checking to his left and to his right at Dave and Vernon, Chris instructed, "Now let's go further west and show our newbies all the islands of the Republic Of Hawaii. This is another five hour plane ride, guys." The image zoomed out and raced across the Pacific Ocean to an image of the Hawaiian Islands.

Jay smiled, "That's our home and it'll be yours too, as soon as you're well enough." He then instructed, "Alden, zoom in on Oahu, then give these guys a slow tour from Waikiki, to Pearl Harbor, and then zoom in on our base at Ewa Beach, and lastly, show us the Oneula Beach base." All four boys watched the television monitor, but Chris and Jay occasionally glanced at Dave and Vernon. Alden got good close ups of Ewa Beach, where only a few adult employees were roaming, and of Oneula Beach, where almost all the level two orphans were seen waking and getting ready for the day. Jay explained, "Oneula Beach is going to be your new home. It's warm, like summer there in Hawaii. You'll be free to go between bases, eat what you want and when you want, play at the pools, or do just about anything you want. The concert you were watching is where we were yesterday afternoon. In four days, Platinum Habits put on two concerts for us; one Sunday night and another yesterday afternoon. About a week after you arrive, you'll be attending school with the rest of us, at Ewa Beach."

Chris asked, "What do you guys think; does that sound like fun?"

Dave grinned and nodded. Vernon giggled, "Yeah, lots."

"All we need you to do is get well," Jay's Mr. Fuzzy squeaked.

"How?" Dave wondered.

Chris answered, "By letting us help you, and by letting the doctors and nurses here help you."

Jay checked, "Can you guys do that?" Dave and Vernon nodded. Finished with the satellite tour, Jay had Alden return to the prior afternoon's concert. For the next twenty minutes, Chris helped Dave exercise his new right hand, and Jay helped Vernon with his hand and then with his arm. During that time, both of the Core Rimmers talked to the newbies. Dave had been at the orphanage six years, and Vernon had been there five years. Dave had never set foot in a school, but Vernon had only got as far as first grade.

Marc Furst walked in during the school conversation. His presence freaked out Dave and Vernon. The two boys immediately put their toys down and clammed up. Chris and Jay hadn't met Marc, but had heard of him from Reyes and Ryan. Without delay, Jay got up and gave the teen android doctor no end of shit for disrupting the newbies. Jay towered about six inches over Marc. In moments, Marc was in Jay's headlock and getting his platinum blond hair messed up. At first, even though Marc was giggling his ass off, pleading with Dave and Vernon to play with their toys, it freaked out the small tween newbies, but Chris assured them that Jay and Marc were only feeling fuzzily foolish and playing. Dave and Vernon saw Jay's mouth moving as if he were speaking, but heard no words.

Once released by Jay, Marc giggled, "I'll come back to this room after..."

"You get appropriate doctor clothes," Jay finished. Marc phased out and back in again wearing a full-body Fuzzy. An oversized fuzzy stethoscope, hanging below Marc's knees, completed the image. At last, Dave and Vernon cracked up. With his professional demeanor destroyed, Marc walked out of the room, shaking his fuzzy head and muttering nonsense about radical Rimmers.

To help Vernon with his new arm, a four-way game of catch began. During those few minutes, Jay ordered, "Alden, get drawing paper, composition notebooks, crayons, pens and pencils for Dave and Vernon, bro. That'll help both of 'em to use their hands again."

"Add PADDs with appropriate learning materials," Chris interjected, "so we can help our new brothers learn to read and write." While they were still tossing the balls around, the requested items materialized on the night tables beside each bed. The ball was heading to Dave when he looked over at the growing pile of goodies on his night table. Dave was hit in the chest by the ball. At his surprised expression, the others in the room couldn't help softly chortling. Of course, an eleven-year-old kept in confined quarters didn't see much humor in getting hit with a ball, even though it was very softly thrown, and pouted. Chris hurried to him and offered a hug, giggling, "It was the look on your face we were giggling at, Dave. When you're playing catch, you have to pay attention. Luckily, this was a soft rubber ball only being tossed around a room. A baseball would've really hurt. Kewl?"

"Kewl," Dave softly replied.

Still giggling over Marc's ranting and body Fuzzy, Danny Page walked into the room with his white doctor smock tossed over his arm. Wearing blue jeans and a polo shirt, Doctor Page had transformed into thirteen-year-old Danny, and didn't disturb the newbies in the slightest.

Vernon started another game of catch with Danny and Jay. Danny said, "Down the hall we have a room prepared for all the kids. There are PlayStations and X-Boxes set up, so everyone can learn hand-eye coordination. Most of the kids at every Clan base play video games, so you two guys can start getting with the program as soon as you're ready."

Dave asked, "When can we do that?"

"Any time you want," Danny shrugged.

Vernon excitedly squealed, "You mean we can leave this room?"

Jay chuckled, "Of course you can. Your old orphanage life is over, guys. You'll never again be locked in your room. Your dorm room will be yours, to use whenever you want, and to come and go as you please. We'll show you what's inside all those buildings you saw at Ewa Beach and Oneula Beach." He called, "Alden, get back to our base surveillance, so these guys can see where they're moving to."

At both bases, kids were motivating. On the television, Dave and Vernon saw kids of various ages; some were still in their rooms getting ready for a shower, and others were already in the lavatory. After the two newbies had seen many rooms and three lavatories bustling with activity, Chris prompted Alden to show one of the showers. In the Oneula Beach shower were two very little guys, three tweens and two teens; Neil and Tad. At this point, Chris and Jay made sure that Dave and Vernon understood they would always be safe at the Pacific Rim Division's bases, because they were family. They pointed out that the teens and tweens weren't bothering the two littles boys, in fact all seven were chatting about breakfast, and pools and playgrounds.

A couple of minutes later, Ralphie, Pat, Theo and Richie entered the room. Ralphie and Richie telepathically spoke with Dave and Vernon. Pat told Jay and Chris, "We're gonna get these guys cleaned up and dressed. At the same time, Ralphie and Richie can get some of our new brothers' thoughts unscrambled." Chris and Jay hugged Dave and Vernon, and then walked out of the room.

As soon as the two teenagers were gone, Ralphie, Richie, Pat and Theo began speaking to Dave and Vernon like equal tweens. The first thing Pat and Theo did was teach Dave and Vernon how to differentiate Ralphie and Richie by where they parted their long blond hair.

Ralphie and Pat got Vernon ready for a shower. During the process of helping get the gown off and helping Vernon out of bed, Ralphie and Pat eased their new brother's worries by also shedding clothes. The real surprise for Ralphie, Pat, Richie and Theo was when Vernon's feet hit the floor and he stood up; Vernon was about six inches shorter than Ralphie, who was exactly sixty inches tall. Pat was sixty-one inches tall. Knowing his boyfriend was about to toss a fit, Ralphie concentrated on relaxing Pat while the three of them padded naked into the bathroom.

Being an ex-model and used to seeing naked tweens and teens, Ralphie made the shower as fun as he possibly could, by 'accidentally' making the bar of soap shoot out of his fist and across the bathroom. Ralphie had Alden get them a new bar of soap. Pat picked up on his boyfriend's silliness, but when Pat squeezed the bar, it shot up and out of the shower, and landed with a plop into the toilet. All three howled laughing.

Out in the main room, Richie, Theo and David heard Vernon laughing hysterically, and Ralphie and Pat madly giggling. Richie knew what was going on and shared that with Theo and David. Naturally, David wanted to see for himself. Richie and Theo helped David out of bed and walked him to the bathroom. In seconds, another bar of soap went flying and almost beaned Richie in the face. Automatically, Richie's arm flew up and deflected the soap missile. A minute or so later, Richie, Theo and David were naked and having some shower time fun. The bathroom was soaked. Bars of soap were all over the place; in the toilet, on top of it, around the floor and on the shelves where towels were kept. Very little bathing was actually done, but Vernon and David were having more fun than they had ever had.

It was during the shower fun that it became necessary to identify Ralphie and Richie again, since their hair was wet and parts had disappeared. The two brothers were the same height, but Ralphie was better fed and had a little more muscle on his legs and arms. Being tweens, Pat and Theo also knew physical details that weren't usually apparent, like exactly where their boyfriends had pubes growing. All four Rimmers gave Dave and Vernon their first lessons about growing up and puberty. They told the newbies about the vitamin fortified shakes available at their new home. Dave and Vernon admitted that they were getting small milkshakes each day.

Pat smiled, "That means your already getting what every kid at home gets. It also means that you guys are gonna grow and get healthier faster."

"Keep drinking them, and ask for more whenever you want," Theo instructed.

Around all the rooms of the Charleston AI Hospital, the same kinds of things were happening. Level three kids were being greeted, talked with and cared for, helped with physical therapy, and given toys and games. Above all, they were constantly reminded that they were already part of a huge family.

Ewa Beach, Condominium B, Unit 7-B

Wednesday, November 10, 2004, 7:32 AM HTZ

Used to waking early, Kassidy Oldcambus inhaled deeply and opened his eyes. Matthew Thornton had his left arm flung over Kassidy's belly, but was still sound asleep. Remembering how they met and spent hours together, Kassidy pleasantly sighed.

The prior night, all through dinner and for a painfully long hour afterward, Kassidy really believed he had some rare, uncategorized social disease. Over dinner, Nate, Stu, Paul, Rob, and even Vaziik told Kassidy that he simply hadn't found the right person yet. It wasn't Kassidy's fault; it wasn't anyone's fault, but Kassidy couldn't fully believe them. So he sulked in his room, wondering what he might change and even if he should change anything, listening to country music until a knock on his door changed everything. Standing between Chris and Derrick was a really cute teenaged guy, with brown hair, brown eyes, the widest shoulders, and a cheerful smile.

When Matt Thornton walked into his room, Kassidy thought, 'Dang! He's even a tiny bit taller than me too!' He hoped that Matt wouldn't try some cheap, over used pick-up line from the movies on him. Kassidy couldn't quite recall if he had said goodnight to Chris and Derrick, but closed the door and focused completely on Matt, making small talk that would generally lead nowhere, or so he thought.

However, everything Kassidy said was received enthusiastically by Matt. Even when Kassidy tried to blatantly get suggestive, by mentioning cuddling under a blanket, Matt reacted perfectly, seriously telling him that he wanted them to know each other before getting too cuddly. Test after test was passed, and it made Matt a good friend; one completely worthy of being cared for. Kassidy tried to be calm and cool about everything, but by the time they had met Matt's dad, and then changed for the water blaster battle, Kassidy couldn't fight the fact that he really was falling in love.

Matt was a sensitive Christian and a strong personality who enjoyed playing in the water blaster battle. Matt hadn't said much about the goofy Mr. Fuzzy G-string. Although Matt had skinny dipped often before arriving at Ewa Beach, Kassidy expected Matt would refuse to wear it. It proved Matt was a confident teenager, and definitely had a playful, silly side. Although Matt and Kassidy were about the same height, Matt had the stocky build of a high school football running back. He had awesome shoulders, a powerful chest, a nice four-pack abdomen, a cute, muscular tush, and large thighs for his age.

Kassidy fondly recalled his first ever sexual experiences. It started about ten-thirty, as soon as the Mr. Fuzzy G-strings were peeled off. Matt was a gentle, compassionate and silly lover. Given what Matt had said about using only hands and mouths during their first times together, Kassidy expected masturbation and oral sex. However, Matt's suggested game to see what would make their bones bounce the most was much more fun. Matt explored every inch of Kassidy with his hands and mouth, teaching Kassidy how to worship a male body. Learning his tactile lessons, Kassidy returned exactly what he had been given.

During this time, Matt and Kassidy shared a lot verbally too. It started with simple questions about when puberty started. Both remembered clearly that the changes had started the summer of 2003. Kassidy was already thirteen and Matt was a few months away from his thirteenth birthday. Matt's voice changed first. Kassidy noticed underarm hairs and then searched for more and found a few sprouting. Both started junior high school with new voices and typical body hair growth.

Everything two new teenage lovers could share was freely shared. Matt was five-feet-eight inches tall and weighed in at one-hundred-forty-two pounds. Kassidy was half-an-inch shorter and eleven pounds lighter. Considering Matt's muscle mass, Kassidy was surprised there wasn't a larger difference in their weight. Both boys shaved with razors once a month. They looked forward to December and being able to shave together. Even what was between their legs was very similar in length and girth, flaccid and erect, and both were uncircumcised. Again, Matt praised the Lord for making their male bits virtually identical, except for hair color and skin tone.

Most amazing were the inspections done on their hands and knees. Matt could've done so much more than look, touch and taste Kassidy's body, but he didn't. Matt even went as far as crack slides, but he never tried anal penetration. When Matt flung himself into the same position for Kassidy to look, touch and taste, he did it with the knowledge that Kassidy could take him all the way, but secure it wouldn't go that far. Kassidy wasn't even sure he could control himself, but Matt made the whole experience so much fun, he couldn't destroy the trust his boyfriend had placed in him. When the games were done, Matt and Kassidy lay on their sides, facing one another, whispering affirmations between kisses and slowly stroking their erections. After all the time they had played, and the sweet whispered words of affection, it didn't take too long for them to climax.

In those first few groggy minutes awake, Kassidy heard the apartment's front door open and close. Matt had obviously heard it too, because he rolled onto his back, but only inhaled deeply and stayed asleep. Kassidy knew his boyfriend had been awake close to twenty hours before he turned off the night table lamp and fell asleep. Now that he was free of Matt's arm, Kassidy slid out of bed and padded naked to Matt's bathroom.

Standing at the bowl relieving himself, Kassidy realized that he and Matt forgot to return to his dorm room. All Kassidy needed was his electric toothbrush. His mom was a dental hygienist, so Kassidy had always taken good care of his teeth. Matt had even commented that he had never seen anyone with a brighter, more perfect smile. At the time, Matt was licking the remaining water droplets off Kassidy's shoulders and chest, making Kassidy beam like a lighthouse.

After washing his hands and face, Kassidy strolled around the two-bedroom apartment. The main living room and dinette were plenty big for a family of three or four. The kitchen breakfast counter only had three stools before it, causing Kassidy to assume these apartments were generally for smaller families of two or three. He would have Karey check that with Mr. Combs at the first opportunity.

Down the other end of the apartment was another bathroom and bedroom. Jeremiah Thornton had already made his bed and the room appeared spotless, devoid of any clutter. There was a wedding photo on the dresser. Matt's mother was a beautiful woman, with the high cheekbones of a Native American, that she had clearly passed down to her son.

Kassidy crossed the apartment to return to Matt's room. His intention was to put his boardies on and then go to the living room to watch TV until Matt woke. Soon after Kassidy stepped in the room, Matt sleepily yawned, "G'mornin', sexy cinnamon stick."

"Is likely to pop major wood every time you say that," Kassidy playfully warned, and then purposefully glanced down to Matt's morning wood beneath the sheet.

Matt smiled, "I already promised that I'd have no problem taking care of your every desire."

Crawling onto the bed, Kassidy gave Matt a deep good morning kiss, and then reminded, "And I promised you the same, hunky bear."

Matt whispered, "Is there anything you desire this morning?"

"Breakfast and my toothbrush," Kassidy smiled, and then prompted, "Com'on, let's go to the CIC for breakfast. You won't believe it until you taste it, but the chefs here will make you a real southern style feast."

Matt chuckled, "After last night, you could've asked for anything, and I would've gladly obliged, but no. My boyfriend just wants to spend time with me."

Pushing the sheet down and off of Matt's body, Kassidy took the job of laying on his lover and kept him warm, sniggering, "Okay, how about this; ya want some sausage gravy, biscuits and grits, hunky bear?"

Pumping his hips up, Matt giggled, "I love it when you talk dirty breakfasts!"

Grinding down, Kassidy cackled, "I'll even have 'em sprinkle cinnamon on yer grits!"

Matt howled, "I'm cumming!" and rolled over on top of Kassidy. Right there on the bed, Matt started doing his morning push-ups, giving Kassidy a tender kiss with each trip down. He never made it to fifty push-ups. At the tenth kiss, Kassidy lost control, held Matt down on top of him and gave into the temptation again.

After making love, they took an extended shower together, and then got dressed. Leaving the apartment in the giddiest moods, they took advantage of alone time in the elevator, slamming together for another lip lock. Glowing, they stepped out of the elevator and walked down the hall.

Soon after stepping outside, Kassidy watched his boyfriend, carefully saying, "Before you woke, I looked around your apartment this morning. Your mom was really pretty."

Matt's smile never faded. He only nodded and easily replied, "Yeah, she was. You saw the wedding picture?"

"It was the first thing I noticed in your dad's room. I can see some of her features in you."

Matt evilly grinned, "Are you trying to make me randy again? It sure seems that way."

"Talking about your mom makes you randy?" Kassidy giggled, "You're scaring me."

"Comparing me to her did it," Matt admitted. "Others have too, like her parents, but it never meant so much before. Thank you, Kass."

"You're welcome," Kassidy giggled, and then added, "It is true though. Another thing I noticed is how neat your apartment is."

"That's dad's OCD," Matt sniggered. "Even before mammy passed, dad's always been a neatness freak. His mammy and daddy were that way too. They said it goes back a few generations, to the coal mining days, when getting clean enough to enter the house was a big deal. Since mammy, dad's been doing all the housework, with aprons and with tool belts. That's prob'ly how he got the job here; he can clean anything within an inch of its life, and fix anything that's broke."

"I guess I expected half-emptied boxes and some sign of the move."

"We brought what we absolutely had to have with us; clothes, pictures and memorabilia, my guitars, dad's mandolin, banjo and guitar. Everything was transported for us, and we spent the day unpacking. All the furniture and everything else in there was already here when we arrived. The last of our stuff will be transported, later today, I think. Since dad had made arrangements to fly from Kentucky to here, and then Battle Of Earth messed up those plans, Federation Youth Services arranged alternate transportation for us. We got to take a shuttle trip, Kass. The flight was at a hundred-thousand feet; the daytime sky was black and we could see the curve of the Earth. We left Kentucky at five in the afternoon and arrived here in under two hours. It was wicked kewl; the first of many wicked kewl things that happened yesterday."

Giggling at Matt's enthused tone, Kassidy wondered, "Whadda you wanna do after breakfast?" They walked inside the CIC and directly into the kitchen chow line. Kassidy picked up two trays and passed one to Matt.

Taking the tray, Matt smiled, "I'll be with you all day, so just show me around and introduce me to some kids."

"How about we do part of that on trikes; we'll take a ride around the base, and then we can check out whatever you want?"

Nodding, Matt grinned, "That sounds like a good plan."

Kassidy then proudly introduced Matt as his boyfriend and a new arrival to the kitchen staff. Once they had filled their trays, they walked out to the dining room. Crossing the room for a small, private table where they could eat and chat, they overheard that the entire group of Core Rimmers and most of the telepaths had left the base earlier that morning for Charleston AI hospital.

Soon after Kassidy sat down, Kade and Karey came running over to their big brother and gave him big twin-style hugs. Watching Kassidy's eyes suspiciously shift, and with his mouth full, Matt began chortling. When his brothers stepped back, Kassidy grinned, "What was that for?"

Kade giggled, "Does there have to be a reason?"

"What you've done for us since Friday is enough, I think," Karey smiled.

Kade nodded, "We saw you two at the water blaster battle last night."

Karey giggled, "Think of it this way; we know what you've been thinkin' since we got here. Since you were thinkin' of a boyfriend, we started thinkin' that way too. Now we got way more than awesome boyfriends, we've got Cameron's mom and dad, Matt's dad, and Jay's a Core Rimmer, all lookin' out for us too."

"In one day, Taron, you and we got boyfriends, bro," Kade explained. "It wasn't all because of you, but it was partly because of you." He then turned to Matt, widely smiled, then leaned closer to whisper, "Do that, right after breakfast. Kass'll love it." Matt blushed crimson and locked eyes with Kade. Nodding, Kade winked at Matt, then abruptly changed the subject, giggling, "By the way, your dad was assigned to dorm three. He's over there now."

Knowing what Matt was thinking and what his twin had sent, Karey beamed, "We'll see you guys later." Kade and Karey waved then walked away, back to where Brad and Cameron were waiting.

Leaning back in his chair, Kassidy tried to recall the last time his brothers had spontaneously hugged him. At Kassidy's perplexed expression, Matt grinned, "Eat up, Kass. For showing that they really do appreciate you, your bros made points with me."

Sliding his chair closer to the table, Kassidy lifted his fork and knife, muttering, "They always surprise me lately. It was only after we arrived here that I learned they were telepaths, and they could read me. I'm blown away."

"For the first time this morning," Matt giggled, "the next time, it'll be my doing."

Feeling his face flush, Kassidy softly chortled, "You're ready to go there?"

Matt smiled, "I was ready last night, but I'm purposefully moving slow, Kass. Last night, we got to really enjoy each other, but that was only first base. Since our first night was that extremely awesome, don't you wonder what the rest will be like?"

Nodding, Kassidy assured, "Last night was practically religious. Being with you turned a fair day into the best day I've ever had." He slipped a sandal off his foot, and sent that foot over to caress Matt's nearest foot. Matt began giggling. They ate a little more, and then Kassidy leaned over to whisper, "I'll alway love you. I promise you and the Lord, there's no one I'll ever love near as much as you." Matt stopped giggling and locked eyes with Kassidy. "Faithfully, I'm all yours, only tempted by you, hunky bear," Kassidy promised.

A soft groan escaped from Matt that turned into a high pitched whimper. Since Matt seemed stuck in the moment, Kassidy sliced off a chunk of biscuit and sausage gravy then fed it to Matt. Obliviously, the two new lovers started feeding each other. Smiling kids at nearby tables noticed them and softly giggled, but Matt and Kassidy never noticed anyone else.

Across the dining room, Dulce's attention was grabbed by the three glowing forms standing behind Matt and Kassidy. There were two women and one man. This wasn't new to Dulce, but it was the first time she'd seen risen spirits returning to their loved ones at Ewa Beach. Dulce's first instinct was to go tell Matt and Kassidy that they were being visited, but she only happily giggled and decided to save it for later. She searched the dining room for the Nash brothers. Craig was with Felicity at a table of level one orphanage girls. At a table with Ray, Tony, Jake, Terry and other boys, were Phil and Owen. Finding no spirits near either Nash brother, Dulce returned to her breakfast.

Columbia, SC, Hampton Street Cafe

Wednesday, November 10, 2004, 1:41PM EST

Another pair of Dan's friends caught up with Paul Owens a few blocks north of downtown. Claire and Lowell Perry, a married couple in their mid thirties, brought Paul to the cafe. Awake for almost twenty hours, Paul was more exhausted than hungry. He ordered a small salad and listened to the couple bounce ideas around to help Paul get off the street, and into a place where he could rest. To keep up appearances, Claire first called the couple that found Paul and bought him breakfast that morning. She then called the third couple Dan had notified, knowing very well that they didn't have the space for one more in their small home. Appearing desperate, but knowing that the next call she placed would provide Paul a temporary residence, Clair called Billy and Maryann Hart. The Harts were in their late fifties and both their children had moved on to start their own lives and families.

The Harts' son had built a garage loft and convenience apartment after finishing high school, so he had a private place to be with friends when he started college. For four years, before moving on to start a career, young Sherman Hart lived in that loft, only coming into the main house for Sunday dinners, and to do laundry. As far as Billy and Maryann were concerned, the loft was never truly finished. Sherman was happy with bare, unpainted plasterboard walls. In the years since Sherman moved out, Billy had managed to do little more than add decorative molding and install better insulation above the ceiling.

As if all this hadn't been prearranged that morning, Billy and Maryann came to the Hampton Street Cafe to meet their friends and the 'hard luck case teenager'. Billy explained when and why the loft was originally built and what little he had done, but dressed up the loft apartment as being comfortable enough for their son, and was now very well insulated, so the space heater would be sufficient during the coming colder months. All Billy and Maryann asked was for Paul to finish the apartment with paints that they would supply. For his work, Paul would get free room and board. Once the apartment work was completed, then Paul could do common lawn and yard work for room and board.

It seemed too easy to Paul, but being tired, he accepted a ride from Claire and Lowell to the Hart's residence. From the back seat of the Perry's sedan, Paul saw an unattached, double-car garage set back away from the main house. There were outdoor stairs on the left side leading up to the loft apartment. Getting out of the Perry's car and dragging his suitcase along, Paul followed Billy and Maryann up the steps. Billy unlocked the door and led the way inside with his wife, and Paul, and then the Perrys. Maryann started complaining about the shabby state of the apartment, but Claire began imagining paint colors and window treatments. Billy showed Paul the bathroom and the kitchen area. There was even a microwave, a small refrigerator, a set of four plates, bowls and silverware still in the cupboards.

Barely keeping himself from falling into an android coma, all Paul saw was a very small dinette table and two chairs, a nice sofa, a coffee table, a television, a small stereo clock radio, and most importantly, a twin size bed. A set of sheets, a blanket and a pillow were neatly piled at the foot of the bed. All four adults knew that Paul had been awake all night. Maryann turned on the space heater. As soon as Paul accepted the loft, they welcomed him to his new home and started to leave. Billy passed Paul the key to the loft's door and said they could discuss more the next morning, after Paul got some rest.

By quarter of three in the afternoon, Paul was alone in a comfortable place. Quickly making the bed, Paul could barely believe his luck. He never considered that the truck driver who had given him a lift might've set all the wheels in motion, simply to give an android a place to sleep indoors. Paul barely got his jacket and sneakers off before collapsing onto his shabbily made bed and dozing off.

Inside the Hart's home, Claire and Billy were making quick phone calls to let everyone know the teenage boy was safe. Included in the call list was Dan, the truck driver who had set the trusty wheels of Southern hospitality in motion. Maryann also called Dan's wife, who was really the only one left out of the loop that day. With the help of neighbors, she set about making certain that her husband would return the next afternoon rewarded, with a fabulous candle lit dinner, an extra sweet desert and an even sweeter wife, dressed as nicely as possible given her condition.

Ewa Beach Trike Garage

Wednesday, November 10, 2004, 10:20 AM HTZ

Kassidy and Matt took trike rides around the base perimeter and then down driveways and paths. Kassidy showed Matt everything there was to see, including the school, and they even saw the families of squirrels living on the Southwest side of the base. During the course of the ride, they saw fewer and fewer kids around the base. Only base security, gorillas, G-Cats and adults seemed to be around. Finished with the tour, they parked the trikes and climbed off. Kassidy scowled, "This is just too weird." He tapped his comm-badge, and called, "Alden, what's goin' on, and where is everybody?"

"Over at Oneula Beach," Alden answered. "Erik and Travis gathered the kids here and brought them there. With the Core Rimmers busy, kids were a little confused, but everyone's together and happier now." He then giggled, "You're all alone, guys."

With that knowledge, Kassidy and Matt smiled at each other. Matt leered, "I know how to take advantage of this," and took Kassidy's hand.

Surprised that they were passing the condominiums, Kassidy wondered, "Where are we going?"

"To the sauna at the pool house," Matt grinned. "We didn't make it there last night. We're guaranteed privacy."

Cracking up, Kassidy playfully asked, "We get each other plenty hot, so why in the sauna?"

Matt chuckled, "Just to be different. Since you share your room, that's gonna be rare, which means my room is going to get really familiar, unless we purposefully make some variations."

"Flawlessly logical," Kassidy giggled.

"I wanted you while you were brushing your teeth."

"But then your dad walked by, and saw you holding me, from behind."

Nodding, Matt continued, "I wanted you during our trike ride."

"But then a security gorilla in a tree began chuckling at us."

"If I get delayed or interrupted again, I might shoot in my shorts and start crying like a baby in soiled diapers."

Kassidy giggled, "What's tempting you, hunky bear?"

"You," Matt simply stated.

"We'd best hurry," Kassidy giggled, and then released Matt's hand and took off running.

Taking off after Kassidy, Matt loudly laughed, "Dear Lord, help me treat my cinnamon stick really good. Don't let me wuss out at the last second." Kassidy howled laughing and never heard the last line of Matt's prayer, asking for the patience and strength to follow an awesome blowjob with an even more awesome rimjob.

Kassidy got to the sauna first, and got Matt naked first. Proving once again they were like minds and souls, Kassidy was already thrilling Matt to loud coos, giggles and moans before all his clothes were off. Once he had Kassidy naked, Matt lay down on one of the wooden benches. Without delay, Kassidy went right back to work, hovering over the bench Matt was laying on. Lifting his lover by the hips, Matt got Kassidy in position so they could progress orally together.

Cuddling together afterward, Matt softly wondered, "What's the plan for this afternoon?"

"Well," Kassidy peacefully sighed, "we could spend some time at Oneula Beach with the rest of the kids."

Hearing something unenthused in Kassidy's tone, Matt said, "That sounds good to me, but I think you have something else on your mind."

Kassidy giggled, "Yeah, but I'll compromise."

Matt begged, "Don't leave me alone, Kass, not even for a minute."

Earlier that morning, before taking a shower together, Matt stood before the bowl but still held Kassidy's hand, and chatted. It was amazing and thrilling to Kassidy that Matt had easily done it, and Kassidy even commented on it. After all, Matt had no siblings, but Kassidy had shared the toilet with his brothers on many occasions.

In between tender kisses, Kassidy softly assured, "That'll never happen, hunky bear." After landing a deep, passionate kiss, Kassidy asked, "What made you think I needed to be somewhere without you?"

Matt shrugged, "You need and want to see your brothers and cousin, don't you?"

"We can do that together," Kassidy stated. "What I want is to know more about you."

Matt blinked, "What's left that you don't already know?"

Kassidy smiled, "In your room, I saw an acoustic guitar on a stand, an amplifier, and an electric guitar in a case. My boyfriend is a musician that hasn't serenaded me, or given me a single clue if he's mediocre, good, really very good, or a virtuoso, like our Core Rimmers."

Matt chuckled, "Somewhere between good and very good, but it depends on the song."

"Not good enough," Kassidy giggled. "I need to hear to know for myself."

"Is that really want you want to do?"

Eagerly nodding, Kassidy beamed, "Yeah, for a while, and then we can check on my brothers, their boyfriends, and you can meet some of the other kids. So tell me, how long have you been playing?"

"Since I could hold a child-size guitar, eight years. First, it was dad teaching me, and then it was mammy encouraging me to learn songs, and now dad does both. By nine-years-old, I was playing bluegrass with dad and his buddies. I started playing at our church soon after mammy passed."

"That's what we're doing right after lunch then. After we digest, and you've played for a while, then we'll hang out with the other kids."

Matt confirmed, "Is that really what you want to do? It's fun for me, but not so fun for you."

Kassidy enthusiastically giggled. "I love listening to music. Sunday night, I saw my first concert, right here. Platinum Habits, that's our leaders' band, played for over two hours. At three-thirty yesterday, there was another concert, that they called a rehearsal. Every song was great and really well done, but it was all rock, no country rock, and no bluegrass. I'm not a musician, but I did know guys at my old school that had bands. They couldn't play or sing anywhere near as good as Platinum Habits. Do you sing?"

"Yeah," Matt giggled.

"Give me an example of a something you sing really well."

After thoughtfully humming a moment or two, Matt smiled, "I like country rock most. Do you know Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Eagles, 38 Special, Lynyrd Skynyrd, or Pure Prairie League?" When Kassidy nodded, Matt answered, "Just about anything by those bands, as long as the vocal range isn't too high." Kassidy provocatively mooed and started a forceful grind. Instinctually thrusting his hips up, Matt giggled, "Why didn't you tell me how hot you get for musicians?"

"Not all musicians," Kassidy gently corrected. "There's only one; the one who taught me the meaning behind every ballad lyric ever written. The way you are, since I first locked eyes with you, and the way you were last night were lessons I'll never forget." Continuing his grind, Kassidy dove for Matt's neck.

Matt encouraged, "Yeah, Kass; do it, hold me tighter and kiss me harder as you get closer too."

"And then we'll use the shower here before lunch."

"I really want this, here and now. The temptations are too much to resist."

Laying all the way down, with his head over Matt's shoulder, Kassidy whispered, "Finger my hole, hunky bear. We've gotta get each other ready for the best of it. I can barely wait."

Reaching down Kassidy's back to his buns, Matt moaned, "Oh, man, I love you so much, Kass."

"I'm lovin' you back," Kassidy panted.

Charleston, SC, AI Hospital

Wednesday, November 10, 2004, 5:30PM EST

Via sub-vocals, Alden reported Paul's whereabouts to Reyes, Ryan, Danny and Marc. Stevie reported to Jon and Mary. With Ark's assistance, it was determined that Billy and Maryann Hart were outstanding citizens who were born and raised in South Carolina. They had lived in the home where Paul was for approximately thirty-six years, since 1968. Neither had ever been in trouble with the law; they hadn't even had a traffic violation or automobile accident in over twenty years. Of course, Reyes shared this information with his dad, pop, Prez and Keith. Everyone that knew what was happening was absolutely amazed that one truck driver had done so much for an android he had only known for about two hours.

Many of the level three orphans were either napping or eating. Televisions in the room were now showing the kids at Oneula Beach. All the Rimmers began congregating in the hall. Danny and Marc were ecstatic that the kids they were so worried about earlier that morning had made important gains in one afternoon. Equally enthusiastic, the Core Rimmers who had been to level three orphanages the prior week were thrilled with the kids overall condition. As it stood then, it seemed that the level three orphans could be split into thirds, based on their physical and emotional states; those who would be ready for Ewa Beach by Saturday, or Sunday, or Monday.

On the other hand, the majority of Rimmer sons, the empaths and telepaths were emotionally drained. Prez was carrying Richie. Troy had Scott Deaver in his arms. Sean had Jimmy Carr sitting up on his shoulders. Stephen had Wade on his hip. Kaleo and Tory had all five of their young sons gathered around them. All the telepaths were gathered around Relud and Inoyra, being praised for jobs well done. John Hundser confirmed with Doc Wiener that the entire team needed time to decompress.

Unnoticed by many on the team, Skylar popped out of the hallway gathering. He returned less than a minute later with Doctor Dan Richardson and another middle aged gentleman. Dan introduced the new addition as Doctor Jared Yates, child psychiatrist. He would become another part of the Pacific Rim's FYS Team. When the Core Rimmers were done meeting Doc Yates, Skylar said, "It's time to unwind, guys. I know you want to go back to Ewa Beach for lunch and school, and we'll get there, when everyone is less stressed out. All the doctors are going to join us."

Prez asked, "Where are we going, Sky?"

Impishly grinning, Skylar giggled, "My daddies and brothers showed me a real nice place. I promise, you'll love it!" The Core Rimmers began saying goodbye to Marc and Danny. When all the farewells were complete, Skylar teleported the entire group out of the hospital hallway. Immediately after the Rimmers vanished, so did Danny.

Materializing naked at Oneula Beach, about ten meters above the diving well, Danny screamed, "ALDEN!"

"But you told me to save the dunk, grandpa," Alden giggled over the pool house PA.

The kids hanging out barely heard Danny grumble, "Shit," before hitting the water.

Standing naked on the five-meter board, Erik loudly called, "Hey, Champ! Do you know who that was?"

Also naked and sitting at the edge of the well, with his feet dangling in the water, Travis sniggered, "No idea, but Alden obviously does!" When the unknown brown-haired teen surfaced, Trav chuckled, "Hello."

"Hi," Danny spluttered, and swam to the edge where Travis and another dozen or so grinning teens watched him.

So he wouldn't have to shout, Trav waited until Danny was nearer before saying, "I don't think we've met."

Hoisting himself out of the well, Danny replied, "We haven't." He sat at the edge of well, beside Travis and then offered his hand, smirking, "I'm Danny Page, director of the AI Division, in South Carolina." Now that the well was clear, Erik dove.

Introducing himself, Travis shook hands and knocked knuckles with Danny, and offered, "Our leadership went to South Carolina today, or I'd call someone to greet you." Gesturing to Erik, now swimming over to his boyfriend's side, Trav quickly introduced them.

"No need," Danny smiled, "I just left them, when I had clothes on. Since it's warmer here than there, I'll enjoy it, at least until I drip dry." When Travis nodded, Danny glanced around, saying, "So, this is Ewa Beach?"

"Oneula Beach," Travis corrected. "There were only about sixty of us not at school, so we all came here."

Danny nodded, "Keeping everyone together is good. Prez will be impressed."

"Kind o' necessary," Travis explained. "It's the first time all the Core Rimmers and their kids left us alone. The group in school was probably better off than we were; at least they're occupied. Since everyone at both bases felt weird, we decided to consolidate the masses."

Erik offered, "Now it's like any other day; little kids are at the playground, some are playing volleyball, another group are learning soccer, and the rest are hanging at the pools."

Travis grinned, "There's a small group missing, but since they're all new couples, we're pretty sure we know where they are."

Danny giggled, "Rimmer couples."

"Everyone needs a hobby," Erik cackled.

Universe Gamma Seven

Everyone in the group of sixty-five looked around. They were standing amongst trees just off of a beach. The sun seemed fairly high in the sky. It seemed very familiar to those who were more used to living at Ewa Beach. Keith wondered, "Where are we, Sky?"

"It's Ewa Beach!" Skylar giggled. Since no one else was laughing, but only uncertainly smirking, Skylar explained, "This is an Earth in an alternate universe. This is what might become Ewa Beach, in about a million years, give or take a couple o' millennia." Pausing and pointing east, Skylar giggled, "That's Diamond Head, before erosion wears it down to what you're used to. For now, this island is uninhabited. There are birds and plant life, but not much else. It's about one in the afternoon and it's June thirtieth, by our reckoning. We'll be safe here. I've got a barrier set on land and in the sea, so nothing the slightest bit dangerous can approach. Everyone can talk, chill out, go swimming and even take naps, if you feel like it. Let me just go get you guys lunch and a few other niceties, and you'll be set."

Skylar popped away. The Rimmers began walking down to the beach. Many of the boys took their shirts off. Amongst the trees, a large tent was pitched. Seconds later, an even larger tarp, about ten square meters, was erected near the dunes. In the blink of an eye, chairs and patio tables appeared under the tarp. Watching their big bro Leo, rapidly blinking at all the changes being made, Geoff and Lenny howled laughing. All around the group, blankets appeared on the sand, a pile of surf boards and boogie boards landed, and cafeteria carts filled with food and drinks materialized.

Pointing at the speeding Mikyvis, Jay sniggered, "I like him!"

Popping back, directly between Jay and Chris, Skylar giggled, "I like you too!" After giving the two teenagers quick hugs, he popped back out and returned again with piles of Mr. Fuzzy G-strings and water blasters. "There," Skylar giggled, "that should be enough for now."

Chris, Jay, Lance and Scott cracked up. Prez chuckled, "Okay, let's eat." Leading the way with Richie still on his hip, Prez loudly said, "All you guys and girls were completely awesome in every way. Even some of the youngest and quietest kids were starting to speak and laugh." He put Richie down on a chair and watched the rest of the group approach the make-shift dining area under the tarp, sharing, "Believe me, I'm just as wiped out as any of you. We're here to talk it out, amongst ourselves and with the Docs, so we can go back home when we're ready and not a moment before."

Going to prepare a plate of food for Richie, Prez shared, "Those level three kids look so much better than the last time I saw them, but I'm still bothered that they needed so much medical care just to get to where they're at. Greg, the dude I was with most of the time, is fifteen years old. He's about an inch taller than Drew, but weighs so much less that I could easily give him piggy back rides from room to room. As sad as I am about what he went through, I'm really happy that he's going to be another brother in our Clan very soon. And he was a leader at his orphanage. I'll be keeping an eye on Greg, because I know he'll be a Core Rimmer someday, when he's ready." 

Bringing the plate and a small cup of milkshake over to Richie, Prez encouraged, "Talk it out, but remember, all of you did great today; you made thirty very scared kids know that they're now cared about; that they'll soon have a home where they can feel safe and loved."

Richie sighed, "Poppa, one of the boys me and Jimmy was with has some new fingers and toes. His name is Marty. He was older than us and smaller than us."

Squatting down, Prez gently told his youngest son, "Try to remember, I was sad about your past, and Dee's and Gage's and Sammy's pasts. Not too long ago, I thought my situation with my parents was the very worst it could get for anyone. You and Jimmy, and really everyone believes their personal pasts were bad. Now I'm a happier father. Now you're a happier boy, a brother and a son. Soon Marty will be like you, much happier and trying his very best, like you did today. The way you'll feel better is by remembering how sad you used to be compared to how much happier you are now. Very soon, Marty will feel and think the same way."

On their own and walking down to the water line, giving the youngest kids the opportunity to get food first, Jay, Chris, Lance and Scott spoke softly about the level three kids. Chris admitted, "Yesterday morning, I was freaked out when Prez made us Core Rimmers, but now..." He shook his head and scowled.

Slightly smirking, Jay finished, "Now I don't know whether to be happy, sad or go pound the living shit out of some scumbag. Somebody deserves an ass whoopin'."

Slightly out of sync, Chris, Lance and Scott huffed, "Yeah."

In their heads, John said, 'The adults that hurt those kids have already been dealt with. Some were sent to prison planets and others were turned to dust. This is another reason why we wanted all four of you on this team; because your sense of right, wrong and justice is already strong.'

The four teenagers turned away from the ocean and back toward the tarp, where John was standing with Stephen and getting plates of food prepared for Frankie and Wade. Only briefly looking up, John sent, 'You have every right to feel everything you're feeling. The only thing I can suggest is a swim to work off the stress. I can guarantee everyone here will eventually go swimming or surfing for the same purpose. And we'll all get some time to rest too. Also remember, I'm an N-Gen empath, and you're Core Rimmers. I've got rooms in my head for all of my brothers, including the four of you now, so I know what you're thinking and feel what you're feeling. None of us are leaving here for home until all of us are ready for the other three hundred and thirty-something kids.'

Scott muttered, "I hate to admit it, but John's right." He kicked his sandals off and began taking his boardies off.

"I couldn't eat right now anyway," Lance smirked, and followed his partner's lead. Nodding silent agreement, Chris and Jay began stripping. Soon, all four were running into the water and dove into an oncoming wave.

The next set to choose to swim instead of eat were the quadruple Rs and their boyfriends. They walked away from the tarp and stripped off their clothes. Ryan prompted Reyes, "Come on, Casanova. Between Paul and thirty orphans, you need to swim first. Then we'll eat."

Nodding and walking with Ryan toward the water, Reyes sighed, "I can barely believe Paul felt so threatened that he felt the need to leave."

Ryan smiled, "Here's a little inside information for you. Paul acts and then thinks, almost all the time. He's the one that was thrilled over a video conference call last week. Paul told me everything that had him spazing out. I thought about that and your affect on Paul. You're good for us, Reyes. Yeah, Paul is being stubborn and flying off the handle again, acting before thinking. I, on the other hand, thought about you and the three of us together every chance I got, before you even mentioned you were interested, for five days. I'll bet you that Paul spent about one-fifth the time I did actually thinking about it, and most of that time was me talking to him about it. All I can suggest is to let him think. Away from anyone's interference, he'll figure out that he needs us as much as we need him."

Stripping off his boardies and underwear, Reyes chuckled, "He doesn't even realize that he has a Clan comm-badge in his suitcase. He's gonna shit popcorn when he figures that out."

Cracking up and stumbling in the sand as he got undressed, Ryan laughed, "That'll be the first smack upside the head. The next ones will be in quick succession; why hasn't anybody come to get him, or transported him back home, and why hasn't anyone even called him?"

Reyes grinned, "He'll figure out it was you, ya know?"

Shrugging, Ryan giggled, "He probably believes he's been imprisoned the last two weeks. The real kick will be when he tries to throw the comm-badge in the trash. It'll keep reappearing in that loft until he does something about it. I'm only wondering who he'll talk to first; me, Stevie or you?"

Leaning over, Reyes planted a deep, lingering kiss, and then whispered, "I love you, Ry."

Ryan giggled, "I know, and we're taking care of that issue while we're here," and then raced into the surf.

Barely a meter behind his wicked boyfriend, Reyes laughed, "Of course! No cameras or AIs listening!" Ryan roared laughing. In waist deep water, he suddenly spun around. Reyes nearly slammed into Ryan. Attached at the mouth, they fell into the water.

Out in deeper water, Chris, Jay, Lance and Scott saw Reyes and Ryan playing nearer the beach. Treading water, Jay chuckled, "That's it. We're completely screwing ourselves over."

Scott blinked, "What do you mean?"

Pointing at Reyes and Ryan, Chris grinned, "They were there and saw those kids too, but they've been talking about Paul every spare moment they had. A large problem is overshadowed by the smaller one nearer to their hearts."

Jay reminded, "We went there because those kids needed to see us; to know that the hospital isn't the end of the journey. Here we are, barely maintaining because they were screwed over so severely, but those kids are better off now than they were this morning. We went there for them, and they'll be home with us this weekend. Don't pity them, and don't feel sorry for them; feel happy for them, because they're healing."

"So we're fussing over history," Chris summarized, "stuff that's all over with. They're better off now than they were last week and this morning. Yeah, it sucks they had to go through it at all. In a few days, they'll be with us, even better off than they are now."

Smirking, Lance reminded, "Little kids barely speak. Kids our age have new android limbs. Clark is fourteen, like you three, but much shorter than any of us."

Scott nodded, but reminded, "Did we make them that way, SLB?"


Jay grinned, "Did every kid there get and use a Mr. Fuzzy?"

"Yeah," Lance chuckled.

Chris prompted, "Then why feel bad, Lance? We're not the cause of their problems, we're the solution."

On the verge of accepting it, Lance sighed, "I guess I know too much. All I keep thinking of, and what I'll probably have nightmares about, are the guys that had to be circumcised. It was done to me as a baby, not as a teen. I couldn't imagine that kind of pain."

Scott reminded, "Again, we didn't cause that. According to the docs, all those guys were unconscious for three days, so they never experienced the worst of the pain. I know how you feel, but if I were in their shoes, I'd definitely go for the operation, rather than lose interest in having sex."

Almost at once, Chris and Jay chimed, "Me too."

"There ya go," Scott cheered. He then brightly smiled, "We talked about this Monday and yesterday, Lance. Having foreskin only adds a little bit extra, because all the important feelings come from the head of our dicks. You and every cut guy have it way easier than us, because you don't have to worry about keeping it clean, or getting an infection that creates a need for a painful operation. If you have a bad dream about it, wake me up."

Chris offered, "Jay and I take notice of circumcised dicks, because they're different from what we see every day. Judging by what you're saying, you take notice of uncut dicks for the very same reason; they're different from what you're used to. I'd still love Jay if he was snipped, so I can guess you'd still love Scott if he was." When Lance nodded agreement, Chris shrugged, "Foreskin, or the lack thereof, is just another attribute all us gay guys notice; it's really not so important." 

Jay added, "That fold of skin isn't as important to me as getting this cast off. I can totally relate to the guys with new fingers and hands. About two hours after we got to Charleston, Chris and I had to return to Ewa Beach and see Doc Andrews, because of my busted wrist, so I can be fully useful sooner rather than later. We weren't gone more than ten minutes, but it was a task that had to be done, just like those kids."

Pointing toward the shore, where the quadruple Rs, Reyes and their boyfriends were playing Frisbee, Chris smiled, "Give it up, Lance. We're here to mellow out. If you're not ready to face the rest of the kids at home, John will know it and keep us here."

Without warning, Lance started rising up and out of the water. Chris, Jay and Scott sniggered, watching Lance begin bouncing in the air. Lance excitedly hollered, "What the fuck?"

From shallower water, Reyes yelled, "The game is called 'Toss-a-Kid'. It's better with a Sehlat, but John does a pretty good imitation. He's only bouncing you to figure how much you weigh, so he doesn't throw you a mile out to sea."

"John is doing this?" Lance giggled.

All four of the quadruple Rs hollered, "He's N-Gen!"

Reyes waded out further, and shouted, "Compared to a forty-story tower, your skinny butt is easy, Lance."

Turning to Chris and Jay, Scott sniggered, "I wish I had a camera. He'll never believe that his dick was floppin' in the opposite direction as the rest of him." Chris and Jay cracked up.

Far louder yet much further away than the laughing quadruplets, Sean, Troy, Kaleo and Tory roared laughing. Abruptly, Lance bounced a final time then flew out over and into the ocean. Scott was next on John's list, and was hoisted up out of the water. As Scott bounced, he watched John, who was seemingly paying more attention to his sons and the other younger kids under the tarp. After about half-a-dozen bounces in the air, Scott went sailing. Continuing on with his version of Toss-a-Kid, John gave Chris, Jay, Reyes, Ryan, the quadruple Rs and their boyfriends something else to think and laugh about. 

Other kids finished eating and raced into the water to be tossed, starting with the Stoeher twins. When the youngest kids finished eating, they raced down to the beach to get tossed and play in the water. The teens and tweens that first went swimming walked up the beach to the food. The four doctors remained under the tarp to talk out any remaining issues with the older group. Relud Glith remained at the tarp to assist the doctors, and to help his new brothers. Empathically reaching out to each of the boys while they loaded their plates, Relud felt that they were all in a good state of mind. Taking their plates to the table, the giggling quadruple Rs got Relud's attention.

'There's really something wrong when only one guy under the age of thirty is still dressed,' Ralphie sent.

Robbie grinned, 'Maybe Betazoids are shy? Is that the right word? Is it Betazoids, Betazedoids or maybe just Betas?'

Far more interested in the double cheeseburger with massive amounts of toppings he was munching on, Ronnie teased, 'Or maybe they've got teeny weenies?'

'That would make them Beta-weenies, wouldn't it?' Richie added.

Widely grinning, Relud started to undress, broadcasting to the four telepathic clowns, 'The correct term is Betazoids. Compared to my home planet, this planet is sexually repressed. Our custom is for everyone to be nude during our marriages.' Removing his shorts, Relud grinned, 'As you can see, my dickie measures up to every other teenager here. The best part is, it would take a great deal more for me to get physically aroused than it would for you four.'

The thought had barely been processed by the quadruple Rs when suddenly all four stopped eating, got up from their table, stumbled over and past one another, and raced back into the ocean, leaving their boyfriends behind and curiously smirking.

Widely smiling, Relud told the four doctors, "The quadruplets seem to be processing what they've witnessed of the level three orphans fine."

Reyes giggled, "What did you do, Relud?"

Shrugging, Relud grinned, "What needed to be done to a team of teasers. The vision I implanted in their minds will take quite a while to wear down, if you get my drift." Rapidly nodding, Reyes, Ryan, Billy, Theo and Pat cracked up.

When the laughter had dwindled to giggling, Jay prompted, "Doc Yates, since you'll be joining our Clan, tell us about yourself. Are you single?"

Doctor Yates smiled, "No, I've been married for twelve years. My wife's name is Alyssa, and she'll be joining the education staff, as an art teacher."

Scott asked, "Have you got kids of your own?"

"No," Doc Yates replied.

Doc Richardson interjected, "Skylar brought two very qualified psychiatrists to meet with me; Doctor Yates and another gentleman. Doctor Yates was the better choice for Pacific Rim Division. The other candidate will be offered the position at other divisions, so he can choose where he'd like to live and work. When I learned that Doctor Yates' wife was a qualified teacher, and that they would be open to building a family of their own, it made choosing simple."

Doc Yates grinned, "Two children at Charleston have already caught my attention. Of course, Alyssa will need to meet them, and the kids will either bond with us or they won't."

Jay asked, "So we know, when there's a troubled kid, how do we approach it?"

Doc Wiener smiled, "Hopefully, you'll never be in a position where you'll have to worry about that. Your job is to be big brothers, which you've done very well, ye of the fuzzy Fuzzies." The four new Core Rimmers chuckled. Doc Wiener suggested, "In the event that you do witness something that concerns you, then chat with either Doctor Yates or myself."

"The plan is for Doc Wiener to remain at Ewa Beach and I'll move to Oneula Beach," Doc Yates explained. "The only difference in our training is my additional time in medical school, so I can prescribe medication. Doctor Wiener and I are both against using medication, except in extreme circumstances. Since the medical staff is already in place, I'll simply be another resource, monitoring kids at Oneula Beach as Doc Wiener has been doing at Ewa Beach."

The conversation came to an abrupt end when Relud ran full tilt for the water. By the time everyone turned to watch him, Stephen screamed, "Frankie! NO!"

Believing something was horribly wrong, Prez, Keith and Drew dove into the ocean and swam directly for their nephew. John simply levitated himself and ran above the sea for his eldest son. Wade was pitching a fit because he wanted to go help his big brother too, but Stephen wouldn't let him go.

"STOP!" Frankie yelled, "They're only dolphins, daddy! They don't know people and you're freaking them out." Then Frankie disappeared under the waves. Changing direction, John ran toward his brothers. Since they were mostly under water, John had to telepathically tell Relud, Prez, Keith and Drew to slow down and chill out, because his dolphin loving son had just met his first wild dolphins in their natural environment. Now Frankie was trying to learn to communicate with the pod of cetaceans.

Stephen relaxed, and immediately Wade stopped struggling to be free of his poppa's grasp. Turning and looking up, Wade giggled, "You thought Frankie was playin' with sharks?"

Knowing that he couldn't lie even if he wanted to try, Stephen shrugged, "This isn't our home world. I didn't know what Frankie was doing, but I saw that dorsal fin, bigger than your bro's head."

Skylar popped over to where Stephen and Wade were standing. "I told you we're safe," Skylar giggled. He pointed out to sea, explaining, "There's a barrier about a kilometer out. If it can harm you guys, it won't make it any closer than that. Not even crabs or lobsters can get past it. All the other fishes and stuff that can't hurt are kewl to come closer."

"There are some jobs a father can't ever stop, no matter how safe his sons are," Stephen told Skylar. Happily giggling, Wade slammed into his poppa and held on tight.

Walking above the waves with a purposeful stride toward the beach and his husband, John loudly laughed, "We're here to decompress, but what does my hubby do? HE FREAKS OUT! AND FREAKS THE REST OF US OUT!"

Giggling his little butt off, Wade backed away from Stephen. Rising off the sand, Stephen shrieked, "John, don't you dare toss me!"

Listening to Frankie's thoughts more than his husband's warnings, John began bouncing Stephen. To the soft chortling of everyone on the beach, Stephen went flying out over the sea, screaming, "JO-O-O-OHN!"

Wading to shore with Relud and Keith, Prez sniggered, "You aren't getting any lovin' tonight, bro."

Looking up at his big bros, John smiled, "Frankie's learned to speak basic dolphin; at least enough to send part of the pod after Stephen. He won't have to swim back, unless he absolutely refuses help from the dolphins."

Skylar popped between John and Prez, giggling, "And a million years from now, dolphins save people from drowning, because they think it's a game."

Moments later, Stephen could be seen trying to hold onto a dolphin's dorsal fin and getting a ride back to shore. When Stephen's grip failed, another dolphin held him up, like it would a baby dolphin needing their first breaths of air. A third dolphin slowly came around for Stephen to hold onto, and brought him closer to shore.

The rest of the team's break time was spent as planned; surfing, swimming, napping, and teen couples getting some intimate time. Dolphin rides were a bonus unplanned activity, but everyone got to spend time with Frankie's friends.

Oneula Beach

Wednesday, November 10, 2004, 12:00PM HTZ

After their chill time, Skylar transported the entire group just outside the Oneula Beach dining room. Starting to walk inside, they found almost every kid from both bases was gathered together, and applauding their return. Back in the furthest corner of the room, Kassidy and Matt sat at a small table for another intimate meal. It seemed that only the adults working at Ewa Beach weren't at Oneula Beach. The Rimmers' sons and their various additional helpers scattered to join the rest of the kids in the room. Still clapping their hands, Erik Kendricks and Travis McAuley walked across the room to the Core Rimmers. Travis grinned, "We all know you needed to go to Charleston. Alden's told us that you did a great job. The kids are doing better, and they'll be watching us the next couple o' days."

"In the meantime," Erik giggled, "the two of us were the only dorm leaders not in school, dealing with a hundred and fifty or so kids."

"With help from Craig and Phil Nash, Felicity, Owen, Tony and Ray, we gathered the sixty-something kids from Ewa Beach and brought them here," Travis explained.

"Tony and Ray organized some volleyball teams and taught the kids the game," Erik added.

Travis nodded, "Craig and Phil had another group learning soccer, but the bottom line is, we barely kept things kewl around here." Seeing all the Core Rimmers grinning, Travis turned to Erik. Both boys shrugged.

Softly chortling, Prez turned to Keith and the rest of the Core Rimmer team.

"It's a tough decision," Corey giggled.

Almost in sync, Erik and Travis wondered, "What decision?"

Keith smiled, "The key word used in this instance was 'barely'. The fact is, you did manage. Just like the rest of the kids managed last Friday during Battle Of Earth. And what happened during dinner Friday night?"

AJ waved and Jerry sniggered, "Two new Core Rimmers were christened."

Sadly shaking his head, Troy chortled, "And all of our dorm leadership, present company excluded."

Sean grinned, "Instead of acting like a new couple and choosing to spend time alone, you gathered everyone together, where they could enjoy themselves."

"And support one another," Chris added. "Being in the same boat, feeling the same things, all it took was direction to change sad to glad."

Over the PA system, Prez prompted, "All Rimmers who believe that Erik and Travis should be promoted to Core Rimmers, please raise your hands and voices?" Almost every hand rose in the air and the sound of cheers from four hundred kids reverberated around the room. "And who believes that Tony Lanning, Ray Varga, Craig and Phil Nash would make good dorm leaders?" More loud cheers and agreements burst forth from the adults and kids in the room. When the sound dwindled, Prez instructed, "You can lower your hands."

Keith asked, "Craig, Phil, Owen, Tony and Ray, would you consider taking on new roles? And also with these roles, would two of you consider moving from Ewa Beach to here?"

Standing up, Tony answered, "Ray and I will take the job, and we'll move." More applause erupted with shouts of congratulations. Craig, Phil, Owen and Felicity softly discussed the possibility.

Drew prompted, "What we really need are two girl leaders here at Onelula Beach."

Getting up and leaving Craig and the table, Felicity hurried over to where her roommate, Elise Blas was sitting. Moments later, a lot of positive chatter erupted from that table. Within a minute, Felicity stood up and hollered, "We'll take the job, Prez." Drew and Corey clapped their hands and cheered the teenage girl they had rescued from an Anaheim level one orphanage.

Prez smiled, "Craig, Phil and Owen will take over for Erik and Travis at Ewa Beach dorm three."

Noticing that Craig's expression was very similar to when he got soaked Monday night, Phil and Owen roared laughing. Craig chuckled, "That takes care of that." Giggles broke loose around the dining room.

Tony sniggered, "We had other helpers, Prez."

"Very important helpers, in fact," Ray grinned. John, Stephen, Frankie and Wade cracked up.

"And who might that be?" Prez wondered.

Tony replied, "Angelo Diaz and Reggie Combs were the last to wake and have breakfast. They found us here, at the volleyball courts, and then kept an eye on the kids at the playground, and helped referee volleyball games, but they're not here right now."

Prez tapped his sub-vocal, asking, "Alden, where are Angelo and Reggie?"

"At the Diaz's townhouse," Alden replied from the ceiling speakers. He then asked, "Would you like them informed they're needed?"

"As quickly as possible," Prez answered, and then asked for Mr. and Mrs. Combs, and Mr. and Mrs. Diaz to report to the Oneula Beach dining room.

Alden replied, "Mr. Diaz is in surgery, boss. As an intern, he can't leave right now, so I won't bug him."

Prez nodded, "Thanks, Alden." Within a minute, Mrs. Diaz, Roy and Monica Combs came in through a dimensional door. As they approached, Prez smiled, "Your sons had a busy morning, I heard."

The three adults nodded and agreed. On her way to lunch, Mrs. Diaz had heard from Angelo and Reggie, learning that they were bringing a group of little ones to the dining room. Moments later, Angelo and Reggie appeared, hand-in-hand, before the Core Rimmers and their parents. Reggie muttered, "That's still a weird feeling."

"You'll get used to it," John sniggered, and scanned the two teenagers. As John processed and weeded through their thoughts, he passed the important information to the remainder of the team.

Locking eyes with his mom, Angelo explained, "We were finishing lunch at home. We cleaned up and loaded the dishwasher, but Cecilia's not happy that I asked her to wipe the table, so we could get here quickly." He focused on Prez, giggling, "It's not every day the director wants to see you, ASAP."

Mrs. Diaz nodded and smirked, "I'll talk with your sister."

Still processing what John had dumped in his head, Prez grinned, "We have a very serious situation here." The other Core Rimmers evilly snickered and nodded agreement.

Lance softly giggled, "They broke Erik's and Trav's time." Scowling, Erik and Travis glanced at one another, silently wondering how that could be possible. Chris, Jay, Lance and Scott sniggered and nudged their friends around a bit.

Prez confirmed, "Since nine-thirty this morning, I heard that you two helped our Clan at the playground?"

Blushing, Reggie nodded. Angelo smiled and shrugged, "It wasn't a problem. The kids just needed to be shown stuff to do."

"Playing with little kids is easy," Reggie seriously admitted.

Sixteen Core Rimmers loudly grunted, "Uh oh!"

Angelo offered, "Game rules and stuff, refereeing, and stuff like that."

Prez sniggered, "But did anyone ask for your help?" Angelo and Reggie shook their heads, getting the distinct impression that they had overstepped their bounds.

The other sixteen Core Rimmers laughed, "This is extremely serious!"

Shaking his head, but unable to hold a straight face, Prez shared, "To make matters worse, two of our little tikes banged their heads together in one of the trampolines. You two didn't even know our doctors' names, but each lifted a crying kid, and transported them to the doctors' office. They stayed with them until they were checked, and then brought them back to the playground again."

"SAY IT ISN'T SO!" Chris, Jay, Scott and Lance yelled.

Sean and Troy playfully droned, "Fahgedaboudit."

Around the dining room, a dozen other New Yorkers and their friends hollered, "FAHGEDABOUDIT!"

Prez lost it and cracked up. Keith giggled, "For doing all the right things at the right time, when nobody asked you to do diddly, we have no other choice except to announce two new Morale Rimmers, Ensign Angelo Diaz and Ensign Reggie Combs." All the kids applauded and cheered; the loudest were those that hadn't been in school that morning. About halfway across the dining room, Tony and Ray were completely hysterical.

Mrs. Diaz and her son, Angelo incredulously shouted "WHAT?"

At his son's stunned expression, Roy Combs began laughing. He didn't notice his son or his wife turning pale. Luckily, John felt weakness in the group. He telepathically warned several of the oldest Core Rimmers and Doc Metzger just in time. Monica Combs crumbled and was caught by Jay. Reggie Combs fell backwards against Chris and Scott. Angelo barely had time to gasp before realizing Reggie was already safe. In moments, Mrs. Combs, Jay, Reggie, Chris, Scott and Doc Metzger had all disappeared.

Turning to Erik, Travis, Sean and Lance, Troy sniggered, "Well, the rest of the team decompressed, so I guess its proper, however untimely." The former four nodded and laughed.

Palming her forehead, Mrs. Diaz sighed, "Preston, do you know Angelo or Reggie very well? We've only been here five days."

Shrugging, Prez smiled, "How well I know them isn't the issue. Angelo and Reggie did what needed to be done without instruction or prompting; they saw what Erik, Travis, Tony, Ray, Craig and Phil were doing and helped. Everything else they need to know, they'll learn, just like the rest of us have. Also, they're a team, which is how this division and the Clan operates. Eighty level three orphans at three hospitals needed our help, so three divisions split up to make those kids feel wanted and welcome. Lastly, with five bases and a third of the planet to cover, we need all the help we can get."

Keith gestured an open palm to John, grinning, "Thanks to our Intel Director, we know almost as much about Angelo and Reggie as their parents do, and a few additional things that we'll speak with them privately about."

Locking eyes with his mom, Angelo grinned, "Believe it or not, we talked about ways we could help the division." He helplessly giggled, "Reg and I thought we'd need to ask what we might do."

Looking up at the two adults, John giggled, "Mrs. Diaz and Mr. Combs, I already told my mom and dad. After school, while we're chatting with Angelo and Reggie, you and your spouses are invited to meet with our parents. If you want, I can have a doctor there too, so you can get your Valium prescriptions?"

Glancing around the remaining group of Core Rimmers, Angelo giggled, "I guess we'll need to take classes and stuff."

"Go take care of your boyfriend first," Drew grinned. All the other Core Rimmers agreed.

Looking up at Angelo, John innocently smiled, 'You've already been trained, bro. Your partner will be trained when he's a little more stable, later today. You and Reggie can take tonight and tomorrow to let it sink in. The only classes you'll need to take are for phaser training. Prez will get that scheduled for you.'

Nodding agreement, Prez prompted Angelo, "Go check on Reggie. Catch up with Lance, Scott, Erik, Travis, Chris and Jay while we're at school. After school, the entire team will get together and we'll get you dudes situated."

Nodding at Prez, Angelo chirped, "Kewl," and then asked, "Mr. Combs, would you like a quick trip to check on your wife and son?"

Roy Combs nodded and grinned, "Yes, I think so, or I'll be joining you and Reggie in the dog house tonight. With a little luck, I can talk her out of becoming the first Clan mother to indefinitely ground her leader son and his boyfriend."

With that, Angelo tapped his comm-badge and giggled, "Alden, to the doctors' office again, please."

"It's becoming habit today," Alden giggled, and executed the order. The remaining Core Rimmers split up to spend time with their Clan.

Ewa Beach, Condo B

Wednesday, November 10, 12:20PM HTZ

As soon as lunch was finished, Kassidy and Matt left Oneula Beach and returned to the Thornton condo. Matt was thrilled with Kassidy's interest, but thought his new boyfriend was just being extra nice. On the elevator ride up to the seventh floor, wrapped in each other's arms, Kassidy seriously asked, "Did you really want to play guitar?"

"Yep, always have, as far back as I can remember," Matt answered. "Daddy's been playing bluegrass with friends all my life; it's something I was raised with."

Knowing the sort of response he might get, Kassidy smiled, "Does your playing really suck that bad?"

Matt cracked up and then laughed, "No, I really can play and sing. I've been doin' both at church almost every Sunday for more'n three years."

Squeezing Matt tighter for a moment, Kassidy giggled, "I love music as a listener. Believe me, I've heard some really horrible garage bands. I really want to hear you play. You must really want to be a good player or you wouldn't be here. Pick whatever songs you like, and I'll give you my honest opinion."

Matt shared, "I want to play music for a living, Kass. Right now, dad says I've learned all he can teach me. He's even said that some of the songs I play are more than he could match. I feel like I'm limiting myself though; there's so much more that I could learn and eventually be able to play." The elevator stopped and they stepped off. On the way to his apartment, Matt continued, "That's why dad chose to work at this division. I wanna do good, for myself, for him, and now for you too."

Kassidy wondered, "Are you feeling pressured?"

"Yes and no," Matt replied. He put his palm on the security plate, stated his name and opened the door, leading Kassidy inside.

"Am I pressuring you?" Kassidy asked.

Grinning, Matt shook his head and answered, "No, its like anything else you really want badly, I guess. Am I really good enough to make a career in music, or is it just wishful thinking?"

Kassidy gently prodded, "Let's find out," and took Matt's hand in his.

Matt stole a tender kiss, and then they walked down the hall. "I'll play a little bit solo for you, and then pull out some CDs and play with the recordings," Matt summarized. They stepped into Matt's bedroom, immediately noticing that the bed sheet and blanket they had quickly straightened out before leaving was now perfectly made. Sadly shaking his head, Matt giggled, "Dad's been home," and released Kassidy's hand to get his acoustic guitar.

"I almost hate to sit on it," Kassidy smiled.

Matt giggled, "Well, I was thinkin' the living room would be a better place. The better stereo is out there. Not to mention, seeing you sittin' on my bed might be too much of a distraction, and I'll forget all about the music."

Kassidy teased, "After doin' it in the sauna, your living room is tame in comparison."

Mooing through more giggles, Matt joked, "We won't leave wet stains on the new furniture. Now that we've gone oral and finished the job right, I have a new favorite dessert."

"Me too, hunky bear," Kassidy smiled. Seeing Matt reach for his electric guitar case, Kassidy prodded, "Let me help carry stuff?"

Nodding, Matt put the electric case down before Kassidy and handed him the acoustic guitar. He then said, "I'll grab a few CDs and the amp."

Lifting the electric guitar, Kassidy scowled, "How can you do both?"

"The back of the amp is open, so I can put the CDs in there," Matt replied and then easily chose seven compact disks from the rack. Once Matt had stowed them in the amp, he lifted and carried it to Kassidy. Leading the way into the living room, Kassidy asked, "Where should I put these guitars?"

Matt grunted, "The acoustic goes on the couch, and the electric on the floor."

At the end of the hall, Kassidy turned and asked, "Is the amp heavy?"

"About seventy-five pounds, but it's awkward," Matt replied. They went into the living room. Kassidy put the guitars down. Matt put the amp down near one of the surround sound speakers. Red in the face, Matt grinned, "Dad's gonna put casters on this amp so I can just roll it around."

Kassidy worried, "Are you okay, Matt?"

Nodding, Matt smiled, "I'm fine, Kass. It's a 60 watt tube amp with two twelve-inch speakers. The wooden box without the innards would be an awkward bitch." He then leaned over to pull the power cord and plug the amp in. While he was still haunched over, Kassidy went to him and started a gentle back massage. Getting the cord plugged in, Matt laughed, "For the boyfriend that likes to touch as much as I do, thank you, Lord!" He spun around, grabbed Kassidy around the waist and kissed him hard. They held the kiss a long minute.

When the kiss broke, Kassidy giggled, "You're so tempting."

"Right back atchya, sexy cinnamon stick," Matt smiled. He then danced Kassidy back a few steps and sat him down on the sofa. He picked up his acoustic guitar and played a few chords to make sure it was in tune. Backing up another few steps, Matt played the Credence Clearwater Revival song, Down On The Corner. He started with the introduction bass riff, and then strummed chords and then began singing. At Matt's loud, clear voice, Kassidy's eyes widened. He was expecting better than the garage bands he'd heard back in Kentucky, but he wasn't expecting anything any where near as good as Matt's enthusiastic playing and singing.

When the song ended, Kassidy burst into applause and cheers. Matt giggled, and then started playing the introductory licks to Southern Nights. Again, Matt bopped and played and sang. Kassidy's brain was spinning. His new boyfriend seemed to be as good as any of the guys in Platinum Habits. As soon as the song ended, Kassidy applauded and told Matt exactly what he had been thinking.

Matt smiled, "Thanks, Kass, but I really hope they're way better than me."

"What makes you say that?"

Matt answered, "How can I learn anything if they're as good as me? They've gotta have something to teach me. I'd be really disappointed if they don't." He then started strumming his guitar again and sang Sundown.

At the end of the song, Kassidy proudly beamed, "You can sing and play really well. You haven't sung a bad note yet."

Matt giggled, "I played and sang at church. I'm used to performing now. This next song was a favorite of my mamma's. I wish I could've played it for her before she passed. Because I couldn't, I make a point of playing it every time I pick up a guitar." He then began finger picking his acoustic guitar, and sang, I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song. Kassidy enthusiastically applauded another great performance. Matt began strumming his guitar again. This time he played and sang Amie.

At the end of the song, Matt took his acoustic guitar off and rested it on the couch beside Kassidy. "Intermission," he grinned, "and then I'll play another couple on the electric, with some CDs." He went to power on his amp, and then offered Kassidy his hand.

Taking Matt's hand, Kassidy bounded up off the sofa and into Matt's arms, repeatedly stealing tender kisses. In between those kisses, Matt tried to ask, "Do you... want anything... to drink or eat?" Breaking down in giggles, Kassidy made Matt's neck and throat his after lunch snack.

Soon, Kassidy had one hand snaking up under the back of Matt's shirt, and the other hand squirming it's way into the back of Matt's shorts. With Kassidy's gray eyes peering deep into his own, Matt giggled, "We will make love again, Kass, before we leave here to do anything else. I need to wet my whistle before I sing another couple o' songs for you."

"You're so good!" Kassidy cheered. He goosed Matt's butt, and then seriously said, "I really hope you're not disappointed, but this audience of one thinks you're just as good as any of the guys in Platinum Habits." Kassidy pulled his hands out of Matt's clothes.

Leading the way to the kitchen, Matt shared, "I'm sure there's a bunch of stuff I don't know." Seeing Kassidy's curious expression, Matt said, "There are songs I've repeatedly tried to play, but they didn't sound right. As long as I stick to country and country-rock, I do all right. Everything else is still a challenge, and I'm not sure what it is that I'm doin' wrong." He opened the refrigerator and offered, "Cola, iced tea, pineapple juice, or water?"

Kassidy smiled, "I'm good with water." While Matt got them tall glasses of refrigerated water, Kassidy prompted, "Name some song you've tried but couldn't play."

"There's lots," Matt replied. "Like the whole end of 'Stairway To Heaven', from the guitar solo on, I can't touch. Its like, some of the notes are right, but the tone is wrong; it picks up a country twang. It's not only hard rock and metal that I struggle with, its funk and rhythm and blues too." Matt handed Kassidy a full glass and leaned against the counter beside him.

After taking a sip, Kassidy recalled, "Platinum Habits plays a lot of that; at least they did during Sunday night's concert. Yesterday afternoon, they played a lot of ballads, and rock power ballads too."

Matt asked, "How often do they perform?"

"I've only seen those two concerts, but kids that've been around since the start say, about every other day."

"What are the leaders of the Division like?"

Kassidy smiled, "They're kewl. A couple of 'em are our age; Prez, Keith, Derrick, Mike, Troy and Sean. Chris and Jay too, but they were just made Core Rimmers at breakfast yesterday." Matt began evilly snickering. Kassidy giggled, "Yeah, I know. They call themselves that around their parents too. Lance and Scott were made leaders yesterday afternoon, just before the concert. They live in my dorm, and so do Chris and Jay. Kaleo and Tory are another couple. AJ and Jerry are thirteen-years-old. They were just made leaders Friday night. It was Kaleo, Tory, AJ and Jerry that greeted me at lunch Saturday. Those four are all rescued kids. Then there's Drew and Corey. Drew's twelve, and Corey's eleven; they greeted my brothers and cousin. 

"Last but certainly not least are John and Stephen. It was them that brought us here from Des Moines. I guess I should mention that John's an N-Gen; short for next generation human. His gifts are empathy, telepathy and telekinesis. John's a trip! He'll walk past you, chattin' with someone else, but then you'll hear his voice in your head, talkin' about whatever you were thinking of when he walked past."

Kassidy cheerfully continued, "John's parents and Stephen's mom were in Des Moines when we were brought here. The first thing we did was take a trip to the store so we could get clothes and stuff. While we were there, we met Mike's mom and dad. During the day Saturday, I met Corey's and Derrick's parents. Derrick's dad showed us the trike trail we were on earlier. Corey's mom, Aunt Lanna is the group mom. She spends most of the days at the pools and playground with us kids. Mike's dad is a cop. He works at the FYS building with some of the other adults. Troy's mom is a housekeeper at the dorms. She stopped and talked with me too. I give your dad another day or two, and he'll be like all the other adults here, roamin' around and chattin' with kids."

Matt grinned, "I can tell by your voice that you really like it here."

Kassidy gushed, "It's different, but it's great! A good example is yesterday afternoon. Just before dinner, Kade and Karey told me that they were having dinner with their boyfriends, at the Combs' townhouse. I'm blown away that my eight-year-old cousin and two eleven-year-old brothers have boyfriends. A bunch of guys in my dorm hall had dinner with me, since I was alone and bummed out. There are telepaths all over the place, so there's not much of anything that can be kept a secret. When the guys I was eating with took off to do other stuff, Derrick's mom and dad hijacked me for a chat. They noticed my expression during dinner and after. There's these two adults who I barely know, asking me what I really want, talking just like my real parents would. The bottom line is, everybody here watches out for everybody else."

Pausing for another mouthful of water, Kassidy asked, "What else is on your mind?"

Matt chuckled, "Only you, sexy cinnamon stick." Kassidy began giggling. Matt smiled, "Most of what I always wanted is you, right beside me. The other part comes when school starts next week. Everything else would be nice, but not requirements."

Kassidy wondered, "What sort of everything else are you referrin' to?"

Matt shrugged, "I've heard and read about Clan Short. Anything else I can do to help the community and the Division. I played at church services on Sundays, and at church picnics, and at any other gatherings they planned for the Christmas Holidays and Easter."

Kassidy nodded, "There's lots of stuff you can do, if you want. There are odd jobs posted on the Division's web site. We'll take a look at that later too, if ya want?"

"Sure," Matt smiled, "we'll check it out, after I play a little more and we make love." Giggling and putting his water glass down on the counter, Kassidy slid in front of Matt to plant a tender kiss.

In between kisses, Kassidy softly said, "Later, I'm hopin' to introduce you to Prez and Keith."

"They're the leaders?"

Nodding and running his hands up Matt's arms, Kassidy smirked, "Finding any of them without a bunch of kids lined up around them is the trick. Maybe at dinner they'll be free for thirty-seconds. Leave your dad a note to tell him we'll be eating at the CIC. He don't need to cook every night. Tell him that he's already worked enough today."

Widely smiling, Matt giggled, "Is there somethin' about my arms you like?"

Brightly smiling, Kassidy replied, "You've picked me up and moved me around a couple o' times, and now I know that you're a good musician too. These arms are so strong, but at the same time they can be gentle when you touch me, and these fingers are nimble enough to play guitar. What's amazing is how much I like the idea of havin' a pickin' boyfriend."

"It means practicing, Kass. Once school starts, I hope to be practicing every moment that we're not together like this. I wanna be able to play everything and anything I hear; if I like it, then I can play it, without spending an hour slowly rippin' apart every chord and lick in a four-minute tune."

"Is that what it takes?"

"That's what it takes now. It used to take longer, a couple o' hours over days to learn a single song."

Kassidy prodded, "Show me." Nodding, Matt turned and picked up both glasses. Kassidy led them back to the living room. Matt put both glasses of water down on the coffee table.

He went to get his electric guitar, saying, "I'm really proud of this guitar. Dad found it at a garage sale before my twelfth birthday." Pulling the blonde Fender Telecaster guitar out of the case and putting the strap on, Matt turned and beamed, "It's a rare, classic axe, Kass; vintage 1960. Dad dropped a couple o' hundred bucks on it, but on the way home, he told me that it's as old as he is, and could've easily cost five times more."

Kassidy gasped, "Guitars cost that much?"

"Some really old guitars cost more," he answered, and unraveled the cord, plugged it into the guitar and then the amp. Leaning over, Matt pulled the CDs out from the back of the amp and put them on the coffee table. He chose one disk, put it in the CD player and powered up the rest of the sound system. Before turning around to face Kassidy, Matt turned up his guitar a little, checked the tuning, and then played a couple of chords and licks. Kassidy mooed. Spinning around, Matt giggled, "I know this song opens with an acoustic, but I'm gonna play that on electric, and then switch parts." He turned slightly to start the CD player and began finger-picking Marshall Tucker Band's Can't You See. Soon, Matt was enthusiastically singing and playing the licks along with the recording. At the guitar solo sections, Kassidy could barely believe what he was seeing and hearing; Matt was playing note-for-note perfectly and singing just as well.

At the end of the song Kassidy applauded and cheered, "I'm gonna make love to you until yer pecker won't get hard again!" Matt cracked up. "Okay," Kassidy giggled, "it might get hard, but you won't be puttin' out very much."

Getting the message loud and clear, Matt giggled, "Just a few more songs, sexy cinnamon stick." He quickly changed disks and then began playing Flirtin' With Disaster. Once again, Kassidy was pleasantly surprised. At the end of the song, Matt again switched disks and performed Gimme All Your Lovin', complete with swiveling hips and soulful eyes peering directly into Kassidy's eyes. Kassidy mooed and began rubbing his crotch, and flicking his tongue. Matt laughed at least half of the lyrics, but had two more songs that he worked countless hours on that he wanted to play.

At the end of the song, while Matt again switched disks, Kassidy playfully warned, "Gonna eat ya up, hunky bear. You rimmed my ass, and your turn is only minutes away!" Without commentary, Matt played and sang, Caught Up In You. Burning up and barely maintaining, Kassidy stood to show off his tented shorts and started dirty dancing. The more provocative Kassidy got, the more Matt put into his guitar playing and singing. At the end of the song, while Matt's back was turned and dealing with the CD player, Kassidy wrapped Matt up.

Matt giggled, "One more song, just for you, Kass." Kassidy whimpered. "Let me get the disk loaded, play this song for you, and then it's a mad dash for my bedroom," Matt giggled. Kassidy backed away and onto the couch. Matt got the CD loaded and started, and then played and sang, Love In The First Degree.

I once thought of love as a prison
A place I didn't want to be
So long ago I made a decision
To be footloose and fancy free
But you came and I was so tempted
To gamble on love just one time
I never thought I would get caught
It seemed like a perfect crime

Baby, you left me defenseless
I've only got one plea
Lock me away
Inside of your love and throw away the key
I'm guilty
Of love in the first degree

I thought it would be so simple
Like a thousand times before
I take what I wanted and just walk away
But I never made it to the door
Now babe, I'm not beggin' for mercy
Go ahead and throw the book at me
If lovin' you is a crime, I know that I'm
As guilty as a man can be

Baby, you left me defenseless
I've only got one plea
Lock me away
Inside of your love and throw away the key
I'm guilty
Of love in the first degree
Love in the first degree
Oh yeah
Oh yeah

From the ceiling speakers, seven AI's provided backup vocals and sang along with the repeated chorus.

Baby, you left me defenseless
I've only got one plea
Lock me away
Inside of your love and throw away the key
I'm guilty
Of love in the first degree
Love in the first degree
Oh yeah

Having waited long enough and knowing the song was nearing its end, Kassidy stood and starting taking his shirt off. Two steppin' and swaying, Kassidy took his shorts off, proudly displaying his briefs covered bone and dancing for his lover. Matt longingly stared at his boyfriend's package and continued singing;

Love in the first degree
Love in the first degree
Oh yeah
Love in the first degree
Love in the first degree

With the song fading out, Kassidy slipped out of his underwear, tossed them at Matt, and jogged to Matt's bedroom. Taking his guitar off and putting it on the couch, Matt continued singing, "Love in the first degree, Love in the first degree," and chased after Kassidy. Barely across the doorway threshold and in his room, Matt was attacked, stripped and pushed onto his bed by a ravenous redhead.